Durango City Guide
OVERVIEW: Durango, Mexico. Best known for extreme cartel violence and as the filming location for many popular Western movies. The state is located in the northwest of the country, sandwiched between Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Zacatecas. As is the case with most northern states a large percentage of the population is of European descent, so don't be surprised to see some whiter looking folk around here.
POPULATION: 500,000 give or take, although it seems like much less.
WEATHER: Semi-arid (2o-30 °C). Can get very hot in the summer during the day but temperatures drop at night.
SAFETY: Durango has a reputation for nasty drug violence. A cab driver informed me that around 2007/2008 severed heads would occasionally be found downtown in high traffic areas and that the streets were deserted after sundown. However, things have improved in recent years. There are street performances on the weekend and the core is full of families enjoying themselves well into the night. I never felt the slightest hint of danger here. That being said, outside of the city it could be a different story.
MUST DO: I only had one day and two nights here, so I didn't get up to much. Half a day is more than enough to explore downtown. If you're into outdoor activities, there are many notable sights around the state, la Quebrada perhaps being the most notable. Apparently it puts the Grand Canyon to shame.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN DURANGO, MEXICO: It's cheap. Really cheap compared to Mexico City. Agencies were listing 2 bedroom houses for approximately $300 USD. Logically it would be even cheaper than that if you go directly through the owner. I'm thinking you could rent a small 1 bedroom apartment or house here for $200 USD or less.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT: There's one hostel (Durango Travellers Hostel) and dorm beds go for $10 USD. I stayed in a motel instead. There are plenty in the downtown core for $20 USD. Hotel Prince or Roma Hotel are good options.
NIGHTLIFE IN DURANGO MEXICO: 6/10
I went out twice in Durango. I wasn't really in the mood, but I had to do it. You know, for research. As you might expect there aren't a wealth of options. From what I could discern, you have 3 main choices: Prive, a somewhat fancy nightclub chain in Mexico, Xamicalli, a club downtown and Hangar, a bar/club located a short cab ride from the center.
I recommend: Hangar. A cool atmosphere - the inside is modelled after a plane...hence the name - with a more casual atmosphere than the two aforementioned spots (I visited both Hangar and Xamicalli while here. I've been to Prive in Leon and I'm not a huge fan).
BOTTLE OF BEER: $1.50
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN DURANGO: 6/10
Durango, Mexico is not a great place to come for meeting women. This being a rather small city, you're going to have several things working against you:
1) Many girls over 21 will be in a committed relationship or married
2) All girls live at home with their parents until they get married or leave for a bigger city
3) Logistics will kill you - few girls live downtown and will be forbidden from spending the night anywhere but their own bed (important to remember that this is a somewhat dangerous city so daughters will be kept on a tight leash)
4) Everybody knows everybody
As you might have figured, I didn't manage to hook-up here. I went to Hangar Bar with a 19-year old I met through Tinder (one of the 12 or so people who use the app here) but I toned it down once I got the sneaking suspicion she was probably more like 17. She also knew just about everyone in the bar.
***ONLINE DATING: If you want to meet girls in Mexico the easy way, I highly recommend signing up for Mexican Cupid. You can chat with local girls and set up dates before you arrive in the country, which is a major advantage.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN DURANGO?: 6.5/10.
Considering the size of the city, on the whole girls are rather decent looking here. Many are slightly taller, in better shape and have prettier faces than what you'd see in the south of the country. Unfortunately, many are too young. I'm assuming that the 20-somethings either go off to university in Culiacan, Guadalajara, DF, or Monterrey, or go there to find work. The one's that stay get married. This doesn't leave for easy hunting unless you have the balls to target high school girls in one of the country's most narco-ridden states.
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GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.00 Tortillas (1kg)= $0.80 Eggs= $1.10 Water (1.5L)= $0.80 Cigarettes= $3.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: The Sinaloa cartel might have an opening. Not likely to be advertised in the local paper though.
TAXI: Taxis are metered here, which was surprising. You won't pay more than $3.00 to get anywhere during the day. At night, you shouldn't pay more than $5.00.
NOTES: I have a soft spot for smaller Mexican cities, particularly in the north. Something about the wild west desert scenery and criminality excites me. That being said, I can't in good conscience recommend that a tourist goes out of his way to visit Durango. There's just not much here, and the chance of hooking-up is low. It's a fine place to spend a day on-route to elsewhere, but aside from that I'd give it a miss.
OVERALL RATING: 6/10
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