Hidalgo is a state in Central Mexico. Within easy day-trip distance from Mexico City, Hidalgo is a weekend playground for millions of Mexicans. Hidalgo offers fascinating archaeological sites like the mystical Atlantean statues of Tula, as well as colonial mining towns and haciendas, and rugged outdoor backcountry for mountain sports and communing with nature. The state has many of the so-called Magical Towns including Huasca, Mineral del Chico, and Real del Monte, which are some of the most visited parts of the state.
- 1 Pachuca — the state's capital and main city has a well-preserved historical center and lots of mining heritage
- 2 Actopan — colonial small town with a 9km 16th century aqueduct and some tasty gastronomic specialties
- 3 Huasca de Ocampo — charming small town with spectacular waterfalls and nearby national parks
- 4 Huichapan — elegant viceregal town where the tradition of Mexico's president re-enacting Father Hidalgo's famous cry for freedom first began in 1812
- 5 Ixmiquilpan — charming colonial town with 16th century churches, thermal spas, and waterparks
- 6 Mineral del Chico — quaint small town, gateway to El Chico National Park, a designated Pueblo Magico
- 7 Mineral del Monte — an old mining town with centuries of industrial, cultural and gastronomic history
- 8 Omitlán — popular weekend getaway destination with colonial haciendas and outdoor activities in nearby mountain forests
- 9 Tecozautla — come for the waters...Tecozautla is famous for hot mineral springs, aquatic parks, and spa treatments
- 10 Tulancingo de Bravo — home to the Huapalcalco archeological site, which was the forerunner to the Teotihuacan civilization
- 11 Zimapán — colonial mining town, close to Los Marmoles National Park
- 1 Tula — archeological site of the capital city of the Toltec civilization, destroyed in the 12th century
- 2 El Chico National Park — national park preserving pine forests in a mountainous terrain with caves, springs, and two lakes
- 3 Los Marmoles National Park — national park preserving pine-oak forests in a mountainous terrain with its own ghost town
- 4 Reserva de la Biosfera Barranca de Metztitlán - Deep, narrow canyon of the Metztitlan River with dramatic scenery including steep cliffs and twisty canyons
- 5 Red Dunes - Near the town of Pacula is an eerie Martian landscape of red sand dunes amid scattered boulders (the red color comes from iron oxide)
The state has a number of relatively intact native cultures such as the Otomi as well as some important historical indigenous sites that will tempt anyone with an interest in history or anthropology. There are also three notable immigrant cultures, those of the descendants of Cornish miners from Cornwall (in South West England) who arrived in the 19th century, some Italian descendants, and a small Jewish enclave which claims to be descended from Sephardi Jews who came to New Spain in the 16th century.
The state contains a number of ecotourism attractions including part of the Huasteca area, the ruins of Tula, natural hot water springs, and mountain ranges.
Spanish is the most widely spoken language. Other indigenous languages can be heard but Spanish is the language to get you by. English is spoken in random circles of people specially with younger educated individuals and in touristic places.
There are several bus lines that serve the state of Hidalgo from major cities in Central Mexico, The bus system is very big and will get you everywhere in the region. The biggest bus station in the state is in the state capital, Pachuca, which is served by ADO, Estrella Blanca and a variety of smaller bus lines including Ovnibus and Autobuses Conexion, both of which serve several of the smaller markets in Hidalgo with direct buses from Mexico City.
From Mexico City, ADO buses to Pachuca run from the city's Central de Autobuses Norte terminal. Futura buses to Pachuca depart from the terminal inside Benito Juarez International Airport. Buses between Mexico City and Pachuca run about every 30 minutes, throughout the day and night, and they offer a range of service levels, from very economical to executive class accommodations. Prices are affordable.
From Pachuca, you can catch a bus to most cities in Hidalgo.
There is several toll roads and public roads that run from all surrounding states. Mexico-Pachuca and Mexico-Tulancingo are main roads that go through the state capital and main cities.
Buses run throughout the state, fairly often. at reliable schedules. within cities or towns you will find "combis" or taxis that serve the local population to get around. Make sure to ask around about a way to get to your destination since the local buses don't have an online ticketing version. Fares at local buses vary, around five pesos or less. Taxis are widely available. Car rentals are offered in the major cities.
The state has a wide variety of scenic natural scenes to offer. The landscape varies, from deserts with beautiful cacti to humid dense forests. Being in the boundaries of Mexico's arid north and the Tropical south the state has a unique contrast of natural wonders.
- Grutas de Tolantongo are a communal run complex with caves, warm springs, and several campsites, pools and restaurants complex.
- Santa Maria Amajac is another warm springs pools and saunas complex in the middle of beautiful wilderness.
- Los prismas basalticos are a rock formation of prisms and waterfalls.
- The Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System, a UNESCO World Heritage site (partially located in Mexico State)
There is a corridor of spas with more than 70 locations, where most have mineral hot springs with warm waters around 38-40 °C. Some small towns have a shockingly large number of big waterparks with huge pools. Some have very scenic natural pools on cliffs or beside rivers. Hidalgo rewards the slow, patient traveler who takes the time to relax and enjoy life.
One can find different kind of dishes served in the state, most which shares with the rest of central Mexico, Like Tamales, Tacos, Tortas. There is some ingredients that can make regional dishes atypical, even for other Mexicans, You can find mainstream Mexican dishes made of plants like mesquite beans, nopal and other cactus and various cactus fruit such as “tuna” and “xoconostle.”
Another of the rarities that you must try while visiting Hidalgo are dishes that are made of a variety of edible insects, many of which are considered delicacies such as escamoles (ant eggs) and maguey larvae as well as others such as larvae found on nopal plants, “chacas ” (beetles) and “chicharras” (cicadas).
Other local animals still, but rarely used for food include tadpoles (called atepocates), salamanders and their larvae, squirrels and rabbits. You can also find a variety of moles and a specialty of central Mexico, mixiote.
Another common central Mexican dish popular in the state and through central Mexico is Hidalgo's barbacoa. This dish has its origins in the pre-Hispanic period, when it was meat cooked in an underground pit. Today, it is most often cooked in pots in more conventional ovens, but the meat, today mostly pork, is still smothered in the alcoholic beverage pulque and wrapped in maguey leaves for flavor. This preparation of barbacoa is considered to be the state dish.
Although people in Hidalgo share a thirst for pulque, it is far less prevalant than in the rest of Central Mexico. Instead, you find more bars serving micheladas and cantaritos.
Hidalgo is one of the safest states in Mexico. Travelers are unlikely to encounter serious crime. More important will be preparing for any kind of outdoor sports that you may want to explore. The state is rugged with a lot of mountains and natural backcountry areas. Caving, rock climbing, rappeling and canyoning all require special equipment and an awareness of risks. Hiring a good local guide can be good insurance if you're trying something for the first time.