Villa De Santiago: A Magical Town in Nuevo Leon, Mexico
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Villa De Santiago is a beautiful and peaceful destination in Mexico; it was named the magical town by Visit Mexico. With colorful houses, water reservoirs, and unparalleled natural beauty, this place makes a special day trip for visitors to Monterrey.
Most places in Villa De Santiago lack crowds and offer an old taste of Mexico. This place is locals’ favorite, especially for those living in Monterrey. If you plan on visiting Ville De Santiago, here is what you need to know.
How to get to Villa De Santiago from Monterrey
Ville De Santiago is in the central part of Nuevo Leon and is 33 kilometers from Monterrey. There are several tour companies running day trips to Villa De Santiago. I chose to visit this place with Grupo Senda, which makes return trips on the weekends.
You can find Grupo Senda on the Alameda Mariano Escobedo, a few blocks from the subway station Alameda. Upon exiting the subway station, you will see the main square where representatives give you directions on where the van is. The van leaves between 8 to 10 am whenever they have a minimum of 10 people.
The cost of the trip is $220 pesos with the entrance fee to Cola De Caballo included. The van takes you to the main square of Villa de Santiago, the waterfalls, and stops for lunch.
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Main Plaza of Villa De Santiago
Plaza Ocampo is the perfect place to appreciate the colonial and colorful establishment, enjoy freshly-made ice-cream, handcrafts, and local food. There are lots to discover just by strolling on the hilly and quaint streets.
I arrived in the late morning while the town was still in the weekend mode with a few shops and restaurants open, and a wooden kiosk offering services and guides to tourists. Although I went on a Sunday, there were not many people. You can easily enjoy exploring the town at your own pace and visit the local market without the disruption of the others.
A prominent site at the Plaza Ocampo is the Santiago Apostol Parish Church, where people started their morning prayer when I entered. This church has two large towers of unequal size and height and is a great spot for a panoramic view of the Villa De Santiago. At the entrance of the church, you can see the main square and the Presa de la Boca with mountains in the backdrop.
I also saw a street full of local vendors showcasing their arts and crafts, hand-made jewelry, and freshly-made drinks. A vendor drew my attention by selling a bottle of 750ml fruit juice for 60 pesos. I brought one back to my hotel and drank it all for two dinners. Moreover, you can find a handful of budget-friendly restaurants and cafes around Plaza Ocampo.
Cascada Cola de Caballo (waterfall)
Cola De Caballo, also known as the horsetail falls, is a popular attraction with lots of lush greenery and streams around, making it an incredibly peaceful and wonderful escape from the hustling Monterrey.
The waterfall is 25 meters in height and is made of a narrow stream of water that keeps running off the rocks into the pool. If you stand close to the waterfall, you can see the start of the waterfall by looking up while getting splashed by the water coming your way. If you look around, you will see plenty of flora.
Other things to do around the waterfalls are horse-drawn carriage riding, ziplining, and picnicking. I did not do any of these as I did not have enough time, but I did see people ziplining, which was really fun and thrilling. Lots of local families take kids there for barbeques and picnics. There are shallow creeks and stream on the way to the waterfalls where children dip themselves for fun.
Cola De Caballo stayed quiet during the weekday and a few years ago it was the locals’ secret. For visitors, it was a delightful treat to spend a few hours in such a beautiful and tranquil natural setting without commercialization and crowds.
Nowadays, this waterfall is busy but still a favorite place for locals. Weekends can get crowded with lots of people looking for an escape from the city. There was a line up on the observation platform where lots of people kept taking pictures. Numerous vendors were scattered around the pathways selling drinks, food, and wares. I even saw two souvenir shops next to the waterfalls, which was incongruent to the natural setting.
Other things to do in Villa De Santiago
Villa De Santiago is an excellent place offering stunning nature, cultural experience, and adventurous activities suitable for visitors of all ages and interests. There are fun things to do in the area and tours available other than the town center and the waterfalls. Some other activities in Villa De Santiago are family outings at Manzano Vitro Park, repelling down at Matacanes Canyon, jumping into the water from 12 meters high, and paying a visit to Cave of the Bats.
Have you visited Villa De Santiago before? Share your experience below.