Queretaro – A City of History, Prosperity, and Wonder

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Queretaro is a dynamic and modern city steeped in history and culture.  It’s well worth a visit and perhaps even more.

Queretaro or officially Santiago de Queretaro existed since 1531. While not as old as many European cities, Querétaro has fared among the best in the new world or New Spain, as it was once known.

600+ page books detailing the history, significance, and vital role Querétaro played and plays today are available to enjoy. They are not boring.

Queretaro is one of those cities in Mexico that deserves to be a destination, all its own.

First things first. Most Norte Americanos mispronounce the name of the city. For the unfamiliar, most try to say it, Care-A-Tear-Oh. In Spanish always look for the accent mark to determine the pronunciation. The correct pronunciation is keh-REH-tah-row. It’s a fun word to say quickly, and a proper pronunciation will earn you heaps of respect from locals.

The city of Queretaro is located right in the middle of Mexico. From the Laredo, TX border, it’s about 920 Km (570 Miles) due south. It’s only 67Km southeast of San Miguel de Allende. At only 220 Km to the southeast is Mexico City. Guadalajara is only 350 Km due west.

Querétaro also serves as the gateway for the Sierra Gorda mountain range and the charming Pueblos Magicos of Bernal and Xilitla. Xilitla, in particular, features Las Pozas and the Jardin de Surrealist Edward James. Wineries, Mountains, and Mining all make up the surrounding region.

 

What to Expect in Queretaro

When arriving in Querétaro, a couple of things are immediately evident. It’s a very clean city. The next thing one usually notices is that there are lush green trees everywhere. Additionally, the city is very well laid out with different sections of town taking on unique personalities. There’s the historic centro, the older colorful housing, the high-tech section, the university area, and the manufacturing district.

Splitting the town right down the middle is the ancient aqueduct.

Plaza de Independencia draws a wide group of people ©Jim Foreman

The attitude in Querétaro is vibrant and intelligent with a lot of people in their 20’s and 30’s. Families and seniors stroll in the large shaded park in the center during the day. It’s closed and gated shut at night.

Querétaro has the second-highest median income in Mexico, right behind Monterrey. Many major corporations base their Latin American operations in Querétaro including Bombardier Aerospace, Kellogg’s, Samsung Electronics, Daewoo, Colgate-Palmolive, Harman International Industries, General Electric, Michelin, Siemens Mexico, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Scania, Hitachi, Dow Chemical, Bose, and ThyssenKrupp, among others.

Crime is also ranked the lowest in all of Mexico amongst cities this size.

Plaza de Independencia at night © Jim Foreman

What To Do in Queretaro

Dining in Querétaro is a singularly wonderful experience. Head to the Plaza de Independencia in the centro to find the best restaurants. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s the heart of the culinary scene. Of course, with the high student population, there are also a large number of inexpensive cafés and restaurants to serve the budget-conscious.

If museums are your passion, you’re in luck. The Museo de Arte is housed in a spectacular example of Baroque style. Once the former monastery of San Agustin, it contains one of the best collections of colonial art. The galleries are divided by painting style.

The Museo de la Ciudad highlights the city and region’s history dating long before the New Spain Colonial era to the modern-day.

Driving in Querétaro is fairly easy, but not advisable for large vehicles. Parking is also a bit of a challenge throughout most of Querétaro. It’s best to leave your vehicle at the hotel or a carpark on the outskirts of town and use a cab or a Ridesharing app to get to places in town.

At 1,820 m (5,970 ft) elevation, Querétaro enjoys perfect mild temperatures year-round.  During the winter months, Querétaro will dip below 20ºC (68ºF) but most of the time it’s around 25ºC (77ºF).

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Whether it’s a day trip from one a nearby town, or a destination, Querétaro has something for everyone.

Querétaro represents the best of Mexico

Traveling overland in Mexico is fun and easy. All one needs is a passport, visa, TVIP, and Mexican Insurance.

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Driving along side the aqueduct. ©Jim Foreman

 

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A couple at the Plaza de Independencia ©Jim Foreman

 

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Sunset in Queretaro ©Jim Foreman

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Ensenada – Carnaval Celebration and Beer Fest

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Carnaval in Ensenada

When American and Canadian travelers think about heading to Mexico, the choices are bountiful. For example, destinations like San Miguel de Allende, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas come to mind. These are all great locations worthy of a visit.

