Visiting beautiful Guanajuato and Queretaro, Mexico – and how to lose 5 lbs in 2 days

guanajuato, Mexico header

Mexico is the place of names I can’t remember or pronounce. Guanajuato translates (from the indigenous Indian language in this area) as “hilly place of frogs”. It was the richest Mexican city in the 18th century because of the mining of silver in the hills surrounding the town. The approach to the historic center is really unique; cars have to go through the old, and quite long, mining tunnels to get into the old city.

It’s a very picturesque town to walk. It actually reminded me of Vernazza in Italy because of the winding stairs, colorful houses, and wonderful views. I had to pinch myself a few times to remember that I was actually in Mexico. And for such a small town there is an abundance of impressive churches and some very pretty plazas. Another thing that makes the town attractive is that many of the streets are closed off to car traffic; it makes for a great place to walk around (something Mexican cities are not known for).

Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato

colorful streets in Guanajuato, Mexico

streetlamps and colors in Guanajuato, Mexico

pig on a leash, Guanajuato, Mexico (1)

“Who you calling a pig? You’re the pig”.

pig on a leash, Guanajuato, Mexico (2)

colors in Guanajuato, Mexico

buildings in guanajuato, Mexico (1)

zocalo, Guanajuato, Mexico

church in guanajuato, mexico

 

There is a funicular in the center of town that goes up one of the hills. Below are some photos looking down on Guanajuato.

incredible views in guanajuato, Mexico (1)

incredible views in guanajuato, Mexico (2)

incredible views in guanajuato, Mexico (3)

incredible views in guanajuato, Mexico (4)
Most of these photos were taken on the first of three days in Guanajuato. I woke up in the middle of the first night cold, shaking, and feeling as if a Dementor had sucked the life out of me. For the most part of two days I stayed in my room with a bad case of the Crappuccinos. Tip: don’t eat salad in Mexico unless you desperately want to lose weight. What a stupid thing to do…

A few more photos:

views on the zocalo in guanajuato, Mexico (1)

Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato, Mexico

views on the zocalo in guanajuato, Mexico (2)
Below: a few more photos of gorgeous Guanajuato

buildings in guanajuato, Mexico (2)

beautiful colors in Guanajuato, Mexico

 

My mom and I stayed at Casa de la Luna (500 pesos/nt, about $41 including breakfast). The guesthouse has a few longterm guests studying Spanish at the university, we met a Korean student and a Canadian who were there for 3 months. Ana is like a mom and Lado loves to joke with the guests. A very nice place.

 

Queretaro

I told my mom that anyplace after Guanajuato would most likely be a disappointment in comparison. I was right.

Queretaro is a much bigger town and, like Guanajuato, has a Centro Historico that has been designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco. It has lots of pretty churches and some wonderful plazas. The town isn’t inundated by tourists and there are some good and affordable restaurants. It’s a nice town and is very walkable and, unlike Guanajuato, the terrain is flat in the Centro Historico. I didn’t fall in love with Queretaro – but that was only because I left my heart in Guanajuato.

views on queretaro, mexico

colorful street in queretaro, mexico

arches in Museo de Arte, Querétaro, Mexico  (1)

arches in Museo de Arte, Querétaro, Mexico  (2)

church in queretaro, mexico

showshine in queretaro, mexico

Hidalgo hotel, queretaro, mexico

We stayed at the Hidalgo Hotel (pictured above), right in the heart of town. Good value (450 pesos – about $40) with a very nice courtyard.

One of the reasons for staying a night in Queretaro was that it is the closest big town to Mexico City and the airport. The next day I said goodbye to my mom and took a bus directly from Queretaro to the airport for the trip home.

 

Summary

I became a fan of Mexico on this trip. If you look at the photos on this post and the previous ones on Mexico, you’d probably admit that it wasn’t what you would have expected of Mexico. I had misconceptions before coming here and the beauty of some of the towns in Central Mexico surprised me. I often felt I was somewhere in Europe.

