Guanajuato has been called the most beautiful city in Mexico and it’s definitely the most attractive city we’ve visited.Simon Fairbairn and Erin McNeaney, Never Ending Voyage
When I first set foot in Guanajuato, this city in Mexico’s central plateau reminded me of Rome. By the second day, I was proclaiming it the most beautiful city in the world. After five days of wandering around its pristine cobblestone streets, discovering one jaw-dropping beautiful plaza and church after another, I was looking at apartments.Barbara Weibel, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
I knew Guanajuato, a colonial city in central Mexico, was going to be filled with colorful buildings, great views, and steep cobblestone streets, but I don’t think I was prepared for how impressively beautiful the city was going to be.Rachel Sasser, Trailing Rachel
It’s the prettiest city I’ve ever been to.Lauren Juliff, Never Ending Footsteps
With endorsements like these, no wonder I’ve had Guanajuato near the top of my bucket-list destinations in Mexico. So when a friend of mine mentioned that she was going on an upcoming tour with Charter Club, I quickly decided to reserve my place.
I’ve traveled with Charter Club before; they ran the tour I took to Cuba in February 2020. They did an excellent job, and I’m confident this will be a great tour as well.
The tour is four days and three nights. I don’t know the actual itinerary, but according to the Charter Club website, there’s a long list of activities and sites we will visit.
The city of Guanajuato is the capital and largest city in the state of Guanajuato. It’s also the municipal seat of the municipality of Guanajuato.
The name Guanajuato comes from Purépecha kuanhasï juáta, which means “frog hill.” Various pre-colonial settlements existed in the area. The Aztecs came to mine gold and silver. When the Spanish arrived, they found gold deposits and established the town in the mid-sixteenth century. By the eighteenth century, Guanajuato was the wealthiest and most opulent city in New Spain. Much of the grandeur of the Baroque architecture remains today in the city’s churches.
When I was in Zacatecas, I took a tour of the Mina el Edén, and I learned of the brutal conditions for the mine workers and the extent to which they were exploited by the Spanish overlords. The same was true in Guanajuato. The wealth coming out of the mines did not trickle down to the lower classes. On September 16, 1810, in the nearby town of Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla shouted El Grito de Dolores, and the War of Independence began.
The first actual battle in the war took place in the city of Guanajuato, as rebels attacked and laid siege to a granary where royalist and elite forces took refuge. The rebels were eventually successful after setting fire to the granary.
After independence, Guanajuato became the capital of the state. But continued unrest took a toll on mining. After the French Intervention in the 1860s, mining resumed. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were a new period of economic development for the city.
Quotes like the ones at the top of this post speak for themselves. Guanajuato is said to be the most beautiful city in Mexico and one of the most beautiful in the world.
Much of the city’s character comes from the University of Guanajuato. With over 30,000 students, the university bestows a strong cultural presence on the city.
I’m not going to write in too much detail now. I’ll save that for when I’m actually there.
Main photo by panza.rayada, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons