Queretaro Los Arcos

Things to do in Queretaro: Walking Tour

In City Guides, Mexico by Erik5 Comments

Queretaro is a UNESCO World Heritage City in Mexico, that is perfect for exploring on foot – join us on a walking tour as we make stops at all the top things to do in Queretaro!

Queretaro is an underrated destination in Mexico forever under the shadow of the magical San Miguel de Allende nearby.

Similar to the Procesion del Silencio, we’re going to take you on a walking tour of Queretaro.

Thankfully, we won’t be carrying a cross and dragging a chain around our ankle in the process…

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Things to do in Queretaro

  • #1. Convento de la Santa Cruz

We start our tour at Convento de la Santa Cruz (10 pesos / $0.55 suggested donation), which is on the east side of central Queretaro.

Queretaro Convento de la Santa Cruz

Convento de la Santa Cruz

The convent is popular among Mexicans, because a tree within the compound produces thorns in the shape of crosses.

Those intrigued may purchase samples outside for a few pesos.

Convento de la Santa Cruz Thorn Crosses

The Mysterious Thorn Crosses

Apparently, the sacred tree began growing this way after a weary friar planted his walking stick in the Arbol de la Cruz.

Convento de la Santa Cruz Arbol de la Cruz

Arbol de la Cruz

However, one man’s cross is another man’s sword.

Emperor Maximilian, younger brother of Austrian emperor Francis Joseph, housed his headquarters in the convent during the siege of Queretaro.

Upon his surrender, the tables were turned and he was jailed at the convent until he was shot by the firing squad.

Queretaro Convento de la Santa Cruz Fernando Maximilliano Jose Plaque

Fernando Maximilliano Jose Plaque

The Convento de la Santa Cruz is also noteworthy for orchestrating the Procesion del Silencio in Queretaro, and celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.

The festival is marked by robed and hooded faithful carrying log crosses and dragging chains attached to their ankle. Each group is led by an anonymous cluster carrying their patron saint.

The Procesion del Silencio takes place the evening of Good Friday and is meant to mourn the passing of Christ, and pay homage to Our Lady of Solitude.

Several members may beat drums, but no participant makes a sound during their march through Queretaro.

Convento de la Santa Cruz Procesion del Silencio

Procesion del Silencio

The most impressive aspect is the sheer number of participants.

Departing from the Convento de la Santa Cruz, it took 90 minutes for all the groups to commence.

Included were men of all ages, adolescents, and even young boys just entering school!

Convento de la Santa Cruz Procesion del Silencio Groups

90 Minutes of Torture

Veiled women also participated by carrying candles, and were led by a group carrying their own patron saint.

The Procesion del Silencio is definitely one of the top things to do in Queretaro if you happen to be here around Semana Santa (Easter).

We recommend Lonely Planet’s Mexico guidebook to help you plan your trip.

Convento de la Santa Cruz Procesion del Silencio Veiled Women

Women of the Veil

  • #2. Aqueduct and Lookout

Just to the east of the Convento de la Santa Cruz is the emblem of Queretaro, Los Arcos.

The aqueduct runs approximately 1.25 kilometers down Zaragoza Avenue, and contains dozens of sandstone arches.

Queretaro Los Arcos Aqueduct

Los Arcos

An encompassing lookout takes in the entire length of the aqueduct, and is adjacent to the Mausoleo de la Corregidora.

Mausoleo de la Corregidora

Mausoleo de la Corregidora

  • #3. Plaza de Armas

Downtown Queretaro is filled with parks and plazas.

Upon returning from Los Arcos, you will first encounter Plaza de Armas.

It is bordered on the north by the Palacio de Gobierno, and otherwise lined by restaurants.

Queretaro Palacio de Gobierno

The center is marked by a statue cum fountain with tree-lined pathways nearby.

Queretaro Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

  • #4. Templo de San Francisco and Around

It is almost impossible not to see Templo de San Francisco from Plaza de Armas.

The ornate church’s dome towers above the surrounding landscape.

Outside Templo de San Francisco is a statue of an Aztec musician.

Queretaro Templo de San Francisco

Templo de San Francisco

The front façade of the church is not aesthetically appealing, but the interior is elaborate.