For people living in Southern California, a weekend visit to Ensenada is closer and more accessible than Vegas. For most visitors, it’s also a lot more fun.

Ensenada is a seaside port city about 70 miles south of San Diego, CA. The city is surrounded by mountain ranges and features year-round perfect weather 350 days a year.

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Ensenada is also the gateway to the world-famous Baja California Wine Region. A serious up and comer, the Ruta del Vino begins minutes north of Ensenada.

Ensenada features a commercial airport, however, the most common method for travelers to visit is by car.

Several major events are happening in February and March, for instance there’s Carnival. Above all these events bring massive crowds to the city from all over Mexico and the world.

Beer Fest

2017’s Queen of the Carnaval Yazmín Adriana Figueroa

Carnaval

The first event is the celebration of Carnaval. In other words, this is the weeklong celebration of all things before the Catholic period of Lent.

For non-Catholics, Lent is a 40-day period where you give something up to show faith and repentance.

Carnaval in Ensenada is an amazing event celebrated with parades, fireworks, concerts, meals, parties, and more.  There’s a festive atmosphere throughout the week, and the crescendo occurs Friday through Tuesday. After that, the celebration abruptly ends at midnight. Carnival features parties throughout Mexico with sizable celebrations in Mazatlán, Cozumel, and Veracruz.

If you plan on going to Ensenada for Carnaval, hurry. For instance, all the hotels room sell out early, so secure a room quickly.

Ensenada Beer Fest

Ensenada Beer Fest

The second major event is the Ensenada Beer Fest. Coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, the city hosts one of the premier beer-related events in all of Mexico.

Therefore, over 100 cervezarias (breweries) from all over Mexico come to the beautiful museum grounds of the Teatro Cultural Riviera to celebrate the golden elixir.

Beer Fest

The event takes place on Friday and Saturday with conferences held Wednesday and Thursday to discuss making beer.

Above all, this event draws a classy crowd of mid 20’s to late 40’s Mexicans. Similarly, there are no egos or pretentious attitudes found in similar festivals in the US.

Again, hotels book up pretty quickly so make your travel arrangements rapidly.

Events in Mexico rarely have a strong social media presence. However, don’t be discouraged. The events are going to be awesome and worth the trip.

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Scenic Highway Mex 1 Heading South

Getting to Ensenada is super easy by car, you just have to cross the border at Tijuana or Tecate. From Tijuana, the Scenic Mex 1 is a spectacular seaside drive that matches some of the best parts of CA-1 at Big Sur in Central California.

Just remember to bring your passport and your Mexico Insurance policies with you on your trip.

Mexican Insurance Store Carnaval in Ensenada Carnaval in Ensenada Beer Fest Beer Fest Mexican Insurance Store Mexican Insurance Store Mexican Insurance Store Mexican Insurance StoreMexican Insurance Store

Timisoara: Group of dancers from Mexico in traditional costume present at the international folk festival “International Festival of hearts” organized by the City Hall.

Travel Insurance for Mexico

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Travel insurance for Mexico is a common topic in online discussion groups.  It’s no wonder why people ask us about health coverage quite often.

There are three different categories of travelers to Mexico. That means there are typically three different approaches to health coverage.

Vacation Traveler

Vacation travelers are those who usually fly or take a cruise ship to Mexico. Trips last one to two-weeks long. They may happen once or twice a year.

For most vacation travelers, travel insurance for Mexico is the way to go. Because it’s travel insurance, it covers a wide range of mishaps. Lost luggage, delays, missed flights, and medical emergencies, are all covered.

Many seasoned travelers choose InsureMyTrip.com to select the right amount of coverage. InsureMyTrip.com is an easy source for coverage. Several dozen companies and offerings are available there. It’s fast, easy, and reliable.

Climbing Cerro Tetakawi in San Carlos, Sonora

 

Overland Traveler

The overland traveler is someone who travels into Mexico by car, RV, or motorcycle. Visits to Mexico are typically more than a week or two. Return visits also happen fairly often.

For overlanders, several companies stand out as best bets for coverage. First on the list is WorldNomads.com. AIG Travelguard and Allianz are also top-tier options.

World Nomads is for more adventure-oriented traveling. Two grades of coverage are offered by World Nomads. The Standard plan covers common outdoor activities. For those a bit more extreme in their pursuits, there’s the Explorer plan. The Explorer plan covers most extreme activities. These include cave diving, free diving, parachuting, SCUBA, and white-water rafting. World Nomads makes it very easy to choose the right plan for your itinerary.

