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Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is part of the macroregion of Bajío. It is in a narrow valley, which makes its streets narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides. Many of the city’s thoroughfares are partially or fully underground. The historic center has numerous small plazas and colonial-era mansions, churches and civil constructions built using pink or green sandstone.
The origin and growth of Guanajuato resulted from the discovery of minerals in the mountains surrounding it. The mines were so rich that the city was one of the most influential during the colonial period. One of the mines, La Valenciana, accounted for two-thirds of the world’s silver production at the height of its production.
The city is home to the Mummy Museum, which contains naturally mummified bodies that were found in the municipal cemetery between the mid 19th and 20th centuries. It is also home to the Festival Internacional Cervantino, which invites artists and performers from all over the world as well as Mexico. Guanajuato was the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence between insurgent and royalist troops at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. The city was named a World Heritage Site in 1988.
|POPULATION :||• Municipality 171,709|
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone CST (UTC−6)|
• Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
|AREA :||• Municipality 996.74 km2 (384.84 sq mi)|
• Urban 72.54 km2 (28.01 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||2,000 m (6,600 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||21°01′04″N 101°15′24″W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|AREA CODE :||473|
|POSTAL CODE :||36000|
|DIALING CODE :|
Guanajuato is a city in central Mexico and is the Capital city of the state bearing the same name. It is 390 km (about 250 miles) northwest of Mexico City. The name of the city means "Place of Frogs" in the local indigenous language and therefore the frog is the city's official pet.
Guanajuato is a beautiful mountain colonial town. Many tourists and locals consider this city to be the most beautiful in Mexico. It used to be a major silver mining town, and many of the mines are still active. The city is built on very hilly ground, so virtually every point in the city is on a slant. The city has a network of underground tunnels that serve as roads making this place really unique in the world.
Unlike other Mexican cities that have an exact date of foundation, Guanajuato was the result of miner camping sites after silver veins were discovered between 1540 and 1558 and that eventually lead to a larger settlement. In 1558 a big silver vein was discovered in Guanajuato and produced nearly a third of all silver in the world by the next 250 years. The city was granted its city status in 1741 by Spanish King Philip V. Mining brought wealth to this town that spread towards its architecture and lifestyle.
The historic town of Guanajuato and adjacent mines were granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1987 and has been ranked by several travel magazines as one of the top travel destinations in the world.
Tourist Information Office
In the pre-Hispanic era, the Bajio saw the most human development due to the fertility of the soil and the presence of surface water for agriculture. The oldest group to inhabit the area were the people now known as the Chupícuarios, who dominated the center of the Bajío area and were active between 800 BCE and 300 CE. Their largest city is now the site called Chupícuaro, and their influence was widespread being found in the modern states of Zacatecas, Querétaro, Colima,Nayarit, Hidalgo, State of Mexico, Michoacán and Guerrero. Chupícuaro cities were associated with the Toltec city of Tula and when this city fell, these agricultural cities of Guanajuato also went into decline. This and a prolonged drought cause these cities to be abandoned between the 10th and 11th centuries with only the Guamares left ethnically.
Then Chichimeca and other nomadic groups entered the area. These nomadic indigenous groups are generically referred to as Chichimeca, but in reality they were a variety of ethnicities such as the Guachichiles, Pames and Zacatecos. These groups were warlike, semi nomadic and did not practice significant agriculture, nor did they construct cities. Part of the state was also inhabited by the Otomi but they were mostly displaced or dominated by the Purépecha in the southwest and the Chichimeca in other parts. By the 16th century, most of Mesoamerica was dominated by either the Aztec Empire or Purépecha Empire, but Guanajuato was under the control of neither. It was on the northern border of the Purépecha Empire with southern Guanajuato showing significant cultural influence in the southern valleys, and Aztecs had ventured into the area looking for minerals. However, most of the state was dominated by various Chichimeca tribes as part of what the Spanish would call the "Gran Chichimeca." These Chichimeca were mostly nomadic with some scattered agricultural communities, mostly in the north.
As Guanajuato marks the beginning of the arid north of Mexico, at first relatively few Spanish came to settle as opposed to points south, where rainfall and indigenous labor was in much greater supply. The first Spanish expedition to arrive to the Guanajuato area was led by Cristóbal de Olid in 1522 which arrived to the Yuririhapúndaro and Pénjamo areas. The discovery of silver and gold in the area of the city of Guanajuato spurred Spanish settlement of the area in the 1520s and 1530s. When the Spanish did arrive, native tribes retreated to the most inaccessible areas of the Bajío and mountains ranges in the state, resisting the invaders, attacking settlements and travelers along the routes that connected Spanish settlements and mining camps. Unlike the more settled indigenous peoples, the Spanish were unable to force the natives of this area to work and brought African slaves and indigenous peoples from other areas to work the haciendas and mines. The colonization efforts in the eastern part of the state began in 1542 when Spanish land grants were issued for the Apaseo and Chamácuaro areas. In 1555, San Miguel el Grande was founded to protect roads linking mining camps and cities with Mexico City. The Villa de León was founded in 1576 to counterattacks by the indigenous peoples. But through the first centuries of the colonial period, the city of Guanajuato dominated because of its mines. The official name of the state is Guanajuato, Estado Libre y Soberano (Guanajuato, Free and Sovereign State). "Guanajuato" comes from Purépecha Quanaxhuato, which has been translated as both "place of frogs" and "places of many hills." The coat of arms of the state is that of the city of Guanajuato which was granted by Carlos I of Spain.
