Explore The Bajío
Almost 2500m up and crammed into a narrow gully between two hills, elegant Zacatecas is overflowing with ornate colonial architecture and absorbing museums, ranking alongside Guanajuato as one of the Bajío’s finest destinations – the obvious wealth projected by its fine stone buildings makes this another city that seems plucked straight out of classical Spain. It remains much as the British Admiralty’s Handbook of Mexico described it in 1905: “irregular”, its streets “very narrow, steep, and frequently interrupted by stone steps” and “much exposed to winds blowing through the gorge”. Those same winds still gust bitterly cold in winter, and even though many of the once-cobbled streets are now paved and choked with traffic, the town is otherwise little changed.Read More
It’s well worth basing yourself in Zacatecas to explore the immediate surroundings, not least the Centro Platero de Zacatecas, where the local tradition of silver-working reaches its highest expression. Those with no interest in buying should definitely continue to Guadalupe – virtually a suburb of Zacatecas – to see the Convento de Guadalupe, a rich, sumptuously decorated monastery, rare in that it has survived the centuries more or less unscathed, and for that reason one of the most important such buildings in Mexico. Further out, the ruins of the great desert fortress town Chicomoztoc are by contrast quite unadorned, but enormously impressive nonetheless. You’ll need to allow the best part of a day for either Chicomoztoc, or the picturesque town of Jerez, a pleasant day out of town anytime but essential for the cowboy festival on Easter Saturday. You can venture out to any of these places independently, though several travel agents in Zacatecas offer tours.
Fiestas in Zacatecas
Fiestas in Zacatecas
Zacatecas hosts several exuberant festivals:
Festival Cultural Zacatecas
(March/April). For two weeks around Semana Santa the city celebrates this enormous arts festival, with daily events all over town including everything from high-quality Mexican rock acts and even a few foreign bands to folkloric dance, opera and ballet. Most events are free.
Festival Zacatecas del Folclor International
(late July–early Aug). Mexico’s top international folk festival with around fifty nationalities represented, mostly performing in the plazas around the centre.
La Morisma de Bracho
(weekend closest to Aug 27). Festival with up to 10,000 people engaging in mock battles between Moors and Christians, acted out on the Cerro de la Bufa.
Feria Nacional de Zacatecas
(Sept, first two weeks). Zacatecas’s principal fiesta features bullfights and plenty of traditional carousing. The activity happens at La Feria, 3km south towards Guadalupe.