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Mexico’s Guanajuato is a prosperous state with a stunning high desert and a mountainous landscape of canyons, forests, thermal waters, and colonial cities steeped in culture and tradition. It is, shared state Secretary of Tourism Juan Jose Alvarez Brunel, a place where your clients can come “live great stories,” as their latest promotional campaign asserts.

Guanajuato was also one of the key players in the battle for Mexico’s Independence—in fact, the city of Dolores Hidalgo is known as the cradle of Independence—but you have more likely heard of the breathtaking colonial cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Teatro Juarez, the heart and soul of the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato.

A place of eternal spring, the city of Guanajuato is all flowers pouring over wrought-iron balconies adorning the narrow cobblestone streets and alleys, with a beautifully preserved colonial center that hosts the annual International Cervantine Festival. This cultural extravaganza stretches nearly a month and features opera singers, jazz musicians, dance companies, and experimental theatre groups, to name a few. (Hot tip: If your clients want this experience, book them at least a year in advance.)

San Miguel offers your clients historic grandeur, a world-class tourism infrastructure and a thriving art community—not to mention that it has become the darling of celebrities and A-listers. This colonial jewel revolves around the shady plaza before the beautiful pink-hued La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel church, which looks like a European postcard come true. The city boasts exquisite hotels, many with city views to die for, and spas that epitomize wellness in mind, body and soul.

You, a mezcalita and this view of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel.

Guanajuato is for Gourmands

“Culture has been the strongest segment that Guanajuato has been recognized for,” agreed Alvarez Brunel. “But we do have several other things that we have been promoting. They come and expand their experience not only with culture, but also with our gastronomy.”

Traditional cooks: Mexican cuisine is UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

According to Alvarez Brunel, the state has over 200 traditional cooks, mostly in rural areas, and there are myriad opportunities for your gourmand clients to experience the flavors of Mexico firsthand and immerse themselves in the local culture. In addition to this massive pool of local talent, the state has also been attracting chefs with established reputations worldwide. And what goes well with great food? Great wine, of course.

“We’ve developed quite a large wine industry,” added Alvarez Brunel. “About 30 of these are offering experiences for tourists. And that by itself is providing us with the opportunity to increase our visitors.” The state is, in fact, the country’s 4th top wine producer. 

Guanajuato is for Adventurers 

Ecotourism in Tierra Blanca, Guanajuato.

With rural and adventure tourism topping lists of trends for 2024, advisors will find Guanajuato an excellent choice for clients seeking this type of experience. Twenty percent of the state is a natural protected area, so while there are no beaches, there are plenty of visitor experiences. Among them are archaeological sites—with the recent opening of Arroyo Seco, a fifth archaeological site in Guanajuato with ancient rock art, which confirms the region’s cultural inheritance dating back centuries.

Yuriria, Guanajuato.

It boasts Magical Towns, Mexico’s denomination for extraordinary villages that retain their original architecture, culture, folklore and history (Dolores Hidalgo, mentioned above, is one). Jalapa de Canovanas and Salvatierra are picturesque colonial-era towns that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively; Yuriria, another Pueblo Magico, is part of the Convents and Temples Route and has 121 buildings cataloged as historic by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Then there’s Mineral de Pozos, not magical, but maybe haunted: Once a ghost town, its wealthy mining past was revived in the 90s and now flourishes with galleries, antique shops, excellent restaurants and boutique hotels.

Los Arcangeles vineyard in Dolores Hidalgo.

The highland climate, which is pleasant and dry with average temperatures in the mid-60s, only adds to the state’s appeal. 

Guanajuato is Accessible

Alvarez Brunel shared the state has doubled the number of international visitors to Guanajuato from 6 percent in the 2019 benchmark year to 12 percent in 2022, with even higher numbers expected once they’re tallied for 2023—up to, in fact, 23 million. Guanajuato’s international airport, he added, is the most important in the central portion of Mexico, and it’s now connected to 21 destinations within Mexico (it’s only a 50-minute flight from Mexico City) and 11 to the U.S.

Coming Soon

According to Alvarez Brunel, Aeromexico has announced new direct flights from Atlanta and Detroit to Leon—the state’s largest city and a MICE powerhouse—this year, and they’re hard at work to increase connectivity. As for new hotels, he shared that the state governor announced the arrival of a Waldorf Astoria to San Miguel de Allende, and some of the larger chains like Hilton and Hyatt have expanded in Guanajuato. 

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