With a population of just 270,000, Salamanca is a hidden gem of Mexico nestled in the state of Guanajuato. Most backpackers miss Salamanca when they travel to Mexico opting for larger cities such as Mexico City or Oaxaca City. However, Salamanca Mexico has a lot to offer visitors. This includes a snapshot of what old Mexico once looked like.
You can wander the cobbled streets of this city and explore an array of historic buildings. These amazing buildings include temples, churches, tasty Mexican foods. Additionally, you can even get a feel for its quaint but vibrant cultural lifestyle.
Those who backpack to Mexico and are concerned about travel safety should not worry. Salamanca Mexico is safer than most other cities in the country. However, visitors should still take normal precautions. Here are the top 10 things to do in the small city of Salamanca, Mexico.
Salamanca Mexico San Agustín Temple
We have to start our journey of Salamanca at its most popular attraction, the stunning San Agustín Temple. The interior of this building is absolutely jaw-dropping with golden Churrigueresque altarpieces, visually striking paintings, and intricate woodwork.
The Baroque architecture of this church is fascinating and was constructed between 1642 and 1706. The woodwork inside the temple has morphed over hundreds of years due to humidity and insect infestation resulting in some unique and interesting perspectives on the original work. In 2001, the altarpieces went under restorations which consisted of cleaning, analysis, fumigation and consolidation of the work.
The altarpieces on show here launched the career of Pedro José de Rojas, he went on to create more altarpieces at Querétaro and Celaya. Today, the San Agustín Temple contains the last remaining altarpiece of his work in the whole of Guanajuato and reflects the political and historical landscape of its time.
Parroquia Antigua is the oldest church in Guanajuato, constructed in 1603. Today, it stands as one of the finest examples of architecture in the city of Salamanca with its sublime churrigueresque facade and the endless amount of intricate sculptures within its walls. The church is dedicated to San Bartolomé Apostle and today retains its original mesquite stave floor.
Also, the parish is considered a gem of the Baroque Estípite of the state of Guanajuato. Visitors are able to see the church in all it’s glory any day of the week and makes for some interesting photo opportunities. Those wanting to learn more about its construction and the decorative interior can ask one of the people working here. The Parroquia Antigua can be found in downtown Ignacio Allende street not far from the main square.
Centro de las Artes de Guanajuato
The city of Salamanca is known for its diverse culture. So, the Centro de las Artes de Guanajuato regularly holds art exhibitions, film screenings, live music, poetry readings, and even jazz sessions. It’s worth looking ahead to see what is on before arriving in the city so you don’t miss out.
The Guanajuato Arts Center was founded in 2002 and is on a mission to improve the output of its local artists, interpreters, promoters, and researches of cultural history. Additionally, guided tours of the center are available to any backpackers wanting to learn more about Salamanca’s rich cultural history.
Discover Amazing Food In Salamanca Mexico
Mexico is world-renowned for having some of the most interesting and tastiest food on the planet. Salamanca has a very diverse cuisine given its history of previous inhabitants. Therefore, eating in the city is one of the best things to do here. There are a number of traditional foods that backpackers must try including fiambre; a large mixed platter of foods. The platter usually has enchiladas, fried chicken, sausages, jicama, dried meat and pork foot mixed in a special vinegar.
It’s the perfect food to share with friends and get a taste of the local food in a unique way. Look out for helada de pasta; a variety of ice cream that shares similarities with Mexico’s favorite pastry, pastitas.
The small but delightful health restaurant by the name of Mate is well worth a visit. Here you will find some great healthy dishes serving lots of fresh local vegetables within a cozy space. The dishes are also clearly made with a lot of love considering their stunning presentation. Also, a normal meal here will make you feel that you just sat down in a Michelin star restaurant! Another place worth considering is Tacos Micho, a small street food vendor on Jardines de Victoria street.
When it comes to great food in Mexico, it’s hard to beat the street vendors; known as the best spot in the city for tacos is Tacos Micho. Here, you will get your hands on some of the best tasting tacos you will ever have. And to top it off, they’re delicious for a very reasonable price. Choose a filling of various meats including beef, pork, and lamb.
Salamanca Mexico Ecoparque
The small but beautiful green Ecoparque is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You will find locals here enjoying the sun while eating ice cream and playing with their children. It’s a good opportunity to take a walk in the sun with fellow backpackers and share stories of your adventures.
You can also use the park for running or cycling if you need to exercise. There are also music events held here throughout the year. This also includes bands and DJ’s; certainly worth checking ahead of time the Ecoparque Facebook page. Here, you can see what events and things are coming up. Additionally, you may even catch one of the food markers or coffee exhibitions that take place here throughout the year.
Shopping at Via Alta Centro Comercial
This is the main shopping center in Salamanca with a number of great shops for clothing, cosmetics, and uniquely crafted goods. There is also a number of great places to eat here and drink coffee. By day, the shopping center is busy with locals out for the latest fashion pieces. However, by night, it becomes a popular place to hang out with friends and socialize in the bars.
Also, there are regular events held here including fashion shows that exhibit the latest styles. They range from independent Mexican fashionistas and music events for various promotions. If you are after a bargain make sure you visit in February when the big sales are on.
Salamanca Mexico Hidalgo Museum
This tiny museum is a great place to visit to learn more about the history of Salamanca. This fun way to learn history is looking at the museum artifacts through a compendium of old photographs and figures dressed in historical clothing. The allusive exhibitions amount to places and historical figures from the history of the city.
Don’t miss the exhibition named “Del Dolor a la Gloria”. This special display details the history of Cañada de Ortega; the iconic neighborhood that is situated North of the city. There are also objects here dated from the 18th and 19th centuries. Along with them are some artifacts from the Mexican Revolution and Cristero War. Entry to the museum is free and you will find it near the streets of Juárez and Albino García.
Parish of Nativitas
This very small but beautiful parish is well worth a visit; to explore the many intricate details that have gone into the construction of the outside walls. The parish is surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers and is just a great place to hang around and people watch. This is the second parish of Salamanca and those visiting on a Sunday may just be treated to a feast of enchiladas!
Salamanca Mexico Nightlife
Salamanca really comes to life at night with its plethora of bars, nightclubs and street food vendors. Everything is within 15 minutes’ walk of each other, making it possible to do a bar crawl with fellow travelers and see the city by night. Enjoy a few drinks with locals at the busy bars sat outside in the warmth of a Mexican evening.
One of the best things to do in the city is to sit outside one of the busy main squares and enjoy a taste of Mexican cuisine over a few local beers. Locals in Salamanca are really friendly people. So, don’t be surprised if you end up drinking and enjoying the night together. One of the top bars to visit is La Galereña, a gastropub with a chef serving unique Mexican dishes made with love and passion. La Galereña is a very cozy bar to enjoy with friends and is a good example of Salamanca’s newfound modernity.
Get Lost In Salamanca Mexico
Sometimes when you travel to a small city, the best thing you can do is walk and get lost. The city of Salamanca is walkable with many beautiful small lanes made up of traditional houses. Here, people go about their everyday lives and small cafes also sell a number of Mexican sweet treats.
If you want to get a real feel for the culture here just walk around, get lost and soak in the atmosphere. There are many hidden gems in this city waiting just waiting to be discovered. The people of Salamanca are also very hospitable. They may just invite you into their house or cafe to relax and drink coffee. Who knows what you may discover in this beautiful quaint city of Mexico.