- For other places with the same name, see Toluca (disambiguation).
Toluca (also Toluca de Lerdo) was a pre-Columbian cultural center and is now the capital of Mexico State. The city has several tourist attractions that are due to its great cultural and artistic heritage, some of the attractions are its traditional portals, the Cosmovitral botanical garden, the annual Alfeñique Fair on the occasion of the Day of the Dead festival and the International Festival of Toluca Cinema.
Toluca is one of the most industrialized and prosperous cities in Mexico, a city of numerous factories, hospitals, universities, athletic events, and cultural venues. Toluca is due west of Mexico City, at 2,6600 m (8,700 feet) above sea level. After coming from Mexico City, you will be impressed with the clean air, but may get altitude sickness your first day there, so take it easy. Also, bring warm clothing. Nights are always cold, and there may be severe hail any time of year.
- 1 Toluca International Airport (TLC IATA Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport). serving many private jets, some U.S. airlines and several Mexican airlines (e.g., Interjet).
International airport in Mexico City is another alternative.
The old intercity rail network was shut down in 1997 in a sign of the privatization mania of the time. A new commuter/intercity rail service is under construction with a planned opening date (as of 2020) some time 2022.
The highway between Mexico City and Toluca is one of the most modern in the country (and an expensive toll road).
Toluca has one of the largest bus terminals in the country. From Mexico City you can get several lines to Toluca at the western terminal called Observatorio (at the end of the east-west subway line). Flecha Roja has regular service to the northern terminal, Terminal Norte, as well. Buses for Toluca depart every few minutes. Some lines (e.g., Caminante) have on board movies. From the north side of Mexico City, there is a terminal at Cuatro Caminos also with buses to Toluca. Other buses run from the suburb of Naucalpan to Toluca.
From the main Toluca terminal you can go to any points west (e.g., Michoacan), south (Ixtapan de la Sal), or north (e.g., Queretaro).
Toluca also has another station on Fidel Velazquez just for Caminante busses that have hourly service to the Mexico City airport.
Toluca has the best taxi system in the world: over 5,000 taxis for a city of about half a million. Just walk to any major street and wave at a passing taxi. The city is fairly compact, so fares are pretty cheap: M$30 will take you to most places.
The place to be is the Portales downtown, then you are in walking distance of many interesting parks, gardens, museums, churches, theatres, stores, restaurants, hotels and government offices.
Another interesting location not far from Wal-Mart would be Parque Urawa and the library.
On the southwest corner of town by ITESM (Tec de Monterrey) is the Centro Cultural Mexiquense with an anthropology museum, folk arts museum, modern arts museum, and library.
UAEM (state university) related events and centers and located all over the city, though most are located in the Ciudad Universitaria and stadium on the west side.
- 1 Cosmovitral, Av. Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, ☏ . Sa Su Tu-Th 10ː00-17ː40, closed M F. A botanical garden enclosed in a Art Noveau-type structure of stained glass. It feels rather celestial.
- 2 Toluca Cathedral (Catedral de San José de Nazaret), Av. Independencia 5 Ote. 303, ☏ . Would you ever have guessed that Toluca has a cathedral too? This one is Neoclassical in style and was started in 1867 but not finished until the mid-20th century. If you look, you can see images of St John, St Thomas, St Peter, and St James on the front. They are in good company.
- 3 Temple of Santa Veracruz, Portal 20 de Noviembre 113, ☏ . Another downtown Toluca landmark.
- 4 Museo de Bellas Artes de Toluca, Santos Degollado 102, ☏ . Tu-Sa 09:00-18:00. This building was formerly a convent and has a lot of ancient Egyptian exhibits and paintings from colonial to modern times. free.
- 5 Watercolor Museum, Melchor Ocampo 105, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10ː00-18ː00, Su 10ː00-15ː00. A peculiar museum dedicated to works in watercolor. free on Su.
- 6 Centro Cultural Mexiquense, Jesús Reyes Heroles 302 (next to ITESM University and Parque Alameda), ☏ . Tu-Su 10ː00-18ː00, closed M. A former Franciscan monastery that now houses the Museum of Anthropology and History, Museum of Popular Cultures (handicrafts, artisanal works), and Museum of Modern Art. Adjacent is the Cineteca Mexiquense where art films are shown.