The people were extremely nice, the Spanish easy to understand, the food good. You can travel cheaply and comfortably; the transportation infrastructure is excellent and there are lots of affordable hotels and guesthouses. I was nervous about Mexico City but I never ever felt any threat to my safety. The only negative was that I got sick to my stomach. I lost 5 lbs over 2 days on the “Mexican Shit Diet”. Believe me, that’s a lot of shit.  That seems to be pretty common though of travellers going to Mexico.

My mom retired in Thailand ten years ago but these days seems more keen on Mexico. I’ll probably be back here in the near future.

 

Related
Visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (and why it is not the best city in the world)
A visual tour of Mexico City (and why I was incredibly impressed)


For more on Mexico, visit our Destination Guide page HERE.

 

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Comments

  1. It looks very colonial! I’ve been through a lot of Mexico, not these towns, so places are as colorful as these towns and definitely colonial but almost abandoned.

    I am a huge fan of Mexico, it’s so huge and has sooo much to offer and see.
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted…Visiting NYC – Take a Cruise on the Circle Line in NYCMy Profile

    • Thanks Marina. You probably know Mexico better than I do! I was very impressed by everywhere we went and loved the cheap prices too!

  2. It looks pretty. Mexico is just one of those countries I really have no desire to go to. I’ve been across the border and that was enough for me.
    Jennifer recently posted…Grotto of Catullus and SirmioneMy Profile

    • The thing is that sometimes you never know. I felt the same way about Mexico but would go back anytime now. Great food and great people, very few tourists. Some of my biggest disappointments were in places that everyone “loves” (Costa Rica, Brazil, Greece). I like to go places where the tourist hordes haven’t been and the towns we visited in Mexico fit that bill.

  3. Looks like a fun trip!
    Cam @Traveling Canucks recently posted…On the Boardwalk: Scenes from Santa Monica to Venice BeachMy Profile

  4. Rossy Avila says:

    Hi guys, I’m glad you enjoyed México, I understand why you felt in love with Guanajuato ’cause to me is the most beautiful estate of México but, we have more nice places to go as Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla, etc, etc. I promise you gonna love them too.
    As a mexican can tell you “the border” have nothing to do with all the beauties México have to offer to tourists and, besides de paradisiac beaches (and I can tell you about it ’cause I’m from Acapulco) we have many colonial towns whit those great churches and cobblestone streets. The only recommendation (as you aready know) have to be careful where you eat ;-)
    Anyways, I feel good for you guys and if you ever visit Acapulco you can let me know and I’ll be more than happy to help you in case you need it or have a drink or coffe or whatever…take care and keep travelling and sharing your experiences with the world :D

    Rossy Avila :-)
    Acapulco, México.

    • Thank you very much Rossy for the comment. It’s funny you mention Oaxaca and Puebla – I’ll be going there in 6 weeks to visit my mom again! Look forward to some Mexican food, love it. I’ll just make sure not to eat any salads; nothing that’s not fried, boiled, or baked! :)
      I ever we go to Acapulco I’ll let you know. Thank you for the invitation, it’s always very nice when readers want to meet us – unfortunately we won’t be in Acapulco. Maybe one day! If so we’ll make sure to contact you.

  5. We fell in love with Guanajuato too! We’ve linked to our post on the Juarez Theater. Sorry you got ill, though. After Guanajuato, we visited San Miguel de Allende and Morelia, both lovely also, but Guanajuato’s museums, maze of tunnels, hilly pedestrian streets and classy colonial architecture captured our hearts.
    Sand IN My Suitcase recently posted…Which way to the Juarez Theater in Guanajuato?My Profile

    • Very good post you have on the Juarez Theater! I felt the same as you – Guanajuato’s crazy geography really stands out and we also loved the town. Beautiful place.

  6. We loved Guanajuato as well. We had only spent one day there but plan on returning again some time in the future. We are hoping to make it to Queretaro this winter. We love Mexico, it has stolen our heart and it is a place that we return to often. We definitely like being inland and in the mountains opposed to the beach.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Guanajuato is special and most people have never heard of it. San Miguel is nice – but Guanajuato is spectacular.
      Glad to hear that you are also big fans of Mexico. I’ll make sure to check out your blog.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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