Central Mexico and South Pacific itinerary
Central and pacific-southern Mexico contain hundreds of amazing places: sites of different pre-Hispanic civilizations; historic colonial cities; volcanoes, mountains and forests full of life; wonderful beaches, as much or even more "chingonas" than those at the Riviera Maya... There is room for everything here, even for lakes with phosphorescent plankton and petrified waterfalls... Not to mention a culture with which every human being instantly falls in love. The people of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Querétaro, State of Mexico and the rest of the states of this part of Mexico will accompany you on your route and will make sure you enjoy it, with its good vibes, its rhythms... And with its wonderful dishes! Although everything is delicious in Mexico, the gastronomy of Puebla and Oaxaca stand out. These are some of the places you must stop on this route:
Puerto de Veracruz
Catemaco & Reserva Ecológica de Nanciyaga
Puerto Ángel, Zipolite & Mazunte
San José del Pacífico
Hierve el Agua
Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua
Zihuatanejo & Ixtapa
Pátzcuaro & Tzintzuntzan
Reserva de la Biosfera Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca
Ciudad de México
One of the most incredible and unknown archaeological sites in Mexico awaits you in Veracruz. It is believed that these extensive ruins arranged in a green esplanade near the city of Papantla, were one day the capital of the Totonaca empire (maximum apogee between 800 and 1150 AD). Another of the hundred pre-Columbian cultures that inhabited these lands (there is much more to discover than the Mayas and the Aztecs!). Best thing about this visit is that 1) it is "backpacker friendly" (free if you have a national student card) and 2) there is no one. You will be able to walk among the amazing and preserved pyramids and the "Ball Games" - which are not unique to Mayas - in total silence and harmony... I swear you will feel a bit Totonaca! But there is also a pleasant surprise: dogs are welcome to the site (at least there by December 2016). El Tajin was the only archaeological site in Mexico where I could enter with my dog. Finally, it is worthwhile to spend some time in the Museum of Site that is at the entrance, with many curiosities of the pre-Hispanic cultures, with special emphasis on the Totonaca.
By the way, the famous "Danza de los Voladores" or "Voladores de Papantla" emerged precisely in Papantla. It is something worth seeing, so I recommend you wander around the area of the stalls near the entrance to the site in case they were performing the show. Also take the opportunity to fill your stomach after the visit: the food is delicious with 100 x 100 natural products. And take some fresh fruit from the tree to recover sugars and vitamins that you will lose under the suffocating heat of Veracruz.
In the Gulf of Mexico lies this quiet fishing village, perfect for relaxing with locals. There is hardly foreign tourism. The beach is beautiful and stretches for miles. In addition to swimming in the warm waters and laying on the sand like a lizard, other interesting things can be done. First, as always, eating. Veracruz stands out for being one of the best culinary in the country, and this small town in the Gulf of Mexico could not be less, with a great variety of fish and seafood fresh from the sea. There is a lot to try so take it easy.
Another attraction of the area is the mangrove, a few km south. The Filolobos River flows there producing an explosion of life: pelicans, herons, lizards... You can hire a tour for a cheap price with the local guides who are on the beach. The excursion consists of a boat trip through the mangrove spotting all kinds of birds, turtles, crabs and fish. It is also likely be taken to an isolated beach and attend to the curiosities of the fresh and salt water conditions that occur there and the consequent ecosystem formed. You can bring your dog to this tour!
PUERTO DE VERACRUZ
Welcome to the lively, salsera and "marimbera" Puerto de Veracruz! Through this region the Spaniards disembarked to undertake the conquest of Tenochtitlan, being one of the oldest cities in Mexico, founded by Hernán Cortés himself. But its historical importance does not end here. Among other things, Puerto de Veracruz was the scene of four hard battles for the defense of national sovereignty, in which the population fought heroically against foreign invaders. And they always won! Hence, it is also known as Heroica de Veracruz. Today more than 500,000 "jarochas" souls congregate, always ready to help the traveler. And to cheer him up with his parties and his dances: here is the best carnival in the country and the best clubs to dance salsa and marimba. The food is also a plus for the traveler, who can choose between hundreds of dishes of land and sea.
