Walking Tour of Guanajuato, Mexico
Lying about 100 kilometers (60 miles) to the west of San Miguel de Allende is the Colonial city of Guanajuato, perhaps the most beautiful “silver city” in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Brightly-colored houses line the convoluted alleyways and cobblestone streets in this elegant city which lies in a gorge surrounded by mountains.
My walk begins at the Jardin de la Union, the historic center’s major gathering spot. At the southern end of the plaza is the Templo de San Diego, one of the city’s many churches. Next to the church is one of Guanajuato’s premier sights, Teatro Juarez. This sumptuous theater has a Neo-classical exterior and a stunning interior.
From this area, walk southward, between the two buildings, to the Plazuela de la Costancia, and look for the beginning of a footpath which leads to El Papila, a monument to Jose de los Reyes Martinez, the hero of the battle for Mexican independence which was fought in Guanajuato. However, the reason for making the uphill climb is the view. This spot is a favorite of photographers, because it provides a bird’s-eye view of the entire city. It also gives the viewer an excellent orientation, provided you brought a map, with you, to the observation point.
After taking the obligatory photos and enjoying the panorama, descend the hill along the same footpath, and return to the Jardin, then turn left on Obregon to reach the Plaza de la Paz. Here you will find the city’s most important church, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guanajuato. This beautiful building is prized for its statue of the Virgin Mary, atop a pedestal of solid silver.
After your visit to the church, exit the plaza on Estrella, heading south, and then turn right onto Alonso. Next, turn left on La Barranca, which leads into the Plaza de Los Angeles. From this square, walk south and look for a tiny alleyway, called Callejon del Beso (Alley of the Kiss). A local legend tells the story of two star-crossed lovers who were caught kissing from opposite balconies and put to death.
Now, return to the Plaza de Los Angeles and continue north on Juarez, and then turn left on Juan Valle, and left again on Pocitos. A very long block ahead is the Museo Diego Rivera. The museum is housed in the birthplace of the famous muralist.
Next, retrace your steps on Pocitos, and then continue east to the Museo del Pueblo. Just ahead, on your left, is the University, a former Jesuit seminary. The church here, Templo de la Compania, is one of the most noticeable in the city.
Continue walking east, after your visit to the church, and then turn right onto Baratillo, which leads into the Plazuela del Baratillo, where you will find a beautiful fountain. Now, retrace your steps on Baratillo, and then turn left to return to the Jardin de la Union, where the walk began.