Guanajuato: Stepping Off the Beaten Track Central Mexico
The Country of Mexico offers countless alternatives for your time in the sun and its beauty spreads way beyond the world-famous Yucatan peninsula. While any typical idea of Mexico holidays usually involves hours spent sunbathing on white beaches and scuba-diving in the bluest seabeds, among the best destinations are also charming cities of the luxurious inland. Here lays Guanajuato, one of the most charming and underrated Mexican towns. Often overlooked in favor of the metropolitan wonders of Mexico City, this pearl of the center embodies all that’s picturesque about Mexico: narrow alleyways, vivid colors, a hilly background and mysterious sights.
Within a typical colonial style area, the city streets make room for hidden plazas and local traditions: the most famous of them is alive in Callejon del Beso, so narrow that balconies on both sides are separated only by a few centimeters. Tradition has it that couples kissing on the third step will have seven years of happiness, something to bear in mind if a visit to Guanajuato is part of your honeymoon. Nearby, Callejon de la Condesa gets its name from a Countess who would access her house only through this hidden street to avoid the inquisitive looks of the neighbors, quite judgmental towards her infidel husband. Away from the little streets often named with evocative nicknames such as “Enter if You Can”, the main attraction of the city is an eerie and fascinating one: the Mummies of Guanajuato are preserved in a museum near the municipal cemetery. Within the museum are 111 mummies disinterred between 1870 and 1958, which make for the largest collection in the western hemisphere. Relating directly to the many miners which are part of the collection, the mines that are spread across the city have also become a symbol of the area across the centuries: North of the city is La Valenciana, which once was the World’s biggest silver mine.
But the cultural present of Guanajuato is golden rather than silver: the proud of the city these days is the Festival Internacional Cervantino, which goes on for the best part of October and features hundreds of performers from the whole Latin America. This alone, perhaps, is the best reason to discover Guanauajato, one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets.