When I told my Mom I was moving from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City she was not thrilled. Her idea of Mexico was laying on a beach with endless margaritas and the thought of having to visit me in the giant, polluted metropolis of D.F. didn’t really sound too enticing to her. Reluctantly, but with an open mind, she visited me in D.F. for the first time in December 2011. As suspected, she hated it. I myself definitely think D.F. is for a certain type of traveler and not for everyone, but it still stung a little because this was her first glimpse into ‘real Mexico’ and I wanted her to see why I feel so madly in love with the country. Oh well.
After that trip, we decided the next time she visited that we would meet in Riviera Maya or Puerto Vallarta, which worked out nice for the both of us. Almost two whole years later, she decided she would give Mexico City another try (well, it wasn’t so much that, more than the last-minute flight was only $250 dollars). I was excited and determined to get her to fall in love with ‘the real Mexico’ the way I have. So the agenda was: head to Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende! They were two places I was already familiar with and knew their charm was hard to resist.
As with most baby-boomer Americans, this region of Mexico is one of the few non-beach destinations people have heard of, so she was excited when I told her. I had decided that we would leave on a Thursday for a long weekend: 2 days in Guanajuato and 2 in San Miguel de Allende. I had reached out to my friends at Hoteles Mision because I had heard they had an amazing boutique hotel that overlooked the entire city and I wanted her to have the best of the best for the trip. Arriving first thing Thursday morning and checking into Boutique Hotel Casa Colorada Guanajuato; my mom was already stunned simply by walking into the room. At the end of the inviting room was floor to ceiling windows with the most colorful and incredible paroramic vista of the entire city. Her jaw dropping was first sign that this was going to be a trip to win her over.
The hotel kindly set up for us a private tour of Guanajuato through Grupo Minero Turistico. Down to the last detail both parties had everything covered. Our guide picked us up at the hotel an we made our way down to El Pipila. Now, El Pipila is where all tourists go up to get the iconic panoramic views and shots of the city, but since our hotel actually sat even higher than Pipila, we had to come down as our guide pointed out major buildings in the city.
After taking literally, like a million photos (that will still never do the view justice), we made our way down to land via the funicular (cable car) and headed to Teatro Juarez. Minutes from closing, the nice lady at the ticket booth let us in which I think was mostly because she and everyone in town seemed to know our guide. Most tours in Guanajauato just do a quick drive by Teatro Juarez with a brief explanation so I actually was really happy we had an explanation. It was the first time I understood the importance and history of the magnificent place and I was able to appreciate it more than ‘just a pretty building’. With our guide, we stopped at all the other Guanajuato highlights: Museo Iconográfico del Quijote, Plaza de la Paz, The Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato, La Plaza Baratillo, Guanajuato University, Callejon del Beso, Mercado Hidalgo, Bocamina de San Ramón, Templo de San Cayetano de Valenciana, Museo de la Inquicision, and Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato.
All was great, as usual, and all, without a doubt are must-sees. BUT I will say, skip the Museo de la Inquicision. It is all about torture techniques used back in the day, and last time I went it was really large and interesting filled with lots of “eewwwwws” and “yuuucks”, but this time it was small, rushed, and the best parts were taken away. My favorite part of Guanajuato (besides the over all European-feel to the city) has to be San Cayetano and learning about how important mining was…. and hundred of years later, still continues to be.
After the long day of touring around the city, we couldn’t wait to get back to our hotel. After plopping down on our soft beds, my mom let out a giant sigh and said “well, that was a lot of fun! I really like this place, it would be cool to live here”. Yep, Guanajuato will do that to you! Mission Accomplished: Get Mom to love Mexico beyond the beaches.
A special thanks to Hoteles Mision for hosting our night’s stay and making it a very memorable trip to Guanajuato.