Especially with everything going on around the world right now, our trip through Central Mexico feels like a lifetime ago. Querétaro is located in the center of Mexico, where the dry north meets the more lush regions of the south. The climate and geography of these extremes couldn’t be different. One benefit to this is that the growing regions here are well suited for wine, so we knew that we wanted to visit at least one winery on our trip. We unfortunately only had a day and a half to explore Querétaro City, as we were only passing through on our way south.
At our hotel, we found a brochure for a wine and cheese tour that made stops at a few famous destinations just outside of the city. We don’t normally do tours, but because we only had one day and this knocked a lot of things off our todo list, we decided to jump at the opportunity. Our first afternoon in Querétaro we explored the historic center, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hotel was centrally located, and was walking distance from everything. We had an incredible lunch at one of the city’s markets, and wandered through the narrow streets of the old town. There were many monuments and beautiful plazas in the city, as well as a colonial era aqueduct that runs through the middle of the city. Our tour began at 7 am the next morning and we wanted to be fresh.
The small van was right on time. We hopped inside with 8 other travelers and set out on our adventure. We were happy it was a small group as we don’t normally like big tours. Our tour would be taking us along the Ruta de Queso y Vino (Wine and Cheese Route). We would be making four stops during the day; a traditional cheese maker (Quesos Vai), a winery (Flexinet), Penal de Bernal and Tequisquiapan. Today we will be showcasing the first two stops.
We battled our way through the morning traffic and escaped into the countryside, onto a back road and soon we were at our first stop. The day began with a tour of a traditional cheese farm. Quesos Vai is a well known producer in the region. We were given a tour of their facilities, first to meet some of the cows, ducks and goats that live here, and then a tasting. This was a great experience and the perfect way to start the day. It was still early, so we’re glad we were visiting the winery afterwards.
Freixenet is the largest wine producer in the area, as it is owned by the large Spanish wine company of the same name. We were taken for a tour of their cellars, deep underground where there were barrels and bottles piled high up to the ceiling. We learned about the wine making processes they do here, and one of their main products is sparkling wine done in the traditional method. The tour was finished with a tasting, and we enjoyed a glass of bubbles before hopping back onto the bus for our next stop… Penal de Bernal.
While these are strange times to be a travel blogger, the show must go on. We still have lots of exciting stories and pictures to share from our trip through Central Mexico from late 2019. Come back and visit next week when we will show off the second half of our adventure through Querétaro. We’ve decided that Pena de Bernal and Tequisquiapan deserve their own spotlight.