Some Inside Info on Guanajuato, Mexico

guanajuato dusk

I’ve been living in Guanajuato for more than two and a half years now total, during two different periods. I don’t write about the place all that much on this blog, however. First of all I don’t want to make it too Mexico-heavy since my books cover the globe. Also I don’t want to be on the s%#t list of my fellow few hundred expats here. They like the fact there aren’t too many of us here and their biggest fear is that this will turn into another San Miguel de Allende or Ajijic, where gringos have taken over the place.

I don’t think that’s a realistic fear: this city is too mountainous, too car-unfriendly, and it’s quite tough to get by in without having a functional level of Spanish. So I do write about it now and then and talk about my adopted home town on podcasts when asked.

On that note, I recently appeared on The Amateur Traveler podcast discussing where you would spend a week in the state of Guanajuato. Search for it on iTunes and Stitcher or go stream it on the Amateur Traveler blog. One huge omission on that podcast interview though: I forgot to mention the mummy museum! It’s creeptastic if you’re into that kind of thing:

Guanajuato mummy museum

As I mentioned once before, I run street food walking tours in Guanajuato. It’s mostly a way for me to get out of the home office and show people around the city. Recently Nick and Dariece from Goats on the Road went on the tour with me. You can see their review of the tour here and they made a cool video as well that I’m embedding below:

I haven’t promoted this tour very heavily because I travel a fair bit and have to turn people down when I’m away. I’m about to rectify that with a new hire though who can run the tours as a back-up when I’m not here and keep them going when I move away. So no matter when you’ll be here, check out the Mexico Street Food website for prices and booking. And some photos that will make you hungry.

A while back I made some videos for the people in my Committed group of Cheap Living Abroad that toured houses and apartments people were renting in central Mexico for $250 to $600 a month. If you want to check them out now, do a search on my YouTube channel. If you subscribe while you’re there, even better.

  1. Erica Ferguson

    Love the pictures and video. My husband and I are considering moving there. Just curious on what are the legal requirements to live there are. Any info would be great thank you!

    • Tim Leffel

      Here are the residency basics Erica. But Mexico gives you 180 days on a tourist visa and you can leave and start over again easily. So a lot of people who don’t meet the income requirement or don’t have the patience just go with that option. Same procedures and requirements throughout the country.

  2. Steve


    Great video. I was in Guanajuato for a month in 2006. My wife has dragged me all over since then; Peru, Spain, Costa Rica, Cabo, Ajijjic and Sayulita, but all I want to do is go back to Guanajuato before I get to old to hike the alleys and hills. It was the best vacation of my life. Yes, I could live there.

    However, I really marvel at those that can constantly eat the street food. Apparently I have a sensitive stomach as I’ve had my share of food poisoning here in the US. Had goat soup on the uphill side of Mercado Hildago though. OK but more like Goat Fat soup.

    • Tim Leffel

      So far, I’ve only gotten sick once in 20 months. And as far as I know, none of my street food tour clients have come down with anything. Not that it doesn’t happen, but it’s not common.

      • Rosemary Huehnergarth

        We were in Guanajuato for three weeks and never got sick. The only thing that disappointed me is the smell. The water behind our hotel was really strong smelling of sulfur. The running water in the creek behind the hotel looked contaminated. Don’t know the particulars though. Would like to know more about the water.

  3. John

    Looks good, but is it quiet? Or at least can you find quiet there? My experience in Mexico is that it is uniformly a very noisy place.

    • Tim Leffel

      Your experience is correct. There are quiet places in Mexico…if you don’t live near any other people, that is.

      • John

        Thanks, Tim. Good and funny reply! I’ve lived in Mexico for years, and despite the racket still love it. My secret? Good and very inexpensive earplugs for sleeping and during neighborhood fiestas, neighbors playing loud music, etc. Good to have in Asia too, after the motor bikes start getting on your nerves.

        So, do you know of a quiet country or place that also has a gentle climate–not in North America?

        Thanks for a great blog!


  4. Brittany

    How safe is it to walk from place to place at night? Are there certain areas to stay away from like any city in the states? How easy/fast is it to get a taxi? My husband and I are 26 & 27 and I’m just dying to move to Gianajuato; my husband just has some fears about safety.

