The Bajio is a mountainous region in central Mexico. A rich silver-mining area in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Bajio saw an explosion of fabulous wealth for the time, and the cities there grew to be large and spectacular. By the 19th century, though, the silver lodes were emptied, and the cities became depopulated. They retain their amazing architecture and traditions, however, making them a joy to visit.
- 1 Aguascalientes – but the thermal waters aren't very hot
- 2 Guanajuato – imagine a beautiful valley filled with a Spanish colonial city in a three-dimensional maze of passageways, underground romantic tunnels and a rim road along the clifftops. The city is considered World Heritage by UNESCO. It's also home to the International Festival Cervantino, every October arts in the form of theater, dance, music, pantomima, etc. etc. from around the world that unite cultures from all over the world for about 2 weeks. The city is full of small and medium "plazwelas" ( public courtyards ) that have free entertainment, plays, music, comedy, children's shows,etc. all day. You can walk around the city seeing free international art en every public courtyard and not spend a dime. Beware, you must have hotel accommodations months in advance and be in pretty good physical shape to navigate the very hilly streets and stairs walking all day. Parking is few and far between, so get there early, park centrally, take a backpack for treasures you will find and make sure you have comfy walking shoes on. It is SO worth the effort ! Guanajuato should de recognized as one of the wonders of the world ! Be sure to notice the challenging architecture of building up the sides of steep mountains, the ingenuity of the Mexican people is very obvious there
- 3 León – The city is known for its leather works; jackets, coats, pants, handbags, shoes, etc. of excellent quality and lately for syntetic materials in ladies fashion shoes. The International Airport is just outside the city and makes transportation easy to cities around like Guanajuato, San Miguel, Dolores, etc. Its location being the very geographical center of Mexico makes it the perfect hub for traveling around to know the "real Mexico" whose heart is in the small towns and cities all around her. Leon is also famous for its State Fair in the second half of January through the middle of February, the international Hot Air Balloon festival in Oct ( which precedes the Cervantino in Guanajuato ) and its beauty as a modern Mexican City. It has hundreds of good hotels in all price ranges, and restaurants for every taste.
- 4 Querétaro
- 5 Real de Catorce – an old mining ghost town and the area where the Huichol Indians make their traditional pilgrimage for visions and the gathering of peyote. The road up to the ghost town is rugged and long, not recommended at the end of the day when you are tired. There is a hotel there that provides the minimal amenities, taking food along is a good idea.
- 6 San Luis Potosi
- 7 Zacatecas – a high-elevation city of immense charm. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- 8 San Miguel de Allende – expensive but charming
- 9 Dolores Hidalgo – ceramics center
- 10 San Francisco del Rincon – A small town only 15 minutes away from Leon, Guanajuato that is of interest because it is the Hat Capital of the World! The cowboy hat you might buy in Texas is made here. You can find any type of hat – from the latest fashion hats for men to the working mans best friend to the elaborate hats worn buy the beloved Mariachi. It has a quaint center of town (El Zocalo), that all Mexican towns and cities have, a half way decent hotel is on one side and on another, in front of the Municipal Palace, an ice cream shop that is famous for its vanilla ice pops filled with carmale.
San luis Potosi and Zacatecas are known for having some of the best bullfights (as well as the best bulls and matadores) of any Mexican city. The bullfighting season is generally centered around the summer months. Tickets should be purchased in advance as the fights typically sell out.
- Franciscan missions in the Sierra Gordo of Querétaro. World heritage site.
- Colonial city centers, including that in Zacatecas, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- San Marcos Fair (es: Feria Nacional de San Marcos), in Aguascalientes. The unofficial national fair of Mexico. Held for three or four weeks beginning around the end of April.
- Las Siete Luminarias in Valle de Santiago