After spending nearly a month in Guanajuato we have a assembled a small list of our favorite things to do. As creatures of habit, we have not seen nearly as many churches or museums as we planned to, nor have we experienced all of the culinary surprises this city has to offer. Our typical day starts off with four hours of Spanish lessons, followed by a hearty lunch and then more likely than not, a siesta. As the afternoon heat begins to wane, we head out to exercise and train for our upcoming hikes. We then return to our apartment, shower, send out an Instagram post, and then head into town to either just walk around or grab dinner. So within that general framework, here are our favorite things to do:
Study Spanish. Guanajuato is a great place to study Spanish! The city is littered with private schools and they are often very affordable. We have spent the last three weeks studying at La Hacienda and really love it. For only $108 a week per person, we get 4 hours a day of lessons and have the opportunity to work on specific topics that we are interested in, such as directions in the mountains and wilderness first aid. Our main instructors, Luis, Esme, Pablo, and Lupita, are extremely kind and patient, and make it a joy to come to class. We highly recommend this school!
Eat an awesome lunch. Depending on how hungry we are or if we are wanting to go out to eat in the evening, we typically chose between two lunch spots: Carnitas Faltan in Mercado de Embajadores or El Tapatio across from the University.
We go to Carnitas Faltan for only one thing – tortas de carnitas! As Chelsea mentioned in her last Guanajuato post, these are basically giant pork sandwiches which you can top with guacamole and fresh salsa. These sandwiches are an incredible value at only $1.25 (they also throw in a free taco) and will keep you full all afternoon. We think Carnitas Faltan has the best tortas in town.
If we are a bit hungrier or are looking for a sit-down lunch, it is hard to beat El Tapatio. For only $3.80 you can get one of their “Menu del dia” specials. This is a full, three-course meal that typically includes a soup, an entree with a side, a dessert, and a drink. We can typically eat here in the afternoon and not be hungry for the rest of the day, and the food is excellent.
Burn off those carnitas. After Chelsea’s 2-3 hour siesta, we typically stretch and head out to work on our cardio. We will spend an hour or so going up and down the stairs to Monumento al Pipila – a massive statue hovering over the city that is a tribute to a national hero. Pipila is credited with helping the Mexican insurgents defeat the Spaniards who barricaded themselves in the Alhondiga de Granaditas here in Guanajuato City. This victory helped kick-off the Mexican Independence movement.
Another one of our favorite places to stretch our legs is La Bufa. La Bufa is a large cliff face just outside of town that provides grand views of the entire city and valley. On the way to the top of La Bufa, there are several caves that hold tributes to St. Ignatius of Loyola which are often used as pilgrimage sites.
Getting out-and-about in the evening: In the evening, we normally head down to town and drop by a neighborhood taco stand or find a seat at one of our favorite restaurants.
Eating dinner in Guanajuato can be quite a bit more expensive than lunch, but we have found two spots that we really like and are quite affordable. Santo Cafe is a great restaurant that is located on a famous little bridge in town. The food is excellent and the view from the bridge provides great opportunities for people watching.
If we are feeling a little fancier, Los Campos has some great food at pretty reasonable prices. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience with candles, free drinkable water, and a guitar player softly strumming the the corner. It is a very romantic spot and a great place to spend a special evening.
At the end of it all, if you still have room for desert, I don’t think you can beat the delicious creations at La Vie en Rose. This charming french bistro has some of the most beautiful and mouthwatering deserts that we have ever eaten and is a great way to cap off the night.
While there is much more to see and do in Guanajuato, we feel that these favorites make the most sense for us on a daily basis. Staying in the city for 5 weeks feels much different than just visiting for a week. We have had much more time to take things slowly and explore the town. The places and food we have experienced have definitely spoiled us and I am sure we will be missing our favorite tacos and deserts as we continue our travels. Guanajuato is such a beautiful and lively place and I am sure anyone will find numerous options to fit their needs.
We are super stoked to be heading to Peru in a week to start our hiking adventures!
Until next time…You can view more of our Guanajuato pictures here.