“Cloud Serpent” was the chief responsible for the founding of the Toltec capital Tula in A.D 950, leading his tribe across the North-Western border of Hidalgo, in search of richer lands. Mixcoatl (“Cloud Serpent”) could not have chosen a more flourishing place to settle, since the lands were nourished by the converging rivers of Rio Rosas and Rio Tula. Today, Tula is one of the most frequented stop-offs for visitors to Central-Eastern Mexico, since Mixcoatl and his kin left behind a wealth of archaeology – including the Toltec Warrior Columns and Pyramid.
Bounded by the Mexico, Veracruz and Puebla States, Hidalgo seems to have been overlooked by the industrial developers whom have expanded the neighboring states into bustling tourist meccas. Divided into three topographical regions, Hidalgo contrasts greatly from East to West. The coastal plain is relatively flat, almost parallel to sea-level, while the Sierra Occidental backbone to the temperate North-West rises to 3,300 feet above sea level. In between, the lands are lush, rugged and agricultural, farmed as they have been for many thousands of years.
Pachuca (the State Capital) is situated in the South-Central part of the region, often tagged the “Windy Beauty” owing to a moderate climate and mountain-born breezes. Temperatures rarely exceed 90 Fahrenheit, allowing for comfortable exploration of the former mining town. Unlike Tula, Pachuca's history is considerably modern; it's foundation being around the 13th Century. The areas surrounding Pachuca are considered eco-reserves, abound with natural wonders such as the haciendas at San Miguel Regla and Santa Maria Regla. Santa Maria Regla also boasts the Basalt Prisms and a stunning waterfall, cascading amidst the twin haciendas. Pachuca's well trodden Mountain Trail is also a must-do on the city itinerary. Winding gradually up the foothills of Pachuca, the Mountain Trail affords splendid vistas across the valley town, and also takes in the fairytale Pueblos Magicos (“Magic Towns”). El Chico National Park to the East of Pachuca expands the variegated adventures to be had here, everything from parachuting and gliding, to hunting and trekking on offer via dedicated activity operators and guides.
Often referred to as “White Water Country” the North Eastern area of Hidalgo is an area of outstanding natural beauty – much of which sits at an elevation of 2,000 feet above sea-level. Agua Blanca de Iturbide is a small town not far from Chiapas, set amidst a series of ancient volcanic lakes and promontories – making this prime location for rappelling and hot air balloon adventures. Aerial views of Agua Blanca are an otherworldly experience; the rustic Hacienda de Apulco just South of Agua Blanca offering hot air ballooning rides, for up to two hours over the maguey fields and sloping plains. Conversely, nature lovers and those whom enjoy getting a little wet and wild will find plenty of opportunities for skiffing, sailing and kayaking on the “green” river La Venta. Some tours guide visitors down to the spectacular Cueva de Agua Blanca (“White Water Cave”); a natural tunnel of overhanging rock formations, verdant plantlife and exotic creatures never seen outside of the area. Neighboring Cueva del Aguila (“Eagle's Cave”) lies within a mini limestone canyon formed by volcanic activity, with quirky rock islands and naturally formed rock columns lining the river path.
September 15, 1810 is a date forever imprinted in the hearts, minds and history of Mexico, for it was when a humble priest (Miguel Hidalgo) of Hidalgo town took to his balcony and uttered the immortalized Grito (Cry For Freedom) from the Parroquia of Dolores. That moment marked the beginning of Mexico's struggle for independence against the Spanish, until victory in 1824. Dolores was renamed Hidalgo in commemoration of the freedom-fighting priest, who was executed by the Spanish in Guanajuato in 1811. The Parroquia of Dolores stands as an emotive monument today, attracting thousands of natives each year paying their respects. With it's cobblestone streets, laid back atmosphere and hospitable Indian populace, Hidalgo offers respite from the smoggy industrialism of Mexico's tourist mecca cities, amid a fascinating array of historic attractions. First stop is inevitably the Casa de Don Miguel Hidalgo, home to the patriotic priest from 1804 to 1810. Nearby sits the Independence Museum, the former prison from which Hidalgo freed native Mexican captives.
Aside from being the “Cradle of Independence” for Mexico, Hidalgo is renowned for being the birthplace of Talavera pottery, and a major producer of honey liquor. The town's diminutive center is a hub of street vendors offering quirky corn and avocado ice-cream, homegrown cacti and citrus fruits. For such a small town, Hidalgo still remains the jewel of Hidalgo State's crown!