Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Mon July 18 2016

Opinion Home | Guanajuato Explorer

  • Art Kramer | July 18, 2016 1:30 PM ET

    In Between Oceans, Guanajuato Remains Mexico's Cultural Destination

    In Between Oceans, Guanajuato Remains Mexico's Cultural Destination


    PHOTO: The beauty of Guanajuato is undeniable. (Courtesy Guanajuato Tourism Board)

    The state of Guanajuato is one of Mexico’s most beautiful destinations. There is no other destination like it in the world that offers the colorful kaleidoscope of architecture, history, cuisine, and culture.

    For travelers, and lovers of art, dining, history and culture, or those ready to see the world from a whole new perspective, exploring Guanajuato, and its many destinations is a must.

    The city of Guanajuato, which is the state’s capital, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1988, and is considered to have “Outstanding Universal Value.”

    The city is famous for its Neoclassical and Baroque buildings, an architectural ensemble that incorporates the industrial and economic aspects of a silver mining operation, and streets and tunnels that bring to the modern world a glimpse of colonial life and culture. In its selection criterion, UNESCO stated:

    “Guanajuato possesses several of the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in the New World. The churches of La Compañía (1745-1765) and above all La Valenciana (1765-1788) are masterpieces of the Mexican Churrigueresque style.”

    San Miguel de Allende, another very popular destination city within Guanajuato, was also recognized by UNESCO as having “Outstanding Universal Value” offering visitors an “exceptional [historical] example of the interchange of human values,” and an “exceptional example of the integration of different architectural trends and styles on the basis of a 16th century urban layout.” Moreover, Conde Nast Traveler recognized it as the “best city in the world.”

    Its cobblestone streets and baroque and neoclassical facades complement the landscape, crowned by the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco. In its selection criterion, UNESCO declared: San Miguel de Allende constitutes an exceptional example of the interchange of human values; due to its location and functions, the town acted as a melting pot where Spaniards, Creoles and Amerindians exchanged cultural influences, something reflected in the tangible and intangible heritage.

    READ MORE: The Historic City of San Allende

    The Ibero-American Capital of Food & Culture Will Conquer Your Palate

    Culinary festivals in Guanajuato abound. Recently named the 2015 Ibero-American Capital of Food & Culture by the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy, Guanajuato offers a rich culture of cuisine for every palate.

    Some of the unusual yet extraordinary tastes, combinations, and ingredients visitors will find in Guanajuato’s cuisine are garambullo, a tree-like cactus plant; xoconostle, which is the fruit of the Nopal cactus, a broad variety of cacti, and strawberries, all which give aroma, texture, color and unique flavors to traditional dishes from Guanajuato that have transcended generations.

    Investment in the State’s Tourism Industry is Booming

    Guanajuato’s tourism infrastructure is expanding, connecting the state to the world while becoming an ideal place for private investment in the sector. To prove that point, total investment in the tourism industry between 2013-2017 reached over $500 billion. The hotel industry has been a standout with the highest concentration of investment dollars that totaled $475 billion for the same period. During 2015, investment in the sector is expected to reach $175 billion of which 98.36 percent, or $172 billion, is earmarked for new hotel development.

    Moreover, this rapid growth has accelerated air connectivity with new airlines and routes opening through Guanajuato International Airport. Today, thanks to Guanajuato’s growth, the confidence of the airline industry, and the efforts by the state’s government, Guanajuato is connected by air to 65 percent of the world's capitals.

    Events Galore

    Guanajuato has events galore year-round. In March, the Rally Guanajuato, a world-class sporting event that takes place in the cities of Guanajuato, Silao, and Leon, consistently places in the Top 5 rallies of the world. June welcomes Guanajuato Sí Sabe!, a culinary festival that celebrates regional, national and international cuisine. In July, the cities of San Miguel and Guanajuato welcome the Guanajuato International Film Festival.


    The festival receives thousands of film fanatics, movie stars, and directors, showing hundreds of films, documentaries and shorts in unique venues across each city. The celebration of culture in the capital city of Guanajuato continues in October with the International Cervantino Festival which sees the gathering of thousands of artists and culture hawks. In October, the International Balloon Festival takes flight, filling the sky with vibrant colors and over 200 hot air balloons. The festival is considered one of the top three balloon festivals in the world.

    Guanajuato, Where it All Comes Together

    The traveler that comes to Guanajuato will not only visit one of the world’s most culturally rich destinations but will also create stories and experiences that will linger in their hearts for a lifetime. Monuments will be contemplated, history will be observed in the present, architecture will be appreciated, hotels will be luxuriated in, festivals will be enjoyed, souls will be touched, culture will endure, colors will explode, and palates will be delighted, as travelers are engulfed in the mystical energy of Guanajuato. 


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Art Kramer Guanajuato Explorer

Art is a veteran travel writer.
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