As usual, I threw myself on the mercy of the other passengers during my bus trip to Tequisquiapan. This tiny Mexican town was another of Mexico’s Pueblo Magicos – Magic Towns – reputed to have a lovely church and central square, but I’d never been in this part of Mexico before and wasn’t sure where to get off the bus. With their help, I not only got off in the right place, they told me which street to take to get to the center of town. With my directions in hand, I walked toward the central square and dealt with the next problem: finding a place to stay. I wandered down the long narrow street looking for a hostel but none was in sight so I stopped to ask the advice of a kindly looking man leaning against the entryway of a small neighborhood grocery store. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d just struck gold. He directed me one block over to Posada de Tequisquiapan, explaining that it was the most economic place in town and it had lovely grounds.
“Lovely grounds” was an understatement. Behind its simple streetfront facade, Posada de Tequisquiapan secreted lush gardens that cascaded down a hill and surrounded a swimming pool carved into the hillside. Pathways curved through expanses of thick grass, leading to tables and benches tucked into pockets of jungle vegetation. As I strolled through the tranquil gardens, the only sounds were from birds twittering and lizards cheeping. Read More »
On my quest to ferret out the most economically priced accommodations (read “cheap”) as I backpacked through Mexico, I’ve stayed in hostels, hotels, B&B’s and inns that have ranged from utterly disgusting to marginal to amazing finds. In the central Mexican town of Queretaro I discovered one of the latter. Casa San Gallito was represented as a hostel but from the moment I set foot on the property it became a home away from home.
Mixed sex doem
If you weren’t looking specifically for this hostel it would be easy to miss. The unassuming entrance is just an open doorway in a long row of flat-facade colonial buildings, with only a placard sign set in the center of the doorway to advertise what is within, but step around the sign and into a lovely open courtyard dotted with tables, chairs and potted plants. Beyond the courtyard are more common areas, including the best kitchen I have ever seen in a hostel, where breakfast (which is included in the room rate) is served every morning, and a full living room with couches, bean bag chairs, TV, library, and computer. Unlike other hostels, which often provide minuscule common areas, the living room at Casa San Gallito Hostel was large enough to accommodate Read More »
I was so enchanted with Guanajuato, Mexico, that it hardly mattered where I stayed, as long as the accommodations were affordable and located near the city center. I wanted to wander for hours around Guanajuato’s elegant gardens and charming squares, making my way from one performance to another between stops at outdoor cafes and coffee shops, and still be able to walk back to my room after dark. La Casa del Tio Hostel fit the bill perfectly.
Casa del Tio Hostel, Guanajuato, Mexico
Located in the heart of the historic center, La Casa del Tio offered two private rooms with ensuite bathrooms, as well as four dorms with shared bathrooms. Male, female, and mixed dorms were furnished with comfortable bunk beds, while a family dorm had a combination of a “matrimonial” bed and bunks, and all dorms were equipped with metal lockers for safeguarding personal belongings. The dorms surrounded separate men’s and women’s bathrooms and a common kitchen with TV, although sitting on Read More »
Normally, I travel without reservations and just find a conveniently located hostel upon arrival in a new city, but an eleven-hour bus ride from Chihuahua meant I would arrive in Zacatecas at 11 p.m. Since many hostels literally “roll down the shutters” after a certain hour, in this case I emailed Hostel Villa Colonial to reserve a room. Still, I worried whether they would be open when I arrived. I need not have worried; not only are they open 24 hours, when I arrived their front doorway was crowded with people, as was the small lobby and common kitchen. I fought my way through the crowd of revelers to the front desk and the manager greeted me warmly, explaining that he had received my email and reserved the penthouse for me. At $250 pesos (about $21 USD) per night, it was more expensive than I normally preferred, but since it was their last available room, I didn’t quarrel.
View of illuminated dome of Cathedral from the rooftop terrace at Hostal Villa Colonial
Three and a half flights of narrow stairs later the manager and I alighted on the rooftop terrace. “How do you like the view?” he asked. “Pretty impressive, no?” Indeed, it was the best view in Zacatecas. One direction looked directly at the illuminated dome of the Cathedral, another at the crest of La Bufa Hill, with its historic hilltop chapel, museum, and mausoleum lit up against a pitch black sky.
Rooftop terrace and second common kitchen
Across the terrace and just beyond a second common kitchen, we mounted a few more steps to the penthouse and stepped inside. Its double French doors were thrown wide to the sights and sounds of the city, which was crammed full of visitors for an arts festival. The room’s queen size bed and TV were luxuries for me, as was the ensuite Read More »