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San Sebastián Bernal, also known as Bernal

Pet Friendly Mexico Road Trip

January 2023

A pet friendly road trip itinerary for you and your dog to explore amazing parts of Mexico.

This route will take you to pet friendly Pueblo Mágico towns, restaurants, plus activities you can bring your dog along!

The following is a road trip we took with our two dogs, Olivia and Sofia.

It starts with crossing the border in Texas and driving through the central region of Mexico – from a ghost town to the wine and cheese making region of Mexico.

It’s a road trip you and your dog are sure to enjoy!

DAY 1: Border Crossing

Point A –  Enter Mexico at Colombia Solidarity International Bridge

If you are driving from the US or Canada this is one of the easiest and most straight forward border crossings from Texas into Mexico.

The popular name is the Columbia Bridge border crossing.

The official name is the Colombia Solidarity International Bridge.

It is about a 30 minute drive west of Laredo Texas by taking Mines Road heading west.

 It is small and convenient place for processing all the immigration paperwork.

You are able to get a tourist VISA and a TIP (temporary import pass) for your car.  All in one building!

More detailed information on using the Columbia Bridge.

You will not be able to bring your dog in the building with you unfortunately.

The good news is you do not need to show any paperwork for your dog and it  will not be inspected.

Starting in November 2019, Mexico changed their requirements for pets entering Mexico from the US and Canada.

Read about Mexico’s new pet immigration rules here.   

Once you get all the permits, set your GPS to Matehuala San Luis Potosi Mexico.

SIDE NOTE: regarding GPS apps. We found that using the WAZE app in Mexico was far superior to Google Maps. WAZE never got us lost or sent us to the wrong location. Google Maps did… a lot.


Point B – Stop for lunch in Saltillo Coahuila Mexico

Saltillo is about 2 ½ hours drive from the Colombia Solidarity International Bridge border crossing.

I suggest eating lunch at the Four Points Hotel by Sheraton in Saltillo.

It is conveniently located on Highway 40, on the right-hand side if you are driving south.

This is a pet-friendly hotel with a nice restaurant.  There is a patio in the back where you can bring your dog with you to have lunch.

The parking lot is secure, so you can leave your luggage in the car while you eat.

If you need gas, there is a Costco gas station 5 minutes from Four Points Hotel on Highway 40.

Saltillo is one of the most industrialized areas in Mexico. It has one of the largest automotive clusters in Mexico, with plants such as Grupo Industrial Saltillo, General Motors, Fiat Automobiles, Chrysler, Daimler to name a few.

After filling up the car with gas, continue to head south to the 57D toll road towards Matehuala in the state of San Luis Potosi. About a 3-hour drive.

Point C – Spend the night in Matehuala, San Luis Potosi

In total, this town is about a 6.5-hour drive from the US border on the Pan American Highway – Toll road 57D.

Normally folks spend the night in Matehuala and then leave the next day for their destination location.

For this itinerary, I suggest staying two nights Matehuala at the Las Palmas Motor Hotel. 

Las Palmas Motor Hotel a perfect place to stay for the following reasons:

  • Pet Friendly
  • There are carports available for many of the rooms. This means you can park your car right next to your motel room door and never unload the car (if you wish).
  • A safe place to stay; completely fenced in.
  • Large grassy areas for dogs to walk or run around.
  • The restaurant on site is decent and offers weekly specials.
  • Nice pool, fairly large and clean.
  • Friendly staff

More on the Las Palmas Hotel here.

View of Real de Catorce when you emerge from the tunnel

DAY 2: Visit a famous Ghost Town

Point D – Real de Catorce, a Pueblo Magico

Real de Catorce is an old silver mining town that was abandoned in the 1800s when the price of silver crashed. It is a ghost town that attracts a lot of visitors. 

Real de Catorce is by far one of the best Pueblo Magico towns in Mexico and is a popular tourist destination.        

 Real De Catorce is only a 1 ½ hour drive from Matehuala.

Much closer than driving from downtown San Luis Potosi, SLP (a 3-hour drive).

Plan on spending an entire day here. There are plenty of things to do in Real de Catorce.

Welcome to the state of San Luis Potosi

Day 3: San Luis Potosi City

Point E – spend the night in the Tequisquiapan neighborhood

Checkout of the hotel in Matehuala and head to SLP (San Luis Potosi City in the state of San Luis Potosi) by continuing on the Toll Road 57D. It is a short 2-hour drive.

I recommend staying in the Tequisquiapan area of San Luis Potosi.

There is a small park called Tequis Jardin (Garden). It is a nice place to walk your dog. Lots of green space with benches and trees for shade on a hot day.

It is a very clean neighborhood with a bohemian-type vibe that is pet friendly.

There are a variety of cafes and restaurants in the area that are also pet-friendly.

Here is where we stayed in Tequis Jardin.

Once you are settled into your place, leave your car and take an UBER to the Centro Historico area. It is about a 15 minute drive.

San Luis Potosi City Main Plaza Area

The main plaza in the Centro Historico area is surrounded by many museums* and restaurants.

Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral* of San Luis Potosí. It was built in 1670 and was completed in 1730. It has a beautiful Baroque façade.

