The state capital of Coahuila, Saltillo (elevation: 1,600 meters) has preserved more of the hallmarks of its colonial past.
El Cerro del Pueblo overlooks the city. Due to its higher elevation, the city is much cooler and drier than nearby Monterrey.
The Chihuahuan Desert takes center stage at the Museo del Desierto located at Perez Trevino 3745 in the Parque Las Maravaillas.
Alameda Zaragoza is the largest park in the city and has an artificial lake with the shape of the Mexican Republic.
The city is home to the Saraperos baseball team.
Dead Bird Museum
Saltillo’s impressive Mexican Bird Museum (Museo de las Aves) opened its doors in 1993 in the ex-Colegio de San Juan Nepomuceno at the corner of Hidalgo and Bolivar. This is the country’s largest permanent collection of Mexican birds, collected by Aldegundo Garza de Leon over a period of 40 years.
The museum contains about 1,800 specimens representing more than 70 percent of native Mexican birds. Exhibits depict the birds’ relationships to various ecosystems as well as their mating rituals, migration patterns, and bird songs.
The distinctive Mexican sarape has been produced since the arrival of Spanish colonists. Geometric figures and vibrant colors characterize the garment, used to protect the wearer from inclement weather.
Saltillo was founded in 1577. Spanish colonists moved to the region and were joined by a settlement of Tlaxcaltecas.
In 1824 the city was made the capital of Coahuila and Texas, in a territory that includes the present-day states as well as Tamaulipas, and Nuevo Leon. Over time and after a war with the United States, the territory shrunk to its current boundaries.
The state’s recent success in attracting new businesses from the United States and Mexico into its borders has created some obstacles for conservation. The state is becoming urbanized and industrialized, often at the cost of survival of desert plants and animals.
Less than 30 minutes from the city’s center is the Sierra de Zapaliname, a state reserve and canyon. The park, located off of Highway 54 toward Zacatecas, is suitable for hiking, but beware of flash floods. Near the entrance is a reforestation project run by the Antonio Narro Universidad Autonoma Agraria.
Just 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) east of Saltillo is the town of Arteaga on Highway 57. The pine-forested area is home to the maroon-fronted parrot and other bird species. The town is also famed for its apple production and handicrafts. The mountains are great for hiking.