Guanajuato is not only one of the most historic and beautiful cities in Mexico, it is also one of the safest. This cozy mountain town is known for it’s brightly colored homes and shops that line the narrow cobblestone streets. While this iconic landscape has enticed tourists from all over the world, it has also welcomed a vast majority of Mexican tourists who come to admire the beauty of this historic and festive town.
Due to the influx of tourists, Guanajuato has a multitude of shops and restaurants designed for every type of person. From elote and tacos al pastor, to Chinese buffets and pizza-by-the-slice; Guanajuato has something for everyone’s palate.
While it is a common tourist destination for native Mexicans, it is not a frequent destination for Americans or other foreigners. Because of this Spanish is the only language spoken, and while we brushed up on our high school Spanish before arriving, still have a bit of trouble communicating with the locals and shop owners. Be sure to download Google Translate or another translation app before arriving – I guarantee you’ll need it.
Here’s our digital nomads guide to Guanajuato, Mexico.
- 1 Visa
- 2 Coworking Spaces
- 3 Work-Friendly Restaurants And Cafes
- 4 Where To Stay
- 5 Where To Workout
- 6 Top Things To Do And See
- 7 Safety For Women
Visiting Guanajuato (or anywhere in Mexico) as a tourist means you will not need a visa unless you are planning to stay longer than 6 months. My husband and I are here for just a little over a month, so we only brought our passports. If you are planning to stay longer, though, make sure your passport won’t expire while you’re visiting!
My husband and I accidentally stumbled into Terc3r Piso yesterday and absolutely fell in love. Although Guanajuato is a college town, there aren’t many coworking spaces available off campus, so finding Terc3r Piso was a happy surprise.
It is located right across from the Teatro Principal and is the exact atmosphere you would want in a shared working space. The people are friendly, the wifi is strong, and there are multiple rooms available both inside and out, so it never feels overcrowded. When you walk in, the community manager will greet you and offer you different packages depending on how long you will be staying. You can choose from a quick 30 minutes to an all day session, but my favorite package includes 3 hours of unlimited wifi, coffee, and tea for just 25 pesos ($1.25 USD!!) – you really can’t beat that.
If you prefer to work from a coffee shop or restaurant, there are several options in Guanajuato with tasty snacks and strong wifi. Read all about those next!
Work-Friendly Restaurants And Cafes
Here are a few of my favorite restaurants and cafes to work from, in no particular order. Keep in mind that the majority of shops, restaurants, and cafes in Guanajuato do not accept cards – so be sure to keep a couple hundred pesos on you when you’re out and about in the city.
This coffee shop is an excellent place to sit and work for a while. The wifi is fast enough to surf the web and upload photos – which is a rare treat in this city. The servers are very friendly, the coffee is great, and there are a whopping three levels of seating – meaning you will definitely be able to find a nice quiet place to work. Another thing I love about this café is the shop cat (which loves back scratches and sitting by the window) and twin basset hounds (which we have yet to see).
El Lechon Ilustrado
This is one of the most recent shops we’ve found and absolutely fell in love. It is tucked off the main streets and aside from their somewhat strange choice of music (hard rock one song, Frank Sinatra the next), it is a nice and cozy place to set up your mobile office.
One of the coolest things about this shop is the plethora of books which are available to customers. If you can read in Spanish, this is the shop for you!
If you’re feeling home-sick and need a constant in your life, Starbucks is there for you. Located right in the middle of downtown, this Starbucks has all the classic drinks and snacks, multiple rooms, and comfy chairs for all your digital-nomad needs.
El Canastillo de Flores
This is one of my favorite restaurants to sit and work from. Located smack-dab in the middle of Plaza de la Paz, El Canastillo de Flores offers a beautiful outdoor seating area where you can sit and work all day while still feeling connected to the bustle of the city. This high-end Mexican restaurant offers indoor tables too, but I recommend grabbing a seat outside in the shade and people watching in between emails and blog posts.
Pro tip: order the Cappuccino with Baileys – it’s the best i’ve ever had.
Where To Stay
Like all the architecture in Guanajuato, the hotels are crafted with exquisite artistry. There are plenty of beautiful hotels in Guanajuato, and depending on your budget, can offer you the most perfect balcony overlooking the Plaza de la Paz. These boutique hotels average around $160+ a night and most include breakfast.
