Travel By Fingertip...Guanajuato

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San Miguel De Allende / Guanajuato Profile

It is impossible to choose the quintessential Mexican Colonial town, but San Miguel de Allende and neighboring Guanajuato are always at the top of this fascinating list. Both towns are located in the Bajio or Heartland of Mexico. Their surrounding hills were once laced with veins of precious metals that produced one third of the 18th-century world's silver. Elaborate mansions, Churrigueresque Baroque churches, theaters, plazas, lush gardens - in short, the very best that all that silver could buy - forged colonial buildings and structures that are today government declared national monuments.
To explore the environs of San Miguel and Guanajuato is to experience some of Mexico's most vivid history. In 1810, the spark of Independence, from Spain, ignited the entire Bajio and spread throughout the country. Native sons Allende, Hidalgo, Aldama and Jimenez became national heroes. Strolling the same cobblestone streets, passing the church steps, courtyard fountains and aging city walls is an adventure of the imagination as well as the immediate senses.
A stay in either town is nothing short of delightful. Guanajuato, built along a winding river bed and walled in by dramatic hills, is laden with mazelike streets that open up to serene plazas only to close again to streets so narrow lovers could kiss from opposite balconies. Infamous mummies, a subterranean highway, a magnificent closed-in market - Guanajuato is full of curiosities. San Miguel de Allende, on the other hand, is smaller, quieter (except at night!) and completely accessible by foot. A visitor easily slips into the charm of its daily routines, which culminate at the El Jardin Plaza each evening - when travelers and townspeople alike gather and enjoy the numerous small pleasures of San Miguel.