Coahuila State, Mexico

From mountains to deserts to prehistoric bones, Coahuila’s attractions are many. Translated from the Nahuatl, the name means “Land of the Trees,” but the pine-oak forests of the Sierra Madre comprise just a part of its 58,000 square miles. Its varied terrain includes rivers, woodlands and dry scrubland, as well.

Coahuila is the third largest of Mexico’s 31 states and also one of the northernmost. Separated from the state of Texas by 318 miles of the mighty Rio Grande, Coahuila can claim a history millions of years older than that of the Aztecs who named it, for dinosaurs once roamed there, too.

Freshwater Stromatolite reef in Cuatro Cienegas pools, Coahuila MexicoWith the majority of its acreage devoted to desert, Coahuila’s population is concentrated mainly in the larger cities. Saltillo, the capital, is often called “the Athens of Mexico,” yet the interior, complete with colonial-era buildings of limestone and pink quarry, retains an almost small-town feel. Its centerpiece, the enormous Cathedral de Santiago in the Plaza de las Armas, was erected between 1745 and 1800 and is notable for its extravagant Spanish Baroque façade, silver-paneled altars, ceiling frescoes and hand-carved wooden doors.

Of Coahuila’s 29 museums, two of the best can be found in Saltillo. The Museo del Desierto, devoted entirely to the desert, boasts Coahuila’s own duck-billed dinosaur, while the Museo de las Aves de Mexico displays over 760 mounted species of Mexican birds. For those preferring to view their fowl live and on the wing, the offerings of Aventurate Coahuila include a popular bird-watching tour.

Saltillo is also known for its restaurants, a number of which feature both Mexican and international dishes. After grabbing a bite, many find it fun to stop at El Serape de Saltillo and purchase a handmade poncho or rug.


Just 151 miles from Saltillo sits Torreon, the chief metropolis of Coahuila’s Laguna District. This worthy destination is but a morning away by car, and a drive toward the outskirts reveals its iconic showpiece: a 71-foot-tall statue of Christ standing high on the hill, arms outspread to protect the city.


Each September, Torreon hosts its annual Cotton and Grape Fair featuring amusement rides, cultural events, concerts and bullfights. Music lovers should also take note: The Laguna Drum Fest, held every October, attracts some of the best drummers in the world.

With its stark contrasts of city and desert, forest and scrubland, Coahuila offers the visitor a wonderful opportunity to assimilate the culture and diversity of a modern Mexican state.



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