Authentic Mexico in Guanajuato and Zihuatanejo

Written on Friday, April 7, 2023 by

I touched down at Leon Guanajuato airport with a sense of excitement but also slight trepidation, suddenly nervous about the itinerary I had mapped out through places no one had seemed to have heard of. Of course, I loved that about it. Mexico had been on my wish list for a few years, I was eager to see the real Mexico, not spending all my time on the famed Riviera Maya. While the stunning Caribbean ocean, endless beaches and fabulous resorts looked fun, I wanted to see more of this vibrant country.

After a few hours in Guanajuato the city had won me over. I arrived in the evening and despite the almost 24 hours travel time I couldn’t wait to walk around. The city felt more like a large town and has one of the most striking aerial views I’ve seen. On my first night I’d found a fabulous tequila bar and seen a 15 person classical mariachi band performing in one of the town squares.

Located in a large valley, the city is filled with brightly coloured houses, with the Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora – a 17th century yellow church – positioned at the centre of town. The city is known for its silver mining history, and has a network of tunnels beneath it, once used to transport metals from the mines, its now the quickest way to zoom around by taxi. Although quite terrifying in the dark, there is no way you’d attempt driving them as a visitor who didn’t know their way around the labyrinth.

Guanajuato was such a beautiful place to spend the days trying all the delicious restaurants and visiting the towns art galleries and studios. The people are so welcoming and by the end of the evening you’d have made friends with the locals.

San Miguel de Allende is an easy day trip from Guanajuato, and often visitors find it hard to chose which of the two towns to base themselves in. San Miguel is known for its baroque Spanish architecture, and has a vibrant arts community, often attracting ceramics and textiles groups from around the world. I spent a few hours in each place taking a walking tour with a local guide, which was such a beautiful way to discover places you otherwise wouldn’t come across. I would go back to Guanajuato and San Miguel in a heartbeat, just to walk their beautiful cobblestone streets of brightly coloured houses.

After travelling through the city of Morelia we arrived in Zihuatanejo, on the pacific coast. You may recognise the name from the beach in Shawshank Redemption. I was excited to visit the coastline in this part of Mexico, which is much quieter than the Caribbean or Baja California beach towns. It also came highly recommended by a friend who spent a few months running a hotel here, and wow am I glad I took their advice. Apart from a few Canadians who had summer houses nearby, we didn’t meet any other international tourists and English was barely spoken, it was perfect. I stayed at Aura del Mar, located on Playa la Madera beach. The hotel has an incredible suite where the bedrooms open onto a large outdoor room with the living area and kitchen and huge terrace overlooking the ocean. It felt like being in a postcard.

We spent our days hopping around the area’s beautiful beaches by small tin boats, the best ‘taxi’ service I’ve ever used. Playa las Gatas and Playa la Ropa were my favourites, the bluest sparkling water, plenty of coconut trees and 70cent coronas, what more could you want?

Another unexpected highlight of my holiday was the food. I was expecting lots of beans and rice and instead was blown away by the most flavourful fresh cuisine. In Zihuatanejo we ate at a family restaurant right near the beach where the dad caught fish during the day- Mahi Mahi, and his children helped him run the restaurant in the evenings, which was a BBQ outside their house and tables and chairs on the other side of the street. Pozoleria Santa Prisca also came highly recommended, located on the outskirts of town they serve pozole, a soup or stew dish that you order in colours; red, white, or green, the colours of the Mexican flag. They mostly edit the spices to change the colour but its very hard to decide so the best option is to sample all 3 kinds of course.

If you’re considering a holiday to Mexico please talk to us about visiting some of these incredible destinations, they added so much to my journey and are perfectly combinable with your Playa del Carmen resort stay. Mexico you were thrilling and I can’t want to discover more.


Adios for now!


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