San Juan del Rio, Queretaro: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

san juan del rio queretaro
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San Juan del Rio, the second most important city of Queretaro is an ancient town founded on June 24, 1531, the day of San Juan Bautista.

The valley of San Juan del Rio is considered one of the most fertile in the country, as evidenced by the numerous haciendas that settled in the area between the 17th and 18th centuries of the Municipalities of Queretaro.

It has a great affluence of rivers, springs, streams, and lagoons, which, together with its fertile land, makes it an area of great harvests.

Since pre-Hispanic times, San Juan del Rio is one of the most visited towns due to its geographic location.

This municipality shares a piece of what used to be the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the old route through which minerals, merchandise, and people passed insistently during the Viceroyalty.

This road was long and along its route, it generated a wealth that can be seen in its opulent haciendas.

If you want to learn more about it, you can take a tour of the haciendas that San Juan offers to its visitors.

The tours depart from the tourist services module in the Jardín de la Familia, in downtown San Juan del Río.

Getting to San Juan del Rio, Queretaro

San Juan del Rio is approximately 80 km north of Mexico City and 40 km south of Querétaro City.

If you are traveling from Mexico City, you can reach San Juan del Rio by taking the Mexico-Querétaro Highway (also known as the Federal Highway 57D).

The journey by car takes around 1.5 hours, depending on traffic.

There are also several coach companies that offer services between Mexico City and San Juan del Río. The journey takes around 2 hours and with several departures throughout the day.

Things to do and see in San Juan del Rio Queretaro

san juan del rio queretaro
The Bridge of History

The city is full of monuments and plazas, such as the Bridge of History, the most symbolic monument.

It was built in the early 1700s because of the need for people to pass over the river.

Visit the Historic Center

The Historic Center of the city is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010, due to its importance within the Silver Route and its historical culture.

Officially the decree was issued to the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro; San Juan del Río became the second city of Querétaro to receive this distinction.

Its Parish of San Juan Bautista is a great construction appreciated by its fine design, it dates from the 1700s. Currently, this is where the Virgin of Guadalupe is venerated.

Plaza de Los Fundadores

san juan del rio queretaro
Plaza de los Fundadores
  • The Independence Square was mainly built in honor of Empress Carlota, but after the fall of the Empire, it was set to honor the Independence, hence its name
  • The Plaza de los Fundadores is famous for containing a large kiosk and a monument to the founders of San Juan del Rio
  • Another popular monument is the Temple and Ex-convent of Santo Domingo which is currently the Municipal Presidency, in this place arrived the funeral urns of Miguel Hidalgo and Ignacio Allende in 1800

Museums of San Juan del Rio Queretaro

san juan del rio queretaro
Inside the Death Museum

The Ixtachichimecapan Museum

Located in an old 18th-century mansion with several rooms where you can learn about important aspects of San Juan del Rio.

It also has a historical archive, a library, and multipurpose rooms.

The Death Museum

San Juan del Rio also houses the famous Museum of Death, which is unique in the country and is located precisely in a cemetery which is why it is so attractive, would you dare to visit it?

It was created in the mid-1800s but was abandoned.

It was inaugurated again in 1998; here you can learn about various rituals for the dead in this area before the conquest, highly recommended!

Get local handicrafts

san juan del rio queretaro
Fine Opal handicrafts

The main handicraft here is the opal work extracted directly from the mines of San Juan and the mine of Tequisquiapan. Incredible isn’t it?

These works are so appreciated that they are not only consumed by the national market but also internationally, mainly in Japan!

Gastronomy of San Juan del Rio: Exquisitely historic!

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Nopales en Penca

San Juan del Río is a region rich in nopales (cactus paddles), so you can find a great variety of dishes with these, such as rabbit in pulque and nopales in penca.

Also, tasting traditional drinks such as pulque in different flavors is a must; you can also enjoy carnitas, barbacoa, tamales, or chanclas, among other specialties of the region.

Entertainment for all ages and tastes

Throughout the city, there are tourist centers, large hotels, spas, cultural centers, parks, and many destinations for all ages, tastes, and possibilities.

There are activities for boating, horseback riding, ATVs, and many impressive places to explore.

San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, is considered the cradle of winemaking in the state, its products are highly appreciated by great national and foreign restaurants.

Tour the wineries in San Juan del Rio, Queretaro

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Local Vineyards

There are several tours, not only for tasting but also to observe the harvests or to participate in them by picking grapes or blackberries.

You can also enjoy fresh fish and seafood accompanied by delicious cheeses.

Be sure to visit this fantastic and dazzling place full of history, landscapes, traditions, and excellent wines.

I hope you enjoy your time in San Juan del Rio. Don’t forget to share your comments below.

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