Living in GuanajuatoIyna Bort Caurso
For a small city, Guanajuato, Mexico, holds a great deal of national significance. Silver was first discovered in the 16th century, turning Guanajuato into one of the world’s great silver producers and the city into one of the wealthiest in the Americas. Guanajuato went on to secure an important place in history.
The Mexican independence movement started here in 1810.
Guanajuato is set in a valley in the central highlands about 225 miles north of Mexico City. The cityscape is one of skinny streets, steep hills, winding alleys and a warren of underground road tunnels. Buildings are full of color, from historic mansions built from pink and green sandstone to the candy colored-painted stucco homes that line the hillsides. Spanish colonial architecture is Guanajuato’s main attraction. It is a walkable city with shady plazas, galleries, outdoor cafes and a youthful vibe, thanks to Guanajuato University, a major institution with roots that date back to the 1700s.
An hour away is San Miguel de Allende, the Mexican heartland’s cultural capital. Guanajuato’s expat population is comparatively small, yet some are calling it the “new San Miguel.” The temperate climate and low cost of living is slowly drawing international attention. An airport with direct flights to a number of U.S. cities is about 20 miles away.
In addition to the architecture that has landed Guanajuato on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, the city’s attractions include the birthplace of muralist Diego Rivera, the massive mummy collection at El Museo de las Momias and one of the most important celebrations of music and literature in Latin America, the International Cervantino Festival. The festival that started as performances of Miguel de Cervantes plays in the 1950s now runs three weeks on makeshift stages throughout the city.
For second home buyers from Mexico City as well as the burgeoning group of international investors, Guanajuato’s historic homes, haciendas and restored apartments overlooking quiet plazas garner buyers’ attention for their reasonable prices.