North of Mexico City, the gold and silver mines of El Bajio region filled the coffers of the Spanish crown and left behind some of the country’s most beautiful, colonial towns. Among the prettiest is San Miguel de Allende, founded in 1541 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its baroque architecture. Within the old town, cobbled streets wind through leafy courtyards, past elegant facades and ornate chapels to reach the famous “Garden” zocalo square dominated by the pink “Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel” church. Close by, the historic centres of Queretaro and Guanajuato are equally eye-catching, both UNESCO protected with stately mansions and old-world charm. Despite the colonial monuments, each town retains a strong sense of indigenous identity reflected in the regional cuisine and colours. Travel into the countryside and you observe traditions that have changed little over the centuries, such as Patzcuaro’s famous “Day of the Dead” celebrations.
However, it is not just the glorious architecture and local culture that draw visitors to this area. Each year, Morelia witnesses one of nature’s great migrations as up to a billion Monarch butterflies arrive from Canada to inundate the region’s forests. For wildlife enthusiasts, this is simply un-missable!