In 1590, the Villa de San Luis de la Paz was founded named after the peace (paz) treaty between the Spanish and the Chichimeca. With the Spanish occupying most of the most productive land and its resources, the indigenous of the area became extremely impoverished. This eventually allowed the Spanish to negotiate peace with chiefs in exchange for basic goods such as blankets, clothes and food. This would bring temporary truces. For the long term, evangelization efforts would bring longer term submission. Franciscans and Augustinians worked to gradually modify the worldview of the Chichimecas and others until many moved out of the mountains and into settlements and profess, at least nominally, the Catholic faith. However, the indigenous remained extremely marginalized and poor, losing both language and culture until most eventually intermarried with outsiders to produce mestizos. Through the colonial period, most of the area's wealth came from mining, with much of the agriculture springing up to support the mining communities. The height of mining came in the 18th century, mostly from the mines in the hills around the city of Guanajuato, leading to the construction of a large number of notable civil and religious buildings in the same area. The Bajío area was extremely fertile and became a major agricultural area for New Spain. Both of these activities brought in more Spanish and Criollos to take advantage, as well as mestizos and some African slaves to work the mines and fields, making the area's population grow rapidly and eventually concentrate in urban centers. The area was made an "indentencia" or province in 1786, when New Spain was divided into twelve parts.
Independence and 19th century
Despite the riches the area produced, most lived in oppression and poverty at the end of the 18th century, working on haciendas and in mines while a few, mostly European-born Spaniards, lived in opulence. Not only the indigenous, mestizo and Negro slaves were having problems with the social order. Many Criollos or New World-born Spanish were marginalized by the Spain-born. One of the first rebellions against colonial rule came in 1766, when a group attacked the Caja Real in Guanajauto city to protest high taxes. In 1767, there were protests against the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Spanish Crown. These were put down with extreme force, but they spurred conspiracies, and groups organizing against colonial rule, especially in San Miguel el Grande and León.
Numerous plans were made, but few were carried out or had impact until 1809. In that year, a group consisting of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, Miguel Domínguez and more, began to plan an armed revolt against the colonial government. In 1810, the plot was discovered and Hidalgo decided to put their plans into action in September instead of the planned date in December. On 15 September, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declared the Grito de Dolores in the town of Dolores (Hidalgo). Hidalgo, accompanies by Ignacio Allende, left Dolores with about 800 men, half of whom were on horseback. Just through sheer numbers, Hidalgo's army had some early victories, going through the economically important and densely populated province of Guanajuato. One of Hidalgo's first stops was at the Sanctuary of Atotonilco. There, Hidalgo affixed an image of the Virgin to a lance to adopt it as his banner. He then inscribed the following slogans to his troops’ flags: "Long live religion! Long live our most Holy Mother of Guadalupe! Long live Ferdinand VII! Long live America and death to bad government!" The extent and the intensity of the movement took viceregal authorities by surprise. San Miguel and Celaya were captured with little resistance. On 21 September 1810, Hidalgo was proclaimed general and supreme commander after arriving to Celaya. At this point, Hidalgo's army numbered about 50,000. However, because of the lack of military discipline, the insurgents soon fell into robbing, looting and ransacking the towns they were capturing. On 28 September 1810, Hidalgo arrived to the city of Guanajuato. The town's Spanish and Criollo populations took refuge in the heavily fortified Alhóndiga de Granaditas granary defended by Quartermaster Riaños. The insurgents overwhelmed the defenses in two days and killed an estimated 400 - 600 men, women and children. Fighting associated with the War of Independence would return near the end of the conflict. Military commanders Luis de Cortázar and Anastasio Bustamante joined forces with Agustín de Iturbide and took the city of Guanajuato on 8 July 1821, declaring the entire state independent of Spanish rule. In 1824, Guanajuato was officially proclaimed a state of Mexico by the Constitutional Congress of Mexico.
The years after the end of the War of Independence were extremely unstable, and would continue to be unstable through most of the rest of the 19th century. Dolores and San Miguel adopted the names of Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel de Allende in honor of those who began the independence movement and in 1826, the first constitution of the state of Guanajuato was adopted. Like much of the rest of the country, Guanajuato was affected by the prolonged fighting between Liberal and Conservative factions as well as the foreign incursions that dominated the 19th century. Guanajuato's status vacillated between state (when Liberals were in charge) and department (when Conservatives held the upper hand). Under Liberal ideals, educational institutions such as the Colegio de la Santisima Trinidad and the Colegio de la Purisima Concepción were secularized and under control of the State. In 1847, General Gabriel Valencia raised an army of 6,000 men to fight the U.S. invasion of Mexico. In 1848, in opposition to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, General Marian Paredes, General Manuel Doblado and priest Celedonio Dómeco de Jarauta revolted, taking the state capital, but they were defeated and Domeco was executed by firing squad. In 1855, Conservative Manuel Doblado, then the governor of Guanajuato, forced Juan Álvarez out of the presidency after he took power from Antonio López de Santa Anna. In 1858, the government under President Benito Juárez moved from Mexico City to the city of Guanajuato before moving again to Manzanillo and then Veracruz during the Reform War. During this three-year period, the state would vacillate various times between the Liberals and Conservatives. In 1863, it was taken over by the French as they installed Maximilian I as emperor of Mexico. Maximillian did not reign long but the governor he appointed for Guanajuato, Florencio Antillón remained in Guanajuato until 1877.
Mexican Revolution to the present
The situation stabilized over much of the government of Porfirio Díaz at the end of the 19th century and the economy improved, but the Diaz government was oppressive. Diaz installed Francisco Mena as governor of the state, who made a fortune through the concession of railway lines which were being built to modernize the country. Even though slavery was officially abolished during the War of Independence, most laborers in farms and mines were extremely underpaid and in a number of cases not paid at all. Agricultural production reached a peak at the end of the 19th century, earning the state the nickname of the "granary of the Republic." Industrialization took hold in cities such as León, Salvatierra, Celaya and San Francisco del Rincón, making shoes, textiles and hats. One battle of the Mexican Revolution occurred in Celaya in 1915 between the troops of Álvaro Obregón and Francisco Villa. Many from the state fought and died in other parts of Mexico, leaving behind widows and children. After the war, the large landholdings were broken up and land redistributed into ejidos, or commonly held land, which benefitted many rural families.
After the end of the Mexican Revolution, fighting in Mexico continues with the Cristero War. Fighting related to this was most prominent in Pénjamo and León, but occurred in other areas as well. In 1946, an uprising against the government by a group called the Sinarquistas occurred in Leon. However, most of the state was peaceful most of the time, allowing the economy to recover. This was especially true of the agricultural sector, producing wheat, corn, sorghum, alfalfa, strawberries in Irapuato and goats in various parts. Goat milk cajeta candy from Celaya is known in most of Mexico. The first Festival Internacional Cervantino occurred in 1972. In the 1980s, two of the state's cities, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende were declared World Heritage Sites.
Today, the Bajio is one of the major grain producing regions in Mexico. The Guanajuato congress has asked for help against the theft of religious art in the state, which has the third highest incidence of such. One of the major occurrences was the theft of the gold crown of the Black Christ of Salamanca in 2010. The celebration of Mexico's Bicentennial was particularly important to the state as initial events of the War in Independence occurred here. The state set up a Bicentennial Route to encourage visitors to the cities associated with Miguel Hidalgo's first campaigns. The state held a marathon from San Miguel Allende to Dolores Hidalgo for the Bicentennial with Omar Luna winning with a time of 2h23m14s. The state sponsored the Expo Bicentenario 2010 from 17 July to 20 November just outside the capital city. The site was marked by a giant Mexican flag flying alongside older historic flags, including a replica of the standard with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe that Miguel Hidalgo carried as the insurgent banner. The Expo was housed in a series of pavilions which demonstrated the Mexican culture, history, traditions and customs. There were also pavilions hosted by various Latin American countries who also celebrated their Bicentennials around the same time.
Two climates predominate. One is fairly hot and dominates in the south and southeast portions of the municipality. The other is temperate and dominates the rest of the territory, including the city. In the warmer areas, temperatures can reach as high as 36 °C (97 °F) in the summer and in the coldest area can get as low as 3 °C (37 °F) in the winter. Average temperature overall is 18.5 °C (65.3 °F) with an average annual precipitation of between 600 to 840 mm (23.6 to 33.1 in) Most rain falls during the rainy season between July and August.
|Daily highs (°C)||22.3||24.1||27.1||29.4||30.6||28.7||26.9||26.8||26.1||25.5||24.2||22.6|
|Nightly lows (°C)||6.9||7.9||9.7||12.2||14.0||14.7||14.1||14.1||13.8||11.7||9.0||7.5|
Guanajuato is located in the center of Mexico, north-west of Mexico City, bordering the states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Querétaro and Jalisco. It covers an area of 30,589 km² and is ranked 20th out of 31 states. It has an average altitude of 2,015 meters (6,611 ft) above sea level, with its territory divided among three of Mexico's physical regions, the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Mexican Plateau and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The Sierra Madre Oriental in Guanajuato consists of the Sierra Gorda and the Sierra del Azafrán in the northeast. The Mexican Plateau extends through the center of the state. Within, it subdivides into various regions parted by low-lying mountain chains such as the Sierra de la Cuatralba and the Sierra de Cubo. The Trans Mexican Volcanic Belt crosses the state in the south and includes the Bajío area, the Altos de Jalisco and the valleys area in the far south. The state is crossed by several mountain ranges which have mountains between 2,300 and 3,000 meters high. Mountain ranges average 2,305 meters and flat areas lie at around 1,725 meters above mean sea level. The other important mountain ranges include the Sierra Gorda to the north, the Sierra de Guanjuato in the southeast, the Comanja in the northwest and the Codorniz in the east.
As the seat of a municipality, the city of Guanajuato is the local government for over 373 communities, which cover an area of 996.74 square kilometres (384.84 square miles). The total population of the municipality is 153,364, with about half (70,798) living in the city proper. This municipality is in Region I in the northeast of the state. It borders the municipalities of San Felipe, Dolores Hidalgo, Salamanca,Irapuato, Silao and León.
