Mexico City to Queretaro day trip.
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How To Get From Mexico City To Queretaro: 5 Easy Ways, Tips & Prices

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In this post, we’re going to cover all the different methods of taking a Mexico City to Queretaro day trip, as well as some of the top reasons this city needs to be added to your must-see list ASAP!

Queretaro isn’t the first place that people think of when planning a Mexico itinerary, but that needs to change! This gem of a city has a gorgeously preserved Historic Centre, one that hasn’t (yet) been picked up by tourists with quite as much enthusiasm as some of Mexico’s other inland cities.

After several months of living in CDMX, we were first inspired to visit just because the transportation from Mexico City to Queretaro was so convenient. Whether you drive, catch a bus, or hop on a tour, it’s only a few hours along a straightforward road. In fact, many people visit as part of a trip to San Miguel de Allende since Queretaro is along the same route. 

Quick Guide

Maps CDMX to Queretaro

Summary of your options:

Option TypeMain AdvantageCostHow To Book
By BusCheapest, best for solo travellersFrom $30 one wayUse Bookaway.com
By CarFlexibility, affordable, best for couplesFrom $50 per dayUse Discover Cars
On A Day TripDoor-to-door service & guideFrom $175 per personCheck Viator
Private TransferMost convenient from CDMX airportFrom $200Check Bookaway.com
By PlaneAvoid the traffic$200Browse Sky Scanner

Our Experience Of Getting From Mexico City To Queretaro

Blogger Mal in Queretaro
Blogger Robin in Queretaro

We decided to rent a car and drive from CDMX to Queretaro, staying there a total of 2 nights. Even though we left the capital after the 8 am rush, there was still lots of traffic coming out of the city, which slowed us down a bit.

Apart from that, the drive itself was easy enough, with the total journey taking about 3 hours.

We opted for the fastest route we could find, which included toll roads. There were 2 toll booths in total, and each one took a payment of 102 MXN (about 6.15 USD). All in all, very reasonable.

#1 Driving To Queretaro From Mexico City

Blogger Robin driving to Queretaro from Mexico City with our rental car

Although we did plenty of on-the-ground research about the different journey options, we ultimately chose to drive. This was for us the most convenient way to travel, although it does mean you get less chance to observe the passing scenery since you’ll want to concentrate on the road – and more importantly the actions of the other drivers!

Renting a car is also likely to be more expensive than other means of transportation, though that does depend on the size of your group.

Tip: Make sure you have cash for the toll booths. Most do not take debit or credit cards.

Is It Safe To Drive From Mexico City To Queretaro?

Yes, it is safe. Well, it’s as safe as driving anywhere in Mexico. In general, we like to say that as long as you are a confident, experienced driver, the roads in Mexico shouldn’t cause you any problems.

Just mind the traffic coming out of the city, which can be quite heavy. Another thing to be mentally prepare for is the number of huge lorries that thrum along the motorways, which tend to change lanes without using their indicators. 

How Far Is Queretaro From Mexico City?

The distance from Mexico City to Queretaro is about 220km, give or take 10km, depending on where you’re staying in the capital. Most of that will be spent along the 57D Federal Highway, along the same route as you take to visit San Miguel de Allende. 

Renting A Car In Mexico City

Blogger Robin driving a rental car in Mexico City.

We rented through Discover Cars, which is our go-to option and has never failed us yet!

We opted to pick up our car at the Alamo on Reforma, near the Angel de la Independencia statue. Yes, they have quite bad reviews online, but we paid for the full insurance cover through Discover Cars, which protects against all eventualities, so we weren’t worried. Ultimately, we had no issues with them. 

If the staff at the car rental tell you that they don’t have the vehicle that you booked available, simply respond that it’s on them and that they should give you a better car. This is exactly what happened to us, but we said literally that, and they gave us an upgraded car for no extra cost. I mean, we book in advance to protect ourselves from situations like that.

As a rough guide, we paid $60 per day through Discover Cars, including the full insurance.

Tip: Remember that if you pay for the full insurance via Discover Cars, you don’t need any other insurance from the rental shop, so you can ignore any upselling.