The city has a special charm, standing out all the downtown area and the port. Some of the tourist activities are: walk along the extensive and great boardwalk/promenade); enter any of the museums (Museo Naval, Museo de la Ciudad de Veracruz, Museo de la Revolución Mexicana, Casa Museo Agustín Lara); stroll through the Zócalo, full of colonial buildings, including the majestic cathedral; visit the Castle of San Juan de Ulúa to soak up the history.
In the surroundings there is much to do too. For example, a few kilometers north is La Antigua, beautiful town with lush vegetation on the banks of a river where the Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz was installed in 1525. A little further north are the Totonaca ruins of Zempoala. They are not as spectacular as El Tajín, but they are worth it. The Site Museum is also very rich in information.
Cataloged as a "Pueblo Mágico" with justice, this beautiful and historic town on the banks of the Papaloapan River surrounded by a mangrove-like landscape (very close to the coast), is a fantastic trip to make from Puerto de Veracruz (just 100 km south). The colorful colonial houses, the churches and the excellent location will make you enjoy every step you take in Tlacotalpan.
Photo taken from visitmexico.com/es
CATEMACO & NANCIYAGA ECOLOGICAL RESERVE
Village that enjoys an unbeatable location: you can go to the jungle, to the beach and, of course, sail the waters of the beautiful Laguna de Catemaco. Many boats leave from several docks along the lively boardwalk. As you will have a tourist-face you won't have to worry about finding it... There will be a dozen "guides" who will take care of it. In this lake excursion, apart from sensational landscapes, you will see hundreds of birds and, attentive, a few species of monkeys... Not autochthonous! It turns out that in 1974 the University of Veracruz began a research study, for which they introduced in one of the islands of this lagoon native monkeys of Southeast Asia and Puerto Rico. Before the study ended, the fishermen of Catemaco realized the tourist benefits that this entailed. Although it is very impressive to observe these primates, this show does not seem very moral to me.
But you can also see native monkeys around the lagoon. Specifically the howler monkey and the spider monkey. To achieve this, it is best to go to the beautiful Ecological Reserve of Nanciyaga. There are two options: 1) Ask the boatman/guide to get off at the Reserve and camp there (there is a campsite called "La Jungla"). It is a magical place where one can pitch the tent and enjoy the jungle environment. And hopefully spot some monkeys. 2) You can also get to the Reserve by a dirt road from Catemaco if you do not want to do the Laguna tour. There are vans that cover the journey. Dogs are welcome to the Reserve.
Another interesting excursion to do in Catemaco is the circular beach route that passes through Sontecomapan and Monte Pío (among others), with beaches, waterfalls and incredible lagoons on the way. Not to mention those beautiful people.
SANTA MARÍA DE HUATULCO
Mexico is my favorite country. And Oaxaca my favorite state. Maybe Huatulco is not the ideal destination for the backpacker, since it is all very posh in this city. I recommend going to the beach to take a swim in those blue waters and continue towards what is coming next: the best.
PUERTO ÁNGEL, ZIPOLITE & MAZUNTE
Three sensational populations on the coastline very close to each other:
Puerto Ángel. Authentic fishing village, little tourist compared to its two neighbors. Ideal to know the local culture.
Zipolite. The oasis for a relaxed and barefoot beach life. Here locals, Mexican and foreign travelers gather to rest, bathe, socialize, savor delicious delicacies and beers... It is one of those "dangerous" places where the traveler can easily get trapped. The town is simple, with several streets with little restaurants and several craft stalls. The main beach is wonderful (it has a couple of campsites), but there is more. At one end you can climb a hill and lower it to reach the nudist Playa del Amor, a magnificent little cove to snorkel and search for marine creatures among the rocks. In the other you have a hill from whose top the sunsets are bloody beautiful.
Mazunte. Similar to Zipolite: hippy atmosphere full of people walking without shoes. Ideal to enjoy and relax along the way. Larger and perhaps more touristy than its neighbor. The beach is beautiful and you can also visit the nearby, extensive and little-crowded Mermejita beach. To get here you have two options: going through the interior of the town and, the best without a doubt, through Punta Cometas. This is a small peak from which you can observe unique sunsets after passing a path surrounded by coastal vegetation (beware of the mosquitoes!). From Punta Cometas you can go directly down to Mermejita.