Prices in Guanajuato
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.10|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$8.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$22.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$30.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$44.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$4.40|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$2.70|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.25|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$6.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$7.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.15|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$2.75|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$1.40|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$45.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$35.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$68.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$0.28|
34 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
115 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Aeropuerto Internacional del Bajío (Bajio International Airport)(IATA: BJX) is the major airport for Guanauato state serving Guanajuato, Irapuato, Leon & Silao. The airport is located at Km. 5.5 along the Carretera Silao-León (Hwy 45), half way between Leon & Silao in the Silao municipality and is 48km northwest of Guanjuato City. If booking a ticket or researching the fare on an airline or an aggregate site be sure to look for "Leon" or "Leon/Bajio" instead of "Guanajuato" as you will not find it under "Guanajuato". Most flights offered are domestic and limited international services to/from the U.S. Scheduled flights are available with:
- AeroCalafia to San Jose del Cabo
- Aeromexico & Aeromexico Connect to Mexico City, Monterrey & Tijuana
- American Eagle to Dallas Ft Worth.
- Delta Connection to Atlanta & Los Angeles
- Interjet Mexico City, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta & Tijuana
- MagniCharters Cancun
- TAR Cd Juarez (via Torreon); Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta
- United Express to Houston & Los Angeles
- Viva Aerobus to Cancun, Cd Juarez & Monterrey
- Volaris to Cancún, Mexico City and Tijuana
Alternatively if you're flying from Europe, Canada, Carribbean or South America you can fly through Mexico City located 319km to the SE and take a bus or a flight from there. Primera Plus operates direct buses from Mexico City's airport to Queretaro where passengers transfer to another bus to continue to Guanajuato City or to San Miguel de Allende.
Bus service in Mexico is quite reliable and comfortable. Before the recent start-up of several low cost air carriers, Bus was the main mean of transport across Mexico. Several lines serve Guanajuato including Primera plus. Buses have air conditioning (except some "economy" ones), and often show movies and have refreshments.
You can take a taxi (~$45 MXN) or local bus (Centro-Central, $5 MXN) in the city to the bus station (Central de Autobuses) to catch a bus to San Miguel de Allende (1 hour), Guadalajara (3 hours), Mexico City Norte (5 hours), Celaya,Morelia, Querétaro, Zacatecas and other locations. The main bus station is southwestern part of town, at Km 7 of the Carretera de Cuota Silao-Guanajuato (Hwy 110D) in Colonia Ejido la yerbabuena. The following bus lines offer services into and out of Guanajuato:
- Greup Estrella Blanca, 52 55 5729-0807, toll-free: 800-507-5500. They also operate the Americanos, Elite, Elite Plus, Oriente, Chihuahuanese, TNS (Transportes Norte de Sonora) and the Pacifico brands.
- ETN (Enlances Terrestre Nacionales); Turistar, , toll-free: 0800 8000-386.
- Primera Plus, Blvd. Hilario Medina 202; Col. Killian 1ª sección C.P.37260 León, Gto., , toll-free: 800 375-75-87". The major bus line for the region which also include the Coordinados and the Flecha Armarilla lines for travel in the state and to adjacent states.
- Omnibus de Mexico, , toll-free: 01 800 765-36-66. Also include the Noreste and the Omnibus Plus brands.
Transportation - Get Around
One of the unique features of the city is its extensive tunnel network. The first tunnels were constructed during the Spanish colonial period to for flood control, with additional tunnels built in the late 1800s. After dam construction was completed in the 1960s, many tunnels were converted to roadways to speed up car traffic. The most recent tunnel was built around 1990.
Many of the city buses run along the tunnels and is safe to take them in the special underground stops. Walking in the tunnels near Centro (downtown) is also safe. If you're driving, take into account that the tunnels are one way only, so taking the wrong tunnel may result in making a big tour around all the city.
- El Barretero Runs west-east, southeast of the city and connecting the neighborhood near Presa de la Olla.
- La Galereña Runs north-south, south of the city and is an exit of the city.
- El Minero Runs east-west, in Centro.
- Tunel Noroeste Ponciano Aguilar Runs east to west, northeast of the city.
- Tunel de los Angeles Runs west to east, south of the city and is an exit of the city.
- Santa Fe Runs east to west, northwest of the city.
- Miguel Hidalgo The longest of all tunnels. Runs west to east, across the city.
- Tamazuca The only two-way tunnel and the shortest also. Runs north to south and vice versa, west of the city.
Guanajuato is not very big and you can walk to most places, so a car is really not necessary.
Buses, called urbanos, are operated by theSistema Coordinado de Transporte de Guanajuato, and run from 07:00-22:00 daily for a flat rate of $5 MXN (single ride, no transfer). There is no schedule or route map; destinations are marked or painted on the windshield. In general buses heading from east to west travel above ground along Avenida Benito Juarez, while buses heading in the opposite direction travel underground in Túnel Miguel Hidalgo. A number of stairways descending from the street lead to underground bus stops and are safe to use.
A taxi to any destination within central Guanajuato should cost about $35-40 MXN. Taxis do not use meters and the price should be confirmed first.
By tourist trolley
A trolley-like bus makes sightseeing tours of the city departing from Plaza de la Paz in the Centro, next to the Basilica of our Lady of Guanajuato. The rides lasts 1.5 hours and costs $50 MXN. There is a tour guide in Spanish only. Is a great way to know the city.
Driving a car is not the best way to get to know Guanajuato; however, if you plan to get in and out of the city then you will need to use the underground roads or tunnels. Make sure to park your car in your hotel, as most offer free shuttle to the city; otherwise, park your car in a lot (estacionamiento).
