Two Weeks in Mexico's Colonial Heartland
Collected by Catherine Craddock-Carrillo, AFAR Local Expert
Mexico's colonial heartland is where Mexico was born. Wander the cobblestone streets of its charming colonial towns and cities and retrace the steps of Mexico's founding fathers in cities like Guadalajara (the birthplace of Mariachi), Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, and San Miguel de Allende. In Mexico's colonial heartland, you can visit mountain pueblos that time forgot one day, and the next be soaking up the cosmopolitan culture of a UNESCO world heritage city.
Centro, La Palmita, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico
While watching a bull meet its grisly end is not everyone's idea of a pleasant afternoon, the costumes and fanfare accompanying a bullfight are worth the price of the ticket. This bullfight in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, MX featured a...
Av. Benito Juárez 212, Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico
One of my favorite parts about Guanajuato, Mexico was exploring the colorful cobblestone alleys and stumbling upon tiny cafes and incredible viewpoints. A guide told me that the government sponsored a program to help beautify the city with bright...
Coatepec de Morelos, 61531 Zitácuaro, Mich., Mexico
Walk into the past as you climb the hill of this small village to La Iglesia de San Pancho, a restored 16th century Franciscan church that appeared in the classic John Huston-Humphrey Bogart film Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Stay the night at the...
Carretera a Huetamo km 2.300, San Cayetano, 61512 Zitácuaro, Mich., Mexico
Located 2 km from Zitacuaro, Michoacan, Rancho San Cayetano is an oasis of calm and an excellent base for seeing the monarch butterflies at Cerro Pelón. Lisette and Pablo Span are your kind and efficient hosts who, in butterfly season (October and...
Tocuaro, Mich., Mexico
All around Lake Patzcuaro, there are little villages, each with its own specialty. Jaracuaro is just such a town. When lake levels were higher, Jaracuaro was an island, but now it is a dry hump of land sitting in a swamp, connected by a causeway....
Calle Venustiano Carranza 16, Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico
Though it was built in 1968, Hotel de Mendoza reflects its 16th-century surroundings. Nestled in the heart of Guadalajara’s centro historico, the hotel features 104 simple yet elegant rooms, with hand-carved, colonial-style...
Every autumn, millions of Monarch butterflies make their way from Canada and the northern US to the pine forests of this corner of Michoacán, where they hibernate for the winter. Seeing these little creatures fly in swarms over hills and highways...
Calle Cabañas 8, Las Fresas, San Juan de Dios, 44360 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico
This 19th-century complex, originally built as a hospital for the disadvantaged, is host to an impressive display of modern art, most notably a series of frescoes by famous Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco. The collection includes one of his...
Carretera Libre a Zapotlanejo 5020, San Pedrito, 45625 San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jal., Mexico
My girlfriend and I were visiting her brother in Guadalajara while staying at a Bed and Breakfast in Tlaquepaque. We met a couple from France at the B&B that had tickets to the local rodeo that day and so we decided to join them. We cabbed over...
An island town without a single road on it, rises from the center of Patzcuaro Lake. Janitzio Island is cone shaped, with an enormous statue of Jose Maria Morelos, one of the leaders of the Mexican Independence, on top. An indigenous Purhepecha...
Madrigal de Las A. Torres, Centro, 61600 Pátzcuaro, Mich., Mexico
One of the nicest markets in Patzcuaro is the Casa de los Once Patios (Eleven Patios), housed in a converted nunnery. The cloistered sisters needed air and outdoor time, hence the eleven beautiful gardens and patios, shielded with high walls from...
San José 14, Valenciana, 36000 Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico
El Abue is a breath of fresh air in Guanajuato, a city with many great taco stands in the street but few non-touristy sitdown options. El Abue offers the freshiest of ingredients, a creative take on Mexican food, an eclectic decor, and a few...
Camino a Sanabria-Ucazanaztacua Km.10.5 Sin Número, Lago de Pátzcuaro, 58440 Tzintzuntzan, Mich., Mexico
With all the negative press Mexico has been under, I set out on my own on a week long trip to Guadalajara and Morelia to prove a single woman without knowledge of Spanish can have an amazing and safe trip. Having realized the hotel I heard about...
Janitzio, Michoacán, Mexico
In July I visited Patzcuaro in the state of Michoacan in Mexico. On Lago Patzcuaro, there are a few inhabited islands, the largest being Janitzio. This quaint and rustic island is the perfect getaway to spend a day. You arrive by ferry and once...
Tequisquiapan, Qro., Mexico
When I was a kid growing up in Querétaro, only people from my home state knew about Tequisquiapan. It was where you went if you wanted to visit a picturesque town, but with the guarantee that you would find decent lodging. In recent years,...
The Quito Real Hotel in Zacatecas, Mexico is a luxury hotel that was converted from a bullfighting arena into an "oasis" within the city. The central area of the former arena is a beautiful courtyard and offers an amazing view of the historic...
Av Francisco I. Madero Pte S/N, Centro Histórico, 58000 Morelia, Mich., Mexico
My friend Nena was giving me a tour of Morelia upon my first time there (I loved it so much I have been back four times!). Morelia has a beautiful cathedral in the heart of downtown.
Once inside, we marveled at how grand and beautiful...
Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico
On Sundays in the city of Morelia, the major thoroughfares are shut down to traffic for a few hours for Ciclovia--an international movement promoting traffic-free outdoor recreation in urban areas. The route begins in the historic center and...
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