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Discovering Zacatecas Mexico

Welcome to Mexico’s colonial jewel, Zacatecas! You don’t need a time machine to travel back in time, just let yourself be carried away by the cobblestone streets and buildings that tell stories of centuries past. In this article, I’ll take you on an exciting tour of the 10 best things to do in Zacatecas, where fun mixes with history and laughter is the secret ingredient. So buckle up, because this trip will be a roller coaster of emotions in glorious Zacatecas, Mexico.

aerial-shot-of-the-cathedral-in-zacatecas mexico

The Story: A Telenovela of the Period

Ah, the history of Zacatecas, that period soap opera that would make the best Hollywood productions pale with envy. It turns out that back in the 16th century, some brave Spanish explorers found this place as if they were discovering a hidden treasure. And what a treasure it was, full of silver mines that shone like the freshly whitened teeth of a famous person.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing, no sir! The natives were already used to living in this beautiful place and were not willing to share it so easily. So they got into fights more intense than those of the stars in a wrestling match. After a few disagreements, peace was finally established, and Zacatecas became a melting pot of cultures and flavors, like a taqueria with tacos of every possible color and flavor!

Since then, the history of Zacatecas has been as exciting as the final chapter of a thriller series. Wars, revolutions, and even encounters with extraterrestrials (yes, you read that right) have left their mark on this magical land. But here we are, in the present, to savor all that Zacatecas has to offer, as if it were an endless buffet of chiles en nogada and mezcal.

Top 10 things to do in Zacatecas, Mexico:

1. Attack the Day with a Monumental Breakfast:

Start your mornings with a colonial breakfast that will prepare you to conquer the day. Find a cozy restaurant and let yourself be tempted by delicacies like enchiladas zacatecanas or chilaquiles with a spicy touch – this is not just food, it’s a heroic act for your stomach!

homemade-mexican-chilaquiles-for-breakfast

2. Enter the Labyrinth of Haunted Streets:

Don’t be scared, these colonial streets have a magical charm! Stroll through the narrow alleys and admire the houses with wrought iron balconies, dare to find the most charming corner, beware, you might fall madly in love!

3. Challenge your courage on the Cablevía:

If you have a brave heart and nerves of steel, you can’t miss the Cablevía adventure. See Zacatecas from above, while you feel butterflies in your stomach and cling to your seat like a true conqueror of the sky.

4. Be Dazzled by the Cathedral:

The majesty of the Zacatecas Cathedral will take your breath away. Admire its architectural splendor and feel small in front of such grandeur. Who said buildings can’t have an ego?

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5. Subway Adventures at El Edén Mine:

It’s time to go deep into the bowels of Zacatecas! Explore the famous El Eden Mine and learn about its history. Don’t worry, if you feel your heart skipping a beat to the rhythm of the legends, it’s just your mining excitement.

6. Taste the Magic in Old Restaurants:

Zacatecas, Mexico. Is famous for its charming old restaurants. Eat like royalty in colonial mansions and enjoy traditional dishes that will transport you to another era – nothing like savoring history with a smile on your lips!

7. Aliens in Zacatecas:

Zacatecas not only has its history, but also its UFO legends. Listen to the locals tell their most outlandish stories about extraterrestrial encounters – are the lights in the sky just mischievous lanterns?

8. Immerse yourself in the Night of Zacatecas:

When the sun goes down, Zacatecas is full of magic. Enjoy the nocturnal enchantment on the illuminated balconies, where music and joy mingle with the night breeze, Zacatecan night, gypsy night!

9. A Toast to History in the Traditional Cantinas:

What better way to celebrate than with a good drink in the traditional cantinas of Zacatecas? Toast to history, to laughter and to the charm that surrounds you – Cheers, fellow traveler!

10. Say Goodbye with an Unforgettable Meal:

Before you leave, feast on a last meal that will stay in your memory. Zacatecas has a unique way of saying goodbye to its visitors, and that way is through the palate: it tastes like a farewell with a taste of return!

Typical Food and Beverages:

The gastronomy of Zacatecas is a true feast for the soul and the palate. Each dish reflects the rich culinary heritage of the region, combining local ingredients with seasonings that will take you back to colonial times. Here are some delicacies you can’t miss during your visit to Zacatecas, but be careful, you might fall in love with the food as much as with the city!

Asado de Boda:

This dish is a true gem of Zacatecan cuisine and no, it is not a wedding asado per se. The name may be confusing, but it is an exquisite mixture of pork and beef marinated with a chili, garlic and spices marinade. It is served with a sweet sauce and accompanied by rice, chickpeas and freshly made tortillas, a delicacy that will leave you speechless!

Gorditas Zacatecanas:

If we talk about Mexican snacks, gorditas Zacatecanas are the stars. They are small tortillas filled with delicious stews such as pressed chicharrón, picadillo or cottage cheese. A true explosion of flavors in every bite, impossible to eat just one!

mexican-gorditas-de-migajas-with-pork-rinds-and-ch

Caldo de Oso:

Although it sounds wild, this broth has no strange ingredients. It is a chicken noodle soup that is cooked with a secret touch that gives it a unique flavor. Perfect for warming the heart and stomach on cool Zacatecas days.

Tortitas de Huauzontle:

How about vegetable croquettes with cheese, topped and bathed in a tomato sauce? These are the delicious huauzontle tortitas, a delicacy that combines the healthy with the delicious – a culinary treasure that will surprise you!

Fruit Punch:

If you visit Zacatecas at Christmas time or during the holidays, you can’t miss the delicious fruit punch. This traditional drink, made with fruit, piloncillo and cinnamon, is a true delight that will make you feel the festive spirit in every sip.

Best time to visit Zacatecas, Mexico:

Zacatecas is captivating any time of year, but if you’re looking for a truly magical experience, there are times that stand out above the rest.

Spring:

Spring, which runs from March through May, is an excellent time to visit Zacatecas. The days are warm and the nights are cool, allowing you to enjoy outdoor activities without the scorching heat of summer. In addition, it is during this season when gardens and parks bloom with vibrant colors, creating landscapes worthy of a painting.

Festivals and Special Events:

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Zacatecan culture, consider visiting during the months of September and October. During these dates, the city comes alive with traditional festivals, such as the Zacatecas National Fair, where you can enjoy music, folkloric dances, bullfights and many other exciting activities.

Christmas time:

Zacatecas shines with its own light during the Christmas season. The streets are adorned with sparkling lights, and the festive atmosphere is contagious. Don’t miss the Christmas markets and posadas, where you can sample typical delicacies and experience the warmth of the season in the company of locals.

Avoid the Rainy Season:

The rainy season, which generally occurs between June and September, can affect your travel plans due to heavy rainfall. While the city becomes greener and cooler during this time, there can also be flooding and mudslides in mountainous areas. It is advisable to avoid visiting Zacatecas during these months if you are looking for a smooth trip.

In summary, Zacatecas is a city that will surprise you at any time of the year, but the spring and festival months offer a unique and exciting experience.

Safety when traveling to Zacatecas:

Visitor safety is a major concern, and it is natural to want to be informed before traveling. Zacatecas is a beautiful and hospitable city, but as in any tourist destination, it is important to take certain precautions to enjoy a peaceful and worry-free experience.

Here are some tips to ensure your safety during your visit to Zacatecas:

  • Research Before You Travel: Before you leave, research the current security situation in Zacatecas. Consult reliable sources such as government websites and embassies for up-to-date information on possible travel alerts or recommendations.
  • Keep Your Belongings Safe: When walking the streets or visiting tourist sites, keep your personal belongings, such as your purse, camera and cell phone, always with you and secured. Use cross-body bags and never leave them unattended.
  • Avoid Deserted or Poorly Lit Places at Night: As in any city, it is advisable to avoid areas with little traffic or poor lighting at night. It is always better to stay in crowded and well-lit areas.
  • Use Official Transportation Services: When using public transportation services, be sure to use official companies and avoid unauthorized cabs. Always verify that the cab driver uses the meter or agree on a fair price before boarding the vehicle.
  • Follow Local Directions: It is always good to follow the directions of the locals and the staff of the hotel or lodging where you are staying. They can give you valuable advice on safe locations and additional precautions.
  • Don’t Show Signs of Excessive Wealth: Try not to show obvious signs of wealth, such as ostentatious jewelry or large amounts of cash. It is best to keep a low profile to avoid attracting unwanted attention.
  • Don’t Drink Excessively: While enjoying the nightlife is part of the travel experience, avoid excessive alcohol consumption and make sure you don’t leave your drink unattended in bars or clubs.
  • Record your Itinerary: If you plan to take excursions outside of the city, be sure to record your itinerary with someone you trust and maintain regular communication, especially if you venture into rural or remote areas.

Remember that these tips apply to virtually any tourist destination and, in general, Zacatecas is a welcoming and safe city for visitors. By following these basic precautions, you will be able to enjoy your trip worry-free and have an unforgettable experience in this fascinating colonial city.

Museums and Art:

Zacatecas, Mexico. Is a true cultural treasure, and its museum and art offerings are not far behind. Immerse yourself in a world of history, art and creativity as you explore the museums and cultural spaces the city has to offer. Here are some must-see stops for art and history lovers:

  • Museo Rafael Coronel: If you’re a fan of masks, this museum will captivate you. The collection of Mexican and worldwide masks it houses is simply amazing. You will also find marionettes, puppets and folk art that will take you to a world of fantasy.
  • Zacatecas Museum: Located in the former Government Palace, this museum tells the history of Zacatecas through exhibits that include art, historical documents and archeological objects. It is an essential visit to understand the past and present of the city.
  • Galería de Arte Antonio Pineda: If you are looking to explore the contemporary art scene in Zacatecas, this gallery is the place to be. Here you will find a selection of works by local and national artists that will surprise you with their creativity and originality.
  • Museo Pedro Coronel: This museum is a real gem, housing an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art by Mexican and international artists. Be amazed by the masterpieces on display and admire the unique artistic vision of each creator.
  • Temporary Exhibitions: Zacatecas is a hive of artistic and cultural activity. Be sure to check out the temporary exhibitions that may be taking place in various cultural spaces throughout the city during your visit. These exhibits always offer a fresh and new look at the art world.