#2 Getting By Bus From Mexico City To Queretaro

North Bus Terminal in Mexico City for buses to Queretaro City.

The bus takes a little longer than driving yourself, but it does mean you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. 

In general, we’ve found tourist buses between Mexican cities to be comfortable, clean, and modern, which makes them a perfectly reasonable alternative for solo travellers or couples who want to save a little money. For larger groups, a car can actually end up being a bit cheaper.

Tip: The bus stations in CDMX and in Queretaro are not in the centre of town. We usually rely on Uber to get between our accommodation and the bus station because it’s cheap and reliable, but you can also experiment with public transport if you want to save some pesos.  

Mexico City To Queretaro Bus Schedule

Bus CompanyTimetablePrices
Primera PlusFrom 05:00-23:20 every 30 minMXN459 ($27)
ETNFrom 04:00-23:45 every hourMXN513 ($30)

Where Can I Buy My Bus Tickets?

There are several ways you can get your bus ticket in CDMX:

  • Buy in person at the North Central Terminal (Terminal Central del Norte), which is a short walk from the Autobuses del Norte metro station on Line 5. It’s not a nice area to hang out in, but you’ll pretty much just be in and out.
  • Book in advance through Bookaway.com. We’ve used this website in different cities around the world and found it reliable so far. The price they charge is a little higher than you would get directly from the bus companies, but it’s super convenient and reliable.  
  • You can also book in advance through Reservamos.mx, which is better than Bookaway.com for Mexican bus tickets. The only drawback is it’s only in Spanish.
  • Buy direct from the bus companies. Most of them have their own website portals where you can select tickets in both English and Spanish.
  • Some OXXO convenience stores also sell bus tickets.

Are There Direct Buses From Mexico City To Queretaro?

Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo in Queretaro

There are a couple of different bus companies that operate a direct tourist service to Queretaro: Primera Plus and ETN Turistar

We’ve travelled on both many times, and they offer a very similar level of service. Expect clean and comfortable vehicles that are reliable and come with in-built entertainment systems as well as toilets.

Primera Plus has more buses on this particular route than ETN Turistar, with services departing every half hour compared to every hour.

How Much Are Bus Tickets To Queretaro From Mexico City?

The Primera Plus bus from Mexico City to Queretaro is moderately less expensive at 459 MEX (27 USD) for a one-way ticket. ETN Turistar charges 513 MEX (30 USD) for their service.

There are cheaper bus options, but the quality is generally not quite as nice. Since you’ll be spending a fair bit of time on the bus, it makes sense to us to spend a fraction more for comfort.

How Long Is The Bus Ride From Mexico City To Queretaro?

The direct bus from Mexico City to Queretaro takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes from Central del Norte, though you should factor in that it does take longer during rush hour.

#3 Can You Do A Day Trip To Queretaro From Mexico City?

Walking Street in Queretaro

Yes, it is possible to do a day trip from Mexico City to Queretaro. It will be quite a long day involving a fair bit of travel time, but it’s very doable. If you catch an early bus, you can always catch up on your shut-eye en route.

The BEST Queretaro Tour from Mexico City

Queretaro from mexico city

WHY BOOK THIS TOUR: If you only have a day to spare for Queretaro, this tour packs in all the major attractions. You’ll learn about the pre-Hispanic past and the more recent colonial history of the region, as well as sample some local snacks along the way.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Local guide.
  • Some snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Round-trip transportation from accommodation in the Centro Historico, Reforma Avenue, Polanco, Condesa, or Roma.

ITINERARY: The first stop in Queretaro is the El Cerrito Archaeological Zone, which boasts a sizable pre-Hispanic pyramid that is more than a millennium old.

From there, the tour heads to Cerro de las Campanas, where Emperor Maximilian was executed in 1867, signalling the end of the Second Mexican Empire. These days, it’s the site of a park, a museum describing the history of Queretaro, and a number of monuments to the past. You won’t be able to miss the stature of Benito Juarez, the hugely influential Mexican president who remains a heroic figure to many.

Finish up the day in the most impressive part of the city, its UNESCO-recognised Historic Centre. Here, you’ll have around 4 hours to discover the beautiful Baroque buildings, including ornate churches, lively plazas, serene gardens, and concealed mansion courtyards. 

