Aguascalientes (city)

Travel Guide North America Mexico Aguascalientes Aguascalientes

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Introduction

Aguascalientes is the capital of the state of Aguascalientes and is its most populous city, with a metropolitan population of 1,000,000. It is located in North-Central Mexico. It is part of the macroregion of Bajío, which is among the safest regions in Mexico. Aguascalientes has repeatedly been recognized as one of the cities with the best quality of life in Latin America. Nowadays, Aguascalientes is a vigorous service city that is experiencing an ongoing social, economic, and aesthetic revitalization process. It stands on the banks of the Río Aguascalientes, 1880 meters above sea level, at 21°51′N 102°18′W. It is the municipal seat for the Aguascalientes Municipality.

The Aguascalientes metropolitan area includes the municipality of Jesus María y San Francisco de los Romo. It was a Chichimeca Indian territory. It later blossomed as a strategic link between Mexico City and the mines of Zacatecas, while prosperous agriculture and ranching helped feed Spain’s emerging New World cities.

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Sights and Activities

  • Main Cathedral. This austere, restored 18th-century cathedral is more impressive on the inside than the outside. There is a noteworthy painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe by the famous artist Miguel Cabrera and several more of his works throughout the impressive interior.
  • Morelos Theater (Teatro Morelos). This was the scene of the famous 1914 Covention of Aguascalientes. Here, revolutionary factions led by Venustiano Carranza, Panch Villa and Emiliano Zapata reaced a bitter stalemate that would ultimately have major ramifications for Mexico. The revolutionary leaders are memorialized in plaster busts and several exhibits on this historical era in Mexican history are found upstairs.
  • Governor's Palace (Palacio de Gobierno). This imposing building was constructed in 1665 out of native pink volcanic rock, similar to many old buildings in Aguascalientes. This rather remarkable structure is formed around an arched courtyard and a grand staircase. Four sides of the courtyard are covered in murals by the Chilean artist Oswaldo Barra Cunningham, a student of Diego Rivera. The first murals were completed in 1962 and the most recent are from 1992.
  • Municipal Palace (Palcacio Municipal). Next door to the Governor's Palce, this building pales in comparison to its much flashier neighbour.
  • Templo del Seňor del Encino. This graceful old church, also built of the local pink volcanic stone, is noteworthy for it's flamboyant interior and a statue of the "Balck Christ" of Encino. Stained glass above the main door also depicts images and miracles associated with the venerated figure. Outside, a beautifully tiled dome tops the temple.
  • José Guadalupe Posada Museum (Museo José Guadalupe Posada). Posada is considered by many as the founder of modern art in Mexico. Since his death nearly a century ago, José Guadalupe Posada's work has steadily gained popularity with art lovers and Día de los Muertos celebrators alike. He is especially known for his calaveras images of whimsical skeletons. "While the illustration of the high society woman is one of Posada's most highly regarded pieces, it's also arguably the most recognizable image of the Día de los Muertos celebration.
  • National Museum of Death (Museo Nacional de la Muerte), Rivero y Gutiérrez esq, ☎ +52 449 910 7400. The national museum of death. Celebrating the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead with many beautiful works ranging from pre-Hispanic period to today. Many people visit Aguas for this museum alone.
  • Museum of Aguascalientes (Museo de Aguascalientes). Built out of pink quarry. It has a collection of 20th century arts including the works of Saturnio Herran, who was born in Aguascalientes. Herran's arts include portraits of the everyday citizen painted with a high degree of sensitivity toward his subjects. His work is very similar to art nouveau.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo). This modern museum has many changing exhibits in several dedicated rooms but is best known for permanent works by Enrique Guzmán.
  • Museum of Regional History (Museo Regional de Historia). This small museum features a chapel as well as several rooms covering many things, from the origin of Earth itself to Mexico's Revolutionary period. Admission is free on Sunday.
  • Thermal Baths (Baños Termales de Ojocaliente). The city of Aguascalientes indeed has a complex built around steamy hot water baths. The facilities here were opened in 1808 and have been lovingly restored. Public and private baths are available.

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Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexico where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

Other Events and Festivals

Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810.

  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating and many towns hold processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout all of Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades, dancing and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.
  • New Year's Eve. Mexicans celebrate New Year's Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. One can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers being fired. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: "Feliz año nuevo!" People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne.

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Weather

The climate in Aguascalientes is warm and dry year-round. Rainfall season is from May until November, although rain is very seldom here. When it does rain it's fierce and brief in the late afternoon leaving the evenings cooled off and dry.

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Getting There

By Plane

Lic. Jesús Terán Peredo International Airport (IATA: AGU, ICAO: MMAS), also known as Aguascalientes International Airport, serves Aguascalientes. There are flights to/from Mexico City, Dallas, Monterrey, Tijuana, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun (seasonal), Houston and Los Angeles.

By Car

To get to Aguascalientes from Mexico City by car, take the MEX 57 as far as Querétaro, then take the MEX 45 via Salamanca. Aguascalientes is located on Federal Highway 57/45 in Mexico.