- 7 Virreynal Museum Zinacantepec, Av. 16 de Septiembre, San Miguel (west of Toluca in neighboring community of San Miguel), ☏ . Monastical museum in an former convent.
- 8 Museo de Historia Universitaria José María Morelos y Pavón UAEM (located in Edificio de Rectoría UAEMEX), ☏ . M-F 10ː00-17ː30. A small university history museum.
- 9 Museo Torres Bicentenario, Av. José María Morelos Ote, ☏ . A small art museum and bookstore that stands out with two twisting towers rising above it.
Avoid coming to Toluca on Fridays. Some guide books talk about a "quaint Indian market" but it is a flea market that clogs many streets. Also, when the afternoon comes, many Mexico City families come through Toluca to get into the countryside.
- 1 Zacango Ecological Park, Metepec Km 7, ☏ . Daily 10ː00-17ː00. Here is your standard zoo with representative animals like pachyderms and the cats. Plus you'll find a lake to paddle around and a chance to have pizza by the rhinos, and try out a zipline and train.
- 2 Metropolitano Bicentenario Park, Av. Paseo Tollocan, ☏ . Daily 07ː00-15ː00. This wooded park offers a place for jogging or just experiencing some tranquility around one of the water basins with fountains.
- 3 Parque Alameda 2000. Another greenspace with "lakes", jogging trails, and soccer fields.
- 4 Parque Ambiental Bicentenario. Another park with woods and a lake, in case you are hankering for urban outdoor recreation.
- 5 Estatal Sierra Morelos Park, De La Barrera, La Teresona. Daily 07ː00-17ː00. State park type of place in the hills north of Toluca, where more rugged hiking awaits.
The state university (UAEM) is here with several campuses for medicine, dentistry, nursing, chemistry, humanities, engineering, business, public administration, economics, behavioral science, and neuroscience. The most prestigious private university is a Tec de Monterrey campus (ITESM). There are dozens of newer private universities, some for-profit.
This is the city to come to for employment in factories, the state government, hospitals, construction, and a growing service economy.
Casa de las Artesanias. On the corner of Tollocan and Urawa Av. There you can get many nice hand made typical things.
- 1 Portal Central, Av. 5 de Febrero 111 (in the center of the Portales de Toluca, a sort of historic mercado building). M-Th 08ː00-20ː00, F-Sa 08ː00-23ː00, Su 08ː00-18ː00. Artsy dining place, yet somehow economical.
- 1 Fiesta Inn Toluca Centro, Ignacio Allende 124, ☏ . Restaurant and pool and hard to beat location. M$695.
- 2 Suites Aldama, Juan Aldama 211, ☏ . Suites with wifi and kitchenettes and a shared terrace. The best part is probably the downtown presence though. M$556.
- 3 Fiesta Inn Toluca Tollocan, Paseo Tollocan Oriente esq, Francisco I Madero Sur 1132 (east of downtown along Route 15), ☏ . The other Fiesta property in Toluca, where you can enjoy an indoor pool, gym, restaurant with breakfast buffet, wifi, and a/c. M$834.
This is one of the safer cities in Mexico, in terms of sanitation, traffic, and crime. The local PAN mayor ran on a platform of 3 minutes response time for the police.
Nevertheless, take extreme caution in the following neighborhoods (even during daytime):
- El Seminario
- La Unión
- El Cóporo
- Santa Barbara
- La Teresona
- San Miguel Apinahuizco
- Nueva Oxtotitlán
- Moderna de la Cruz
- Las Margaritas
- Las Palomas
If you find Toluca too calm, take the hour bus ride to Mexico City.
If you find Toluca too traditionally Mexican, just taxi to the southeastern suburb of Metepec, and you will think you are in southern California with malls, multiplexes, big box stores, and luxury car dealerships.
If you find Toluca too stressful and modern, take a taxi or bus southwest, past the big prison, to Almoloya de Juarez. Walk around the sleepy town square and look at the church built on the grotto of water (ojo de agua). Look for the magic line in the water.
You can get out of Toluca for a daytrip to the volcano (El Nevado de Toluca) but that might trigger altitude sickness in some, or the Zacango Zoo, or the spas at Ixtapan de la Sal, or Valle de Bravo.
|Routes through Toluca|
|Morelia ← Ciudad Hidalgo ←||W E||→ San Mateo Atenco → Mexico City|