Although that would be a great deal in America, we wanted something a bit cheaper for our month-long stay and hopped over to check out homes on Airbnb. We were lucky to have found an adorable little home up the mountain for just $25 a night – and that includes free wifi, a full kitchen, and spectacular view of the city (it’s hard to beat that)!
If hostels are more your style, you’re in luck. There are several hostels downtown that average around $30-$35 a night. Just like the hotels, these can easily be booked online through a third-party site.
Where To Workout
The only gym near Guanajuato Centro is Omega Gym, a small but very equipped fitness center in the heart of the city. I enjoy cardio as opposed to lifting, and if you’re like me, this city is perfect for you.
Guanajuato was founded in the 16th century and does not allow for cars on a majority of the streets and alleyways. Because of this, my husband and I regularly walk 3-5 miles a day without trying and can rack up closer to 10 miles when we really want to explore.
Some of the streets, like the one up to our Airbnb, are extremely steep I’m exhausted by the time we finally get home!
Top Things To Do And See
Guanajuato is a city filled with excitement and we haven’t had a day go by without running into some kind of festival, parade, or carnival. As thrifty travelers, we love the opportunity to have fun in the city without breaking the bank. These almost nightly festivals attract venders from all over the city and provide cheap meals and desserts. Our favorite dishes so far have been spicy gorditas and maple syrup buñuelos.
Aside from the carnivals downtown, there are a multitude of things to do and see in Guanajuato.
The Teatro is beautiful historic theater dating back to 1872. The outside of this building alone is enough to make you stop and stare, but be sure to venture inside for a tour or a performance to really see it’s beauty. We purchased tickets to the ballet for 100 pesos (or approximately 6 USD) and loved every second of it. I definitely recommend treating yourself to an event at the Teatro Juarez.
Museo de las Momias
Guanajuato is famous for it’s mummy museum, so if you’re a history buff, or if you just love mummies, this is a must see. You can easily take a taxi or tour bus to the entrance, but we opted for the more scenic route of walking the 30 minutes from downtown. If you are visiting by yourself, the tour bus may be your best option. While we were never in any danger, there were a couple of areas along our walk that I would have been uncomfortable venturing into alone.
Bus to San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel is a city just outside of Guanajuato known for it’s art, tourism, and cultural festivals. You can take a bus for about 100 pesos and since the drive is only 1.5 hours, you can easily make a day trip of it.
Many Americans retire to San Miguel, which has resulted in English being very widely spoken in that city. Guanajuato, on the other hand, still primarily speaks Spanish and it is a good idea to brush up on yours before visiting.
Museo del Pueblo
This museum is on our bucket list while visiting Guanajuato! It is a very unique, small museum known for both historical and modern art, paintings, and sculptures. There are a seemingly endless amount of museums in downtown including the Museo Casa Diego Rivera, Museo Iconografico del Quijote, and many more. The Museo Iconografico also has a small coffee shop within it that is a peaceful place to work surrounded by beautiful art.
Safety For Women
Guanajuato is a very safe city, however, there are always some precautions to take when traveling internationally.
Be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking down the small alleyways that Guanajuato is known for. If you are staying alone, I would recommend booking a hostel or hotel near Guanajuato Centro, since this area seems to stay busy late into the evening.
I have never felt unsafe while in the main areas, but if I wasn’t traveling with my husband, I would have felt uncomfortable walking to our Airbnb after dark – It is about a 20 minute trek from the city and the majority of the street is unlit. While this is a great way to get some additional cardio, it isn’t the safest move when traveling alone.
Be sure to do your research and really know where you are staying in regards to the city. Try to stay close to the Plaza de la Paz or Teatro Juárez, as both of these areas are constantly bustling with night light and it would be rare for you to be secluded by yourself.
All in all, Guanajuato is a beautiful city full of history, culture, and a sincere love of life. The cerveza is cheap, the food is delicious, and the people are genuinely kind and welcoming. I would absolutely recommend spending time here as a digital nomad!
Kelly Sparks is a photographer, writer, and frequent traveler. She currently lives in a 1996 Cargo Van named Dorris in Denton, TX with her husband and pup, Pilgrim. When she’s not taking photos, you can find her drinking decaf coffee, camping, or reading the latest book on minimalism. Follow her adventures on Instagram @breafkast.