You will probably be interested in looking for Guanajuato tours when visiting central Mexico. This is especially true if it’s your first time traveling there. You can visit several places and not worry about making an itinerary of your own.
Some people prefer tours over self-made itineraries. We’re not going to discuss that here. Rather, we will provide you with information and a corresponding review for those interested in hiring a tour to explore this beautiful state. If I still have your attention, please keep on reading.
You can certainly hire a city tour to explore Guanajuato City. You can find that everywhere you look. No need to make any reservations in most cases.
What I’m going to recommend this time is a tour that will take you to several places in the surrounding areas. Why limit yourself to just one place when you can visit more?
Tours can vary depending on the agency you buy from, but most tours are standard and include the same places. Destinations include:
- Dolores Hidalgo
- San Miguel de Allende
They can pick you up at your hotel in Guanajuato City or you can make other arrangements. You would have to discuss that directly with the agency. The tour lasts 8 hours approximately. Prices vary but start from $145 per group (4 people maximum). Prices are in U.S. dollars.
First Stop: Dolores Hidalgo
The cradle of Mexican independence. No visit to Guanajuato is complete without visiting this small town.
For starters, you will be visiting the mausoleum and museum of Jose Alfredo Jimenez, one of Mexico’s greatest ranchera singers. You will have the opportunity to learn about his life and musical legacy to the Mexican people. Ay, ay, ay!
Next, you will head over to Parroquia Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, where Father Miguel Hidalgo called his congregation to take up their arms and start the independence movement against Spain.
You will also have the chance to visit the Plaza Principal where you will participate in a tasting of Italian ice of exotic flavors. Dolores Hidalgo is also famous for that. I recommend trying the garambullo (blue myrtle cactus) one.
Second Stop: Atotonilco
The next place you visit is an even smaller town, but no less important. The main attraction in Atotonilco is its sanctuary, officially the Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco.
Whether you’re a religious person or not, I highly recommend this place. I’m not a religious man, but I appreciate art and history wherever I go.
There is a Baroque mural inside that will mesmerize you. Dubbed as the Sistine Chapel of Mexico, the sanctuary is a must-visit for anyone. Oh, and did I mention that it was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO?
Outside of the sanctuary, you will see stands selling religious articles. One of the articles that most impressed me was whips. People still use them for their acts of penitence. Religion plays an important role in this small town without a doubt.
We were told that one of the busiest, if not the busiest, seasons is Semana Santa (the week before Easter). I’m thinking of visiting again during that season soon.
Third Stop: San Miguel de Allende
The last stop you will make along the tour is the city of San Miguel de Allende. Although it has become somewhat “Americanized” due to the high number of American retirees living there, it still retains its Mexican touch.
First off, you will visit the Mirador or observation deck. You will get a superb view of the city. Get those cameras and cellphones ready!
You will pass by Parque Benito Juarez with lots of shade and benches for people to unwind. Whether you make a stop or not, depends on your agency.
The next stop will be the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. It’s one of the most beautiful and famous churches in Mexico. Its neo-Gothic architectural style is out of this world.
Right outside the church, you will find El Jardin, San Miguel’s main square. This will be your last stop and you will have free time to explore and eat something. There are several restaurants and cafes all around. Some of them have terraces and offer an excellent view of the city. Of course, your choice will depend on your budget $$$ and preference.
The advantages of private tours are everything or almost everything can be negotiated. On a tour I hired a few years ago, besides the stops mentioned above, we also visited a couple of places more.
The first place was Conservas Santa Rosa on the way between Guanajuato City and Dolores Hidalgo. It’s a small shop exclusively operated by women where they make jellies, candies, and liqueurs. You can learn a little about the making process and buy a product from their store. You can try them out before buying them. I highly recommend it.
They also took us to a big handicraft store in Dolores Hidalgo. Honestly, I don’t remember the name, but from what I’ve seen online there are several of them. Dolores Hidalgo is famous for its pottery and woodwork.
The tours we discussed today are found on Viator, one of the largest tour operators worldwide. Here’s some information you might want to consider:
- Most tours are offered in English but it never hurts to ask.
- Check availability and book ahead of time. Don’t leave it until the last minute.
- Meals and tips are not included.
- Tours may not be wheelchair accessible. Always ask if you need any special accommodations.
- There are no age restrictions.
- Cancellation policies may vary between agencies.
- All prices are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified.
I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Guanajuato. All ages are welcome and you can rest assured everyone will learn something. You will visit several places with a knowledgeable guide who will be able to answer your questions.
Since it is a private tour, you have some flexibility to negotiate the activities to do and the pickup time. I’m sure they will adapt to your needs within reason.
Remember there are maybe other agencies out there, but this one, in particular, is a reputable company. You can go ahead and book with confidence.
If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment regarding your experience, please feel free to do so below. See you soon!
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Book your flight
The first thing you have to do is find cheap flights. But where do you find those? There are many search engines, but the one I highly recommend is Skyscanner. Here you can compare fares from all over the world and pick the one that suits you best.
Book your accommodation
The next thing you have to do is secure your lodging. Whether you prefer a hostel, a guesthouse, a B&B, or a hotel, you can find them all on Booking. You can find lodging of all kinds ranging from cheap to expensive and somewhere in between. Many people have scored good deals using it.
Another popular option is Hostelworld. This website focuses on hostels as opposed to hotels.
Book a tour
In some places, you might want to hire a tour. Not all places are equally accessible to visit by oneself. It helps enormously when you visit with a local guide who can show you around and answer any questions you might have…all in your native language. My to-go place is Viator as they offer tours of all kinds and have a presence all over the world.
Rent a car
Public transportation is usually cheaper than renting a car, but it’s sometimes more complicated and time-consuming. That’s a reality. In some cases, it’s more convenient to rent a car. My recommendation is Rentalcars.com. Here you can compare rates and choose the one that fits you best.
Book your bus tickets
You can save money by booking bus tickets online. My favorite site to do this is Busbud.
Get travel insurance
Never travel without a travel insurance policy, especially during these days! Travel insurance can save your life. My recommendations are World Nomads and Insured Nomads. Both companies cover COVID-19 related incidents, which is crucial these days.
Just click on the “Plan your trip” tab at the top of this page, and you will find more resources like getting Mexican insurance for your foreign car, buying travel accessories, and learning Spanish. And, of course, don’t forget to check back often to read about more tips on Mexico travel.