Day 16 – Mexico – A Photographer’s Paradise!

2016-09-27 – Day 16 – Leon, GT to Guanajuato, GT (64 km – 1:30 hrs)

I will make a single entry for the city of Guanajuato.

There is only a single word to describe the place: Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow!

OK, these are 4 words but this does not count because it is the same!

As you can understand, this place greatly impressed me and I am a fan of the place which gives a real show from arrival until the end of the day.

I must mention something. I begin finding that visiting of all these cities is sometimes repetitive and routine.

Leon, although a nice place, did not swipe me off my feet and I wondered if the next weeks and next cities are going to leave me with this déjà vu feeling. The Mexicans are inventive and imaginative but things are a bit alike from a place to another one and on top of that, I’ve been turning a little in a circle in the same region for some days now. I’m starting to have an impulse to go south!

But I resist, telling me that there are nice things to be seen here.

And Guanajuato turns up in front of me.

Although I am unable to memorize its name, and even less to write it (I love copy & paste), this city will remain marked forever in my memory. Everything begins with the arrival or I should say, the entrance in Guanajuato. I discover that the city is literally built on mountains and that it’s packed with tunnels, some modern, but the majority of them giving sweats, but it is really impressive.

They are barely lighted, they are sometimes several hundred metres long, but what makes them special it is that they are not under green mountains but whole overcrowded districts, and sometimes, there are intersections, and finally, there are pedestrians who cross in darkness, on the tiny sidewalks, with vehicles passing a couple of feet away all that coming with a nice blend of diesel fumes produced by the old lorries and buses!


What a scene!

And what I had not seen yet was that on the other side of these tunnels, the city is a total unorganized mess with trucks, cars, pedestrians, motorbikes, cyclists, buses… Going up, swivelling, going down, on strange crossing and crazy streets.

I fell in love with the place immediately!

I do not know if it is the difference with all that I have seen so far but it was unforeseen, impressive and especially, agreeably new.

But it is not because you fall in love at the first sight that what lays ahead is easy (in love and while travelling)!

I had had some problems reserving a hotel for this town and had finally contacted a place called Hotel Independencia. Price was correct and the owner told me that it will be possible to leave my motorbike in front of my room. Perfect, I buy!

However, as I always try to do, I validate on Google Map but I do not find the front door with the address of the establishment… Hem…

When I arrive, I see a placard with the name of the hotel and one nice small arrow pointing a bit too much to my taste skyward. The hotel is located away from the main street, on a brick side street that is very abrupt.

I park and go up to see the representative. He tells me, no problem, I can take my motorbike up… I look at the brick alleyway and I tell myself with almost perfect English even though I am French-speaking… No f… way man, I’ m not driving my motorcycle up that hill! And on top of that, once up, I must have had to perform a 300-degree turn to be in a line towards the door which is barely larger than my motorbike.



Even the small scooter did not dare to drive up! I must come to the obvious conclusion that this will not work. And no, I do not have a plan B! But with a little bit of experience behind the belt now, I calmly leave (read: with a calm appearance but nevertheless a bit nervous at the idea of having to drive in this mess). I get on it and perform a few turns and pass a few slow trucks, to see, after only a couple of minutes, a tiny sign for a hotel, but which does not seem to have parking. I nevertheless take a chance and go in.

Nothing too fancy but clean, and with the same price as the previous hotel! I ask where I could park the motorbike. The young girl looks at me with a bit of strange look, as if saying “I am being blind or simply stupid”, while look off behind me, pointing with her eyes at one of the nicest garages I saw of my life, with a tile floor so clean that it would be possible to eat on it!



What happiness! What a chance!

I undo things fast (I am quicker and quicker and organized!) and I go for a walk on these streets and alleyways full of life and especially, of colours and disrupted textures, which make it a paradise for the amateur photographer that I am.


















