NEW YORK -- There's a lot happening in Monterrey, and Aeromexico's
reinstatement of nonstop service from New York is just one sign of
continued growth in Mexico's third-largest city, according to Elda
Laura Cerda, executive director of the Monterrey Convention and
Aeromexico resumed nonstop service from New York's Kennedy to
Monterrey last month after spending several months out of the
market following Sept. 11.
Anthony Batista, the airline's sales and distribution manager
for the U.S., said the carrier gradually will be placing brand-new
Boeing 737-700s on the route, which operates five days a week.
Monterrey, with a population of more than 3 million, is an
important business destination in Mexico, thanks to its role as a
hub for banking and as a center for the production of glass, beer,
cement, steel and automobile parts.
Monterrey also is a growing destination for meetings and
conventions, most notably the International Conference on Financing
for Development, which attracted world leaders from 50 nations in
March for a United Nations-hosted event.
The conference took place at Cintermex, a convention center with
98,000 square feet of event space and a 3,000-seat theater. An
expansion of the facility, which will double its amount of
exhibition space, will be completed in 2003.
Cintermex is located at the edge of Parque Fundidora (Foundry
Park), a leisure and business facility built among the remains of a
large foundry where, in 1903, steel was produced for the first time
in Latin America.
More attractions are to be added at Parque Fundidora, including
restaurants, bars and Arena Monterrey, a 17,000-person facility for
sporting events and performing arts, which is slated to be complete
Hotel offerings also have expanded, most recently with three
properties opened by France-based Accor. The 238-room Novotel
Monterrey Valle, in the city center, opened last month with eight
meeting rooms, two bars, a restaurant and a swimming pool. Other
new Accor properties include the 105-room Ibis Monterrey Valle, in
the Valle Oriente district, and the 139-room Ibis Monterrey
Aeropuerto, located near the airport.
At your leisure
While meetings and corporate travel are big business here, the city
also is casting itself as an increasingly attractive option for
Parque Fundidora, for example, is home to art and photography
exhibits, museums, workshops and theaters, as well as Plaza Sesamo
-- the only Sesame Place amusement park in Mexico.
In the city center, attractions include the Barrio Antiguo, or
Old Quarter, which is filled with 18th and 19th century buildings.
This neighborhood hosts an annual Festival Cultural -- to take
place this year from Nov. 14 to 24 -- which features live music,
theater and other entertainment.
Downtown Monterrey also is home to the Gran Plaza (sometimes
called the Macro Plaza), a large pedestrian corridor surrounded by
a variety of attractions.
One of the top sites around the plaza is the Museo Marco (Museum
of Contemporary Art), considered one of the best art museums in the
With more than 53,800 square feet in 14 exhibition halls, the
Marco hosts both national and international art exhibitions,
including sculpture, photography, video and drawings.
Other top draws around the plaza include Nuestra Senora de
Monterrey -- the Monterrey cathedral, which was built between 1603
and 1753 -- the Palacio del Gobierno, built in 1908, and the Museo
de Historia Mexicana (Mexican History Museum).
Looking for adventure
A growing part of the leisure mix in Monterrey is eco- and
adventure-oriented, according to Cerda.
"We just hosted the fourth annual extreme sports competition,"
she said, referring to this month's four-day event, during which
more than 80 athletes from Mexico and abroad participated in
activities including mountain biking, rappelling, horseback riding
Ecotourism and adventure travel attractions include the Grutas
de Garcia (Garcia Grotto), which are massive caverns deep inside
the mountains about 16 miles from Monterrey.
Part of the fun is the ride up the mountainside aboard a
funicular railway; plans are for the railway to be upgraded in the
Chipinque Park, which overlooks the city, offers great views as
well as mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and hiking. It also
is home to a nature reserve containing 120 species of birds and 22
species of mammals.
Additional attractions outside of town include Cola de Caballo,
or Horse Tail Falls, a 75-foot waterfall less than 15 miles from
Here, visitors can take a leisurely walk up the heavily wooded
park area, which is dotted with picnic areas and places to
The mountain ravine known as Huasteca Canyon is the place to go
for rock climbing, with its high walls offering an exciting
challenge. There also are picnic areas with barbecue pits, swimming
pools and areas for hiking and camping.
For information, contact the Monterrey Convention & Visitors
Bureau at (800) 554-5123 or on the Web at www.ocvmty.com.mx.