Exploring The Other Mexico

casa espiritus alegres

I’ve written before about how there are really two Mexicos: tourist beach resort Mexico and “the other Mexico.” I finally vented and wrote a whole article about it in this Tripso column, titled appropriately enough, Travel Bargains in the Other Mexico.

If you’ve spent some real time in the country, it probably is not news to you that the places most tourists go for a week or less offer a far different experience and menu of prices than the places away from the hordes. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the price of hotels. I did some quick posts a couple weeks ago for HotelChatter on what you get for $65 in Valladolid and what you get for $50 in Merida. In both places, a sweet deal. Loads of personality, interesting rooms, a great location, and a real sense of place. Contrast that with the typical all-inclusive beach resort, which will make you feel like you could be in Florida, the Costa del Sol, Caribbean, or anywhere else where people eat too much and turn pink.

But none of those places can top this hotel which is truly over the top: La Casa de Espiritus Alegres, on the edge of Guanajuato. I have reviewed and stayed in some interesting hotels on five continents, but this eight-room bed and breakfast blew me away. This one takes the “go local” approach to a whole new level, with enough Mexican folk art to stock a block’s worth of import stores. Some hotels brag that, “Every room is different” and mean that each one has a slightly different layout and a few different pillows. In this case each room has been designed from scratch, with none of them even closely resembling each other. Just look at these photos. What the..?!?!

espiritus alegres Guanajuato

OK, so it’s not really a budget hotel, as in $145 to $165 a night, but that does include all taxes, free WiFi, and one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had anywhere. Plus in an Americanized beach resort zone, that would be a steal. And where else can you see crafts from every state of Mexico in one place, on the grounds of a 300-year-old home? The point of all this is, for the price of a bottom-end beach hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, or Cancun, you can get a truly special experience somewhere more interesting. Break away from the pack and you will get far more for your money.

  1. Suz

    Wow, so while that’s usually out of my price range, La Casa might be worth saving up for sometime.

    My friends are always trying to get me to go to an all-inclusive, but I just don’t think it’s worth the money. To me that’s not ‘Travel’ it’s ‘vacation’ and I can vacation at home (I do LIVE in Southern California). Travel is about experiencing the place – if I never have to use the indigenous word for bathroom, then I’m not truly traveling. (unless said place is an english-speaking country!)

  2. Melissa

    Hi! This place looks amazing! I was hoping you could give a poor gringo more information?? How can you get deals on flights? When is tourist season – when is the best time (weather wise) to go? Any information you could give me would be much appreciated!

  3. Monica

    Hey, I’m about to visit this place next week to celebraty a National Holiday, I’m from Durango wich is in Mexico and I’m already in love with this hotel. I totally agree with you about knowing something else than beaches in my country, you spent less money and get a cultural experience. I like the fact that you talk about this place :) it gives me a good reference about my next trip…… years after your experience but still a good comment. Cheers.

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