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Guanajuato, Not Your Usual Magical City

Most experienced travelers think that they know

Mexico and everything it has to offer. However, perceptions are often limited to the coastal areas, or Mexico City. Yet, Mexico is a large country that offers travelers an array of vacation experiences.

 

For those travelers looking for destination that is steeped in history and culture, yet is also a modern, friendly, vibrant, and still relevant they need to look no further than Guanajuato, Mexico.

 

The city of Guanajuato historic city center was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Founded by Spain in the mid-16th century, the city became one of the richest gold and silver mining centers in the world. Once home to 17 operating precious metal mines, the area still has a couple of operational
silver mines.

 

This city’s beauty is defined by its narrow streets, colorful houses, and ornate churches. The city’s architecture is a blend of colonial and baroque styles and is known for its beautiful buildings and monuments.

 

Sites and Stories
A defining feature of the city is the University of Guanajuato. The school began as a Jesuit school for children in the first half of the 18th century – today this institution services over 30,000 students and is renowned for everyone’s favorite university program…tourism. As with university towns the world over, the university creates a vibrant nightlife and street scene that travelers will love.

 

The lhóndiga de Granaditas is a symbol of the Mexican War of Independence. It was originally built as a grain storehouse, but it was later used as a fortress by the Spanish army. Today, it is home to a museum that showcases the history of the Mexican War of Independence.

 

It’s historical importance is that it was the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence between insurgents and royalist troops on September 28, 1810. When the insurgent army approached the city, royalist troops and the city’s elite took refuge in the building. The insurgents quickly surrounded the building, but the building proved difficult to penetrate due to the lack of openings and royalist gunfire. The battle remained a stalemate until a miner devised a way to approach the building’s main entrance. This miner, Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, is better known as El Pipila. El Pípila strapped a large flat stone over his back and, carrying a flask of tar and a torch, crawled towards the main entrance. The stone protected him from the bullets fired at him. When he reached the heavy wooden door of the entrance, he smeared it with tar and lit it. This led to the insurgents first victory of the war.

 

To commemorate this event, Guanajuato built a monument to El Pipila on one of the hills overlooking the city. The stone monument features a muscular man, holding aloft a flaming torch, towers on a hill at the edge of the city. The torch that he carries is known as “the torch of liberty”. Visitors can ride on a funicular to and from the monument. From the foot of the monument, visitors have a fantastic view of the whole city of Guanajuato.

 

Something that truly sets the city apart from others are the Tunnels of Guanajuato. This amazing network of subterranean streets and alleys were originally built to handle occasional flooding from the Guanajuato River. After the construction of a dam to control the river, the tunnels were repurposed as roadways, for both cars and pedestrians, to alleviate the congested surface streets.

 

For those romantic travelers, the Callejón del Beso is a narrow alleyway that is famous for its tragic love story. According to legend, two young lovers were forbidden to see each other by their families. They would meet secretly on opposite balconies of the alleyway and kiss. Visitors can climb the stairs to the third step and secure their eternal love with a kiss.

 

For art lovers the city features the Diego Rivera Museum and Home: This museum is dedicated to the life and work of Diego Rivera, one of Mexico’s most famous mural artists.
While the above are just some of the many things visitors can do in Guanajuato, a good travel advisor obviously wants to know about accommodations and how it to get clients there?

 

To have the full-on Guanajuato experience guests should try and stay within walking distance of the historic city center, in one of the many 4 to 5 star boutique hotel properties. These properties generally vary in size from about 20 rooms to about 40 rooms, many with onsite spas and rooftop restaurants, generally well under $150.00 per night. Examples would include properties such as Antigua Trece (https://antiguatrece.com), Quinta Las Acacias (www.quintalasacacias.com) and Corazon Mexicano (www.hotelsone.com).

 

Transportation to Guanajuato is easy with frequent flights from most major gateways to León/Bajio International Airport (BJX), about 30 minutes away from the city center. Carriers serving BJX are Aeromexico, American, United, Viva Aerobus, and Volaris. For more information, visit: https://visitmexico.com/eng/guanajuato-2

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