Guanajuato (GTO) is a very interesting, historic city. There’s so much culture residing in this small town, it’s colonial, colorful, beautiful, quaint and bien mexicano! The city is full of twists and turns, it has a great vibe for sipping morning coffee and taking in the vibrant colors and enjoying magical evenings among the ghosts.
Getting to and around Guanajuato
The easiest way to get to GTO is to fly into the León airport in the state of Guanajuato. It’s about a 30 min drive or there’s options to take a taxi or a bus. Don’t rent a car! Once you get to GTO, most everything is within walking distance and it’s also easier to get around due to all the twists and turns previously mentioned..
As a tourist you definitely want to stay somewhere that is close to the centro so you can walk to everything. Definitely find a place with a view in order to get the best experience.
View from the top
We stayed in an AirBnb close to the Callejón del Beso and it was perfect! It was on a hill with a street too skinny for anything bigger than a small car. Needless today, our drop off van didn’t fit and we had to walk 4 blocks with our suitcases! As we huffed and puffed up the hill, there were Grandmas passing us carrying their groceries! But, you can’t beat the amazing views and the more simplistic lifestyle!
Relax, you made it, enjoy it!
Now that you’re settled in, get into the GTO vibe. Guanajuato is a laid back, slower paced kind of place. If you’re not used to that, get ready! But also, take the chance to slow down, sip your coffee or juice, just day dream while you wait for those delicious looking tacos :p, they will get to you!
Seriously though, if you need a place to unwind and don’t like the beach. This is the perfect place to slow down, enjoy every second of the day wandering around, getting lost and finding yourself again.
Exploring on foot
The best way to take to the city is by walking, the town is so colorful, clean and hilly. It has a ton of callejones which are like sidewalks, but they can go anywhere and everywhere. They don’t just follow the car streets, they go up into the hills, around neighborhoods and through town. Don’t rely on Google Maps to show you the fastest way and don’t be afraid to get lost.
If you’d rather not get lost exploring the callejones, you can take a guided musical tour called callejoneada in the evening where you follow a band dressed in traditional costumes of the seventeenth century who sing folklore songs of that time. They will weave you around the town while serenading you.
Start the morning right
We are the kind of travelers who do some research ahead of time to figure out a few things that are must dos, but we also enjoy wandering around and asking the locals where to eat and what to do.
Each morning we started off toward the centro in search of a good cafecito and some breakfast. Plaza San Fernando was usually the winner, it’s a nice spot to relax, eat some traditional Mexican food and sip on a café de la olla or fresh juice. After that we would walk toward a destination hoping to find others along the way.
Hot spots to check out
- Mercado Hidalgo is a great place to shop for souvenirs and grab some delicious traditional mexican food.
- Museum of Alhondiga de Granitas, also known as Albondiga (meatball). This used to be a granary, but was repurposed during the war for independence. Quite a bit of history packed into this building.
- Callejon del Beso / Kissing Alley comes with a tale similar to Romeo and Juliet. Kissing on the designated step is good luck!
- Mirador el Pipila is a lookout that you take a tram up to for the spectacular views. Here you can really see how colorful the city is! If you’d like to enjoy a beverage with a view, there’s a few places that offer this experience.
- University of Guanajuato is a beautiful building – you can pick it out in any photograph because of its unique architecture. You can also take a short tour.
- Teatro Juarez is one of the most elaborate theaters in Mexico and is a must see! It’s not in use as a theater any more, but used to be the thing to do back in the day. It’s very beautiful!
- Museo de Casa de Diego Rivera. Did you know that Diego’s full name is practically a paragraph!? If you’re a Diego fan, this is a must see. Not only is it the house that he lived in as a small child, it also displays his artwork through the years.
- Museo Iconográfico del Quijote. Of course Don Quijote is from Spain, but this museum was created by Eualio Ferrer Rodríguez, who was inspired by Don Quijote and collected works of art dedicated to him.
What about the baby?
Yes, we did take the baby who was 16 months at the time. Her favorite was chasing all the pigeons!
If you’re wondering if the city is baby friendly…well, it has it’s moments. I recommend a stroller since it’s a lot of walking, but definitely NOT a bulky one! It also can’t be cheap or it might fall apart being wheeled over cobblestone all day.