The Museum of Masks* is well worth a visit.

* – Unfortunately these places are not pet-friendly

Day 4 Morning: Visit the Leonora Carrington Museum*

Leonora Carrington was a British-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. 

* – Unfortunately these places are not pet-friendly

The museum houses many of her statues, sculptures and painting. Allot 2-hours to visit inside the museum.

Before going to the museum, I knew nothing about her. Once inside I instantly recognized her statues. You see them all over Mexico.

I highly recommend visiting her museum while in San Luis Potosi area.

The museum is open 10 am to 6 pm. It is free on Wednesdays and closed on Mondays.

Day 4 Afternoon: Drive south to Tesquisquiapan, Querétaro

Point F – Tesquisquiapan in the state of Querétaro.

There is a Tesquisquiapan in SLP and another Tesquisquiapan in the state of Querétaro also.

Not to be confused with Tesquisquiapan in the state of San Luis Potosi.

This Tesquisquiapan is another beautiful Pueblo Magico known for the pleasant climate, thermal hot springs, plus wine and handcrafted cheese. The town was founded in 1551.

When searching for a place to stay,  be sure to type in Tesquisquiapan Querétaro.

The town’s main square called Plaza de Miguel Hidalgo.

The landmark pink sandstone church, Santa María de la Asunción Temple, flanks one side of the plaza.

There are sandstone arches on another side.

Behind which are a number of restaurants and cafés that are pet-friendly with outdoor dining areas. 

You will also find a selection of art galleries and shops selling candies, silver, and handicrafts made by the locals.

Tequisquiapan is part of Querétaro’s Ruta de Vino (Wine Route).

This town holds a wine and cheese fair every year. The event takes place in late May and early June for 3 weekends only.

More information can be found here: Wine and Cheese Festival

Aanta María de la Asunción Temple
Aanta María de la Asunción Temple

Day 5: Day trip – Opal Mine Excursion

Point F – This is a pet-friendly activity that everyone will enjoy!

Opal Mining Excursion Tesquisquiapan - Pet Friendly tour
Héctor Montes Opal Mine Excursion in Tesquisquiapan

Now, this is an excursion that you won’t find often… a trip to find opals from an old mine.

This excursion near is the town of Tequisquiapan.

 The “main guy” for the opal mine excursion is Héctor Montes.

His excursion business is less than 30 minutes from the center of Tequisquiapan, Querétaro in the small town of Trinidad.

You can purchase tickets directly from their office.

More information on Héctor Montes Opal Mine pet-friendly excursion here.

Day 6: Visit Bernal – Pueblo Mágico

Point F – It is a lovely little town famous for the monolith

Bernal is about a 45-minute drive from Tequisquiapan, Querétaro.

bernal queretaro

Bernal was founded in 1642 by Spanish soldier Alonso Cabrera. The indigenous called it Ma’hando – the place of boulders.

Bernal is known for its enormous monolith, a massive rock called “Peña de Bernal”.

It is the third-highest monolith on the planet. It is stunning to see in person!

When we went to Bernal we  arrived early in the morning and were very hungry.

We stumbled upon a restaurant called “El Negrito”. When we approached, with the dogs in tow, they ushered us inside to a table.

Needless to say, I was delighted the restaurant was pet friendly.

El Negrito restaurant is located on the charming main plaza in Bernal.

The downtown plaza of Bernal has nice wide sidewalks for strolling along and visiting the many artisan shops.

The people of Bernal are very friendly. Bernal is a great day trip from Querétaro´s capitol or from Tequisquiapan.

Many folks who visit here climb the monolith. We did not. We walked around the main plaza and visited the artisan shops.

This is a great little road trip whether you are coming into or driving out of Mexico. Make sure to take some extra time to see the beautiful sights in Mexico!

What Places Would You Recommend Taking A Trip To With A Dog? 

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Harry howcroft Spencer

Myself, two Mexico rescue dogs, and a friend will cross the Columbia Bridge on March 20 and spend the first night at the Los Palmas! Then onto Puebla, Villahermosa and the yucatan.I am returning after a five year stay in Texas after 10 years 2008-2018. My lovely wife lost her battle to cancer 7 months ago. I can’t think of a better place to heal than wonderful Mexico. Loved your trip from columbia to Matahuala.


I crossed today at this same bridge from the US with my dog. As soon as I entered the building with my dog on leash, a security official told me in Spanish that dogs weren’t allowed inside and pointed to a sign on the door saying so. I unfortunately had to leave my dog in the car in the middle of the day but the whole process took about a half hour and I rushed out every 5 minutes to check on the dog which was fine. The dog was in the car with me during the inspection and they… Read more »

Charlie Cuest

Hi and thank you for your post and documenting your Laredo border crossing experience. I had a question for you I hope you can help and answer. I am about to make the trip because I’m moving to Mexico with my dog. Did you travel with crates for your dogs for crossing the border inspection? Or did you just had them on a leash inside the car? I’m worried of how much space the crates take between our luggage and the size of the car.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charlie Cuest
Charlie Cuest

Thank you for your quick answer. this gives me so much peace of mind, worst case they send me back to get one in Laredo and I can try again.