Local Events Calendar:

Zacatecas is a city full of life and festivity throughout the year. Its calendar of local events offers a wide range of cultural celebrations, festivals and traditions that will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the essence and spirit of the city. Here are some of the most outstanding celebrations you can enjoy during your visit:

Zacatecas National Fair:

This event, usually held in September, is the biggest and most anticipated of the year. For two weeks, the city fills with color, music and joy with shows, concerts, bullfights, agricultural and livestock expositions, and a great variety of activities for the whole family. It is the perfect opportunity to celebrate like a true Zacatecan!

Semana Santa:

Holy Week in Zacatecas is a unique spiritual and cultural experience. During this season, the streets are filled with processions, theatrical performances and religious events that recreate the biblical passages of the passion and death of Christ. It is an opportunity to reflect and appreciate the rich religious tradition of the city.

Zacatecas Cultural Festival:

If you are a lover of art and culture, you cannot miss this festival held during the month of April. During this event, the city becomes a stage for artistic expression, with dance, theater, music, exhibitions and literary presentations that will delight your senses.

International Jazz and Blues Festival:

In the month of May, the sounds of jazz and blues flood the streets of Zacatecas. This festival brings together talented national and international musicians to offer concerts and jam sessions in different stages of the city, a delight for the ears and the soul!

Day of the Dead:

During November 1 and 2, Zacatecas celebrates the Day of the Dead with altars and offerings in honor of deceased loved ones. Colorful altars adorn the plazas and streets, creating a festive and moving atmosphere that reflects Mexican traditions and beliefs about death and life.

Remember that events may vary from year to year, so I recommend checking the calendar of local events before planning your visit so you don’t miss any special celebrations during your stay in Zacatecas.

What to Buy in Zacatecas:

Zacatecas is a perfect destination for those looking to take back unique and authentic souvenirs from their trip. Here are some options of what to buy in the city to take a little piece of its charm home with you:

  • Barro crafts: The craftsmen zacatecanos are experts in working mud to create beautiful pieces of pottery. Since vajillas and macetas up to decorative figures, these crafts reflect the cultural wealth and creativity of the region.
  • Silverware: Zacatecas is famous for its high quality silverware. You can find exquisite jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, aretes and rings, elaborated with traditional techniques and unique designs.
  • Textiles and embroidered: Textiles and embroidered zacatecas are a true work of art. Look for garments dress, mantels, serviettes and cushions with colorful and detailed designs that reflect the tradition and creativity of the region.
  • Mezcal and Pulque Products: If you are a fan of alcoholic beverages, Zacatecas is known for its mezcal and pulque production. Take home a bottle of these traditional beverages and enjoy their unique flavor.
  • Leather and Fur Handicrafts: Handbags, wallets, belts and other leather and fur accessories are an excellent option to carry a little piece of Zacatecas with you. These pieces are elaborated with mastery and quality.
  • Honey and Sweets: Zacatecas is famous for its honey and traditional sweets. Don’t hesitate to taste and take with you some of these delicious local flavors.

Local Climate

The local climate of Zacatecas is another element that adds charm and diversity to this colonial city. As in many places in Mexico, the climate in Zacatecas varies depending on the time of year and altitude. Here is some information about the weather you can expect during your visit:

Weather in Spring (March to May):

Spring is a very pleasant season to visit Zacatecas. Days are usually warm and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging between 20°C and 25°C during the day. Nights can be cool, with temperatures dropping to around 10°C, so it is advisable to wear light clothing for the day and something warmer for the evenings. In addition, during the spring, the city is full of color with flowers in full bloom, creating a charming and photogenic atmosphere.

Summer Weather (June to August):

Summer in Zacatecas is warm and can be quite hot, especially during the month of July. Daytime temperatures can reach 30°C or more, while nights remain cool and pleasant. It is important to be prepared for the heat, wear light clothing, sun protection and stay hydrated during the day. Although it can be hot, summer is also an ideal time to enjoy festivals and cultural events.

Autumn Weather (September to November):

Autumn in Zacatecas is a transitional season, with temperatures beginning to gradually drop after the summer. During the day, temperatures usually range between 20°C and 25°C, while nights can be cool with temperatures close to 10°C. It is advisable to wear clothes that allow you to adapt to the temperature changes and enjoy both the sun and the cooler evenings.

Winter Weather (December to February):

Winter in Zacatecas can be cold, especially at night. Daytime temperatures usually hover around 15°C, but during the night they can drop to 0°C or even below freezing at times. It is important to bring warm clothing, such as jackets and scarves, to keep warm. Despite the winter it is also a lovely time to visit Zacatecas, especially during the Christmas and Day of the Dead festivities.

In summary, Zacatecas offers a varied climate throughout the year, allowing you to enjoy different experiences depending on the season of your visit. From warm spring days to cool autumn nights, each season has its own particular charm. Just be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and come prepared.

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