#4 Private Driver From Mexico City To Queretaro

The most expensive and luxurious way to reach Queretaro from CDMX is using a private driver. If you have set aside a generous travel budget, this is probably the most convenient and relaxing choice.

Taxi From Mexico City To Queretaro

We haven’t tried this option ourselves, but having asked around it seems possible to organise a private taxi in advance from 300 USD upwards one way.

Uber From Mexico City To Queretaro

In general, Uber tends to be cheaper than a taxi. Prices obviously vary by time of day and demand, but you should expect to fork out at least 200 USD one way – if you can get someone to agree to the long trip.

#5 Flights From Mexico City To Queretaro

Flying from CDMX to Queretaro

There are direct Mexico City to Queretaro flights, but they are pricey. Plus, even though the Mexico City to Queretaro flight time is about 40 minutes, the hassle of getting to and from the airports, as well as boarding and disembarking the aircraft, adds a lot of time. In the end, it doesn’t end up being any faster than travelling by road.

We can’t say we’d recommend travelling by plane, but just so for the sake of letting you make a fully informed decision, we’ve got all the necessary deets.

Does Queretaro Have An Airport?

Yes, Queretaro has an international airport. Only one airline currently flies a direct route between CDMX and Queretaro, and that’s the national flag carrier Aeroméxico.

One-way fares hover around 180 USD, and there are three flights per day.

What Airport Do You Fly To For Queretaro?

A flight from Mexico City to Queretaro lands at Querétaro Intercontinental Airport. The terminal is about 40 minutes’ drive from the Historic Centre.

5 Best Things To Do In Queretaro

Queretaro is a relatively small place by Mexico standards, but it still packs in plenty of things to fill a couple of days’ travel.

#1 Stroll the pedestrian-friendly street of Francisco I. Madero.

The walking street is best place to visit on Mexico City to Queretaro trip.

One of the highlights of our trip to Queretaro was simply wandering the city’s ‘andadores,’ aka its pedestrian-only streets. 

These scenic walkways are lined by charming little bars and eateries, stores selling confectionery, and souvenir stands. Between them, they link together the downtown area’s garden plazas, which showcase elaborate fountains and sculpted greenery.

As you stroll along, you’ll inevitably pass a number of the city’s premier museums. Now, we should say upfront that these museums don’t hold a candle to the ones in CDMX. However, visiting them is less about access to the collections and more about the gorgeous buildings that surround the collections. 

The Museo de Arte is especially stunning. Situated inside a former monastery, its courtyard is filled with elaborate pillars that we were told are meant to represent human souls on their way to heaven.

#2 Alameda Hidalgo Park.

Alameda Hidalgo Park in Queretaro
Visiting Alameda Hidalgo Park is one of the best things to do in Queretaro

The largest of the parks in the Centro area of Queretaro, Alameda Hidalgo is a pleasant place to rest amidst your street walking, parking up on a bench with a refreshing ice cream. It’s leafy and green and filled with trees, making it a good place to come with kids who enjoy running about in urban nature.

At its heart is a gilded stature of Miguel Hidalgo, the Father of Modern Mexico, who gives his name to the park.

#3 Zenea Garden & Templo de San Francisco de Asis.

Zenea Garden is a must place to visit on a trip Mexico City to Queretaro.

Zenea Garden is the best spot to come for people watching. During the day, hawkers selling snacks and bric-a-brac mingle with locals who come here to chat with their friends, snapping up spots beneath the shade of the trees. 

When the heat cools off, the place bounds into action with live music and amateur dancers, who twirl one another about with genteel joy.

The area used to be the orchard for the Templo de San Francisco de Asis, Queretaro’s first place of worship. Built in the 1500s, this church still occupies one edge of the square, looming over the area with its brick tower. There’s some serious bling on display inside, including multiple chandeliers dangling ostentatiously from the ceiling.

Attached to the church is a building that used to be a convent but has now been converted into a – you guessed it – museum. This one gives a brief run through of the regional history of Queretaro, but again, we’d mainly pay the entry just to see the old architecture.

