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Grutas de Bustamante

Bustamante is a very small town in a very remote part of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. With less than 4,000 residents in 2021, it's one of the smallest of all Mexico's Pueblos Magicos, though it does indeed have the designation, and it actually is a fun, interesting place to spend a weekend. Especially if you like a slower, laid-back attitude. Highlights include some delightfully quirky sites in town, an awesome cavern to explore, some natural pools near the town's spring, and a local park chock full of swimming pools where almost everyone in town can be found partying on the weekends.


The climate is pretty dry for most of the year with hot weather most of the year, but the town doesn't have a real water problem since they have natural springs that are the source of the Sabina River.

Bustamante Canyon

In the pre-Hispanic era, this part of Mexico was inhabited by Chichimeca people. In 1591, the Spanish viceroys wanted to settle the wild and wooly northern Frontier, so they rounded up 400 indigenous families from Tlaxcala who had been successfully Christianized and transported them north to the states of Coahuila-Tejas and Nuevo Leon. Most of the families settled near Saltillo, but others settled in Bustamante, where silver mines were being built in the nearby town of Villaldama. All was well for a couple of hundred years, then all hell broke loose with gringo land grabbers declaring independence for Texas. Battles ensued, Santa Ana got his butt kicked by the Texan rebels, and more gringo settlers moved into Texas, pushing out nomadic tribes like the Comanches.

The Comanches were happy to kill off all the gringos they could, but they also felt the burn of constant defeat and pushed south into Mexico. In Bustamante, dozens of Comanche raids killed a lot of residents, and almost all the Tlaxcalans moved to the city of Monterrey. Meanwhile the silver mines had gone bust and by the end of the 19th century, revolution was in the works. Bustamante was a tough place to live.

Get in[edit]

Map of Bustamante

Bustamante is located 100 km northwest of Monterrey, the nearest city with a major airport and bus connections.

By car[edit]

Driving is by far the most convenient, comfortable, and safe way to get to Bustamante. It's a 90 minute drive from Monterrey to Bustamante. From Monterrey, drive north on federal highway MEX 85 to Cienega de Flores where you'll exit onto Nuevo Leon highway 1 toward Nuevo Laredo. You'll take NL 1 as far as Villaldama, then follow the signs to Bustamante. Do be aware that the outlying rural areas of Nuevo Leon are sometimes claimed by drug cartels, military checkpoints are always possible along NL 1.

By bus[edit]

Bustamante is not served by any major bus line. The closest you can easily reach by bus is Sabinas Hidalgo, which is served by Futura from Monterrey or Nuevo Laredo. From Monterrey, 4 buses per day make the 1-hour trip to Sabinas Hidalgo. A ticket will cost M$200. From Sabinas Hidalgo, you could take a taxi for the last 25 miles.

Get around[edit]

Having your own car is best.


  • Plaza Principal - the town square is very relaxing with lots of iron park benches, stone walkways and nearby cafes and shops. One end of the plaza faces the historic San Miguel Arcangel church, the other end faces the town hall (Palacio Municipal).
  • Iglesia San Miguel Arcangel, Lic.Benito Juarez, Centro - built by Franciscan missionaries in the late 16th century, the church is surprisingly clean and austere in appearance. A beautiful church.
  • Museo de las Cosas Simples, Gral Mariano Escobedo 403, phone +52 (81) 8017 8184 - Small regional history museum that has some exhibits related to herbal medicine and local history, but most of it is a collection of costumes used for regional dance.
  • Museo de la Memoria Viva, Juárez s/n entre Zaragoza y Gral. Naranjo, phone +52 (045) 829 101 77 29 - Historical museum that includes information about the Tlaxcalans who settled in the area. An interactive exhibit takes you through the life of a typical person in Bustamante from 1866 to the present day.
  • Ojo de Agua - Natural springs with some shallow water pools (swimming pools are at El Molino). The water is sparkling clean and an unusual cyan color from the natural minerals.


  • Grutas de Bustamente - Large cave system with guided walking tours that will explain the many rock formations and spaces that you pass through. Tours are in Spanish only. Buses will take you from the parking area up to the cave entrance. Great place to enjoy some cool temperatures on hot summer days!
  • Parque El Molino - park with several modern swimming pools and picnic areas. Popular for family parties on weekends.



  • 1 Restaurante el Clasico, Prof Celso Flores Zamora 1501, +52 82 9101 1508. F-Su 08:00-18:00. Home cooking with regional norteno dishes. Carne asado with cabrito a house specialty. Queso de cabra. Cafe olla. Cash only.
  • 2 Las Golondrinas, General Mier s/n, Centro, +52 82 9246 0480. 09:00 - 18:00. Traditional Mexican food.


  • 1 La Guadalupana, Padre Meir, Bustamante, +528124009379. 07:00 - 19:00. Funky artesanal mezcal distillery. Stop in and get a quick tour, try a sample, and buy a bottle right from the source.


  • 1 Hotel Hacienda los Nogales, Lic. Ignacio Aldama 606, Centro, +52 811 607 4877. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Comfortable but somewhat barebones hotel. No TV.
  • 2 Hotel Ancira, Independencia 108, Centro, +52 82 9246 0310. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 13:00. Small hotel with traditional on-site restaurant. Rooms are comfortable, AC and TV works. M$900.
  • 3 Hotel Chimeneas Inn, Gral. Mariano Escobedo 300, +52 82 9246 0443. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Comfortable, family friendly place.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Bustamante is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.