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Guanajuato, Mexico

Aerial view of Guanajuato, Mexico

Getting to Know Guanajuato, Mexico

Guanajuato is unique in Mexico, perhaps unique in the world. Where else could you find such an eclectic mix as mummies, colonial architecture, thousands of energetic college students, excellent museums and churches, old silver mines and tunnels, world-class performance arts festivals, and an impressive schedule of cultural activities throughout the year?

Many visitors here compare Guanajuato with the small, medieval towns of Tuscany and Provence, but it’s more animated, more interesting, and less expensive.

Cost Of Living In Guanajuato

Guanajuato is the crown jewel of Mexico’s colonial highland cities, an ideal and affordable retirement choice. Overall, groceries, restaurants, and entertainment expenses run 20% to 30% cheaper than in the United States. A retired couple could live here very comfortably on a budget of about 17,240 Mexican pesos per month.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Guanajuato, Mexico

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent MXN 6,000  
Gas MXN 670 Used for hot water and cooking.
Electricity MXN 600  
Water N/A Included with electricity.
Telephone MXN 700 Includes DSL Internet, and cost varies according to Internet speed and long-distance calling plans.
Internet N/A Included with telephone.
Cable TV MXN 270  
Groceries MXN 6,000  
Entertainment MXN 3,000  
Total MXN 17,240  

Infrastructure In Guanajuato

Guanajuato is easily accessible on a modern road system and from a nearby airport. Though it is well-connected to major highways to the west, south, and east, Guanajuato is fortunate to be located away from the major highways, substantially reducing the amount of traffic, with its associated noise and pollution.

The international airport is just 40 minutes away on the road between Silao and León. There are frequent daily flights to Houston and Dallas (2 hours, 15 minutes flying time), Los Angeles (3 hours, 30 minutes), and Mexico City (1 hour). Guanajuato has good intercity first-class bus services to nearby cities: Mexico City (5 hours, 30 minutes), Guadalajara (4 hours), and the U.S. border (14 hours, overnight.) Most of these first-class buses are superior in comfort to first-class airline seating.

The historic town center that runs along the valley of several canyons is relatively flat, but most of the houses are on steep pedestrian-only alleyways. Few houses in the center have parking, and street parking is scarce. Guanajuato is a walking city. If you can’t imagine living without a car, you have a walking impediment, or your vision of retirement is living as a couch-potato, you’ll have a hard time adapting to life in Guanajuato.

Climate In Guanajuato

Guanajuato enjoys moderate weather throughout the year. The combination of a southern latitude with a high altitude (2,008 meters, or 6,583 feet, above sea level) gives Guanajuato moderate weather throughout the year.

Guanajuato has two pronounced seasons. Mid-May through mid-October is the rainy season, with average monthly rainfall of 9.5 centimeters (3.75 inches). The rains cool the temperatures throughout the summer, making June through September very pleasant. Mid-October through mid-May is the dry season, and May is the hottest month (about 87 degrees Fahrenheit, on average).

Expats In Guanajuato

Guanajuato’s expat community is small, estimated to be about 250 to 350 people—retired, semiretired, and second-home expats. Most own their houses, probably half in the town center and half on the town periphery, or in the Marfil and Valenciana suburbs. Some have side businesses, but most live from their back-home investments and pensions. This group of expats tends to be segregated by two location types: the center-city group that doesn’t use automobiles and the suburb group in Marfil.

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