Santiago de Querétaro (Querétaro for short) is a city in Mexico's central highlands, with pretty colonial streets and a pedestrianised centre is filled with museums, churches and fountains. A crucial place in history as the headquarters of the independence revolution, it has a curious mix of Spanish and local indigenous culture. This unique quality, plus the 1,400 Baroque monuments dotted throughout the city, earned it a UNESCO listing in 1996. Now, it's a university town with a young population, an upbeat bar and restaurant scene and a forgiving climate.
You can stay at a hostel in Querétaro in a fully restored 1920s building, in an old colonial house or in the city's downtown area. To make the most of the Querétaro hostel experience, pick somewhere with a common area or courtyard where you can get to know new people. Free Wi-Fi is standard in most places, while some have free breakfasts for money-saving mornings. If you plan to cycle, check out Querétaro hostels with bike rental services.
Querétaro's historic centre is where you'll find the most concentrated historic artefacts and buildings. It's also close to the city's patio bars and high-quality restaurants. For a day trip, head to Santuarios del Cerrito (13km away) to see the centuries-old El Cerrito pyramid. Or check out the 17th-century village of Bernal, around 60km away and a must for adventure-seekers. Take a climbing tour to reach the very top of Peña de Bernal, the towering monolith that overlooks the town. The lovely churches and quiet streets will be a welcome break when you come back down.
Get your bearings and take in Querétaro's colonial history by strolling the streets and spotting the many buildings, fountains and statues. In between sightseeing, take a breather in one of the lush green squares or a lively patio bar. The Querétaro Regional Museum houses collections from throughout the city's history. You can also head to Mercado La Cruz market to experience the modern culture. If you want something more active, there are plenty of hikes in the surrounding jungle.
The city centre is mostly car-free, which makes it pleasant to walk around. Although it's in a mountain region, the city is fairly flat, making it even more inviting to explore. Querétaro Intercontinental Airport is the closest to fly into. You can catch a shuttle bus service to take you into the city, 33km away.