San Juan del Rio



Located 110 mi/175 km north of Mexico City, San Juan del Rio, Mexico, is primarily an agricultural center, but it is also known for its semiprecious gems (opals are mined locally). The many jewelry shops overflow with already-set opals, or you can also design your own pieces from loose gems. The popular European-style Walther brand cheese, named after its Swiss creator, is also locally produced.

Quaint homes dating from the colonial period dot the streets of this charming town. See the Museo de la Santa Veracruz—it's in a lovely building that was formerly a convent and has several interesting archaeology and geography exhibits. Close by, just off the highway, is the Hacienda Galindo, a magnificent resort dating from the 16th century dripping with legends and history.

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