La Villa de Guadalupe is in the northern part of Mexico City, part of the delegación (borough) of Gustavo A. Madero. It is home to the Basílica de Guadalupe complex (known often simply as "La Villa"), which includes Tepeyac Hill. The complex is perhaps Roman Catholicism's holiest site in Latin America.
Founded in 1563 as La Villa de Guadalupe, the area houses the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is at the foot of the Tepeyac Hill, where many believe that the Virgin appeared to St. Juan Diego (canonized by John Paul II in 2002, making him the world's first indigenous American saint). The Old Basilica, which dates from 1709 (construction began in 1531), began sinking due to weakening foundations and unstable ground in the 20th century; it was replaced by the New Basilica in 1976. The Old Basilica has since been restored and has now re-opened; both places celebrate Mass, often concurrently. Pilgrims from around the world flock to this space to pay homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe; framed above the altar of the New Basilica hangs the tilma (apron) of Juan Diego, upon which the Virgin's image was imprinted.
Metro Line 6 (red) has a stop (La Villa-Basílica) about 2 or 3 blocks from the basilica complex. Line 6, a fairly isolated line which runs east-west to the north of the city, has several connections ("correspondencias") to lines that service the rest of the city: Line 7 (orange) at El Rosario, Line 5 (yellow) at Instituto del Petróleo, Line 3 (green) at Deportivo 18 de Marzo, and Line 4 (teal/aqua) at Martín Carrera. From any of these stations, hop on Line 6 to La Villa-Basílica. Exit the station, follow the crowd through the narrow market-like sidewalk full of food stalls, and onto the Calzada de Guadalupe (the main thoroughfare). From here, the Old Basilica should be visible; simply follow the crowd the couple blocks to the gates of the basilica complex. The New Basilica will be on your left, and straight ahead, the Old Basilica and the Capilla de las Capuchinas.
You can also take a taxi from anywhere in the city if you'd rather deal with Mexico City's eternal traffic than the Metro.
- 1 Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
- Be sure to check out all of these temples, as they are each beautiful in a different way. Mass at the New Basilica is celebrated hourly from 06:00 to 20:00 every day, and is generally packed (the building seats 10,000 and the atrium fits 40,000 for special events), especially on Sundays.
- To the right of the Old Basilica and the Capilla de las Capuchinas, follow the path to the steps leading up the Tepeyac Hill to the hilltop chapel, built on the spot where the Virgin of Guadalupe is said to have appeared to the native Juan Diego. See the beautiful frescoes and paintings inside the chapel. Spectacular views, not just of the chapel and complex but of the whole city, from atop the hill.
- If you're Catholic, or have a strong sense of pilgrimage, go to Mass in the Basilica, and experience Hispanic Catholicism at its most fervent.
- Check out the Museo de la Basílica (Basilica Museum), next to the New Basilica, behind the great statue of Pope John Paul II.
- An infinite number of commemorative items, sold both in the Basilica store (adjacent to the Old Basilica) and by vendors all over the square and lining the Calzada de Guadalupe leading up to the complex.
Street food. Plenty of it to be had, especially in the corridor that leads from the Metro stop to the Calzada de Guadalupe.
If you are less adventurous, there is a McDonald's on the Calzada de Guadalupe just before the gates of the complex.
- El Rey de la Biria (As you exit the plaza with the basilica, on the first junction on the right corner (after the street stalls). All other items are priced lower. Included in the price a delicious soup (consomme) M$12 for a goat taco (awesome).