Queretaro Templo de San Francisco Interior

Templo de San Francisco Interior

The Museo Regional is next door, and provides a history of Queretaro throughout all the different phases.

This includes the role Queretaro played in the fight for Independence.

Across the street is Jardin Zenea, which sometimes has a plethora of food vendors.

Queretaro Jardin Zenea

Jardin Zenea

  • #5. Plaza de la Corregidora and Around

A block north is the Plaza de la Corredgidora featuring the namesake monument and her flame of freedom.

If you are lucky, you will get to see some life-size Mexican rag dolls that are scattered around Queretaro where they originate from.

Mexican Rag Dolls in Queretaro

Mexican Rag Dolls in Queretaro

Around the corner from the statue is the Templo de San Antonio.

Queretaro Templo de San Antonio

Templo de San Antonio

In the other direction, the Teatro de la Republica is where the Mexican constitution was signed.

Queretaro Teatro de la Republica

Teatro de la Republica

  • #6. Jardin Guerrero and Around

Heading west down Hidalgo, you will come across the Museo de la Ciudad.

History buffs will be disappointed as this museum is really an art gallery.

The exhibit depicting death and the desert was the most intriguing.

Queretaro Museo de la Ciudad Exhibit

Museo de la Ciudad Exhibit

The Templo de Santa Clara towers over the square sculpted trees that line Jardin Guerrero.

Queretaro Jardin Guerrero

Jardin Guerrero

Directly in front of the church is Neptune’s Fountain.

Templo de Santa Clara and Neptune's Fountain

Templo de Santa Clara and Neptune’s Fountain

One block south is the Museo de Arte de Queretaro.

The impressive building was previously a monastery, and now holds European religious art among other genres.

Museo de Arte de Queretaro

Museo de Arte de Queretaro

Queretaro Food

One variation of Mexican food that is worth trying is called a Guajolotes Torta (25 pesos / $1.35).

It is a deep fried chili torta filled with potatoes and shredded poultry.

Jardin Zenea Guajolotes Torta

Guajolotes Torta

How to get to & from Queretaro

There are a number of attractions in Queretaro so it’s just as well that it links well with regional tourist destinations.

The most popular are:

  • Guanajuato (225 pesos / $12.00, 3 hours, Primera Plus)
  • San Miguel de Allende (68 pesos / $3.60, 90 minutes, Flecha Amarilla)
  • Xilitla (340 pesos / $18.10, 7 hours, Flecha Amarilla).

To get off the beaten track, you can also catch a bus from Queretaro to Jalpan de Serra in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve.

Bernal (44 pesos / $2.35, 1 hour, Flecha Amarilla) is an excellent day trip to see the world’s 10th biggest monolith, and largest in Mexico.

Local buses cost 7.8 pesos.

*** The Final Word – There are interesting things to see in Queretaro but it isn’t as impressive as Guanajuato or Zacatecas so it can be skipped ***

Have you seen the Procesion del Silencio in Queretaro or anywhere else?

5 Shovels-2

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link & purchase something that we’ve recommended, at no extra cost to you.

Visited in March 2016

Comments

  1. You provided great descriptions of a very interesting town with lots of history. You certainly seem to be in the right place at the right time for various events. The read was enjoyable and the pictures were beautiful.

  2. You appear to be in the different places at exactly the right moment to catch the special events.

  3. That’s the benefit of long term travel. You can adjust your schedule as needed.

  4. Greetings! I’m leaving for a solo trip to Queretaro, San Miguel, & Guanajuato in less than two weeks. I’ll be dividing 7 days among those 3 destinations (plus two extra days for traveling to and from the US). I’ve been looking for an itinerary such as this, and I’m glad I came across this post! I kind of feel like I can see everything I want to see in Queretaro (which was also in your itinerary) in a day. Is that doable or overly ambitious of me? Thank you for your feedback and if you feel inclined to enlighten me with any other tips for my trip, it would be greatly appreciated! 😀

    1. Hi Kristin, I think your itinerary is totally doable. There’s not a lot to see & do in each of those cities, the best thing is just wandering around. We ourselves only spent a day (or less!) in each so you have plenty of time. San Miguel is also quite small. We liked Guanajuato the most so we’d recommend spending the most time there – have a great trip, let us know how it goes!

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