By Bus

Central Camionera, the bus station, is on the south side of the first ring, 5 km (3 miles) from main square. A bus ride from Mexico City will usually take about six hours. There is an overnight bus that runs from Mexico City to Aguascalientes that leaves around midnight and arrives in Aguascalientes around 6am. This type of bus trip is perfect for those who just want to spend a full day in Aguascalientes. Luxury services ETN and Primera Plus serve Aguas. Local buses M$6 (pesos) run from outside the bus station into the centre. Look for "Centro" on the windshield, meaning they go downtown.

For an overview of schedules and connections, check thebusschedule.com. Also check out rome2rio.com.

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Getting Around

  • From the airport - From AGU - Aguascalientes Airport there is ground transportation available to take you to your destination.
  • Rent a car - Aguascalientes is very accessible by road so renting a car is a good option to see all the historic sites and architecture that Aguascalientes and its surrounding areas have to offer, however, it is recommended that you have some experience driving in Mexico, because the rules and customs can vary significantly from those from other countries.
  • Taxis - Taxis are also a safe option for getting around in Aguascalientes. You can arrange for a taxi from your hotel although street cabs are usually much cheaper. All taxis have meters that indicate the fare to pay. It is not required to speak Spanish or negotiate the fare. Check that the driver turns on his meter. Most places in the city can be reached for M$40 (around US$2.50) or less.
  • Turibús - Right across the main square, you can get a ride on a streetcar around the most important tourist sights with this government-provided service. Cost is M$36 (US$2.00) for adults, M$26 (US$1.50) for children and senior citizens. On board, the tour guide gives you descriptions and facts about the sights in English and Spanish. Hourly departures.
  • Walking - It is safe to walk during the day and at night around the tourist areas and downtown, to get on a cab or public transportation. Most people show their hospitality when they realize you are a tourist, always willing to help, give you directions or help you with the language.

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Eat

  • La China Hilaria - Located on Blvd Luis Donaldo Colosio this restaurant sells delicious regional food.
  • Rincón Maya - High quality authentic traditional Mexican cuisine from the state of Yucatán. Located in the Jardín del Encino (Encino garden), downtown area.
  • Mesón del Taco - Located on Avenue Aguascalientes Pte. this restaurant sells traditional Mexican and Spanish food.
  • Applebee's Grill and Bar - Located on Avenue Independencia 2351 this restaurant is for those who want a taste of the U.S. while in Mexico. Applebee's serves steak, chicken, salads, and seafood.
  • De Andrea Alameda - Located on Avenue Tecnológico one can come to this restaurant for a taste of all types of international food.
  • Los Mixes - Located on Blvd Luis Donaldo Colosio this "hole in the whole" taco restaurant serves the best tacos in town.
  • The best food to try while in Aguascalientes include the barbacoa de olla, biznaga tamales, candied guava, caramel sweets, and ladrillos; which is a delicious flaky pastry.

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Drink

There are many nightclubs and bars in Aguascalientes. But don't head there early. Locals usually begin to show up at the bars around 11pm. They don't leave or even start dancing until 5am through 7am. So if you want to drink and party like a local do not head home early!

If you want to party visit Aguas during la Feria de San Marcos. The city transforms into the largest open-air cantina in Mexico, with an abundance of places selling cocktails (M$50) or 2L beers (also M$50). You are also able to buy beer in cans, bottles, 16 oz and 1L varieties. Usually drinking on the street in Mexico would be problomatic, However, during the Feria many enterprising people open public bathroom, all costing M$5.

Clubs and a casino also open specially for the Feria.

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Sleep

  • Hotel Francia, Av. Francisco I. Madero #113-A, ☎ +52 449 910 3050. Historical hotel, built in 1915, located in the city centre.
  • Quinta Real Aguascalientes, Av Aguascalientes Sur 601, ☎ +52 449 978 5818.
  • Marriott Hotel, Boulevard Zacatecas Norte S/N, Col Trojes de Alonso Aguascalientes, Mexico 20116, ☎ +52 449-1394060.
  • Hotel Maser, Juan de Montoro #303, ☎ +52 449 915 3562. A good budget option featuring a bright inner courtyard and free parking.
  • Hotel Alborada, González Saracho #103, ☎ +52 449 916 9344. Another budget option with well maintained vintage rooms and tiled floors.
  • Hotel San Antonio, Calle Gral. Ignacio Zaragoza #305, ☎ +52 449 918 4804. A centrally located mid-range choice with bright rooms.
  • Hotel Avenida, Av. Francisco I. Madero #466, ☎ +52 449 915 1303. The Avenida is a boutique hotel, several blocks from the city centre.
  • Hotel Seňoral, Calle Cristobal Colon #104, ☎ +52 449 915 1473. Another basic budget hotel with plain rooms, close to the centre of Aguascalientes.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafe's are widely available and you generally can find one in the direct vicinity. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.

Post

The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.

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This is version 15. Last edited at 19:23 on Dec 30, 19 by road to roam. 1 article links to this page.

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