Dolores Hidalgo is a small colonial town of 67,000 inhabitants (2020) in the state of Guanajuato in Central Mexico. The quiet atmosphere in this town makes it really charming and the absence of tourist crowds could make it a highlight in your trip.
The full name of this town is Dolores Hidalgo, Cuna de la Independencia Nacional (Cradle of the National Independence). This town was the starting point of the fight for Mexican independence from the Spanish empire in 1810. On the morning of September 16, 1810, the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called his parishioners to take up arms against New Spain and rang one of the bells of the parish. This event is called "the Grito de Dolores".
- 1 Tourist Office (Oficina de Turismo), Plaza Principal 11, 2nd floor, ☏ . M-F 10:00-17:00. Provides free sightseeing maps.
To reach Dolores Hidalgo you should be able to get a bus from Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende or León all of them are around one hour away. Taking a bus from Querétaro is also an option. From Mexico City you need to take a bus to any of the before mentioned cities and then to Dolores. The bus station for 1 Grupo Flecha Amarilla which includes Primera Plus and Coordinados is on Calle Hidalgo 26, north of the Rio Dolores. The other station for 2 Pegasso & Autovias is at Calle Yucatan 13e, on the corner of Calle Yucatan and Chiapas, one block north and one block west from Flecha Amarilla along Calle Tobasco/Chiapas.
The town is really small, everything is within walking distance.
- 1 Independence Statue (Monumento a los Insurgentes) (by the town's entrance).
- 2 Plaza Principal. The main square, where a statue of Hidalgo overlooks the parish church.
- 3 Parish Church of our Lady of Sorrows (Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Dolores), Plaza Principal S/N, ☏ . Daily 08:00-20:00.
- 4 Museo de La Independencia Antigua Cárcel (Museum of National Independence), Zacatecas, 6 (next to the main square), ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 09:00-15:00. M$15 (pesos) (adults), M$7.50 (students/teachers/seniors), free (children under 12), free on Sundays; M$10 (camera permit).
- 5 Casa de Visitas, Plaza Principal 25 (off of the main square). An 18th-century mansion, now is a guest house for VIPs. Ask the guard to let you in and see inside.
- 6 Museo Casa de Hidalgo, Calle Morelos 1 (Hidalgo and Morelos streets), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10:00-17:45, Su 09:00-16:45. This was the place where priest Hidalgo lived. Shortly after the rebellion started, the Spanish arrived to Dolores and burned the original house. Most of the original furniture were lost but a they did a very well done replica of this national hero home. Interesting is a plaque in one of the outside walls dedicated by Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg during the French occupation. M$49 (adults), free (students/teachers/seniors/children under 13); free on Sundays.
Every night there's a re-creation of the famous cry for freedom at the main square with light and sound effects.
- Feast of the Lord of the Afflicted (January 1): it takes place in the community of El Llanito. Masses, dances and fireworks are held, parishioners will give thanks for the new year.
- Dolores Friday (Friday before Palm Sunday): celebration of the Virgen Dolorosa , patron saint of the town, monumental altars are made in various houses of the historic center and communities, a procession is held and water, popsicles and snow of fruits of season.
- Feast of the Assumption (August 15): celebration of the Assumption of Mary in the Parish of the Assumption.
- National Holidays (from September 4 to 20): during most of the month of September, commercial exhibitions, popular dances, cultural and sporting events are organized. At dawn on September 16, the cry of Dolores is recreated in the atrium of the Parroquia de Dolores, there are fireworks and concerts.
- International Festival of José Alfredo Jiménez (FIJAJ) (November 19 to 23): festival where homage is paid to the singer-songwriter from Puerto Rico José Alfredo Jiménez. Artistic and gastronomic exhibitions, colloquia, film shows, lyrical composition competitions and tours of the town canteens are held.
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception (November 28 to December 8): it is celebrated in the Temple of the Third Order. A great popular fair is held, with Mexican snacks, serenades with musical groups, fireworks burn and the artisans hold an exhibition of wax figures. Each workers guild makes a procession with large candles.
Dolores is famous for its Talavera ceramic (pottery) items such as tiles, vases, and pots. The majority of the city's ceramics stores are clustered along 1 Avenida José Alfredo Jiménez on the western edge of the centro.
Next to the parish, there are several stalls selling small cacti, local liquors such as honey liquor or cacti liquor, and other local crafts. Buying from them will make their day.
The municipality has a semi- arid climate and part of the local flora is consumed as food by the population, fruits such as tunas, xoconostles, chilitos, borrachitas and garambullos stand out. Among the most representative crops are beans, chili peppers, chickpeas, zucchini, corn and jet chili peppers.
Among the typical dishes from Dolo is the vitualla, a chickpea and carrot-based stew served at weddings and other family celebrations; and chiles de chorro rellenos, a variety of chili endemic to the region filled with beans, cheese or ground meat.
Dolores is famous for its exotic ice cream flavors. Try them at the main square, there are two vendors, offering strange flavors such as mole (chili and chocolate sauce), beer, strawberries and cream, and avocado. Each ice cream or "Helado" in Spanish is around M$15.
- 1 Café La Taberna, Plaza Principal 18, 2nd floor, ☏ . Daily 12:00-24:00.
- 2 Carnitas Vicente, Avenida Norte 65, ☏ . Daily 08:00-16:00. Inexpensive and casual.
- 3 El Carruaje Restaurante, Guanajuato 5, ☏ . Daily 08:00-22:00. Has live music in the evening.
Some of the traditional drinks are the white atole de puscua, a preparation of ground cacahuazintle white corn cooked in water; the gruel black cocoa shell and colonche, an alcoholic beverage of tuna.
The climate of Dolores Hidalgo favors the cultivation of the vine and the production of wine, especially sweet wines such as muscatel, port, sherry and vermouth.
- 1 Hotel CasaMia, San Luis Potosí 9, ☏ . Decent rates, comfortable rooms, and a beautiful little courtyard. Showers so hot and powerful you could scrub an elephant.
- 2 Hotel Hidalgo, Calle Hidalgo 15, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 3 Haciendas Las Trancas. Centuries-old ex-hacienda. Ten suites with beautiful views of the Sierra Madres, each with Internet, satellite TV, propane fireplace, terrace, private bath. Additional beds and linens can sleep up to 30 people total. Wi-Fi throughout the porches and gardens. The hacienda is huge (approximately 40 rooms). Includes all meals, use of horses, heated pool/Jacuzzi, 17-piece Cybex Gym. Spa services available.
Dolores is a safe place by Mexican standards. Overall, people are nice and willing to help if you need directions.