SAN JOSÉ DEL PACÍFICO
Upon your arrival the locals will tell you that there are two star activities: 1) to get wasted on hallucinogenic mushrooms and 2) experience a temazcal... Ok, I will not deny that it is true! But there is more in this beautiful little town in the highlands of Oaxaca (more than 2000 m above sea level). Even so, let's start with the obvious...
This mountain town has the ideal conditions for the growth of several species of magic mushrooms, and it is something traditional for locals and travelers to consume them (medical purposes, spiritual trips...). The surrounding forests are the perfect place to enjoy the trip. Getting them is as easy as asking for them in the town. On the other hand, another millenary practice invented and used by various indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica is very common in this area. We are talking about temazcales, of course, a ritual of detoxification by sweating for medicinal purposes. Unlike the saunas, this practice is carried out in a kind of clay tipis with stones heated in the fire previously by the shaman, who has also prepared a tea with herbs from the area. Once inside (naked if possible), our task is to dip a branch in the tea, then touch the hot stones. The small room will be filled with smells of plants that will penetrate your nose and eventually your entire body. The ceremony ends with a warm shower from the shaman. The forest that surrounds you has another shape, color, sounds and smell. Sublime experience.
As I said at the beginning, there are other things to do in San Jose. For example, eat: my God, what awesome (and natural) things can be experienced in these lands. Just to say two Oaxacan typical dishes: tlayudas and enmoladas. Don't forget Oaxacan chocolate! Yum! You can read more about the gorgeous mexican gastronomy in this post. Another must: walk through the green surroundings. You can climb the mountains in search of amazing views. The walking excursion to San Mateo is a little long, but it's worth it, walking through the woods and with a nice river that meanders around. There awaits another magical and spiritual population.
HIERVE EL AGUA
A "jurassic" place amidst lush nature that will award you with a series of petrified waterfalls formed by calcium carbonate. It is one of the craziest landscapes my eyes have ever seen: for people to understand, we could say that it is something like giant stalactites born on top of a hill that fall to almost touch the ground. Today, water continues to fall little by little through these waterfalls, which will eventually cause them to "hit bottom" on a certain day (which none of us certainly will see). The golden and white tones of these formations are also remarkable. Better see a photo to understand what I'm talking about:
All this is completed with fantastic baths at the top of the hill in natural pools, the same that give rise to the waterfalls. From there the views are sensational. This is definitely a magical place to find peace and smile in immense nature. Dogs are welcome!
Beautiful archaeological site left by the Zapotecs. There is not much tourism, which gives it more magic if possible, being able to tour this old city calmly. The church that was built in the middle of the site, although it is a damned sacrilege, is something curious to see. What a mix. All the cactus species that live there are very cool too. Dogs are NOT allowed.
The capital and largest city of Oaxaca is another of the attractions of the state. Three main reasons: 1) its people, who retain the roots of their native ancestors; 2) its fantastic colonial architecture; 3) its markets full of colors and aromas... Perhaps the most characteristic thing that one can find are those baskets overflowing with chapulines, grilledcrickets with lemon and chili... Yummy!
But there is more in Oaxacan cuisine... Much more! Considered one of the best in Mexico (for me the best 😊) we can find: different types of mole, with black mole being perhaps the most popular (there is chocolate in it!); tlayudas, giant tortillas stuffed with tasty ingredients (ask for the tasajo one if you're not a vegetarian to try a typical Oaxacan meat); memelas (sopes)... The delicious Oaxaca cheese usually comes in different dishes such as the tlayudas or the memelas, but it is something worth experiencing as well. And of course the mezcal, originally from this state. This agave brandy will make you look like Las Grecas! As a dessert, or at any time, the wonderful Oaxaca chocolate will always be waiting for you. No mames, what a delight!
Also, near the city there are several things to do. Only 10 km from the city is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country: Monte Albán. The excursion to Santa María del Tule is also cool. Here, in addition to beautiful people and delicious dishes, you will have the honor of knowing "who" they say to be the widest tree in the world, with a trunk exceeding 14 meters in diameter. This tule (also known as sabine or ahuehuete), in addition, is more than 2000 years old.
We are back on the Oaxacan coast with another beach jewel. The city itself and its beach (Zicatela) are cool, but they are, in my opinion, nothing to get excited, with dozens of beach bars scattered along the coastline and many people. However, a few steps away from Pto Escondido, we have brutal beaches for those who like tranquility and beautiful scenery. And also for surfers, big waves in this area. Two amazing beaches are Carrizalillo (nice campsite at the entrance) and Bacocho. The latter extends to infinity and beyond. There is a small biological center for the recovery of turtles, from where every evening they release these friendly beings in danger into the sea. You can make a donation to free one yourself or just watch how everyone helps them opens their wings.
West of Puerto Escondido, and after leaving behind the beautiful Laguna Manialtepec (recommended stop on the route), a rough diamond unnoticed by almost every traveler (and even locals) awaits. There are no more than four wooden houses at the beach and a couple of families living, but it's worth it. To get there you have to take the first detour to the left after Laguna Manialtepec, leaving the main road and entering a dirt road. After several km you will reach a lagoon, already a few meters from the sea. If the little boat is not on your side, shout for someone to come to the rescue. If no one comes you will have to jump into the water and swim. There are several signs on the road that indicate that it is crocodile zone, but at least according to locals that is a lie the government of Oaxaca made up so they avoid investing in road infrastructure in the area! Well, a bit difficult access, but as I say it's worth 100 x 100. Once there, although you can camp on the beach, if you stay with the nice Juanita (and Julio) in their "palapa" you will encourage local tourism. It is cheap to camp there and Juanita's food is a delight! The beach is giant and so pretty.
There is also a very cool river mouth in which the cold water is mixed with the warm water of the sea. It's cool to bathe there because strange currents form, but it can be a bit dangerous. And here we go with the most important and particular thing. The magic of this place, the reason why I insist on coming here is because there is a small lagoon facing the sea that receives seawater when the tide rises. This water, and all its life, is retained in the lagoon... At night the sky shines with the stars... And so does the lagoon with the plankton microorganisms. Let's swim among (and between) lights! This beautiful the lagoon looks like during the day:
LAGUNAS DE CHACAHUA NATIONAL PARK
If you have skipped Puerto Suelo don't worry, you have another opportunity to swim among stars. This complex of several lagoons along the ocean connected by narrow channels is one of my favorite places not only in Mexico, but also on Earth.
To get there you have to make a kind of scavenger hunt: coastal route from Puerto Suelo towards Guerrero (west), either by raising your thumb, your car, or a few buses that depart from a terminal in Puerto Escondido. These minibuses will leave you in a town near the detour that leads to the entrance (the town is Rio Grande), and from there you can cover the missing km to the detour (or what is the same, the entrance to the Park) in a taxi (or on foot if you dare to walk under the infernal heat). At the entrance to the Park there will be transportation services "on demand" (they leave only when all seats are covered) that will take you to the first town inside the Park, El Zapotalito, which is already on the banks of one of the lagoons. From here you can visit by land the interesting little town of Cerro Hermoso and its beaches (open sea). But the yincana has not ended to reach the most amazing spot.
The most special place, for its beauty and because it is from where you can live more intensely the phenomenon of bioluminescence (it is right at the junction of the lagoon with the sea), is the most remote accessible point within the Park. There are several ways to get here: 1) directly by boat from Zapotalito crossing the lagoon in its entirety, a narrow channel and another lagoon (if you have your own kayak you can do it on your own, but as some kids I met told me the trip is long and exhausting); 2) the most adventurous (and cheap), a short boat ride to the other side of the first lagoon and then boarding a few trucks that cross these desolate lands along a sandy road that runs between the lagoon and the sea. Once there you will be in paradise.
A good place to stay forever (the only drawback is that the food is more expensive). Activities to do: meet the locals and taste their delicious dishes; walk along the endless beach of coconut trees and bathe in its crystal clear waters; cross to the small community that is opposite and climb a small hill where there is a lighthouse and spectacular views of the union lagoon-sea, beaches and all the vegetation that makes up the landscape; and, of course, the activity par excellence: a night tour by boat through the lagoon. It is best to do it in New Moon or a little before or after to make it easier to observe the lights in the water. If there is a full moon the walk will be made as far as possible without moon. That is, sometimes it will be soon after the night fall, while other times the excursion will be made at the end of the night, according to when the moon is on the sky. Anyway, the activity is amazing, being able to swim in the middle of that light show. Dogs are welcome to this National Park.
