The Other Tequisquiapan | Mexico | Living in Mexico

The Other Tequisquiapan

Unlike the decaying Tequisquiapan in Guanajuato, the one in Querétaro is a substantial, vibrant community. Like San Miguel, its signature image is the church.

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What puts Tequisquiapan on the map are thermal springs. People come here to "take the waters." City dwellers from Mexico City, San Luis Potosí and Querétaro come to this resort town to relax and play. A surprising number of water parks with corkscrew water slides are scattered across the surrounding countryside.

Hotels in town cater to adults with soak pools and margarita-toting attendants. Tequisquiapan even has a conference center "with internet in every room." Whoopee. (If I ever see the inside of a conference center again, it'll be too soon.)

Many of the hotels are large, to handle large crowds of weekenders. I'm told the town is jammed during vacation periods.

We arrived on a February Wednesday—Ash Wednesday—and found we had the place to ourselves. Expecting a crush of tourists, and gangs of street hawkers toadying up to us, we were delighted to find the place peaceful. Well, almost deserted, really.

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Restaurants and shops selling wicker furniture lined the arcades, but with few customers, proprietors took it easy. Residents ignored the few tourists in town. They had more important things to do. Like march.


Even after living here for four years, I'm often surprised by the importance Mexicans put on holidays. As a lapsed Episcopalian, Ash Wednesday isn't even on my radar anymore. But in Tequisquiapan, celebrating this holiday was the thing. Streets were decorated.

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Indian dancers performed in the plaza.

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That night, a large crowd lined up to attend services.

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The only commercial activity was at a stall alongside the church, where a woman sold cheap toys.

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We were lucky to happen across Tequisquiapan at a time when we could see the actual town instead of crowds of tourists like ourselves. It's worth a visit for a day, but if we return, it won't be during high season and weekends. We could see that those hotels were set up to handle a lot of people. A lot. And unless you've been around Mexicans at play, unless you're ready to really party, like us you'll be happier visiting on a Wednesday.
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