Guanajuato... the City of Frogs... the City of COLOR! When I visited Guanajauto as a stop on my Contiki Mexico Grande tour, I never believed I would fall in love with the first city stop. Guanajuato is definitely my favorite Mexican city and for good reason. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated in the heartland of Bajio of Mexico, and used to a be silver mining city. It has gorgeous colonial architecture, and is surrounded by the beautiful Sierra de Guanajuato mountains. It is called the place of frogs because the mountains were said to resemble frogs when people first moved to the area. It is the city of color because many of the beautiful colonial buildings are painted in all the colors of the rainbow.
On our day in Guanajuato, we were dropped of by coach just outside the city center, close to the frog structures in the first picture above. Why? The coach is too big to get through the majority of the streets in Guanajuato. There are many tiny narrow streets in the city of Guanajuato, especially the historic center where we visited. Underneath the city, is a maze of tunnels that helps regulate the traffic. What I loved about this city was how old it really felt. Colorful old colonial, Baroque and Neo-classical style buildings, and many, many little VW beetles roaming the streets. On our night out, we came across a little VW beetle show down. About twenty of them parked near to the club we were going to, all modified and supped up with loud music systems blaring through the streets. Many of us were nearly run over by these little guys as we walked through the little alleyways.
Located at the Plaza de la Paz, is the beautiful red and yellow Cathedral Basilica Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato, or in English, Our Lady of Guanajuato Basilica. The building was constructed in the 1600's and even amongst all the colored buildings of the city, it stands out. Surrounding the Plaza de la Paz are quaint little cafes and restaurants. I really wish we had more time to spend in Guanajuato. We had lunch, my first proper lunch in Mexico, under the red umbrellas in the picture below, opposite the Basilica.
Our walking tour continued through the city, and I wish I had been able to pay more attention. I was so busy taking photos, as you can see!
One of the stops on our tour of Guanajuato was the Callejon del Beso. The legend of El Callejon del Beso: Ana was a rich Spaniard who lived on the left side of the street, and Carlos, a poor miner who would rent the house on the right. One night the father surprised the young lovers, when he found them kissing across the balconies of the houses. The father warned his daughter, "If I see you kissing that man again, I will kill you." The next night, the father saw them again and killed his daughter. Now, it is said that all the couples in love who visit this site should kiss on the third step, which is painted red, to avoid seven years of bad luck. The two balconies are separated by only 69 centimeters.
Things to do in Guanajuato
Take a waLking tour through the streets of Guanajuato (like we did)
Visit the Lady of Guanajuato Basilica
Tour Diego Rivera (Frida's husband)
Ride the Funicular Cable car to see Guanajuato from above
Wander around the Mercado Hildalgo
Explore the Alhóndiga de Granaditas (art and history museum)
Visit the Mummy Museum
Visit Monumento to El Pipila above the city of Guanajuato
Kiss your sweetheart for good luck in the Callejon de beso
Visit the Church of San Diego
If there is one city that you should visit in Mexico, which doesn't get as much publicity as it should, it is Guanajuato. It is a beautiful and fun destination especially if you love color and history like me. Guanajuato is also an important part of Mexican history, in that is was one of the central locations for fighting for Mexican independence from Spain, along with the nearby town of Dolores Hildago. Do yourself a favor and go explore Guanajuato!
Have you been to Mexico or Guanajuato? What did you like about it? Or not like about it! Have you visited any other World Heritage sites before? Tell me in the comment section below :)