As our very comfortable (and overpriced) bus arrived in Guanajuato from Guadalajara, we were both a tad disappointed at what we saw. The city was supposed to be UNESCO listed and from what we had heard, it was a must-see while in Mexico.

From the bus window, we didn’t see any interesting buildings, no historical sites and nothing that looked even remotely appealing. Feeling unsure of why we decided to travel here, we disembarked from our bus and hopped on the local transport to take us into town.

The little bus winded up the mountainside and after about 20 minutes, as if out of nowhere, hundreds of colourful, square buildings appeared. We entered into an underground tunnel and were told to get out there. We obeyed the driver and followed the crowd of people up a narrow flight of stairs. What we saw at the top was shocking – as if we just stepped into a postcard!

travel to guanajuato
One of the many colourful, vibrant alleyways in the city

Picture-perfect plazas lay before us, historical buildings lined the sidewalks and numerous churches and cathedrals towered over the city. With our backpacks slung over our shoulders, and our eyes darting all around us at the gorgeous architecture, we hoofed it to our hostel. To our surprise, the room was beautiful and large, while the view from the rooftop terrace and the building itself were both lovely.

We didn’t even want to shower or freshen up after our travel day, we were too excited to get out and meander through the old colonial town. After having only been in Guanajuato for an hour, we both decided that this was the most picturesque city we’ve been to, and one of the best places to visit in Mexico.

Teatro Juarez Guanajuato
The beautiful Teatro Juarez

Narrow cobble stone lanes twisted and turned up the mountainside, while tables poured out of cafes and restaurants onto the pedestrian-only streets. The colours of the buildings were pastel yellows, oranges and pinks, with a few vibrant purple, red and blue ones thrown in for good measure.

The atmosphere in the air was relaxed and romantic. Live music played in the streets and lovers strolled hand-in-hand. No matter where we walked, each lane we decided to wander down led us to an amazing building or landmark.

guanajuato mexico
The picture-perfect spot for a coffee!

We couldn’t get enough of it and wanted to soak in each and every sight. After spending just one day in Guanajuato, we both knew that we needed more time in the city and wished that we had given ourselves 2 weeks, or more. We had a food tour planned, a mummy museum to visit, a night of symphony and theatre, various plazas to wander through and numerous churches and cathedrals to explore. There were so many more museums, markets, restaurants and day trips that we wanted to do as well!

guanajuato mexico
We definitely need at least 2 weeks in this city…

Deciding to come inland and leave the coast behind was the right decision for us, and we felt at home in Guanajuato. This UNESCO city had so much going for it, and after just one day, we already knew we’d be sad to say goodbye when it was time to move on.

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Our First Impressions of Guanajuato, Mexico

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Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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11 thoughts on “Our First Impressions of Guanajuato, Mexico

  1. Nick and Dariece it looks like a beautiful city! Goodness knows I’ve been in similar scenarios. The trip is over priced, and you’re a bit underwhelmed, then a little bit later you see the most amazing town ever. I’ve seen this happen quite a few times during my travel career. How about those sweet colors too!

    Thanks guys for the share and keep on inspiring!


  2. Oh how I miss Guanajuato! I lived in San Miguel de Allende for a few years growing up and I miss it everyday. It’s a magical thing when Mexico’s charm mixes with colonial architecture! I hope you guys enjoy your trip and make it up there (if you haven’t already). If you go, I recommend these natural cave hot springs called La Gruta on the outskirts of San Miguel which are truly amazing. And my favorite restaurant Ole Ole, it’s small and quaint and has been around forever–you’ll be in for some of the most delicious chicken and fajitas ever!

  3. I’ve only heard great things about Guanajuato. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts (and tips!) on it soon. Zab and I will definitely end up there at some point, I think!

  4. I so hoped you’d love it as much as I did!!! I grinned all through your account of your stay! LOVE it!!!

  5. A number of years ago, I gave a seminar at the university in Guanajuato: so very pretty. But I’ve only been there the one time, as well as San Miguel de Allende. As Gina above says, I too recommend SMA, if you have time to visit.

  6. Exactly. It was so funny how we thought the town was lame at Turned out it’s our favourite city to date. The colours are incredible. Looove it!

    Thanks Ryan, Cheers 🙂

  7. Hi Gina!

    Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit San Miguel 🙁 I know it’s supposed to be amazing, but we just felt too rushed. We really, really want to go back, so I’m sure we’ll check it out then!

    Thank you for sharing.

  8. Definitely check it out guys, it’s such a beautiful city 🙂 Highly recommended!


  9. Oh ya, we sure did love it! It’s such a beautiful city, there was something special in the air there…


  10. You’ll have to go back! And so will we, in order to visit SMA 🙂

    Thanks for the comment!


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