Arriving By Bus To Potrero Chico
If you are looking for something cheaper than flying and less stressful than driving, taking a bus to Potrero Chico is a good option. It definitely can be much more cost effective if you are traveling alone or with just one other person. Sometimes flying to a city in Texas and then busing in can overall be cheaper than an international flight to Monterrey. If opting for the Texas transfer, be sure to check on the cost of the transfer from airport to bus station – if arriving at night getting a taxi can be costly.
Taking the bus to Potrero Chico is a little less recommended for those without any Spanish – Mexico’s bus system can be poorly marked and largely based on local knowledge. You will most likely find yourself the only non-Mexican onboard; when crossing the border the instructions will all be in Spanish. Being able to ask fellow passengers and the driver for confirmation of your directions is a plus. Taking the bus is an authentic experience.
Arriving From the United States
Greyhound is a popular bus line and provided very regular and reliable service between the U.S. and Mexico. They typically use the partner company “Autobuses Americanos” for inter-Mexico travel, but book the tickets and make the arrangements for you. You can buy your tickets ahead of time online and pick them up at the office or have them mailed to you. A recent (2011) round trip itinerary from San Antonio to Monterrey using Greyhound totalled $70.
When the bus arrives at the US/Mexico border all passengers will be given a chance to get off and purchase tourist visas as needed. The bus will then be subjected to the same traffic light treatment as passenger cars: depending on the red/green results of a stop light, the bus will be able to pass or will first have to be searched by border officials.
You may have to transfer buses once you have crossed the border in Mexico. With Greyhound passengers are dropped off at a bus station in Nuevo Laredo and a Mexican-owned company completes the rest of your journey to Monterrey.
Monterrey’s Bus Station
The Monterrey central bus station (“Central De Autobuses”) is the largest in northern Mexico and can take you anywhere in Mexico. It is also connected by subway to the rest of the city of Monterrey.
After arriving at the Monterrey bus station from the U.S. you will need to purchase a cheap regional bus ticket to Hidalgo. Go to the front of the station to the crowded hall full of eager ticket vendors. You need to buy a ticket to Hidalgo in Nuevo León via Mina. The bus line you want is appropriately named “Mina” and their desk is on the far left of the hall, as pictured here. Tickets cost about 26 pesos (2011) and leave every hour. This ticket works for both the direct line and the indirect line – both take you to Hidalgo but the direct route is obviously much faster and skips stopping at all the towns along the way.
Hidalgo’s Bus Station
The bus will take you to the Hidalgo’s bus station in the central plaza. Once there you can hike to Potrero Chico on foot or opt for the local, unregulated taxis. The hike will take you less than an hour and is often sped up by hitchhiking once you are on the main hill to the Potrero. The taxis will run you about 70 pesos and are advantageous for stopping at the grocery store along the way.