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
- Mercado Hidalgo, Juarez Street and Mendizabal. A two-story indoor market selling from touristy stuff (handcrafts, souvenirs, etc.) to groceries (food, confectionery and clothing). It is said the structure of this market was originally intended to be a train station in Antwerpen, Belgium, but it was brought to Guanajuato by President Porfirio Díaz and completed in 1910, shortly before the start of the Mexican Revolution. The façade of this building is made of pink quarry and boasts a tower.
- El Cubilete, Avenida Juárez 188 (across from Comercial Mexicana), . This is your one-stop store for confectionery, established in 1955. It sells all sorts of local sweets, including such specialties like 'Charamuscas', figures made of caramel resembling the mummies. Try also 'Cajeta', similar to Dulce de Leche but made of goat's milk.
- Mercado Embajadoras, Embajadoras 26. If you are looking for ripped-off CDs, go this place on a Saturday, and there are some tents set up there.
- DelSol, Avenida Juárez 125, . Daily 09:00-21:30. If you need to get all your basics at once, check out this place which is similar to a Wal-Mart.
- Comercial Mexicana, Avenida Juárez 131 (three blocks from the Alhondiga), . Daily 08:00-22:00. A branch of the Mexican hypermarket chain that sells everything from basic groceries to TVs and some clothing.
- Plaza Pozuelos, , e-mail:[email protected]. A modern shopping mall with a few international chain stores.
- Mega Comercial Mexicana (La Mega), Plaza Pozuelos, . Another larger branch of the hypermarket chain.
- If you are looking more for handmade crafts and more touristy stuff, take a bus to San Miguel de Allende, about an hour away from Guanajuato. There is a large open-air artisan market there.
- If you'd like to purchase handmade ceramics, take the roughly one-hour bus ride to Dolores Hidalgo.
In Guanajuato the local dish is 'miner's enchiladas' (enchiladas mineras), served almost everywhere.
- Antik Café, Del Baratillo 16(near Jardín Unión), , e-mail:[email protected]. M-F 07:30-12:00, Sa-Su 09:00-02:00.They have bagels, Mexican food, coffee drinks and teas. It is not expensive and it has its own bar. They often have live music at night.
- La Bohemia Restaurant-Bar, Jardín de la Unión 4, . Daily 08:30-23:00. Small, traditional café serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Popular with residents and visitors. Main dishes $70-110 MXN.
- Café Tal, Temescuitate 4, . Daily 08:00-24:00. Coffee, tea, a mixed foreign and Mexican crowd, and high speed wireless internet access. It's between 5-10 minutes from Teatro Juarez up the main street towards the baseball stadium, just up the street from Bar Fly. The owner, an American expat, plays French horn in the city orchestra. Although it serves some distinctly Mexican drinks and snacks, it also has a much wider selection of tea and coffee drinks familiar to Americans and difficult to find in GTO. (Tea is pretty unsatisfactory in the city, not so here. And they understand the concept of iced tea.) They also have low cost international calling and tasty snacks. Before lunch, a bakery a few doors down has a wider selection of pastries and rolls.
- Las Cupulas Mexicanas, Cantarranas 43, . M-Sa 14:00-03:00, Su 14:00-15:00. If you are looking for some after-clubbing late-night/early morning food, try some of their delicious quesadillas.
- Delica Mitsu, Callejon de Cantaritos 37 (on an alley just off Plaza San Fernando), . M-Sa 12:00-21:00. Delica Mitsu serves up homemade Japanese Delicatessen "sozai", sushi rolls, grilled chicken, and more. Many of the dishes are made from vegetables only, so vegetarians will also feel at home at this tiny restaurant owned and operated by a sweet Japanese couple. Popular with tourists and locals, there are new items on the menu everyday which are sure to keep you coming back time and time again.
- Habibti Falafel, Sostenes Rocha 18 (in front of Bar Fly), . Daily 09:30-23:30. Fusion cafe offering vegetarian options. House-made chai, delicious coffee, muffins, and falafel. 25 pesos.
- Mestizo, Calle Pocitos 69 (near the Diego Rivera Museum), . T, S 13:30-22:00. Fabulous food at mid-range prices with a great atmosphere. A fine dining restaurant and art gallery combined. For 500 pesos it is possible to get 2 appetizers, 4 dinners, 2 glasses of wine and 2 sodas.
- Mexico Lindo y Sabroso, Paseo de La Presa 154, . M-Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 09:00-21:00. Serves classic Mexican dishes in a lovely terrace and courtyard. Mains $70-130 MXN.
- El Midi Bistró, Calle San José 4, 1st floor (Plaza San Fernando), , e-mail: [email protected]. W-M 12:30-24:00.Offers fantastic southern French lunch buffet featuring lots of marinated and glazed vegetables, salads and quiches, with food sold by weight and extremely affordable. Dinners feature a standard menu. Don't miss their delicious aguas frescas to accompany your meal.
- No name bar (near the Teatro Juarez). Serves burgers, bar food, and Mexican food at a good price. They have seating outside the bar in a nice courtyard. Beer is fairly cheap.
- Truco 7, Calle del Truco 7 (near the Jardín), , e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 08:30-23:00.Features Mexican food as well as American and at a decent price. They have tortilla soup, enchiladas, and hamburgers. They have excellent aguas frescas and milkshakes. Try the strawberry, it comes with cinnamon in it.
