Saltillo is the capital of Coahuila state. Saltillo is a beautiful small colonial city in Northern Mexico. It is a traditional city with a colorful history. Interior designers know Saltillo for its famous thick, lightly glazed, earthen ceramic floor tiles, and the brightly colored shawls known as sarapes are part of the city's colorful tradition.
A city that was an important point on the 19th-century Camino Real, yet a city with a diverse modern manufacturing economy. Today, Saltillo is a government center, a college town, and a manufacturing city with big factories outside the city limits producing chemicals, metals, auto parts, and trucks.
Plane, car, or bus are your basic options.
- 1 Saltillo International Airport (SLW IATA Plan de Guadalupe International Airport) (on the north side of the city, about 10 minutes from downtown). It is served by a regional carriers to Monterrey and Mexico City. There is one daily flight from the U.S.: a Continental Express flight from Houston, however, convenient flight schedules are available to nearby Monterrey.
Saltillo is one hour west of Monterrey via Mexico Highway 40.
Many bus lines serve Saltillo, including Omnibus de Mexico, Transportes del Norte, Turistar, Futura (Estrella Blanca) and Coahuilenses (Grupo Senda). Trans-border buses to the U.S. are also available from Saltillo.
From Monterrey (either the central bus station or the airport) there are hourly buses going to Saltillo, run by Coahuilenses. Also, these make two stops inside the city before arriving to the bus terminal. For most hotels, you'll want to drop off at "Hospital del Niño" (first stop), in the northern part of the city, and take a taxi there. In this same spot, across the avenue, you can take a bus back directly to the airport.
Downtown Saltillo is best explored using the TranVia trolley system. For M$20 (pesos), you can get on and off 4 times. TranVia does not operate on Mondays.
- 1 Coahuila State House (Palacio de Gobierno de Saltillo). Attractive colonial era state house featuring bright open courtyards and a series of murals depicting Coahuila history, painted by Salvador Tarazona.
- 2 Saltillo Cathedral, Nicolás Bravo Norte 125, ☏ . Stunning cathedral built in the mid 18th century, spectacular churrigueresque facade, 6-inch thick doors of carved mahogany and cedar featuring St. Paul and St. Peter, stunning silver-plated altar.
- 3 Museum of the Desert (Museo del Desierto), Carlos Abedrop Dávila 3745, ☏ . Large, modern museum organized as a series of pavilions, each exploring a particular aspect of desert life. The focus is on the enormous Chihuahua desert, and the museum's centerpiece is an enormous T-Rex skeleton, excavated in the nearby desert. Great for kids!
- 4 Museum of Birds of Mexico (Museo de las Aves de México), Miguel Hidalgo Y Costilla Norte 151, ☏ . Large, modern museum showcasing more than 2,000 stuffed and mounted birds, representing nearly every species found in Mexico.
- 5 Parque Alameda Zaragoza. Tranquil city park featuring towering cedars and long walkways through an immaculately landscaped garden. Playgrounds for kids, benches for strolling lovers on a Sunday afternoon.
- 6 Vito Alessio Cultural Center (Centro Cultural Vito Alessio Robles), Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Nte. 2, ☏ . Relatively small museum, located a block from the cathedral at the corner of Hidalgo and Aldama. Not a lot to see, but admission is free and it is the site of a fascinating series of murals depicting the history of Coahuila, and life of Vito Alessio, a revolution-era general born in the local area.
- Villa Bonita. A small gated community with family sized homes, the complex also includes a park.
- Saraperos de Saltillo, are the local Mexican League baseball team. Between March and August, catch a game at the Parque Francisco Madero.
- Galerias Saltillo, Blvd. Nazario Ortiz Garza #2345 Col. Tanque de Peña (Just a couple of blocks off 40), ☏ . 11:00-21:00. This is the local upscale shopping mall. It features several popular chain stores and also a number of small boutiques. The prices are comparable to the United States (no good deals here), but the products are interesting. Many things are made in Mexico. There is good access to ATMs here. Parking costs M$5 for two hours.
Some unique regional dishes that are specialties of Saltillo include:
- Pan de pulque - a delightfully sweet airy bread that owes its texture to the use of fermented agave juice in its batter. Widely available throughout the city, you can also grab a loaf to go from the shops across the street from the bus station.
- Los pioneros - The best place to go for tacos.
- Bahía Barcelona, Blvd. Los Fundadores Km. 17 Arteaga, ☏ . Spanish restaurant.
- El Mesón Principal, Blvd Venustiano Carranza y Ave. Egipto, ☏ . Traditional Northern Mexico cooking, as the racks of kid goat slow-roasting over hot coals prove beyond any doubt.
- Hong Kong Restaurant, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza No. 3801, ☏ . Chinese.
- Nikkori, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza 2665-7, ☏ . Japanese cuisine.
- Terrazo Romana, Purcell across from Alameda Zaragoza, ☏ . Wood-fired pizza is the star of this casual restaurant.
- Galpao du Brasil, 25204 Saltillo ☏ . Brazilian meat, waiters walk around with skewers of meat.
- La Casa del Caballo, ☏ . Boulevard Venustiano Carranza S/N. Col. Saltillo Centro. Saltillo Coah. Expect big slabs of meat.
- Boss, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza 2665-7.
- Carlos’n Charlie’s, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza No. 3070, ☏ .
- Faisanes, Carretera Los González between Blvd. Colosio y Moctezuma, ☏ .
- Joy Bar, Blvd. Cuahutémoc, Col. Los Pinos, ☏ . Discotech.
- El Olmo Disco Bar, Blvd. Valdés Sánchez, Col. Jardines del Valle, ☏ .
- 1 Polanquito, Calle Allende Sur 225, ☏ . Push back a Modelo with some appetizers.
- 1 Holiday Inn Eurotel, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza 4100, ☏ . Pleasant moderate hotel on outskirts of Saltillo. Off-street parking makes it a good bet for motorists. TranVia trolley stop.
- Art.net & Cibercafé, Xicotencatl 182 Sur - Centro, ☏ . Around M$25 per hour for internet use. 10:00-03:00. ,
Like the rest of Northern Mexico, Saltillo is prone to occasional violence. Avoid being out alone at night, a good guideline is to avoid bars, casinos, and bad neighborhoods, and be in by dark. Travel with another person when possible, even in the daytime. Don't drive unless you are accustomed to Mexican driving and roads.
- Saltillo international church. A nondenominational Christian church. The pastor and his family are American, from Oklahoma. The messages are preached in English with Spanish translation.
- Bosques de Monterreal — a mountain recreation lodge with horseback riding, golf, tennis, ATV tours, and even downhill alpine skiing on an artificial surface!