Welcome to Guanajuato!
Many travelers often overlook this location, because of its better known neighbor, San Miguel de Allende. The UNESCO World Heritage city of Guanajuato is understandably considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Mexico. It doesn’t take long for travelers to fall in love with its picturesque but authentic city due to its corkscrewing streets, vivid mishmash of colors, elegant vibe, and youthful cultural scene.
Many people know of the popular sites and activities, a worldwide local, however, will experience the path less traveled. Enjoy an insiders look to some of Guanajuato’s hidden gems.
The City Origins
The Guanajuato city first grew up around a silver mine in the 16th century, and as a result, seems a little unplanned as a town! As the city prospered during the silver boom, it was just haphazardly built into the mountainside, with twisting narrow streets, meandering randomly up and down. As such, the best way to start your journey is by getting lost in the labyrinth of the historic Old Town, enjoying the Guanajuato weather. Turn off your phone, throw away your map, and simply enjoy discovering secrets around every corner (but make sure you know your way back to your Guanajuato hotel!)
Worldwide Local Tip: The Mercado Hidalgo is where Guanajuato locals go for everything they need, on a daily basis. You’ll find mouth-watering street food, and a huge range of stalls, selling everything under the sun, including some beautiful artisanal crafts.
Get Spooked by the Guanajuato Mummies
One of the biggest attractions in the city is the Mummy Museum, and for good reason, as it’s one of the spookiest places in Mexico. After dark, the mummies are rumored to weep and whisper to one another! Guanajuato has a whole host of other, excellent museums to discover, like Diego Rivera’s childhood home, and it’s well worth exploring.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Parador Turistico Sangre de Cristo is a fascinating site, just outside of town, and slightly off the traditional tourist trail. It also exhibits a selection of mummies from local churches, as well as some of the amazing local traditions around the Day of the Dead.
Culture in Guanajuato
The atmosphere in this buzzing city, is vibrant and youthful year-round, as you might expect from a university town, with 30,000 students. Filled with theaters and concert halls, the cultural scene is incredibly rich and culminates in the huge Festival Cervantino, held in October. Even if you miss the festival, taking in a show at the spectacular Teatro Juarez is a really nice treat.
Worldwide Local Tip: The city is famous for its callejones, or alleyways, and they form a huge part of the city’s party atmosphere! In a cultural hangover from Spanish colonial times, at night university students dress up as minstrels, and lead an all-singing, all-dancing tour down the town’s alleyways. Just turn up at El Jardin de la Union, at sunset to join in the fun.
Guanajuato Restaurants and Cuisine
Guanajuato is full of excellent, elegant restaurant options, such as Las Mercedes, but no trip to central Mexico would be complete without experiencing the local taco offerings. Guanajuato State is famous for its slow-cooked lamb barbacoa and creamy chicken tacos de nata, and you’ll find these in abundance on almost every street in the city center.
Worldwide Local Tip: The best local taco stands are in the Plaza de Los Angeles. Drop by as the sun sets, grab a bite, and sneak off to the Callejon del Beso to share a romantic moment with your inamorata.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Guanajuato remains off the international tourist trail, but its immense beauty, vibrant atmosphere, and rich culture make it a fantastic choice for any traveler looking to explore central Mexico. As a worldwide local you’ll find the city has much to offer.