    • Nicholas

      I visited Guanajuato last month (March 2016), and I had some of the fears you mentioned before going, but I have to say that I felt safer walking around at night there than I do anywhere in the States. There are people of all ages and stripes walking around at all hours, and taxis are pretty much everywhere, if you really need one. I think if one takes their home country street smarts and precautions with them to Guanajuato, they’ll be safer walking around at night than they would be in their own country. Now, I did not walk around at night in the outskirts of the city (beyond the canyon, so to speak), so I can’t comment on those areas, but most people coming to Guanajuato don’t end up in those spots anyway.

      Anyway, you will be surprised how very comfortable and excessively normal life in Guanajuato feels. Oh, and the weirdest thing of all to me, in the nicest sense, was that cars (and even taxis) would stop and wave you across the street when you were trying to cross. Pretty nice, I think.

  5. Wade K.

    Hi Tim, Since you are doing street food tours can you give opinions on the quality and prices of Guanajuato’s street food? I see pictures of sidewalk seating of restaurants. Am wondering if small family restaurants have affordable “meal of the day” lunch specials. Having looked a bit into Guanajuato it’s certainly very attractive but I worry it might have tourist pricing. Would love for my wife and I to enjoy the atmosphere while getting a decent lunch for less than USD $10 total. Possible? As always thanks for a great website(and book!).

    • Tim Leffel

      Most of the tourists here are Mexican, not foreign. So prices are normal for the interior. A meal of the day at the market is 30 pesos, which these days is $2. If you go to one of the nicer places, three courses and a drink will set you back all of 60 ($4). Often all three of us will go out at one and the bill is 12 bucks.

      • Wade K.

        Thanks Tim, Good luck in Florida!

  6. Jenny

    Looking to move here with our son with in the next year. Who would you recommend to contact to show us rental properties when the time comes. Thank you!

  7. Robert Hoogeveen

    Dear Tim,

    We are moving to Guanajuato this October. A family of 3, my wife and son who will be 2. We are thinking we should wait to find a rental when we are there, to ensure we like the area – is this wise. In your opinion what are good safe areas for rental, we are looking for 3 bdrms, do you know how much a month in US is reasonable? What area do you live in? The less rent we pay the longer we can stay!

    Our other option is to stay in San Migel but it looks more $$$ as well it looks smaller…do you think Guanajuato is a wiser choice, we do like a little hustle and bustle. However, our spanish is not good, we are signing up for lessons when we arrive.

    We will be taking your food tour as well. We have read your blogs and books and really appreciate all your insight. You have inspired us to take a sabbatical or hopefully, early semi-retirement.

    • Tim Leffel

      Robert, it really depends on how long you’re staying. If only a few months or less, best to look on vacation rental sites and work out a deal because the local listings won’t be in English and usually they’ll want you to stay longer than that. Depending on where or what, you’re probably looking at $600 to $1,500 a month furnished with utilities and internet. The latter for something really nice smack in the center. Yes, San Miguel is generally more expensive, though sometimes you can find a deal because there are so many part-time resident foreigners with empty houses half the year. October is the Cervantina Festival in Guanajuato, so you’d better get on it if you go there.

  8. kanu

    I am a 23 year old from India. It would be a dream come true to live abroad. any chances that I could find some kind of employment to afford moving to mexico? I am a fashion Designer based out of New Delhi

    • Tim Leffel

      You would need to find a company to sponsor you for a job and visa. No idea what the prospects are, but it would need to be in Mexico City.

  9. Mondo

    Do they have CoWorking spaces in Guanajuato? I need a fast reliable internet connection to telecommute.

    • Tim Leffel

      No, not enough demand for it. Just internet cafes. Everyone else seems to work from home.

  10. Prem

    Hi Tim,

    cost of living in US going up each year and not the income. My wife and I are thinking of leaving US and moving may be Mexico. Would you share some information about Health Insurance cost.


    • Tim Leffel

      Most expats only carry an international catastrophic care policy and pay for everything else out of pocket. It’s 1/5 or 1/4 the cost for almost every medical service so most people just pay out of pocket for everything. Doing that comes out far less per year than just insurance and co-pays in the USA.

  11. mateo

    Hi Tim

    Is there anyway you can email me at my private email address? I’ve got some questions for you that I’d rather not post on this message board if you don’t mind.

    BTW, love your blog & the videos – great resource


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