AIG Travel Guard is also a top-rated product. Travel Guard also covers a broad range of plans covering a multitude of activities. There are relatively few exclusions.

Allianz features a broad selection of travel insurance plans and deserves its excellent reputation.

It’s wise to compare and contrast health insurance coverage, duration, and cost. Some plans are a better value at six months.

All of these plans cover medical issues that arise during the trip. None of them will cover ongoing medical treatment or pre-existing conditions. For example, coverage includes a broken leg while hiking. If you have diabetes and require insulin, you’re on your own.

Temporary or Permanent Residents

Long-term visitors and permanent residents have several choices for health coverage. For most people, international health insurance is the way to go. It’s an excellent option for people working abroad or that travel a lot.

There are many options for worldwide health insurance. The best come from AXA PPP International and Allianz Care.

Both offerings are quite comprehensive. Since personal health insurance requirements are unique, it’s important to carefully read the details. Shop both to see which one suits you and your situation best.

Other Options

Medical expenses in Mexico are surprisingly low for top-quality care. Many Mexican doctors receive training in the USA. They offer modern and high-quality healthcare. Because of this, many visitors embrace medical tourism. This includes cosmetic surgery, dental work, or other elective procedures. People come to Mexico for excellent treatment at a fraction of the cost back home.

It’s best not to rely on traditional Mexican remedies, exclusively

Because of the low cost, many people simply elect to keep a credit card with $1000 USD on standby for coverage. For most illnesses or issues, it’s easiest to pay cash and solve it quickly and without hassle.

Exotic options also exist such as MedJet Assist.  MedJet Assist covers repatriation if you become injured or hospitalized internationally. Coverage actually begins 150 miles or more from home. They earned an excellent reputation over their many years of operation.

A final option for those with citizenship or permanent residency is Seguro Popular. Seguro Popular is Mexico’s state-sponsored healthcare system. The quality of care varies across the country. Clinics in bigger or capital cities are usually acceptable. Rural clinics or typically quite spotty. This is because of limited locations and doctors. Another reality is that rationing occurs, especially during a health crisis or emergency.

Information from Mexican Insurance Store

Mexican Insurance Store .com offers quality car, RV, and motorcycle insurance. We’re not affiliated with any of the above-recommended companies. These companies, in turn, don’t offer car insurance.

 


8 Tips For Off-Road Traveling in Mexico

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Off-Road Traveling in Mexico

8 Important Tips For Fun and Great Times when Off-Road traveling in Mexico

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Off-Pavement in Chihuahua

 

Story and Photos by Jim Foreman

More and more areas in the United States are being cut off from off-highway use by misguided politicians and an increasingly ignorant electorate. Because of that, more Americans are discovering or rediscovering Mexico as an exciting and wonderful place to get some dirt or sand under your wheels.

It makes no difference what style of adventure suits you. You may be into Jeep trails, taking out quads and dirtbikes, or bringing the fancy ATV like the popular Razor. You may just want to take your 4×4 pickup. There’s something for everyone in Mexico.

Mexican Insurance Store has authentic coverage available for just about anyone traveling in Mexico.

Let’s Get Started

Regions such as Baja California and Sonora including the north area surrounding Rocky Point are excellent places to head off-pavement.

Off-Pavement and Off-Road traveling are very alive and well in many parts of the country. It doesn’t matter if world-televised events like the Baja 1000 inspired you or it’s only a fun weekend with friends. It’s essential that one doesn’t let the spirit of fun and thrills get in front of common sense and respect for nature and others.

Follow these 8 important tips for off-road traveling in Mexico.

1. When crossing the border, make sure the vehicles are titled or registered in someone’s name that is also along for the trip. Back in the 1980’s many vehicle thieves were headed straight south without hindrance. The US and Mexican governments agreed to have random vehicles stopped when crossing south to verify the registration or title. A color photocopy or printout of the registration or title is almost always fine.

2. Know that outside of the populated areas, you probably have no mobile phone service. If using GPS, make sure everyone has the coordinates for the basecamp or hotel. Someone in the group needs to act as a leader and know where to find the nearest medical facilities.

