As I always tell you, traveling is one of the activities that most fill my soul. As part of my essence, I am always planning the next destination and especially when they are new destinations. On other occasions I had visited Mexico and I have always loved it, but Mexico City had never reached beyond the airport by stopping in transit to another destination. On this occasion, I managed to leave Benito Juarez and tour the most densely populated city in Latin America.
In our first destination we decided to move from Mexico City to Guanajuato in a road trip. We prefer to take risks and take advantage of the freedom to take the car over the tranquility of traveling on a tour or at least on a bus. I did not find much information and for that reason I want to share my experience, since I would have loved that someone had explained to me what we were about to do.
We did not want to depend on schedules and schedules, so we traveled almost 350 km while we listened to the discography of Luis Miguel, to compensate the cravings that Netflix leaves for taking only one chapter per week.
The traffic chaos in the city is something of another world. It is definitely a very important component to value, because as a tourist you must be super concentrated so as not to get lost, since sometimes the network is complex and you do not always see signs, and at the same time be careful not to be part of a collision because drivers become quite aggressive in their driving. However, with WAZE you manage to get where you want!
By joining the federal highway, the system becomes super simple and friendly. We traveled through the states of Hidalgo and Querétaro until arriving in Guanajuato. You must pay in cash at several collection stations, which add up to 400 pesos (1,200 colones). It is a fairly flat relief, with no mountains on the horizon, with super-arid vegetation, rocks and cacti. We saw fields planted with agave (a plant from which sugar is extracted to make tequila) and others with cows, goats and sheep.
The trip that lasts little more than 4 hours becomes long and above all monotonous due to the symmetry of the road. However, as a safety measure it is recommended to stop only in places of recognized brand chains. Along the way there are rest stations with gas stations, bathrooms and convenience stores.
Another very important issue to assess if you decide to travel by private car, is parking. If you visit a historic city like Guanajuato, the best thing you can do is to book a hotel located in the central area, to be close to the main attractions, to be able to walk the city and also to stay in a historic building. In these cases, these types of hotels are small and do not have parking inside their facilities, so you must find an alternative measure.
In Guanajuato we decided to stay at the Edelmira hotel. It has the characteristics of proximity that I mention but its interior has been renovated with the current requirements of comfort for its guests. They give you the option to park for free at another hotel in the same chain, outside of the city, and from there you take a taxi that gets you in 15 minutes for 40-60 pesos (1,200-1,800 colones).
The other option is to park in the city, in one of the public parking lots. There are quite a few and they have daily rates. However, we prefer to choose the first option because Guanajuato has a particularity in its configuration that intimidated us upon arrival.
Due to the growth of the city and the floods that they suffered, since the end of the 19th century, a network of underground streets has been built through 23 tunnels that add up to 8 km. When crossing them you feel in a labyrinth, and being under these types of structures you can easily lose the GPS signal.
Going through these tunnels is extraordinary, but in a first visit I definitely preferred to do it in a guided way by the taxi driver.
If you decide to do a road trip I give you these tips that have served me:
- Take something to drink, hopefully water.
- Add something to eat on the way and avoid many stops (we always have sweet and salty options, this time they even prepared some Mexican tortas!)
- Fill the gas tank when leaving to avoid complications in case the stations do not appear at the speed you expected.
- Carry chargers or cables to not download your cell phone and / or your GPS.
- Take a device to listen to music, iPod, CD, because when traveling long distances the radio and internet signals sometimes disappear.
- You must also bring cash for the toll collection stations.
I hope your advice will be useful if you wish to undertake this trip or another similar one.