There are several tunnel entries (and exits!), and even some for pedestrians! I cannot imagine the work behind these facilities dating from the beginning of the century.






I decide to venture into some small back alley towards the al Pipila monument. Take a look a these images. Even these are on Google Map and I was able to easily get to my destination. I’m impressed by the technology behind that tool!



What I show I wan in for when I reached the statue. I let the following photos talk and I give a 10/10 verdict to this city. Not to be missed!











Next Article (Recent) ⇨

Days 17 to 22 - Mexico - A few More Cites and Final Thoughts

2016-09-28 - Day 17 - Guanajuato, GT to San Miguel de Allende, GT (95 km - 1:30 hrs) 2016-09-29 - Day 18 - San Miguel de Allende, GT 2016-09-30 - Day 19 - San Miguel de Allende, GT to Puebla, PU (423 km - 5:45 hrs) 2016-10-01 - Day 20 ... Read more

⇦ Previous Article (Older)

Day 13, 14 and 15 - Mexico - Hey, Tequila?!

2016-09-24 - Day 13 - Mazatlan (SI) to Tequila (JA) (468 km - 7:00 hrs) 2016-09-25 - Day 14 - Tequila (JA) to Guadalajara (JA) (65 km - 1:00 hrs) 2016-09-26 - Day 15 - Guadalajara (JA) to Leon (GT) (244 km - 3:45 hrs) Today (Sept. 24th) was a ... Read more

Marc Ouellet

Adventurer at heart. Travelling on 2 wheels to South America soon!

  • Geoffrey Parsons

    Good morning Marc,

    Incredible photos and great commentary. Put the beast in the shots once and a while for the ADV gang. Your self portrait is telling. Looking a bit travel worn. But worth it I’ll bet.

    Julie is already on me to get down to those parts. She is brushing up on her Spanish so I’m getting worried!

    Keep having fun.

    1. Marc Ouellet

      Good point Geoffrey! Will make sure to add a few pics of the bike on the next post!

    2. Marc Ouellet

      Good point, will do my best!

  • Peter Parsons

    “the city is a total unorganized mess with trucks, cars, pedestrians, motorbikes, cyclists, buses… Going up, swivelling, going down, on strange crossing and crazy streets.

    I fell in love with the place immediately!”

    Of course you did. You live in Montreal!! Land of the construction zone cones.

    The leaves are finally starting to change up here. Still not too cold at night.

    1. Marc Ouellet

      That’s true!

      The leaves are certainly not changing here!

  • Chantal Cournoyer

    C’est vraiment hallucinant comme endroit ! Faudra que je retourne 🙂

    1. Marc Ouellet

      Oui, c’est vraiment spécial!

  • Geir Olaf Ostebovik

    Well written and many nice Pictures! Looking forward to follow the rest of Your trip 🙂

    1. Marc Ouellet

      Thanks! Hope to keep you reading the blog! Crossing to Guatemala tomorrow!

  • Steve B

    I stayed in that same hotel and the parking attendants blocked my bike in [parked to the right in front of the steps] with a pickup truck. It was after 11am by the time I got out of there. Other than that Guanajuato was one of my favorite towns in Mexico. RT 40= the Devils Backbone was quite the scenic ride for sure, also one of my favorite in Mexico.

    1. Marc Ouellet

      That must have been a painful wait! Thanks for the comment.

  • Phil

    Hey Marc, Might as well pepper you with another question… Sorry.

    What camera setup did you take with you? Body and lenses and which lens did you use most?

  • Marc Ouellet

    No worry, this makes me revisit great memories!

    In terms of camera, I sold my DSLR (and all the lenses) and went with a cheap pocket camera. This is a move I never regretted. The camera was always on me, I never felt like I was carrying gear that was worth more that many houses I was driving by and it was very lightweight. I also got a GoPro. It was fun but it does require a bit of work (file transfer, charging the batteries…).

    Did you consult this section: ?

    There is a specific section on electronics!


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