Zacatecas, Zacatecas

Population: 150,000

Time Zone: Central Standard Time

Airport: Zacatecas La Calera (ZCL)

Elevation: 8,000 feet

Although off of the mainstream tourist track, Zacatecas is one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities, filled with colonial-era buildings built from the wealth of the silver mines that began operating by the Spanish conquistadores in 1548. In fact, today it still remains Mexico’s largest silver producer, led by the 200-year-old El Bote mine.

The state capital of the same name, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, is a culturally sophisticated town, boasting many impressive museums, art galleries and a cable car (el teleférico) that traverses the entire city, providing magnificent views. Not to be missed is a tour of the El Edén mine, in continuous operation from for nearly 400 years from1586 until the 1950’s. Another major attraction is the pink-stoned Zacatecas Cathedral, a Baroque style structure of singular beauty, consider by many to be Mexico’s finest church.

Most of the tourist attractions in the historic city are accessible by foot with many comfortable hotels and good restaurants available in all price ranges. Of particular note is the Hotel Quinta Real, built around Mexico’s first bullring, also incorporating the arches from the old aqueduct, El Cubo. Zacatecas is truly one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets.