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It seems that Mexico has a new star in the making, as an unknown city that has never before been widely promoted as a destination takes center stage as part of the country’s tourist offer. It has no coastline and therefore no pristine beaches like those found in the Caribbean, nor the Mayan monuments of the Yucatan Peninsula, but it is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations south of the border.
Since the world’s borders were reopened for tourism and normal tourism resumed, Mexico has claimed for itself the coveted title of King of Tourism, and it’s not hard to see why. Being a country rich in nature and home to numerous iconic landmarks, it is a natural leader in holiday bookings, especially when it comes to sunny getaways.
Surprisingly, however, most visitors to Mexico still fail to grasp just how diverse and multicultural it really is, or did, until this year:
The secret is out: Mexico is much more than a sunny beach getaway
Reducing Mexico to its tourist areas and the occasional mystical ancient pyramid is a gross mistake. Yes, these attractions go a long way in making the country great, and we definitely can’t underestimate the power of Cancun as a winter hotspot, but at the same time, most of Mexico, and possibly where is its immaculate beautyit has been hidden from public view for years.
Fortunately, things are changing and tourists, including American vacationers, have begun to venture further inland in search of ‘more Mexico,’ rather than being isolated in one of the Riviera Maya’s colossal resorts year after year. . This trend translates into real numbers: a growing number of travelers are looking for more unique experiences when visiting Mexico.
In front of The tourist renaissance of Mexico are its colonial towns, many of which are protected by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. One of those, the anonymous Guanajuatohas been beating arrival figures, not only because it has its own international airport, which allows easier access, but also because it is simply amazing.
Although many do not know it, Mexico is where some of the oldest European settlements in the Americas are located. Guanajuato is a prime example of that, with narrow, winding streets lined with ocher-colored houses that emulate those found in Spain, and neo-gothic churches piercing the horizon.
What makes Guanajuato so special?
In both 2021 and 2022, it was named the Best City in the World according to Travel + Leisure, while Mexico itself considered it the most beautiful in the country this year. Guanajuato is indeed a sight to behold, not to mention wish list materialbut those who might have wished to keep this gem to themselves for a while longer may be disappointed to learn the secret is out.
According to Juan José Álvarez Brunel, Secretary of Tourism of Guanajuato, by the end of 2022 the city is expected to recover approximately 70 percent of its tourists, a rate much higher than that of entire countries -we see you Australia and Canada- and a surprising figure for a non-coastal city which, for the most part, has not been a priority for Mexican tourism.
The data has been provided by different service providers, including those from the private sector, academics and even the World Tourism Organization. As Brunel says, if Guanajuato keeps up, by the end of 2023, it should be back to where it was in 2019 and even ‘start growing again’. Doesn’t that sound too impressive?
Well, that’s perhaps because the vast majority of Americans who visit Mexico flock to Cancun, and Cancun alone. Of course, when it comes purely to arrivals and gross receipts, there is nothing better than the jewel of the Caribbeanbut we must understand that, because it is so popular, there overrepresentation when it comes to tourism trends and the Riviera Maya.
In a world where giants like Cancun exist, Guanajuato’s recovery rate is nothing short of stellar.
A large sum of Mexico’s hard-earned tourist dollars are being spent in Cancun, Tulum, and other neighboring municipalities, and will naturally recoup much faster, or even outright dwarf, other lesser destinations in the country. The fact that Guanajuato is repositioning itself as a much stronger competitor this year and still getting its share when so much of Mexican travel revolves around Caribbean cities is nothing short of stellar.
This success story is largely attributed to the regional tourism authorities, who boldly envisioned Guanajuato as culture of Mexico, wine tourism, capital of gastronomy. Regarding the latter, they surely have enough reasons to brag, since UNESCO itself gave Guanajuato’s gastronomic scene the status of ‘Intangible Heritage of Humanity of Gastronomy’ in 2020.
Currently, the motto is as follows:
Guanajuato is where visitors can live great stories
You may be wondering why, considering Guanajuato may not have been a priority on your planned Mexico itinerary until you came across this article. Let us explain why according to the Secretary’s own statements:
- It is truly one of the main wine tourism destinations in Mexico, being the fourth largest producer with 43 vineyards*
- Its old town, dating from the 16th century, has been considered a true architectural wonder by UNESCO
- Guanajuato is a short drive from many other colonial places in Mexico, including charming San Miguel de Allende
- Guanajuato International Airport offers direct flights from various US cities including Chicago, from both Midway and O’Hare, Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles
*21 of those vineyards receive tourists/guided tours
Other advantages of making Guanajuato your next winter vacation
Once they land in Guanajuato, tourists have facilitated access to 46 municipalities throughout the state, including its homonymous capital, through an “integral road system” that crosses the territory and goes into the depths of Mexico. most picturesque and authentic countryside. Other highlights mentioned include:
- Various hotel chains as well as independent accommodation providers.
- a myriad of hot springs, spas and wellness centers that will give the Mayan Worlds a run for their money
- World-renowned restaurants (Guanajuato’s cuisine has been highlighted by UNESCO, remember?)
- 20 percent of the state of Guanajuato is a ‘protected natural area’home to 45 percent of all bird species in the country – Any nature lovers around here?
- Great infrastructure, something that we already briefly commented on when writing about San Miguel de Allende
As Mr. Brunel brilliantly puts it, Guanajuato doesn’t have beaches, but it doesn’t need them: its man-made colonial wonders and food scene are exactly what sets it apart from coastal Mexico and precisely why it’s experiencing a renaissance lately.
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This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest news that will affect your next trip, visit: Traveloffpath.com
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