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A spectacular unique view of Copper Canyon

 

3. Before you begin riding, make sure to stock up on water and have a general idea of the terrain. The most prominent medical issue for off-roaders is dehydration. Once you become dehydrated, something much worse is imminent. If you begin to feel it, it’s too late. Therefore, drink water or Electrolit and relax for a while, in the shade.

Pro Tip: Mexican insurance is required

4. You should only travel during daylight hours, no matter how many lumens your lightbar puts out. Also, have a plan to end the riding long before sunset so you can transition to great food, drinks, stories, and friendship. Animals, as well as illicit activity, are much more active at night.

5. If you’re unfamiliar with the area you plan to travel or explore, ask others who have been there recently. This may seem obvious, but a lot of people end up in an uncomfortable situation because they don’t heed this simple advice.

Baja California Off-Roading

The infamous Coco’s Corner in Baja California

 

6. Be careful that you are not invading someone’s private property without permission. Again, this should be obvious, but more so on the mainland, there are a lot of extensive ranches that are private property. Landowners don’t know who you are and what your intentions are. Find out and ask permission, if necessary, before trouble finds you.

Don’t forget to play it safe!

7. If you come across a situation that doesn’t seem right, turn around quickly and get out of there. Don’t be too curious and know when to get away from a potentially negative situation.

Tom enjoying the sea around Mulegé

 

8. I would travel with some beer and water on ice. Don’t drink until you are done riding for the day. Instead, keep it, along with water, for when you get stuck somewhere or need help. Few things will make someone happier to help you than an ice-cold beer in their hand.

Additional Advice

Beyond these tips is a necessary understanding. Above all, if someone gets seriously injured, it’s really up to you to get that person to medical facilities. No helicopter will be hovering overhead in 30 minutes, or ever. Therefore, having someone along with some basic first aid or Wilderness EMT training is very wise.

As far as Mexico insurance goes, If you’re insuring a truck, jeep, or street-legal motorcycle, understand what’s covered and what’s not. For example, if you’re off in the dunes and end up damaging your vehicle or someone else’s, you’re not covered. Few, if any insurers will underwrite your coverage as a result. 

Off-Road and Off Payment

Now, off-Road and off-pavement are two different things. You will discover many roads and even some federal highways that have unpaved portions. If it’s a road one can find on a map, you are covered, if you have full coverage. If your vehicle becomes disabled in a remote area or primitive road, you’ll need to find someone with a truck to help you get it into a town so your tow service included with your insurance can help you. Use the AAA standard logic. If you’re a member of AAA ask yourself, would they come here to retrieve my disabled vehicle if this were in the US? If not, you are responsible for getting it to a place they will be able to load it up and transport it.

I for one love off-roading, and the fun is more than rewarding. Do it safely and with a hefty dose of good sense.

Remember, if your vehicle is traveling on the Mexican streets, you must have proper coverage. Mexican Insurance Store has the best Mexico insurance to protect you and your vehicle in Mexico.

 

Off-Road Traveling in Mexico: 8 Important Tips For Fun and Great Times In The Dirt from Mexican Insurance Store

Great Times In The Dirt

Sometimes Pavement isn’t so bad

 

Off-Road Traveling in Mexico

A more difficult road leading into Batopilas, Chih

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – February 12, 2011: Guests of an ATV tour enjoy a rest and the coastline of the Sea of Cortez. These ATV tours are very popular with visitors and take riders from the desert terrain to the sea.



Deciding Which Mobile Phone Service Is Best In Mexico

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Deciding which Mobile service in Mexico is best to use is often complicated.

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Typically we’re asked 10-15 times a week about mobile service in Mexico.

We know it’s an important topic and one with answers that have changed, sometimes drastically, in the past few years.

Today, there are several answers, largely based on how long or how often you plan to be in Mexico.

Please follow this link to learn this important information. This article is quite BIG and important so we posted it on our Blogspot Site.

Always remember to have the best protection when driving in Mexico.  Make sure it’s from Mexican Insurance Store.


New Year Celebrations Mexico Style

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Mexican Insurance Store Holiday Guide and Information

New Year Celebrations Mexico Style

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Nochevieja or Año Nuevo in CDMX

Story by Jim Foreman

Mexico is rich with holidays, traditions, and celebrations throughout the year. While some are similar or parallel holidays celebrated in the US and Canada, many others take on a life uniquely their own in Mexico.

One thing any traveler to Mexico will realize quite quickly is that Mexicans don’t really need much of an excuse to throw a party. When there is a reason, though, Mexico is the place to celebrate, in earnest.

