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 like Monterrey and the idyllic wine mecca of Parras are highlights. 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.
The region is not without dangers, and has seen some of Mexico’s highest increases in drug violence over recent years. In the main border towns (particularly Nuevo ‘narco’ Laredo, but also Matamoros, Reynosa and Piedras Negras), as well as Monterrey and Torreón, the security situation is tense. Outside Torreón, Coahuila state is far safer and Parras and Cuatro Ciénegas are tranquilo (safe and relaxed).
It's important to stress that tourists are rarely affected by narco-related violence, and the vast majority of visitors experience no trouble and enjoy their time in the Northeast.