Small coastal city of the state of Guerrero little traveled. This is because, in general, Guerrero has gained a bad reputation in terms of drug trafficking in recent times. The city does not offer much, but the beach is one of the most beautiful in Mexico. In its initial zone there are many family palapas (chiringuitos) where you can have super tasty dishes fresh from the sea (also, probably some family will let you pitch your tent because people are lovely). Right there you also have the mouth of a small river to have fun for a while (just beware of the currents). When you move away from the area of the palapas and markets, endless kilometers of white sand guarded by palm trees await you. In short, a wonder for those who like to eat, the sun and the beach.
ZIHUATAJENO & IXTAPA
A little more of Guerrero! Zihuatanejo is probably the most tourist area of the state along with Acapulco. Unfortunately, due to drug dealers tourism has been very affected in recent years. It offers four or five great beaches, each one different in its own way. Some are more to socialize and have a coconut water from a stand or some spicy fruits prepared by a street vendor. Others are more for those who enjoy silence and tranquility. So it's up to you! By the way, be prepared to go up and down hills in this city, but this is an plus since there are very cool viewpoints from which to observe the beaches and the sea.
A few kilometers away lies Ixtapa, a beach oasis: Playa Linda. It is a real wonder, perfect to relax without doing anything a few days. There is a well priced campsite right there. You can get supplies to survive on the beach under the palm trees in the town of San José Ixtapa, inland (not Ixtapa beach). Take the trip to hear war stories of its inhabitants and, as always, eat wonderfully and cheap in a taquería or a family restaurant.
Note. Although there are many beaches throughout Michoacán, I did not know them. So here we are not going to talk about the Michoacan coast, but its magnificent interior.
The capital of the state has an important architectural, cultural and historical heritage, being one of the most beautiful cities of Mexico (Cultural Patrimony of the Humanity since 1991). It is known and distinguished by its pink granite quarries, its majestic aqueduct and its historical center of Baroque style, in which reside more buildings cataloged as architectural monuments than in any other city in Mexico. The Morelia that can be seen today is the same that its inhabitants and colonists stepped on in the 16th century. More than two hundred majestic buildings full of history, witnesses of a past of splendor await in this Mexican city proud of sharing art, culture and history with each person who visits it. Much to emphasize: its privileged pink cathedral, the aqueduct and the Cuauhtémoc Forest, its innumerable temples and churches, the mansions of national heroes like Morelos, Iturbide or García Obeso, its quiet squares... You cannot miss its interesting museums either, such as Casa de Morelos, Museo Regional Michoacano and the very best for the sweet tooth: Museo del Dulce (Candy Museum)! And many more secret corners that you will discover in this mandatory stop in your itineraries through Mexico.
PÁTZCUARO & TZINTZUNTZAN
"Pueblo Magico" of Michoacán of white and red houses on the banks of a beautiful lagoon that oozes history. Both precolonial and colonial. Here one of the first cities of the Purépechas was built (1330) although by the time the Spaniards arrived the capital had moved to Tzintzuntzan (where the archaeological site of the city is still preserved), being Patzcuar practically abandoned. Patzcuaro would recover its potential later, after the invasion of the Spanish Empire, becoming a beautiful city of colonial architecture that eclipses the pain and blood one day shed. To go back to the "old" times, I recommend the historical-fictitious novel "Aztec Autumn" by Gary Jennings saga "Azteca".
Not only the beauty of the houses, patios, churches, streets, squares and parks makes it an obligatory stop in Michoacán. There are many other attractions. The most remarkable:
The beautiful Laguna de Patzcuaro. You can visit it simply by walking around its perimeter, lying on the shore, but you can also get on a boat and visit a very touristy island: Janitzio.
Janitzio. There is a monument to José María Morelos that everyone wants to see. The bad thing is that there is usually an endless queue to get on the boat.
Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration (early November). Michoacán is the state with the greatest tradition and strength in this celebration, having events in every town and community. But if there is a famous place in this ode to those who left us, that is Janitzio.
Craft and food markets. The craftsmanship of Patzcuaro is famous throughout the country: beautiful pottery, basketry and lacquerware. And the food is delicious.