Last week, Mexican Insurance Store published a story detailing how Christmas is Celebrated in Mexico. Naturally, the follow-up is how the New Year Celebrations happen Mexico Style.

Like it’s North American neighbors, December 31st is a huge party in Mexico. Americans have their grandest celebration in New York City, Mexico’s biggest party happens at the Zocalo in CDMX (Mexico City).

Throughout Mexico, smaller celebrations and traditions unfold at the turning of the calendar year.

This year, consider adopting some of these warm and rich traditions.

Undergarments

This one is a fun one. Tradition dictates that you can determine the nature of your good fortune, for the coming year, based on what color underwear (calzoncillos) or panties (calzones or bragas) you choose.

One doesn’t have to be a model or young to enjoy this one.  Men and women of all ages, shapes, and sizes participate.

If you choose to wear red, you will be blessed with love in the new year. If money and happiness are more of your desire, be sure to wear yellow. Notice that it’s either love –or- money and happiness. Mexicans have a rich sense of humor and fatalism. Red and Yellow are the two dominant colors worn during New Year Celebrations.

If you’re wealthy and have found true love (yeah right…), then white chones (panties) are for you. White signifies peace and tranquility (paz y tranquilidad). Wear blue for health in the coming year.

This tradition is also widely celebrated in China and throughout the world. If only the USA and Canada would catch on to this, too.

Choose wisely

Mexican Insurance Store has the best Mexican insurance policy for driving in Mexico.

Lentil Beans

Lentil beans are flat like coins

 

A huge tradition that comes over from Europe and is widely practiced in Mexico is leaving lentil beans at your doorstep just before midnight on December 31st. This dates back to ancient Rome as the flat lentils resembled Roman coins.

Doing so will all but guarantee good luck and prosperity in the upcoming year. Alternatively or additionally, enjoy a traditional Lentil soup with chorizo. If going out, make sure to place some lentils in your pockets, bag, or purse to wield good favor all year.

Twelve Grapes in 60 Seconds

Another tradition comes across to Mexico from the Catalan region of Spain.   One must eat twelve grapes and make twelve wishes during the last 60 seconds of the exiting year.

It’s a little harder than it sounds, but successfully doing so will reward you with your wishes granted and another wonderful dose of prosperity.

Burning the Bad

Just as most people around the world make New Year resolutions or propósitos, many Mexicans are also happy to have the opportunity to rid themselves of negativity.

To do this, simply write down all the negative stuff in your life on paper. Don’t hold back. This isn’t a confessional. Just before the new year begins, light the list on fire until it is nothing but smoke and ash.

Just like that, you’re cleansed and absolved from all the rubbish in your life and are starting with a clean slate.

Given the amount of bad energy and negativity some people are capable of, make sure you’re away from any flammable structures or materials and maybe have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water on hand before you light your list up. If the bonfire gets out of control, you’ll have means to make sure the new year doesn’t start off equally bad.

Put Money In Your Shoes

Yup, just like it sounds, make sure you have some currency tucked in your shoes as you celebrate. The larger the amount of the bill(s), the better. If you’re wearing heels or open shoes, it’s OK to hold the money in your hand.

Like the result of many of the other traditions, prosperity will follow those who carry out this ritual.

 

Sweeping the House

Sweeping the house in the day leading up to the 1st is another common tradition. It doesn’t have to happen at midnight, but can be done anytime on December 31st.

Naturally, this symbolizes sweeping away the previous year’s dust, dirt, and yuck. Sprinkle a little bit more prosperity for good measure.

Celebrating with Friends

Certainly, go and celebrate with good friends, family, or both, if they all get along.   This is entirely up to you. Many people will go to their favorite bar or to the centro to ring in the New Year and enjoy the festive spirit. Count on fireworks, bells, music, and other less sensible ways of making noise and celebrating together.

Naturally, Mexico is a huge and diverse country.  There are regional traditions and variations of these acts of ushering in the holiday.

You don’t have to travel to enjoy these great traditions and ways of celebrating New Year’s Day, but it sure is more fun. Consider heading south for the holidays and making this year memorable and inspiring.   Simply grab your passports, get your Mexican Insurance Store policy and head on down.

Mexican Insurance Store Holiday Guide and Information

mexican guys cheering Viva Mexico on independence day in Mexico city

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