Published: April 17th 2012April 4th 2012
Obviously a city in Mexico comes with some preconceptions from a typical person's point of view. Some might expect it to be dirty, completely unsafe, and in shambles. To be honest, the city we visited was one of the most beautiful places we've been to. Guanajuato is a hidden gem in central Mexico. It’s architecture, churches, squares, and allies are very charming making it feel more like an old European city. The entire downtown colonial area is a UN World Heritage site, which is a prestigious status to have, yet it deserves it. The city itself means, “Places of Frogs” and is situated in a valley. The heights here add to the awesome panoramic views of the colored buildings. I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s as if time stopped and you are stepping back into the 18th
century. Guanajuato is a place that you have to step foot into to truly grasp its rich history. It’s a very social, accessible, and affordable city with surprises around every corner.
Here is a recap of some of our favorite finds:
La Casa De Dante: All we can say is "WOW" talk about hospitality. This place defines what a hostel should be.
Most hostels provide you with some stale toast and some butter if you're lucky for breakfast. Not this place. You get a full breakfast cousin, provided by the mother of Dante. Not only is the breakfast hearty and yummy, but it's all local food and fruits that teach you a lot about the local food. The hostel was impeccable, had multiple stories, and a terrace roof-top view that was to die for. The hostel was clean, safe, and has to be one of the best hostels around. Boy, that's a bold statement, but this place sure deserves it.
El Pipila Monument: After arriving in Guanajuato we headed to the monument, we had to take in the great views at night. The monument sits above the Jardin de Union and takes a funicular to reach the top. The Jardin is the center of town and the pulse of the city. Everyone gathers in this area and hangs out in the streets. The night view from this vantage point was awesome! You can not only see the statue but also all the churches and monuments illuminated. Pipila is known as a revolutionary hero in Guanajuato. He is the miner who courageously
managed to burn down the door of the Alhóndiga fortress in the first battle of the Mexican movement for independence. We stayed about 30 minutes, snapped a few photos, and then were off.
Dia de Las Flores: Celebrated the Friday before Good Friday everyone honors the Virgin de Dolores with alters and many many flowers. Starting the night before vendors set up shop and sell flowers while everyone eats and dances the night away. Most discotheques are by reservations only but we were lucky enough to find “el grill” which we got into relatively easy. It was amazing! Two stories with a balcony overlooking the dance floor below. Hanging vines with flowers gave it a local festive flavor. There were dj’s spinning every type of music everything from Calvin Harris to local beats. It was better than being in Vegas at a quarter of the price.
Café Tal: Easily passed up by most tourist due to its small location and hidden entrance. I could have gone here every day. It’s simplicity and quiet atmosphere make it a relaxing spot to rest your feet and conversate with locals. Due to the heat I had to try the “Frapetal” recommended
by a local patron. It was just the right refreshment with a burst of coffee. They even had a cat in the shop known as Tal. It’s ambiance was unforgettable.
San Miguel de Allende: We spent a full day in San Miguel de Allende wandering around. It was an elevated version of Guanajuato, but not nearly as untouched. After seeing the Parroquia the main church in the town square we strolled down to the artisans market. We looked at stalls selling artwork and local crafts and purchased two ceramic frogs. We continued to explore the town throughout the rest of the day, there’s nothing like getting lost in the streets in order to feel the presence of the city. We also visited El Churro and Juarez Park before grabbing an early dinner at a wonderful restaurant in front of the main square. After eating our waiter recommended we try a coffee/alcoholic drink. It was a unique drink that tasted very similar to an Irish Carbomb and it was hands down the favorite drink of the trip.
Rosewood Hotel: It’s ironic looking back on it now how we stumbled upon this place. I remember it like this: months before
our trip we were at ihop one Sunday morning when I opened the newspaper to see this great blub on San Miguel de Allende. Knowing that we were headed to Guanajuato it was destined that we check this roof top lounge out. The picture in the paper of course was impeccable. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect based on the article. It could’ve been hyped up, perfectly staged just for an article but they definitely delivered. Luna was a perfect balance of tranquil lounge and refined design. And we did just that lounged, took in the wonderful 360 degree views, and drank cocktails. Tequila tasting was next and a must. Never have we had such smooth tequila shots flawlessly accompanied with a pairing to make it all go down.
Overall, the trip surpassed and exceeded our wildest expectations. There are some places in the world where you feel like you are living in another era. This is one of those places. Before our trip, we reviewed some photos and videos online, and thought to ourselves "this looks like a great place." But when you actually arrive and walk around the city and smell the air, it's only then
that you truly understand how beautiful the city is. It's an amazing city with amazing people. Ironically enough it's amazingly close but just very unfortunate that the average person in North America has no idea this place exists. We are lucky human beings to have visited such a unique place in our lives.
There are more photos below