Where to Eat and Drink in Hermosillo, Mexico
A few weeks ago, I started counting the years since I've visited my hometown of Hermosillo. After removing my socks so the counting may continue, and hitting the very high number of 10 fingers and 7 toes, I was glad to have toes to spare, but I panicked at my increasing age and resolved to stop the counting right then and there.
Minerva Rincon A food tour of Hermosillo, Mexico.
Hermosillo is only a six-hour drive away, but it's a drive that easily can get much, much longer due to the border crossing. I decided instead to opt for the hour-long flight to my hometown. At $569, the direct AeroMexico flight isn't cheap, but a small price to pay for skipping a chaotic border crossing in Nogales.
Flight, hotel, and rental car booked -- and passport in hand and stomach rumbling -- it was time to head to the birthplace of Minervaland and eat. And eat and eat and eat and eat.
Some practical notes for visiting Hermosillo: If you're planning on renting a car, be sure to show up at the airport with a reservation. Rental agencies do not have a large surplus of rental cars on hand at the airport, as they do in the United States. If you do reserve a car in advance, do not bother buying rental insurance online. The insurance will not be valid, and you will be forced to purchase an additional insurance policy from your car rental agency anyway.
And a fun note on driving in Hermosillo: Traffic there does not reward the timid, either as a driver or as a pedestrian. Be prepared to recall your teenage driving bravado and launch yourself carefully yet recklessly onto oncoming traffic. Or be prepared to wait.
Other practical information: ATMs in Hermosillo have lines longer than an American post office on Tax Day, and I would highly recommend taking advantage of the much shorter line at the airport. Stick to Banamex ATMs, as the national bank has much lower withdrawal fees than private or other international banks do.
As for accommodations, I stayed at the very affordable ($58/night) and clean Hotel Colonial located within walking distance of the historic center of Hermosillo, with only three minor glitches: a rock-hard mattress, a raging quinceañera on Saturday night lasting until 2 or 3 in the morning, and awful coffee. For other hotel options, check out ibis Hermosillo and Araiza Hermosillo.
Friday afternoon was spent circling the historic center of Hermosillo, poking around the Plaza Zaragoza, home to the cathedral, the city and state of Sonora's government palaces, both adorned with colorful murals and open to public viewing, and a 19th-century Florentine kiosk. This is the only bit of Hermosillo that seems to have remained the same over time, and on any given evening it is teeming with families and a variety of food vendors.
With no small bills in my pocket, I decided to skip the street food, choosing instead to have dinner at Bonifacio's barra-gourmet. With a supper-club-meets-hacienda interior and a cool tree-shaded courtyard, I first experienced a great deal of sadness at seeing the extensive and somewhat Americanized menu and then a great deal of joy at tasting it. Guacamole on the menu at a white-tablecloth restaurant in Mexico? Guacamole would never have been on a menu even at the most casual of joins in the past. Free chips and salsa brought to the table? What?!? What country am I in? This wouldn't have been out of place in a pozoleria in Mexico City, but in Hermosillo, never! Fuming now, though pacified with a bottle of Indio beer and its beautiful gilded label, I settled on seafood for my dinner. Sonora is well-known for good beef, but it is also well known for fantastic seafood. Being only an hour away from the Sea of Cortez means that Hermosillo has a huge selection of seafood restaurants, especially for a hot desert city.