State of Mexico

The clock seems to stop once we get to the State of Mexico, a destination full of natural wealth and architectural remains reminiscent of the first important historical figures that lived here. Travel to the heart of the country and marvel at how it oyamel first forests are colored orange with the annual arrival of the Monarch Butterfly to three sanctuaries recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty of Tepotzotlan, Valle de Bravo, Malinalco, El Oro and Metepec, the state’s five magic towns. Tour their streets, coexist with their inhabitants, who will unveil their history imbued in each of their buildings and patron saint festivities. Tour the Route of Sor Juana and follow the steps of the Tenth Muse to the east of the state, to the foot of its volcanoes. Witness the faith conveyed by pilgrims from all over the country when they arrive at Chalma, one of the most important ceremonial centers in the state and home to the miraculous Lord of Chalma.

Take a look at the state’s past by visiting its archaeological sites. Start by touring Teotihuacan, one of the oldest and most important ceremonial centers in pre-Hispanic America. Climb the Pyramid of the Sun, the second largest pyramid in Mexico, and the Pyramid of the Moon, from where you will have an unparalleled panoramic view of the region. Go to Teotenango del Valle and discover the fortified city of Teotenango. Don’t forget to visit the archaeological sites of Calixtlahuaca and Huamango.

Tour the modern capital city of Toluca. Among its narrow streets and adobe clad houses you will be able to breathe the colonial era. Make a stop at the Portals, built in 1832 and considered the largest in the country, with their 118 arches where the social and commercial life of the city is concentrated. As you walk through the historic center, taste some typical sweets which you will find in the Martyrs Square (Plaza de los Martires), sometimes music fills the air with some free concerts. Take time to admire the architecture of the Imposing Cathedral of San Jose de Toluca with Roman reminiscences.

Marvel at a visit to the masterful construction of the Cosmovitral. This property used to house the old September 16th Market. The market functioned as such until 1975, when it was decided to turn it into a botanical garden. The Mexico State artist Leopoldo Valdes, author of the Cosmovitral, gathered a group of 160 artisans who joined 500,000 shards of glass to capture the relationship between man and the universe, the cycles of life, as well as the dualities and antagonisms of the universe. Enjoy a day surrounded by 400 species of plants from Central America, South America, Africa and Asia.

The cultural heritage of the city is so large that you will have to plan your visits to the city’s museums very well. You cannot miss the Anthropology and Natural History Museum, the Modern Art Museum, the History of the Fine Arts and the Museum of Mexico State Culture, where the old roots of the State of Mexico are kept.

You cannot leave without having tasted some of its cuisine which is characterized by red or green chorizo, toluqueña sandwiches made with chorizo and the tompiate better known as queso de puerco (pork cheese). Try the mixiotes or meat with chile, steam cooked, wrapped in a film which is taken from the stalk of the maguey, as well as the tamal de ollita or “chuchuluco”, a hollow tamale filled with liquid sauce and pork meat.

End your visit to the state from the heights of the Xinantecatl or Nevado de Toluca. Gaze at the impassive valley that is telling you that there is still much more to tour in the State of Mexico. Visit it and discover how far you can go. 

Currency and Exchange

In Mexico, merchants and businesses are no longer allowed to change U.S. dollars for pesos, but they will tell you the location of the nearest currency exchange office. If you have U.S. dollars, there are some places where you can exchange them for Mexican pesos, for example:

- Currency exchange offices: You will usually find a currency exchange counter at international airports throughout Mexico; these can be identified by the “Exchange” sign. You will have to show your passport in order to be able to exchange money.  The exchange rate is usual shown as “buy” or “purchase”, which shows how many pesos you will receive for each dollar. 

- Banks: Not all banks provide the service of exchanging pesos and dollars, and some require you to have an account with them. Ask someone at your hotel to tell you about the location of the nearest bank where tourists can exchange their currency. You will also need a valid U.S. passport to make the exchange.

- Automated Teller Machine: One of the most convenient ways to buy pesos is by using an ATM. You will often receive better exchange rates, even though you have to pay a service fee, as with most ATMs outside your bank network. Please do not accept any help from people who are not bank employees.

- Credit card: If you have a credit card, you will find that it provides one of the best exchange rates. Although you will not receive pesos directly, your monthly balance usually shows the exchange rate you received on purchases made with the credit card.

Weather and time zones

When planning your trip, we recommend that you find out about the weather in the state you will be visiting, in order to know what clothes to pack. Many people assume that the climate is always warm in Mexico; but the reality is that it may vary greatly from one destination to the next. 

The weather in Mexico is as varied as its geography: there are tropical forests, arid desserts, fertile valleys and snow covered mountain peaks. The coasts are generally warm throughout the year, although it is very rainy during some months. In Mexico City, the weather is quite pleasant, neither too hot nor too cold. In the central highlands, the weather is cool, as well as in the mountainous areas. In some northern states, such as Monterrey and Chihuahua, it is very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter. Before traveling to Mexican beaches, make sure it is not hurricane season.

Time zones

Daylight saving in summer and standard time in winter.

There are three time zones in Mexico: one for the Northeast, one for the Pacific and one Central time zone. Between the first and second, and the second and third, there is a one hour difference.

From the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, most of the country is on daylight saving time, with the aim of taking advantage of sunlight in the evening and saving electricity. For this purpose, clocks are moved forward one hour. Sonora is the only state in Mexico where time is never changes.


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