Last fall I traveled to the beautiful cities of colonial Mexico and enjoyed an eight-night holiday filled with Mexican history, wonderful hotels and restaurants, fabulous shopping and 14 friends to share it all with!! From the U.S. we flew into the León airport and then drove only 20 minutes to the charming colonial city of Guanajuato for our first two nights.
Guanajuato—this is the city that started it all; silver was discovered by the Spaniards soon after they arrived in Mexico in the 1500s. The silver mines brought untold wealth to the Spaniards of Guanajuato, allowing them to build a magnificent city with beautiful homes, an opera hall and universities. This city today is just as rich in spirit as in the days the Spaniards and their regal lifestyle prevailed. Those who love Mexican history will remember that from Guanajuato and the surrounding towns sprang the seeds of Mexican independence from Spain—a legacy that is proudly cherished today in this area. There is an excellent museum of Mexican independence in the center of Guanajuato that is not to be missed.
We spent two nights in the Camino Real Hotel, formerly a monastery and today a luxury hotel in the city center. In Guanajuato we had a city tour that included a visit to the studio and showroom of the world-renowned potter, Gorky Gonzalez, and a tour of the home of native son, Diego Rivera; both were highlights of our visit to Guanajuato. The city market building, another symbol of the wealth this grand city had in its heyday, was designed by Gustav Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris).
In October the city of Guanajuato hosts the famous Cervantes Music Festival with musical groups from around the world offering concerts in every corner of the town. This would be a very special time to be in this wonderful city.
Leaving Guanajuato we drove over the mountains to the town of Dolores Hidalgo, which is another stop on the historical trail of Mexican independence from Spain. It is here on the steps of the cathedral that Father Hidalgo read out the "grito" or call for Mexican independence—something still read each year at midnight on September 16 by the Mexican president. Dolores Hidalgo is also famous for ice cream of every flavor sold from carts all around the beautiful plaza—a delicious treat. For shoppers Dolores Hidalgo is known as the center of Talavera pottery, and workshops and stores selling Talavera are on every corner.
From there we drove the short distance to the "gem" of colonial Mexico—San Miguel de Allende. Named after one of the famous leaders of Mexico's independence, General Ignacio Allende, San Miguel is today a magnificent showplace of colonial buildings all painted in bright and happy colors, plazas filled with well-maintained gardens, arcades filled with shops selling the highest quality of jewelry, clothing, shoes, artwork and handicrafts, finest restaurants of every cuisine, and fabulous hotels located in colonial homes and villas.
Our group stayed at the Casa de Sierra Nevada, a member of the Orient Express Hotels, and located only a short walk from the plaza. This luxury hotel is made up of several former homes with courtyards, rooftop patios, an excellent restaurant and wonderful staff. We enjoyed a walking tour of San Miguel, the Sunday home tour sponsored by the local library, lots of time for shopping and a morning cooking class and lunch at the hotel's famous cooking school, Savon; all were great fun that everyone enjoyed.
There are nonstop flights from Cancún to León now, which is the best way to get to these wonderful cities from Akumal. Hotels in Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende are available in every price range.
To arrange your transportation, hotels and touring for this area you will want to e-mail our excellent guide, Daniel Hernandez Rangel, at email@example.com. He lived in the U.S. for many years and speaks perfect English. Daniel can pick you up at the León airport and provide you with any transportation, guide services, and help you will need to plan your trip. His cell phone number in San Miguel is 011-52-415-105-1907. Please let him know that I have recommended him to you. Daniel has several rental homes that he manages and will be happy to give you rental information on these beautiful homes which he took me to see. They range from two-bedroom homes to six-bedroom homes in the heart of San Miguel de Allende.
No matter what season you would choose to go, I am sure you would love this special part of Mexico. Vaya con Dios!
Playa Caribe #6 Homeowner
Half Moon Bay, Akumal