Archaeological site of Tzintzuntzan. A few km lies the small town of Tzintzuntzan. In addition to the imposing cathedral and the also accessible lagoon, here we have the fantastic ruins of Tzintzuntzan on a hill overlooking the village and the lagoon. Enjoy the remains of the buildings of this once important city and learn about this culture in the museum site.
RESERVA DE LA BIOSFERA DE LA MARIPOSA MONARCA
If, like me, you are a biologist, I am sure you are familiar with the migration of the monarch butterfly. On words of my Zoology teacher: the most amazing example of an insect's massive migration!!". Well, these lepidoptera come to rest here for a few months (from the end of October to the beginning of March approximately) after the long migration from southern Canada (more than 8000 km!). And it is pure magic to see them there all sheltered in the branches of the trees of these deciduous forests of Michoacán (and of the state of Mexico, as the Reserve is enormous). And flying everywhere! Two factors to see them in full flight activity: 1) February and March are the months they are more active, as they are about to start the migration back to Canada; 2) a sunny day gives them energy to flap their wings. Anyway, I saw them at the end of December and on a cloudy day and I still fell in love with the place. Also, the walk through these woods until you reach the sanctuary is so beautiful. On the way back you can stop at one of the stalls at the entrance and have some delicious purple corn quesadillas. Or whatever you feel like to eat!
There are up to five different entrances to the Sanctuary. Two of them are in the state of Michoacán, probably the most beautiful: El Rosario and Sierra Chincua. Both are close to the Magical Town of Angangueo, which deserves a visit from the traveler. The other three are in the state of Mexico. Discover more in the following link: https://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/mariposa-monarca-santuarios-mexico.html
By the way, dogs are allowed to visit this wonder.
GUANAJUATO & SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
The prettiest city in the country (and almost the world) bears the name of Guanajuato! You need to know this treasure that oozes history and contains architectural diamonds, beautiful people and gorgeous food (don't leave without trying the enchiladas mineras and the gorditas). In Guanajuato capital and other nearby cities (Dolores Hidalgo, fundamentally) took place very important historical events in relation to the independence of Mexico thanks to Mexican history characters such as Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama. For example, the Alhóndiga de Granaditas Battle. But let's not talk so much about the history of Mexico, we don't want to get lost! Best thing about Guanajuato is simply to wander aimlessly through its streets and its beautiful squares admiring the buildings, churches and temples, as well as the Guanajuato atmosphere. There are some places you can't miss in your visit:
Cerro Panecillo and the Pipila Monument. Climb up to the most popular of the many small hills that are scattered around the city to get this wonderful panoramic view of Guanajuato:
In addition, up there awaits the Monument to the hero Pípila. Legend has it that to recover the city invaded by the Spaniards, this man crawled all the way to the Alhóndiga de Granaditas carrying a stone on his back to repel the shots of the enemies (a legend is a legend, okay?), then set fire to the door giving way to the other insurgents could enter. Had it not been for the courage of the "Pípila", Hidalgo would not have taken Granaditas and the fate of the insurrection would have been different. The independence of Mexico would obviously have ended up consummating, but who knows how long later, under what conditions and what other sacrifices would have taken place.
Hidalgo Market. Full of bustle, smells, local crafts and food everywhere.
Museum of the Mummies of Guanajuato. Although somewhat gloomy and under my point of view morbid, this is one of the largest and best preserved collection of natural mummies in the world. It offers a unique, intimate and profound encounter with death.
El Callejón del Beso (Alley of the Kiss). Here the people comes with the perfect excuse to mock each other, make no mistake. The background doesn't matter to any of us!
The dam. This excursion to a dam on Guanajuato outskirts and the climb to the hill is something less popular to do, but it's worth a lot. The walk is very cool and the views from up there are magnificent, with the city of Guanajuato embedded in the bare mountains, only populated by some scattered cactus.
Last but not least, Guanajuato is home to two of the most renowned festivities in Mexico.
The Festival Internacional Cervantino. This cultural festival takes place over three weeks in October throughout the city, in theaters and squares. While artists come from many corners of the world, each year a Mexican state and a country are named as guests of honor, focusing many of the events on their cultural heritage. For example, in the next edition of 2018 the guests will be Aguascalientes and India. The artists give a recital of plays, dances and concerts that invite everyone to come and have fun like never before.