While we’re on the subject, there are a number of churches you should check out while you’re in Queretaro. Most of them are dotted about the old town.

Personally, we found the most impressive one to be the Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo, which is a beautiful piece of Baroque architecture with a uniquely tiled façade. No need to play favourites though, as you should have time to check out quite a few as you wander the town. 

#4 Have A Beer At Cerveceria Hercules.

Having a beer at Hercules Cerveceria is a cool thing to do in Queretaro
Blogger Robin having a beer at Hercules brewery

Once you’re done with the Historic Centre, Cerveceria Hercules is a very cool place to grab a brewski and chill out. There are multiple micro beers on tap, coupled with fast-food eats and a cheerful vibe.

This brewery showcases the more modern side of Queretaro, a side that’s all about sprawling industrial spaces made into gathering places for the city’s youth. There’s plenty of outdoor and indoor seating, so you don’t need to worry about the weather putting a dampener on your parade.

On the topic of booze, Queretaro has been trying to develop its reputation as a wine hub, so if you do come by car for a couple of nights, it might be worth checking out the local vineyards. It’s not something we’ve got around to yet, but we’ve heard good things.

Tip: Get there by Uber. Public transport in Queretaro is not particularly time-efficient!

Google Location

#5 Eat At Bisquets Queretaro.

traditional restaurant Bisquets in Queretaro

We enjoyed most of the meals we had in Queretaro, but this place was probably our fav.

Bisquets Queretaro specialises in breakfast-y things like chilaquiles and enchiladas, served up with a side of pan dulce and coffee. The concha may not be quite as good as at some of the fancier cafes in CDMX that we’ve tried, but the price point here is a hell of a lot cheaper!

It’s not just the food we like about this place though, it’s also the casual atmosphere and the hodgepodge of décor that makes it feel simultaneously homey and a bit mad.

Google Location

Best Places To Stay In Queretaro

🌟where we stayed🌟
Flamingo Inn in Queretaro is where we stayed

Hotel Flamingo Inn 

A good option for people travelling with a car, the Hotel Flamingo Inn comes with free on-site parking and allows pets. There’s also a decent pool on the grounds.

🌟luxury pick🌟

Hotel Patio Santiago

Right in the heart of the Historic Centre, this smart hotel is on the upper end of the price scale but offers sizable rooms and a picturesque rooftop terrace.

🌟Mid-Range Pick🌟

Hotel Real Alameda de Queretaro

You won’t find better value for money than this spot, which comes with an outdoor pool, a gym, and breakfast. Alameda Hidalgo Park is right across the way.

Mexico City To Queretaro: FAQs

Is Queretaro Worth Visiting?

Queretaro is worth visiting for people who enjoy a quieter experience than more well-known colonial-era cities like San Miguel de Allende. It’s arguably not quite as spectacular, but it still has some remarkable sights, including its 18th-century aqueduct and its Baroque churches.

Is Queretaro a walkable city?

If all you want to do is explore the Historic Centre, then yes, Queretaro is very walkable. However, bear in mind when booking your accommodation that it’s actually a huge city. Although most of it doesn’t hold much interest for tourists, the El Cerrito pre-Hispanic pyramid is quite a way into the suburbs, so you’ll definitely need to catch an Uber or hop on some public transport if you want to visit the scenic spot and its accompanying museum.

Is Queretaro Safe?

Queretaro feels very safe and friendly, much more so than the downtown area of CDMX. In fact, it’s often cited as one of the safest places in Mexico as a whole. Although we didn’t visit every district of the city, our experience was entirely positive. 

Why is Queretaro famous?

One of the main reasons to come to Queretaro is to experience the well-preserved feel of a colonial Mexican city. It’s filled with charming plazas and gardens that thrum with local life. For history buffs, it’s also where Emperor Maximilian was executed and where modern Mexico’s constitution was written.

How To Get From Mexico City To Queretaro: The Wrap-Up

As this post has hopefully explained, it’s pretty easy to get from Mexico City to Queretaro. Whether you decide to make a whistlestop daytrip or relax in its soothing embrace for a couple of days, there’s plenty of local character to experience. It may not have the wow factor of some other cities, but it could just end up being the sleeper hit of your holiday!

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