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Mexico Travel - Saltillo, Tampico, Pachuca
( Originally Published 1939 - Presented For Historical Purpose )
SALTILLO IS A MINING CITY WHICH IS OF INTEREST TO THE tourist if he is traveling into Mexico by automobile, for the fifty-three-mile road from Monterrey is an exceptionally beautiful one.
If you are going into Mexico by rail over the National Railways of Mexico from Laredo, your train will, of course, pass through Saltillo, but I hardly think it is worth your while to stop there.
The chief spots in Saltillo are the market and the little plaza near it and a few other sights of only minor interest. For the sake of the record, however, I should like to recommend the CATHEDRAL, the GOVERNOR'S PALACE, the fine municipal THEATER, the STATE COLLEGE, and a CASINO whose glory has departed since gambling was banned in Mexico.
By far the best time to go is October, fiesta season in Saltillo. One of the highlights of this celebration is the bullfights, exciting spectacles for native and tourist, even though the torreros are frequently amateurs from the surrounding districts.
The Hotel Sainzarizpe is, I think, the best in the city. I know less about the Hotel Coahuila, although I have heard it well recommended.
There is little to do in and around Saltillo.
The city is celebrated for its sarapes. The old ones, and by old ones I mean those over one hundred years old, are the best buys and will probably cost you from $30 to $40 and up in American money. There are not many of these left in Saltillo, the best of them having been bought by the great antique shops in Mexico City. The modern sarapes in polychrome are not so good as the antiques, but they are still remarkably good buys.
In the Saltillo shops you can find also some interesting pottery and tin masks.
There is one gravel road to Tampico leaving the PanAmerican Highway at Villa Juarez and another from the Pan-American Highway at Pujal. There is also rail communication with Mexico City.
Unless you are particularly interested in oil, or unless you have friends there, there is really no urgent reason for visiting Tampico. It is an attractive town, but essentially a modern one, and about as "Mexican" in its atmosphere as any oil town developed by Americans. American customs dominate the life of the town.
There are no outstanding sights to see here, and the chief amusement for the tourist would be the hunting of wild fowl in the various lagoons around the city. The best hotel, I believe, is the Imperial. There is a good bathing beach at Playa de Miramar.
One of the most beautiful sights along the Pan-American Highway is the view of Pachuca, from Colonia, near kilometer gg. It is best in the afternoon, when the sun shines down upon the houses and the surrounding hills.
Pachuca is a picturesque enough town, with its colonial houses and its caJA (a fortress erected in 1670 as a royal treasury), but it is essentially a modern mining town.
The environs of the town offer some interesting sights. There is a picturesque drive around a hill called HILOCHE to the great Real del Monte mine, and a little further on is the hacienda of SAN MIGUEL REGLA, now an ore refinery. On the hacienda there is a natural rock formation called the Giant's Causeway of America.
Another fine excursion from Pachuca is to EL CHICO. Here, at a point called Pena Del Cuervo, you will have a chance to see one of the most superb mountain views in all Mexico.
From Pachuca you can visit TULA, the former capital of the Toltecs. Tula can be reached, not only by bus from Pachuca, but by rail from Mexico City and, of course, by automobile. The automobile road is bad in the rainy season and not so good in the dry season, even though the busses from Pachuca do manage to get through.
The town is built almost entirely of stones taken from the ruins of old Indian temples, and some of the idols and sculpture resemble those of Chichen-Itza. Some interesting carvings have been removed from the old Toltec city to the Plaza Mayor of Tula.
If you go to Tula, you should Visit CERRO DEL TESORO to see the ruins of ancient buildings, the sculptured stone, and the sixteenth-century Franciscan fortress-church.
At present, I cannot strongly recommend a visit to this city unless you are greatly interested in archaeology, but in years to come, it is certain to be one of the great sights of Mexico. The point of beginning for many tourists to Mexico.