Villa de Santiago
Cobblestone streets, craft markets, and baroque buildings dominate Villa de Santiago, a colonial "magic town" that also serves as the gateway to some of Nuevo León’s top ecotourism destinations. Dine on typical cuisine at the local restaurants before venturing to the nearby Horsetail Falls, La Boca Dam, and the Matacanes Canyon.
Thanks to its proximity to Monterrey, Villa de Santiago—often known simply as Santiago—is an easy day trip from the city center. Highlights of the town include the Santiago Apostol Church and Santiago History Museum, but most visitors combine a visit to Santiago with hikes to the Horsetail Falls (Cascada Cola de Caballo), catamaran rides on La Boca Dam, and jumps from one of the highest bungee platforms in Mexico. You should also make time to stop in the artisan village of Los Cavazos on your way to Villa de Santiago.
Things to Know Before You Go
Take cash to Villa de Santiago as many places don’t accept card payments.
You can snap some impressive photos of the Cerro de la Silla mountains en route to Villa de Santiago.
Wear sensible shoes if you plan on hiking to nearby attractions such as the Horsetail Falls, as the ground can be muddy.
Cobbled streets and uneven sidewalks mean Villa de Santiago isn’t fully wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Villa de Santiago is situated just 22 miles (36 kilometers) away from Monterrey. Most travelers find it easiest to arrive by private vehicle, as public transit options can be confusing, especially for non-Spanish speakers. Opt for a rideshare to save the hassle of renting a car or look for an excursion which includes round-trip transportation.
When to Get There
Spring and fall are the best times to visit Villa de Santiago, thanks to Monterrey’s oppressively hot summers and cool winters. Stop by midweek for a quieter experience, as the town’s popularity among locals and travelers alike means it gets incredibly busy on weekends and holidays. Alternatively, plan your trip to coincide with late October’s Cielo Mágico hot air balloon festival.
Ecotourism Activities in Santiago
The municipality of Santiago—which includes the town of Villa de Santiago—has numerous ecotourism options for adventurous travelers. Go canyoning in Matacanes, admire the 230-foot-high (70-meter-high) Chipitin Waterfall, try your hand at paragliding in the Sierra Madre, or whiz down a zipline in the Cola de Caballo National Park.
- Things to do in South Padre Island
- Things to do in San Antonio
- Things to do in Houston
- Things to do in Galveston
- Things to do in Mexico City
- Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
- Things to do in Taxco
- Things to do in Dallas
- Things to do in Acapulco
- Things to do in San Jose del Cabo
- Things to do in Texas
- Things to do in Jalisco
- Things to do in Central Mexico
- Things to do in Guerrero
- Monterrey City Hall (Palacio Municipal)
- State Museum of Popular Cultures (Museo Estatal de Culturas Populares)
- Parque La Huasteca (La Huasteca Canyon Park)
- Chipinque Ecological Park (Parque Ecológico Chipinque)
- Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery (Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma)
- Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
- Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame (Salón de la Fama)
- Mirador del Obispado (Bishop’s Lookout)
- Glass Museum (Museo del Vidrio)
- Calle Morelos
- St. Lucia Riverwalk (Paseo Santa Lucia)
- Fundidora Park
- Barrio Antiguo (Old Town)
- Macroplaza (La Gran Plaza)
- Sesamo Park Plaza (Parque Plaza Sesamo)