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Puente de la Historia (History Bridge)

San Juan del Rio is a mid-size city in the southern part of Querétaro (state). It is the oldest colonial city in the state, positioned at a strategic river crossing that was part of the silver mining route, Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The city is a ̪ UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been designated by the Mexican government as a Pueblo Magico in recognition of its touristic value.



In pre-hispanic times, southern Queretaro was the domain of the Otomi people. The town of San Juan del Rio was established in 1531. The Franciscans soon built the first church, and in 1561, a bridge was built over the San Juan River, enabling the town's reputation as an important stop along the route between Mexico City and the northern interior lands. The bridge was rebuilt and expanded in 1621 and again in 1722. You can cross that bridge today by crossing the river on Avenida Benito Juarez.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the city expanded and a number of important churches, convents, schools, and hospitals were established (many by the Franciscans).

Get in

Map of San Juan del Rio

By bus


A Transportes Amealcenses bus leaves the Terminal de Autobuses Queretaro every 15 minutes for San Juan del Rio. The trip takes 40-50 minutes and costs M$80.

Get around


Most of the tourist sites, hotels, shops, and restaurants are located in the colonial center of the city. This is an area of narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets with bright, wide plazas. It is easily explored by walking. The modern city is fairly large and is best explored by taxi or combis.


Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • History Bridge - Av. Benito Juárez Pte. This was a busy place for colonial era commerce because the geography of the region made it the only practical place to cross the San Juan River and gain access to the Camino Real (Royal Road). That's how it came to be called "Garganta de Tierra Dentro" (throat of the interior). The town of San Juan del Rio became a de facto transportation hub and an important customs checkpoint for the government.
  • Hacienda la Llave (about 8 km from downtown). Palatial home built by Juan Jaramillo with manicured gardens and granite walls.
  • Museum of Death (Museo de la Muerte) 2 Abril No.42, phoneː +52 427 272 0884, open 10ː00 - 19ː00. Set in the Cemetery de la Santa Veracruz. Exhibits examine the human fascination with death and the act of dying. Discover cultural differences between how the indigenous peoples and the Spaniards viewed death. Includes exhibits about funeral rituals and customs like Day of the Dead or concepts like hell and purgatory. Morbidly fascinatingǃ

Historic churches

  • Santuario Diocesano de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Plaza Independencia, Centro. Parish church dedicated to Mexico's patron saint. The light orange stucco neoclassical style church dates to 1689 with construction completed by 1729.
  • Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, Plaza Independencia, Centro. Parish church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the church as also founded in 1689 with construction proceeding over the following decades, finally being completed in 1731. Images of St. John the Baptist dominate the interior's collection of colonial era ecclesiastic art.
  • Templo del Señor del Sacromonte, Av. Juárez Oriente. This early 19th century church is believed to house an artifact that can invoke miracles, making it a popular destination for believers and the afflicated. The church was completed in 1831 and is known for its clock tower.
  • Templo y Exconvento de Santo Domingo, Av. Juarez y Zaragoza. The convent was originally established as a missionary to provide hospital services to the local community, an integral part of the healing process involved converting the unfaithful to Christianity.


  • City Fair - June 24, this is a combined celebration of the city's founding and the feast day for the patron saint, John the Baptist (San Juan Bautisto)



The Bajio is often referred to as a silver mining region, but minerals of all sorts are mined in the hills throughout the region. San Juan del Río is particularly regarded for its opals, semiprecious stones with myriad colors that constantly change with the ambient light. Local jewelers, such as the Cabrera family, specialize in opal jewelry which is most often sold for export.

Other regional crafts include frayed edge napkins and elaborately embroidered folders. Quarry tile is also produced in this part of Queretaro.


  • 1 La Nueva Ola, Calle Gral. Mariano Abasolo 3, Centro, +52 4272723777. 08ː00 - 18ː00. Specializes in seafood. Whole fried fish, or mojo ajo, a la diabla. Mariscos. M$150.
  • 2 Pozoleria 5 Estrellas, Emiliano Zapata 1, Centro, +52 4271122479. 15ː30 - 21ː00. Pozole as you like itː red, white, or green.




  • 1 Hotel Layseca, Av. Benito Juárez Ote. 9, Centro, +52 4272720110. Check-in: 15ː00, check-out: 12ː00. Charming traditional colonial style hotel, central location. M̩$950.
  • 2 Hotel Portal de Reyes, Av. Benito Juárez Pte. 9, Centro, +52 4272725683. Check-in: 15ː00, check-out: 12ː00. Clean, comfortable, centrally located hotel. Pleasant courtyard with swimming pool. Limited parking.
  • 3 Posada Flores, 2 de Abril 9, Centro, +52 4272725967. Check-in: 15ː00, check-out: 12ː00. Barebones economy hotel with a good central location.

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This city travel guide to San Juan del Rio 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.