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Introducing Northeast Mexico

The northeast gets almost totally shunned by tourists these days, which is a mistake. Close to the US, the foreign visitors are mostly North Americans heading south but the appealing towns and cities here make convenient journey-breakers, and when you do stop, you’ll be very glad you did. Colonial centers such as Saltillo; modern, culturally vibrant megalopolises such as Monterrey; and the idyllic wine mecca of Parras make this region a pretty special place to sample. The northeast also does nature like nowhere else. There’s the chance to explore unique desert ecosystems at Cuatro Ciénegas, and to hike or watch wildlife in desert scrub or cloud forest at the Reserva de la Biosfera El Cielo, one of Mexico’s most biologically diverse corners.

Being close to the US border, the region is not without dangers, and has seen some of Mexico’s highest increases in drug violence over the last two years. Monterrey, the border towns (particularly Nuevo ‘narco’ Laredo), northern Tamaulipas state and Torreón have especially had problems. Outside of Torreón, however, Coahuila state is safer, and Saltillo, Parras and Cuatro Ciénegas are tranquilo (safe and relaxed).