- Santo Café, Campanero 4 (a 5-minute walk from Teatro Juarez), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-Sa 10:00-23:00, Su 12:30-20:00. If you want cheap food and free internet access visit Santo Café which features a sweet little bridge upon which you can eat. The food here is very clean and you needn't worry about having fresh fruits or salads.
- El Zopilote Mojado, Plaza Mexíamora 51 (downtown), . The beautiful Plaza Mexíamora host this unique café, where you can find peaceful atmosphere with an excellent coffee, classical music, interesting books in English and Spanish, and delicious desserts and baguettes. A very Mexican place with an international taste.
Sights & Landmarks
- Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato (Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato), C/ Ponciano Aguilar 7, . Built from 1671 to 1696. Inside this church there is a 1000-year-old statue donated by Spanish King Charles I who tried to protect it from the Arab invasion in Spain.
- Church of the Company of Jesus (Templo de la Compañía de Jesús / Oratorio San Felipe Neri), Lascuráin de Retana s/n, . Daily 8:00-20:00. Built between 1747 and 1765.
- Templo de San Roque, Plazuela de San Roque.Opening hrs vary. Built in 1726, this was a Jesuit school in the latter half of the 18th century.
- Church of San Diego de Alcalá (Templo de San Diego Alcántara), Calle de Sopeña s/n, . Daily 08:00-20:00. This is the only surviving building from the original 17th-century convent, with a splendid rococo exterior.
- Saint Francis of Assisi Church (Templo de San Francisco), Manuel Doblado 15, . Daily 07:00-20:30.A former Franciscan convent, built between 1792-1828.
- Church of San Cayetano (Templo de la Valenciana / Templo de San Cayetano), Salida a Dolores Hidalgo s/n (5km north of the city center; take 'Valenciana' or 'Cristo Rey' bus from the bus stop at the corner of the Alhóndiga and Calle 28 de Septiembre), . Tu-Su 06:30-18:00. Built from 1765-1788 with funding from the rich silver mines, this is considered to be one of the best examples of Mexican Churrigueresque architecture. Particularly noteworthy are the finely-carved, elaborate altars covered in gold leaf.
- El Pípila, San Miguel hill (take the funicular (cable car) just behind Teatro Juarez). A 28-meter tall statue of an independence hero. Juan Jose Martinez, or also known as El Pípila, was a legendary hero who wore a stone slab on his back to protect himself while burning the Spanish troops holed up in the Alhóndiga, or granary, in September 1810. The view is beautiful, particularly at night.Free.
- Teatro Juárez, Sopena S/N(Jardin de la Union), . The architecture of this theater is part Neoclassical and part Moorish, making it a really beautiful building. Inaugurated in 1903 by President Porfirio Díaz.
- Jardín de la Unión. This space was originally the atrium for a 17th-century convent, of which the Templo de San Diego is the sole surviving building. It now functions as the central plaza, and always has a lot of things going on, day and night. There are a number of restaurants surrounding the garden, and in the afternoons and evening there free concerts are often given from the central gazebo.
- Teatro Principal.
- Callejon del Beso (Alley of the Kiss) (downtown next to Plaza de los Angeles). Two balconies separated by only 69 centimeters is home of an old love legend. For a few pennies some children will tell you the story.
- Alhóndiga de Granaditas (Guanajuato Regional Museum), Mendizábal 6, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. T-Sa 10:00-14:00, 16:00-18:00; Su 10:00-15:00. This building is where the independence revolutionaries burned the Spanish troops, and now houses a museum devoted to the history of the region, as well as an important photographic library. MXP $49 (adults), free (students/teachers/seniors/children under 13).
- Escuela Normal Oficial de Guanajuato, De La Presa. Teacher's school.
- Palacio Legislativo (Congreso del Estado de Guanajuato), Plaza de la Paz (near Basilica of our lady of Guanajuato). This building was originally the city hall. It was built in 1903 and inaugurated by President Porfirio Díaz.
- Plaza del Baratillo.
- Plaza de la Paz.
- Plaza de San Fernando.
- Presa de la Olla (Dam of La Olla). Built in 1749 to supply fresh water to the town. In this place you can rent a little boat. There's also a park and a great statue of Miguel Hidalgo casted in Italy also inaugurated by President Porfirio Díaz in the early 1900s. This area is very tranquil and quiet to have a break.
- Universidad de Guanajuato, Calzada de Guadalupe. There is a 3-4 story series of steps that lead up to an auditorium, offering good views over the colonial city.
- Mina de San Juan de Rayas, Panorámica Carretera panorámica s/n, Mellado. The first mine of Guanajuato, discovered in 1550.
- Mina de Cata.
- Mina el Nopal, Panorámica San Javier s/n, San Javier, .
- Mina de Valenciana. The richest mine in Guanajuato still in operation today. It supplied enough silver to sponsor the Spanish Empire and its colonies.
Museums & Galleries
- Museum of the Mummies(Museo de las Momias), Explanada del Panteón Municipal S/N, . M-Th 09:00-18:00, F-Su 09:00-18:30. A must if you're in Guanajuato. In 1910, due to the overcrowding of the local graveyard, the authorities were forced to exhume several bodies and when they did that they found the bodies had turned into mummies rather than fully decomposing. After that they founded this really strange and unique museum. $55 MXN (adults), $36 MXN (students, teachers, children 6-12), $17 MXN (seniors, Guanajuato residents), $6 MXN (disabled); $20 MXN (camera fee).
