When I was a little kid, I always pestered my mother about going to Guanajuato for a holiday in order to visit the Mummies of Guanajuato and experience firsthand the legends of horror that made Guanajuato a very infamous city in terms of local folktales and stories from colonial times.
As an adult, I finally managed to visit this magical city and immersed myself in a quest of discerning the myths from the facts. Trust me, it wasn’t easy and yes, it was a very scary experience.
Are you ready? If you are, then proceed with caution, for we are about to explore stories about love, betrayal and death, lots of death.
*Insert evil laugh here*
Legends of Guanajuato: The Alley of the Kiss (El Callejón del Beso)
This is basically the Mexican version of Romeo and Juliet…with a twist. Carlos was a boy from a middle-class family who fell in love with Ana, a rich wealthy girl. They began a romance and even got the blessing from her mother, that is, until Ana’s father decided to sell her hand in marriage to a wealthy Spaniard.
Carlos, feeling crushed, devised a plan where he could rent an apartment in front of Ana’s and from the balconies in the narrow alleyway, they could see each other in the middle of the night.
Everything went as planned until Ana’s father caught them and, in a blind rage, plunged a knife into the darkness… fatally wounding Ana and killing her. Today, Trovadores re-tell this tragic story and local legend has it that if a couple kiss underneath the balconies, they will have 7 years of prosperity.
Talking about Trovadores, each night they offer a traditional Callejoneada (narrow alley tour) where you pay a small fee in order to enjoy a romantic walking tour of this charming city with live music and a courtesy drink.
If you’re in the vicinity of the Callejón del Beso but have the misfortune of being single, you can rent university students to kiss you (but ONLY to kiss you, mind you).
Always remember to negotiate the style of the kiss beforehand!
Legends of Guanajuato: The Haunted Mansions
Guanajuato is home to at least 4 different colonial era haunted mansions, each one with a spooky vibe and a story so unbelievable cheesy that can easily be labelled as nothing more than a myth.
Most city tours will include a visit to one of these mansions, where extremely bored university students and fake-looking wax sculptures will try (and fail) to scare you.
A special mention goes to the Spanish Inquisition Museum (yes, you can insert a Monty Python joke here), where you will often find a very playful guide who will banter with your group and put you in embarrassing and funny situations that will make everybody laugh…except for you.
Proceed with caution and a big sense of humor and remember: NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION (sorry, had to say it…).
Legends of Guanajuato: The Mummies of Guanajuato
NOW we’re talking about! Ever since their discovery between 1865 and 1958, the Mummies of Guanajuato have been the city’s most important tourist attraction and part of the Mexican folklore, starring in iconic horror B-movies such as “El Santo contra las Momias de Guanajuato”.
However, contrary to what the name might suggest, these aren’t actually mummies in the strict ceremonial sense of the word, rather, the mummification process of these corpses was a natural one, product of the salt levels and unique minerals found at Guanajuato.
If you’re expecting to find the equivalent of the ancient mummies at Egypt or Peru, I’m sorry to disappoint you since these corpses do not belong to ancient warriors or kings, rather, they are the bodies of common people from the 19th century who died of a cholera outbreak (which makes them even more frightening in my opinion!) and were buried at the graveyard located above the Museum.
Why do they all have scary expressions? Because many of these people were actually buried alive!!! (Although the majority of them were modified post-mortem in order to attract more visitors…).
And yes, this amazing finding was entirely done by accident after the Government decided to create more space for new graves after the relatives of the deceased failed to pay the imposed local tax.
I can only imagine the expression of terror of the grave diggers. Legend has it that some of them became mummies themselves after un-earthing this type of horrors!
So wait, the Government literally dug up people’s relatives and showcased them in the Museum of the Momias of Guanajuato?
Ethical or not, the displays are very interesting since they reveal a very important aspect of life in the 19th century and serves as a timeless evidence of Mexico’s culture and folklore.
Today, only about 40% of the collection is displayed since the remaining 60% was on a world-wide tour (guides often joke that the dead have been to more countries that the living) and now that the collection has finally returned, there’s simply not enough space to showcase it all at once.
If you’re traveling with kids, then I definitely suggest you to skip this, mainly because some of the corpses displayed are extremely scary (even for grown-ups!).
You don’t really want to give mental scars to your kids for life, do you?
Where to stay in Guanajuato, Mexico
When it comes to accommodation, Guanajuato has plenty of awesome choices located within the historical centre of the city. Here’s a list of my recommendations for all types of budgets.
Luxury & Boutique Hotels of Guanajuato:
Hotel Boutique 1850, in the centre of Guanajuato, Hotel Boutique 1850 features beautiful individually decorated rooms in a charming, neoclassic building, dating from the 1850s. It features a spa and a sit-down restaurant.
Villa Maria Christina Hotel, with spacious, luxurious suites as well as first-rate services and an elegant restaurant, this stylish hotel provides guests with an ideal escape in the interesting city of Guanajuato.
Budget Hostels and Guest Houses of Guanajuato:
La Casa de Dante, featuring a roof terrace with views of tne hills surrounding Guanajuato, Hostal La Casa de Dante is located in Cerro de los Leones. This hostel offers simple accommodations with balconies.
Hostal La Casa del Tio, located in Guanajato’s old town, Hostal La Casa del Tio offers free Wi-Fi. Set in an Art Deco building, it is just 10 minutes’ walk from Juárez Theatre and Pípila Funicular Railway Station.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction to the Mummies of Guanajuato and other spooky legends. Don’t forget to subscribe in order to get more awesome updates and tips straight to your e-mail!
Have you ever visited the Mummies of Guanajuato? Would you like to? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!
Until next time, my friends!