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Enchanting Guanajuato: A Fascinating Blend of History and Art

A few people recommended Guanajuato to me, so I decided to visit while I had the chance. Little did I know that it would be such an interesting place. Guanajuato is a fantastic city for backpacking in Mexico and definitely a must-visit.

Getting Here was a Calamity

Thanks to the fact that the bus took an excessive 2 and a half hours just to get from Tequila to the bus terminal in Guadalajara. I didn’t have time to get my bus which was at 6PM and I was feeling super frustrated. Then I had to get to the other bus terminal on the other side of the city. There were not any more services heading to Guanajuato that day. The alternative meant I had take a bus to León which is a nearby city. However, I had to still find a way to get to Guanajuato.

Furthermore, the departure was at 7:30PM, however the bus did not arrive until an hour after. When I thought I was leaving Guadalajara on the motorway, it was taking a while. This was because the driver took a break right after for dinner and it was insanely tedious.

I eventually arrived at León at about 11:30PM. I realised at the bus station, there were no busses that could take me where I wanted to go. That meant I had to take a taxi and agreed with a driver he’d take me there for 800 pesos. Once I had arrived in Guanajuato, the driver ditched me even though I explained very clearly where I wanted to go. He was extremely incompetent and left me at the bus terminal.

I had to take another taxi from a driver at the bus terminal. The drivers hanging around had a discussion about where I wanted to go. I am seriously baffled about how these drivers seem to be allergic to Google Maps, it takes literally seconds to use Google Maps.

Staying in Cactus Hostel Guanajuato

Thankfully, the guy who owns the hostel went out of his way to let me in. By the time I got to the hostel, it was 1AM and was so exhausted that I headed straight to my bed.

I give the owner of this place respect as he let me into the hostel in the middle of the night. I’d honestly say this was one of the best places I stayed in when it came to comfort during my trip through Latin America. Not only that, I was able to have breakfast for free in the hostel kitchen.

Taking in the Views of Guanajuato

One of the most sought after spots in Guanajuato overlooks some incredible views of the different areas of the city. This place has a statue of a folkloric legend known as El Pipila. Walking over to this part means that you will have to walk up some steep staircases and narrow streets. Guanajuato can be characterised with these kinds of streets, feeling like Naples.

The viewpoint
The steep streets of Guanajuato

The Old Train Station of Guanajuato

In modern times, railways in Mexico are a thing of the past. The train station in Guanajuato is just a tourist attraction nowadays. There is an old break van which is now on display with some street art. Nonetheless, this place gives me a feeling of frustration as transport in Mexico is an absolute mess.

The Mummies Museum

One of the most talked about places in Guanajuato among my Mexican friends is this museum in which remains of the dead are on display. I got a discount for showing my La Salle card so I only paid £2 for admission.

The reason why this museum is exists is because there was an outbreak of cholera in 1833 which naturally mummified these bodies. The bodies were all sent to one place in a rush in order to stop cholera from spreading. This place is engrossing as it is not everyday that you can look at such preserved corpses. There are over 100 dead bodies on display, although the museum feels quite small. A visit will not take more than 40 minutes and it is not for the faint of heart.

Making Myself Eat Mexican Food Again

After succumbing to Montezuma’s revenge a month before, it seriously put me off consuming any more Mexican food. During my time in Guadalajara, I avoided having any sort of Mexican food. However, when I looked for something to eat here in Guanajuato, I thought I’d just have a torta. Later that day, had some tacos with horchata and which was alright.

Paying a Visit to Diego Rivera’s

Before coming here, I did not realise that one of Mexico’s most famous painters was born in Guanajuato. This was the very house which Diego Rivera was born and is now a small art gallery. Admission is about £2 which is worth it and it takes about 30 minutes to get a good look at everything.

Museo Palacio de los Poderes

For £1, you can visit this museum which is the former legislative building of the state government. It takes less than 15 minutes to get a good look and it’s interesting to look at the preservation of the rooms that have been kept in its original condition.

Guanajuato’s Connection to Don Quijote

Even though Don Quijote was written by a Spanish guy and is set in Spain, there seemed to have been some sort in connection to Guanajuato. There is a statue of him in the centre of the city and there is a museum known as the museum of Don Quijote iconography. Using my La Salle card, the admission was 10 pesos or less than 50p and I spent about 40 minutes in this museum. There was of course a lot of focus on Don Quijote and a lot of stuff related to the Spanish colonisation of Mexico.

Finding Real Japanese Food in the Middle of Mexico

While walking through Guanajuato in the evening, I stumbled upon Delica Mitsu Campanero a Japanese place in the middle of the city. This place really did feel authentic as it had those single row tables just like in the restaurants in Japan. Not only that, I was able to the Japanese-style fried chicken which is rarely found outside of Japan and a very decent ramen.

Is Guanajuato Worth a Visit?

`Guanajuato is definitely a place you should head over to, especially if you’re backpacking through Mexico for quite some time. I really enjoyed taking a look at the colourful neighbourhoods and it is one of the more pedestrian-focussed cities in the country.

If you enjoyed reading this, be sure to check out some of my other backpacking adventures:

Backpacking in Medellin

A visit to Tikal

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