- Museo Casa Diego Rivera, Positos 47, . Tu-Sa 10:00-18:30, Su 10:00-14:30. The birthplace of Diego Rivera, a well-preserved traditional Mexican residence. Be sure to check out the collections of his simple, socialist-inspired works. $15 MXN (adults), $5 MXN (students).
- Don Quixote Iconographic Museum (Museo Iconografico del Quijote), Manuel Doblado 2 (near the Plaza de la Paz and Teatro Juarez), , e-mail: [email protected].Tu-Sa 09:30-18:45, Su 12:00-18:45. Small, but very well done. $30 MXN (adults), $10 MXN (students, children under 13), free on Tuesdays.
- House of Legends (Casa de las Leyendas), Subida del Molino y Panorámica s/n (on San Miguel Hill by the uppermost funicular station), . Daily 11:00-18:00. $40 MXN (adults).
- Casa de Tía Aura, Paseo de La Presa 62, , e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 11:00-18:00. Sort of house of horrors that's sweet in its corniness. Inside this house a woman was buried alive inside the walls. The tour is conducted (appropriately enough) in Spanish and will be difficult to understand for those not fairly fluent, though the sights are self-explanatory and the gasps and screams comprehensible in any language.
- Museum of the Town of Guanajuato (Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato), Positos 7, , fax: . Tu-Sa 10:00-19:00, Su 10:00-15:00. $15 MXN (adults), $5 MXN (students).
- Casa Museo Gene Byron, Calle Real de Marfil s/n, Marfil (Ex Hacienda de Santa Ana), , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Sa 10:00-15:00, last admission 14:30. From 1962 to 1987 this was the home of Canadian artist Gene Byron. $30 MXN (adults), $15 MXN (students), free (children under 12), free on Mondays.
- Museum of the Holy Inquisition (Hacienda del Cochero Galeras de la Inquisición), Antiguo Camino a Valenciana s/n (behind the Hotel Villa de la Plata), , e-mail: [email protected].Daily 10:00-19:00. Features torture instruments.
- Marian Gallery Collegiate Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato(Galeria Mariana), Ponciano Aguilar 7 (Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato), .
- Mineralogy Museum Eduardo Villaseñor Söhl (Museo de Mineralogía Eduardo Villaseñor Söhle), Ex-Hacienda San Matías S/N, Departamento de Ingeniería en Minas (Faculty of Mining, Metallurgy and Geology in the University of Guanajuato), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. One of the richest collection of minerals in the world. Ex-hacienda de San Matias.
- Ex-convent Museum Dieguino (Museo Dieguino), Bajos Templo de San Diego S/N (N side of the Templo de San Diego), , e-mail: [email protected]. Tu-Sa 10:00-18:30, Su 10:00-14:30. The underground excavated remains of the original 17th-century cloister, of which the Templo de San Diego is the surviving remnant today. Occasionally photography and art exhibits are also hosted in this space. $12 MXN; free (children under 7).
- Alfredo Dugès Natural History Museum (Museo Alfredo Dugès), Lascuráin de Retana 5 (main building of the University of Guanajuato).
Things to do
Sport and outdoor activities
- Centro Acuático en Macrocentro, Carretera Guanajuato-Dolores Hidalgo Km 2.5 (2.5 km N of the city center; take the 'Valenciana' bus from the stop at the corner of the Alhóndiga and Calle 28 de Septiembre), . M-Sa 06:00-21:00. Facilities include an indoor Olympic-sized pool and a diving pool, as well as an on-site gym. Multiple swim: 8 visits $345 MXN; 12 visits $460 MXN; single swim not available to travelers. One-time registration fee of $150 MXN.
- World Rally Championship, , e-mail:[email protected]. March. Guanajuato and nearby León host the Mexican round of the World Rally Championship.
- Pipila Funicular (Funicular Panorámico) (station is just behind the Teatro Juárez). M-F 08:00-21:50, Sa 09:00-21:00, Su 10:00-21:00. Ride the funicular to the top of the mountain where the statue of the "Pipila" is located. No pets, no bicycles. Single journey/round trip $18/36 MXN (adults), $8/16 MXN (concessions/Guanajuato residents/children 4-11).
- Climb to the top of the mountain that overlooks Guanajuato. There's a trail that goes to the top- look for the signs to Pipila. It takes at most 1/2 hour to get to the top and there is an amazing view of the city.
- There are nice tracks to exercise for example Nieto Pina located going towards the Pipila from los Mineros.
Festivals and events
- Semana Santa (Holy Week). The week preceding Easter, usually March or April. Easter is considered to be the most important religious holiday here, and commences with celebrations honoring Viernes de Dolores(Our Lady of Sorrows) on the final Friday of Lent. During the following week special altars are built and displayed in churches, public plazas, and in shops and homes. On Viernes Santo (Good Friday) at midday the Passion of the Christ is reenacted in front of the basilica, and in the evening the Procesíon de Silencio (Silent Procession) winds through the streets. Many tourists visit from other parts of Mexico at this time, and room rates are generally double.
- Festival Medieval de Guanajuato, Parque Medieval de Rayas (near the Mina de Rayas), , e-mail:[email protected]. Late April. An annual event since 2005, this festival celebrates music, dance, and art from the 5th to 15th centuries, with participants hailing from across Mexico.
- Festival Internacional de Órgano de Guanajuato Guillermo Pinto Reyes (Guillermo Pinto Reyes International Organ Festival). Mid-May.Named in honor of Mexican organist and composer Guillermo Reyes Pinto, this annual festival celebrates the city's many historic church organs, some of which date to the 16th and 17th centuries. Distinguished Mexican and international musicians are invited to perform, and all concerts are free to the public. The festival is organized by the Guanajuato Ministry of Culture; updated information is available at the Tourist Office. Free.
- Expresión de Corto, , fax: .Last week of July. An annual short film festival, co-hosted by the nearby city of San Miguel de Allende. Hundreds of films from nearly all genres are screened in venues including the Teatro Principal and movie theaters, as well as in alternative settings including the city cemetery. Most films are subtitled in Spanish and English. Free.
- Festival Internacional Cervantino (Cervantino), Venues throughout the city. Mid-October to early November. This annual festival began as a series of weekly informal Cervantes comedy performances, and since then has grown to become one of Guanajuato's most celebrated events. The festival has a full program including theater, dance, and musical performances, and attracts both Mexican and international artists. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster or at the box office of Teatro Juarez, while outdoor performances in the plazas are free to the public. The exact dates and schedule for the festival are set in June; prices for hotel rooms generally double during this time.
The nightlife is very active in Guanajuato, especially on weekends. Look for people passing out flyers during the day for drink specials and sometimes free drink coupons. If you walk around the city center, you'll find plenty to do – music spills out of the bars and clubs into the streets and many establishments have outdoor areas.
To start the night off, stop by one of the little cafes in the Jardín, for dinner and drinks and mariachi band ambiance. It is a great place to people watch. And definitely try Sol – a popular Mexican beer similar to Corona.
- Alcatraz (near the Jardín). Has great drink specials and a great atmosphere with many locals.
- El Bar. A salsa bar across the street from Teatro Juarez. It offers salsa lessons every night 19:00-22:00. It plays mostly salsa and merengue all night and often has salsa shows.
- Bar Fly, Sostenes Rocha 30, . Has a younger crowd. The staff is friendly and gets to know their customers. There is reggae music as well as lamp shades made out of solo cups. A definite must-see. If you are young and female, the staff will flirt unabashedly, but they're harmless and worth getting to know. If they know you are in Mexico to learn Spanish (whether you tell them or your teacher does) they won't speak English to you at all.
- Cantina La Botellita, Jardín de la Unión 2, .Known for having giant, delicious margaritas and good food. They also do 2 for 1 drinks on Tuesdays, but if you're a girl, or at least with a girl, you pretty much get 2 for 1 drinks all the time.
- Capitolio Nightclub, Plaza de la Paz 62, .
- Don Olé Karaoke (across the street from Teatro Juarez). Try out your Spanish, but don't worry, they have songs in English too.
- Famoso Bar Incendio, Calle Cantarranas s/n (just in front of Teatro Principal). M-Sa 10:00-23:00. A typical Mexican cantina, one of the oldest in Guanajuato. Lately they have a students environment. They are famous for their mezcales.
- Guanajuato Grill, Calle de Alonso 4, . T, Th-Sa 10:30-05:00. Another favorite of locals and tourists. It is even bigger than Capitolio and boasts two levels. It is always packed on weekends, with the same type of crowd as Capitolio. Although it plays similar music to what you hear in Capitolio, it tends to play more electronic and techno music. It also offers great drink specials, especially on bottles.
- La Havana. A salsa bar that attracts a more local, late-night crowd.
- No name bar (behind El Teatro Juarez). Features good music, friendly bartenders and good drinks at night and a great laid-back atmosphere to sip a beer outside and plan your day in Guanajuato during the day.
- Why Not?. Another chill bar that plays unique latino indie-rock and reggae. It's a good place to hang out and play pool. The bartenders are very sociable and entertaining. Why Not is open later than Bar Fly and is often the after hours destination of the Bar Fly crowd and staff.
- Zilch, Jardín de la Unión 4, . M-Sa 20:00-04:00.A great bar in the Jardín Unión, they have live music from Wednesday to Saturday. Great prices, great environment, awesome terrace, great service, pool table! They serve snacks 19:00-22:00.
- El Zopilote Mojado, Plaza Mexíamora 51 (downtown), .
Safety in Guanajuato
Guanajuato is a really safe city – police are always around, and people are very friendly to tourists. Most of the city is safe during daylight hours, and as long as you stay in the downtown area, walking around alone or in small groups at night is safe as well. (Anyplace you'd want to go out at night is downtown.) The rougher neighborhoods are on the slopes of the eastern side of the city, as well as in the vicinity of the Pípila monument. Generally the city is far safer than the average American college campus and doesn't have much crime directed at tourists.
There is however one caveat: do not ever go running or walking around the Panorámica (the beautiful road around the edge of the city in the mountains) in the evening or early mornings. Many rapes, assaults, and muggings of foreigners have occurred in this area and some of the victims were out running with friends. Groups of men may be OK, but even several women together will not be safe. It is, however, safe to run in the city in the early mornings and there are a number of gyms where you can pay by the class. (Several of the foreign exchange programs have apartments on or near the Panorámica and those houses often have large parties. In the populated areas it's fine at all hours, but since it's a loop with a nice view of the city, many foreigners decide to run around it at dawn and parts of it are much more isolated.)