The Independence Day. Every year, on the night of September 16, people gather in the plaza to sing in unison the "Cry of Independence" ("Long live Mexico bastards!"), recalling what it is still considered the moment when it began the uprising in arms for independence (1810). The event of El Grito is very popular in Guanajuato capital, although it was in Dolores Hidalgo where it took place (in fact the full name of the event is El Grito de Dolores). Speaking of which...
At least two nearby towns deserve the visit of the traveler: the just mentioned Dolores Hidalgo, because of its history and beauty, and San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful and hippie town.
SANTIAGO DE QUERÉTARO
With a lot of history too, this baroque city has a beautiful and preserved colonial Historic Center, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco: temples, convents, civil buildings and streets harmoniously laid out with remarkable cleanliness and security. In the center you can find a great gastronomic offer (from family restaurants to traditional canteens) and nightlife (one of the best destinations in Mexico to party!). It is no coincidence that it is one of the most visited destinations far from the beach in Mexico.
Photo by Verónica Moreno Cruz
The main attractions are the aqueduct formed by 72 pink quarry arches (World Heritage) and the different churches and cathedrals. Santa Rosa de Viterbo, baroque style, is sensational. Outside of the city you cannot miss the Art, Cheese and Wine Route, including (among others) the Magical Towns of Bernal with its giant Monolith and Tequisquiapan with its vineyards.
CIUDAD DE MÉXICO AND AROUND
I do not know the capital and largest city in the country (and America). But it must be included here in this route of itineraries for obvious reasons. It is full of history! Not only contemporary... We are talking about the cradle of the Aztecs... And grave, because Mexico City was built literally on top of the prosperous and fascinating capital of the Aztec/Mexican empire: Tenochtitlán. In addition, for nature lovers, it has to be said that it has spectacular mountain surroundings that include three National Parks - Itzacchihuatl-Popocatepetl NP, El Tepozteco NP, Cumbres del Ajusco NP -, and is also close to the Reserve of the Sanctuary of the Monarch Butterfly (described above).
What to see and do in Mexico City:
Walk through the Historical Center, delighting in the mix of urban life and historic buildings: the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, the Government Building and the Templo Mayor Museum (in Plaza de la Constitución), the Palace of Fine Arts...
Photo by Erik Yáñez
Visit its museums. The range is huge and we will not see them all obviously. Perhaps the most worthy of a visit are: the National Museum of Anthropology and the House of Frida Kahlo.
Escape from urban chaos in the Bosque de Chapultepec. Although it is a park, its gigantic extension gives it the honor of being called a forest. It is the perfect place to escape from the great metropolis and have a breath of fresh air. Within this "forest" there is everything: fountains, monuments, museums, sports areas, and even a fair and a zoo.
Observe the crafts and local products in the Sonora Market... And eat! In this market there are more than 400 stores and everything you can imagine is sold.
Trajinera ride through the channels of Xochimilco.
Photo by Erik Yáñez
Archaeological Site of Teotihuacán. Only 45 km awaits this relic. It is unknown what was the exact ethnic identity of the first inhabitants of Teotihuacán. Among the candidates are the Totonacs, the Nahuas and the otomangues spekaing peoples, particularly the Otomi. Be that as it may, these ruins belong to what once was one of the largest pre-Hispanic cities in all of Mesoamerica, whose golden age was between the 3rd and 7th centuries. Its magnificence makes it the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, even ahead of Chichén Itzá.
The legend says that in Puebla there are more churches than people. One of the most beautiful cities in the country, with colonial architecture and surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. Come and enjoy its Historic Center and the gastronomy of Puebla! The food is one of the best in Mexico (the best according to many). Mole poblano and chile en nogada stand out, but there are thousands of dishes.
An interesting excursion to do is to the neighboring Cholula. Here, in addition to be able to walk through picturesque streets and a market full of colors, aromas and flavors, you can climb to the top of a hill where a church that crowns the ancient settlement of Cholula awaits. It is so crazy to be next to a church with pre-Hispanic ruins at your feet. The views of Puebla and the mountain ranges are fantastic. Another possible excursion is to Cerro Zapotecas, a volcanic cone three kilometers away from the center of Cholula that rises up to 2380 meters.