I’m really excited to interview Tim Leffel of TimLeffel.com about Guanajuato, Mexico. Tim’s tips for the best things to do in Guanajuato are awesome because he’s an ex-pat who’s been living in Guanajuato for years. He loves the weather and how the city is pedestrian-only in the center. As a travel writer, Tim regularly writes about the attractions, history, and food of Guanajuato and throughout Mexico.
Guanajuato was founded by the Spanish in the early 16th century. During colonial times, it was the leading silver extraction center of the 18th century. You can visit La Valencia Mine to learn about this rich history or seek out the Boca del Infierno (aka the Mouth of Hell), a former mineshaft that plunges 600 meters into the earth. The city and the nearby mines are considered UNESCO World Heritage sites. Guanajuato was also important during Mexico’s revolution for independence since one of the earliest battles happened nearby.
Today, Guanajuato is better known for its baroque architecture and “wander and soak in the atmosphere” attitude. The town is full of Baroque and neoclassical buildings that were erected during the prosperity of the silver mines.
Tim says that everything is inexpensive in Guanajuato. Most attractions are priced for the average Mexican, not tourists, so it is very budget-friendly. He suggests taking a walking tour of the city to get a sense of local history. One option that mixes in a bit of history along with the local cuisine is Mexico Street Food Tours, owned by Tim.
It is a university town, so there are numerous opportunities for cultural activities. If there are events at the Teatro Juarez, buy tickets for the performance and enjoy the theater. Tickets are usually less than $5 per person. Guanajuato is best known by Mexican nationals for its Museum of the Mummies of Guanajuato. It is one of the most unique and bizarre museums you’ll ever visit.
The weather is close to perfect in Guanajuato, according to Tim. Houses don’t have heat or air conditioning because the weather is so mild. It can be chilly in January, hot and dry in May, and rainy in the summer. But people still sit outside and dine any day of the year.
When you visit, don’t miss the Festival Internacional Cervantino in October. It celebrates the intersection of music, dance, and other performing arts. The festival dates back to 1953 and is the most important artistic and cultural event in Mexico and Latin America. It is very popular, so buy your tickets and book your hotel far in advance if you want to attend.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visita Guanajuato, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Guanajuato
The local airport is Guanajuato International Airport (BJX), which is about 30 minutes from the city center. Guanajuato is served by many major airlines, including United, Delta, American, Interjet, Volaris, and more.
Tim says that Guanajuato is a walking city, and he often goes weeks without taking a cab. The “unebus” is the local bus service and rides are just 35 cents. Cabs around town are $2.50. Uber is available, but it’s not usually any cheaper. And it often takes longer than flagging down a taxi.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Tim Leffel about Guanajuato, Mexico. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Guanajuato, Mexico
- Green dots = best things to do in Guanajuato, Mexico
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Guanajuato, Mexico
Who is Tim Leffel?
Tim Leffel is an ex-pat who has been living in Guanajuato for years. He came to this ex-pat paradise on a writing assignment and called his wife immediately to tell her that he found their next home. Today, he and his wife split time between Tampa, Florida, and Guanajuato.
As a travel destination expert, he has been writing about international travel for twenty years. He has been featured in major publications, such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.
Tim is an accomplished travel writer who owns numerous websites catering to travelers of all experience levels. Some of his sites include Luxury Latin America, Perceptive Travel, Cheapest Destinations Blog, HotelScoop, and Travel Writing 2.0. His writing can also be found at Amazon where he has paperbacks, Kindle ebooks, and audiobooks available.
Here are a few articles that he’s written:
- The Best Restaurants in Guanajuato, Mexico
- Make These Dishes at Home for a Taste of Latin America
- Where to Find Good Craft Beer on Your Montana Road Trip
- Where to Buy a Cheap Beach House in Mexico
- Bloggers Stuck Abroad: Lockdown in a Foreign Land
Tim’s books available on Amazon include:
- The World’s Cheapest Destinations: 26 Countries Where Your Travel Money is Worth a Fortune
- A Better Life for Half the Price: How to prosper on less money in the cheapest places to live
- Traveler’s Tool Kit: Mexico and Central America
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Stay tuned for our next episode
Listen to the next episode when Tyson Koska of OnTrajectory.com shares how to pick the best blue crabs when you visit Baltimore, Maryland. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.
While you’re visiting this part of Mexico, spend a couple of days visiting other intriguing cities that are nearby:
- Trolley Tours, Metro Cathedral & Speakeasies in Chihuahua, Mexico
- Sandy Beaches, Tasty Shrimp & Pulmonia Rides in Mazatlan, Mexico
- Atotonilco Springs, Arcangel Spires & Fabrica Aurora in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
- Bernal Monolith, Ancient Pyramids & Hacienda Tours in Querétaro, Mexico
- Famous Blue Chairs of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with Mike