I spent a month in Guanajuato, in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands, this past spring. I loved it so much that I plan to spend a lot more time in the Highlands this next year. (In fact, I just bought a house here.) There’s so much to like about this region…
Guanajuato—like much of the Colonial Highlands—has four seasons, so I look forward to getting out fall and winter clothes. (The Yucatán, where I live now, is in the tropics, so we always wear summer clothes there.)
But you don’t have to go to extremes…in Guanajuato, a jacket in winter is usually all you need. And summers are hardly blistering; the city’s altitude (about 7,000 feet) keeps it fairly cool most of the day. In fact, you have to be careful to wear sun screen, since the cool temperatures mask how fierce the sun really is.
It’s also a great city to explore. With its Spanish-colonial buildings and its many little cobbled streets, Guanajuato has a romantic, Old-World grandeur to it. Every walk through the city is a discovery, as you stumble on little shops or out-of-the-way, flower-filled plazas. I love going to the markets every few days to buy fresh vegetables or to snack on a corn gordita—hot off the griddle and stuffed with chili, meat, and beans—prepared at one of the stalls. One of these gorditas—which costs less than a dollar—makes a filling breakfast or mid-morning snack.
Guanajuato’s central location is also perfect—you’re an easy drive from many centuries-old, Spanish-colonial cities. San Miguel de Allende, for instance, with its great handicraft shops and sophisticated restaurants, is little over an hour to the east. Querétaro, a prosperous metropolis with one of the most beautiful centros históricos I’ve seen, is just over two hours away. And there are many more… nearby Dolores Hidalgo, San Luís Potosí, the little spa town of Tequisquiapan, Morelia due south….
And there are plenty of airports to fly into. The El Bajío Airport at León, less than half an hour away, is the closest. But Guadalajara, with its international airport, is only three hours away, and Mexico City—home to the busiest airport in the country—is only four hours. With regular bus service available to all these cities, they’re all viable options for travel.
In fact, the only thing this area doesn’t have is the sea. But I can live with that. After all, the Pacific Coast is only a few hours’ drive away on excellent roads. And one of the closest resorts is also one of my favorites: Puerto Vallarta.
I definitely won’t be bored in the Colonial Highlands. The only challenge may be getting me away…
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