Set in northeastern Mexico, Nuevo Leon borders the U.S. state of Texas. On the Mexican side, borders Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and San Luis Potosi. In 1824 Nuevo Leon became a Mexican State. The largest city is Monterrey. Its border with the U.S. is only nine miles. The single border crossing is in the town of Columbia on the Rio Grande.
Nuevo Leon is 24,800 square miles large. It has a population of 4,745, 535 people as the eighth most populous state. The capital is Monterrey. Major cities of Nuevo Leon include Santa Catarina, Guadalupe, Apodaca, San Nicolas de Los Garza, and San Pedro Garza Garcia. The state is one of the smartest in Mexico. Nuevo Leon claims one of the country’s lowest rates of illiteracy.
Nuevo Leon has an arid climate. There are three geographic regions to Nuevo Leon: semi-dry, desert, and temperate mountain zones. The large Monterrey metropolitan area receives water from the San Juan River. The mountainous region features pine and oak forests in many areas. The plains feature flora like agave and yucca. This region is immensely popular for tourism—particularly with outdoor enthusiasts who visit to rappel, rock climb, and camp. The state is also known for its caves, waterfalls, and scenic vistas. The desert regions are filled with dramatic scenes, as well, and also attract tourists. Cumbres National Park is in the Sierra Madre Oriental near Monterrey and is a famous tourist attraction. Animals in the area include bobcats, white-tailed deer, boars, badgers, and roadrunners.
Archeologists assert that people were hunting and gathering in the region of Nuevo Leon by 8900 B.C. They also maintain that nearly 250 indigenous tribes were in the area and many around the part of present-day Monterrey. However, by the time of Spanish arrival, the region did not boast significant settlements. Home tribes were still mostly nomadic, relying on hunting and gathering practices. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca came to Nuevo Leon in 1535. However, significant colonization efforts did not occur until the 1600s. During this time missionaries were trying to convert the Native Americans to Catholicism.
In the late 18th century Silver and gold mining depleted region’s stores. Then the Catholic Church began to establish convents and seminaries. The area considerable political instability after the War of Independence. Industrialization for the state did not begin to progress until a road linking Monterrey with Mexico City. Nuevo Leon was one of the earliest countries to support the Mexican Revolution. In the years after the revolution, Nuevo Leon thrives as a cattle ranching state. The capital, Monterrey, is a northern hub for industry and finance in the country.
Nuevo Leon is known for its outdoor tourist activities. With its canyons, pine forests, waterfalls, and caves, Nuevo Leon has many breathtaking scenic attractions. Famous for its eco-tours and outdoor adventures, Nuevo Leon is popular among campers, rock climbers, and hikers. On the other hand, its major cities like Monterrey are vibrant with cultural and historical attractions. Visitors to the state invariably find much to love, making this one of the country’s favorite northern states.
The state’s cuisine derives from the Tlaxcaltecan Native Americans as well as by Spanish Catholics and Spanish Jews. Traditional dishes are beef or goat. Carne asada is, perhaps, the most popularly eaten food in the state along with tamales. Kid goat, known as cabrito, is one of the capital’s most popular dishes. People of Nuevo Leon also love to make homemade candies using goat milk.
The capital is the third largest city in Mexico. Monterrey boasts a plethora of attractions. Visitors will find unsurpassed examples of northern Mexican cuisine. Monterrey has world-class museums that contain remarkable exhibits. And the accommodations (hotels and inns) will fit any budget.
The capital attracts business executives with its convention centers and thriving business sector. Monterrey is the second wealthiest economy in Mexico. Visitors to Monterrey will find a city bursting with exciting things to see and do.
Other Things to See and Do
Cerro de la Silla: This saddle-shaped mountain is a recognizable symbol of Monterrey. As a significant Nuevo Leon landmark, it is a popular recreational site among locals and travelers alike.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Monterrey: This museum is one of the nation’s best-known museums of contemporary art and boasts world-class exhibits each year.
La Huasteca: This famed climbing area outside of Monterrey is known for its challenging limestone formations that are more slippery than other types of limestone.
Potrero Chico: One of the best rock climbing destinations in Mexico, Potrero Chico. It has an international reputation as one of the best climbing sites in the entire world. Near the town of Hidalgo, this area is also popular with mountain bikers, campers, and hikers.
Boca de Potrerillos: This archaeological site is located east of the capital in the valleys or the Sierra Madre Oriental. It contains one of the most significant examples of ancient rock art and petroglyphs in the nation.
Macroplaza: This Monterrey central plaza is one of the biggest in the world. It boasts many sightseeing attractions like the governor’s palace, the Fero del Comercio monument, the Teatro de la Ciudad, and City Hall.
Fiestas: During nearly every month of the year, there are fiestas in honor of various anniversaries. The Festival del Barrio Antiguo and the Guadalupe Cattle-Ranching Exposition draw visitors from around the country. Many of the celebrations are local events but offer glimpses traditional culture that is popular among tourists.