48 Hour Guide: Guanajuato
Guanajuato is the cutest Mexican town that you've haven't heard about yet! I stumbled upon a photo from a Mexican friend of mine of this tiny, colonial town in the middle of the country and changed my itinerary last minute to include it in my trip. I'm so glad I did, cause it ended up being the most colorful city I've ever seen, and perhaps the most charming as well! I've put together a 48 hour guide from what I learned about this magical city.
How to get there: Guanajuato is serviced by Del Bajío International Airport (BJX), which is a 30 minute - 1 hour drive from Guanajuato town depending on traffic. This international airport services flights from US cities like Houston, Detroit, and Los Angeles, and also is well-connected by air to Mexican cities across the country. We flew direct from Cancun which only took a short 45 minutes! Uber and/or taxis are both available at the airport, and run about $17 to get to your accommodation in the city center.
Where to stay: Guanajuato is a relatively small town so choosing the perfect location is not a major factor in planning a trip here. Try to base yourself close to La Basilica Guanajuato, a centrally located bright yellow church. Alternatively, we stayed up higher on a small mountain overlooking the city, next to the famous viewpoint (mirador) Pipila. The downside was that every time we wanted to go to town, we had to walk up/down 15 minutes of brutal stairs (I'm still sore a couple days later), but the upside were the simply spectacular views of this beautiful, colorful city below.
Things to do:
1. WANDER! Guanajuato is one of those cities that is so stinkin' lovely to just get lost, following the different colors of the buildings left and right, to and fro. Every couple blocks lay a new vibrant plaza ready to be discovered, usually full of people, street performers, and those yummy authentic Mexican restaurants that we all love so much. We dedicated a full 2 days to getting lost among the mesmerizing city streets, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed if you do the same.
2. Visit La Callejon del Beso (The Alley of the Kiss), a very narrow street/alleyway with a real kicker of a story. It's well known for somewhat of a tragic love affair between a well-to-do Spaniard named Ana and a laborer/miner named Carlos who lived on opposite sides of this tiny little street. Ana's father vehemently opposed their relationship and forbid Ana to kiss Carlos again or he would kill Carlos. They were, of course, in love and continued to kiss, which eventually led Carlos to commit suicide before Ana's father could kill him himself. Legend has it that couples who visit Guanajuato who kiss on the famed step will have 7 years of good luck!
3. Another must visit is Guanajuato's very own mummy museum, Museo de Las Momias. I was shocked to learn that this small town in central Mexico was home to over 100 mummies, but it's true, and it's definitely a must-see! Apparently, the super dry air of the Guanajuato region can naturally mummify bodies that have been interred to rest. The particular mummies on display at the museum were believed to have passed from a cholera outbreak in the early 17th century. They're definitely not as old as the mummies I saw in Egypt, but it was still a highly intriguing morning at the museum that I recommend to all visitors who like to see a dose of freaky/dark stuff while traveling.
4. Last but not least, before you leave Guanajuato don't miss the epic viewpoint from the Pipila statue. From central Guanajuato, ascend the stairs - either route yourself with Google Maps to Pipila statue to find them, or ask around for 'las escaleras para subir.' After about 15 a minute climb, and you'll be rewarded with an elevated viewpoint of the entire city in all its colorful glory. It's a great place to grab an ice cream or a journal or a beer and just soak up the incredible views in front of you, full of just about every comprehensible color on the spectrum. It was really hard to rip my eyes away from that view when it was time to leave!
If I were you I'd hurry up and make it to Guanajuato ASAP before it's cuteness puts it at the top of the tourism radar! I hope you enjoyed this 48 hour guide.