A Viceroyalty Experience: A Tour of Central Mexico

Routes of Mexico provide themed excursions. A Viceroyalty Experience shows the country's center. Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, and San Miguel de Allende were revolutionary hotspots.

A Viceroyalty Experience: A Tour of Central Mexico
Even today, San Miguel de Allende exudes a colonial vibe, thanks to viceroyalty-era buildings. Image by StevenBuchanan from Pixabay

To present the natural, architectural, historical, and cultural richness of the country, the Routes of Mexico is a program that offers 10 tours based on different themes. Revolving around the historical and cultural theme, A Viceroyalty Experience is a route that presents the central region of the country.

This itinerary takes you to Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, and San Miguel de Allende, cities that have one thing in common: they were important scenes of Mexican independence and revolution; they witnessed the fall of an empire and the birth of a nation.


Nothing tells the story of Aguascalientes' 400 years of life better than its monumental architecture. The churches of San Diego and Nuestra Señora del Rosario, the Government Palace with its murals, the Morelos Theater, and Casa Terán are just some of the most outstanding buildings.

During the War of Independence, the city was a constant refuge for the insurgents, who sometimes took breath among its buildings to continue the campaign. And during the Revolution, Aguascalientes served as headquarters for the Convention that bears its name, called by Venustiano Carranza in October 1914, to gather the military chiefs in command of forces and the governors of the states. Villa and Zapata only agreed to attend the meeting once it was moved to warmer lands.

To the north of the city are extremely picturesque spots. This is the dangerous Ruta de la Plata, part of the Camino Real that connected Zacatecas with Mexico City in the times of New Spain. The scenery, full of cacti, desert animals, and an air of abandonment, is ideal for the filming of a western movie.


It is impossible to complete the viceregal experience without visiting the architectural magnificence of this city, also recognized as a World Heritage Site. The city of Guanajuato was the scene of one of the most important victories of the independence fighters: the capture of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, where the intendant and several Spanish families were besieged until the heroic action of a miner known as "El Pípila" gave the victory to the insurgents. A year later, the heads of Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama, and Jiménez were hung on its four corners and remained there until 1821. Today, it is impossible to walk through the city without feeling the patriotic furor come alive.


The most representative of Santiago de Querétaro is its eloquent arches, but that is just a taste of what its clean and tidy streets hold. No less than the cradle of Independence, Queretaro is home to the house where the town councilwoman, Doña Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, received Allende, Aldama, and the Gonzalez brothers to plan the liberation from the Spanish crown.

After the conspiracy was discovered, it was also in this house that the mayoress launched, with three blows of her shoe, the warning that made the priest Hidalgo give the famous cry of ¡Viva México!

Art, good gastronomy, and history coexist in one of Mexico's favorite cities, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008. It was important for its role in the Independence and for being a witness of the Mexican Baroque. Today it is important for its restaurants and colonial mansions converted into boutique hotels.

San Juan de los Lagos

Ten million pilgrims come to San Juan de los Lagos every year. They come to its cathedral to see its virgin, but it would not be unusual for them to come only to admire the 70-meter (230-feet) high pink quarry that makes up its towers or the six paintings attributed to Rubens that adorn its sacristy. Also known as Colegiata, this church is not the only baroque construction in the city that deserves adoration: El Parían, the Government Palace, the Post Office, and Tithe buildings, among others, have their adepts.

San Luis Potosi

The "city of gardens" is a colonial destination par excellence. Its plazas, museums, and gardens, full of art and culture, are an invaluable treasure. Allende met here with Abasolo and Aldama during the Independence War, and since then, Holy Week has been celebrated with the enigmatic Procession of Silence. Still, today, the history and traditions of Mexico are plausible in these streets.

Its name, San Luis Potosi, comes from a combination of the names of the French King Louis IX and the Bolivian city with which it shared its mining wealth, especially in silver. Today, it is a prosperous city, one of the most important industrial centers in the country. It has a magnificent historic center with buildings rich in history, squares, and museums. Don't miss the Virreina Museum with its collection of sacred art, the Museum of the Mask, or a more modern museum like the Centro de las Artes Centenario.

San Miguel de Allende

So close to Dolores, San Miguel El Grande could not remain on the sidelines of the independence insurgency; therefore, its houses and warehouses stored weapons and ammunition. Many of its sons, such as the Aldama brothers and Ignacio Allende (who now gives the city its new name), took part in the armed struggle that eventually earned Mexico's independence.

San Miguel de Allende still preserves its colonial air, with architecture representative of the viceroyalty and a neo-gothic style cathedral that can be seen from its main square. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. This group of colonial streets and squares is where you can breathe art and culture at all times. It is a small city with an enormous heritage and a cosmopolitan population.


The "Pink City" is one of the colonial jewels of the country. Zacatecas is surrounded by deserts and mines and has great food. It also has some great secrets, like the Rafael and Pedro Coronel Museum, which is unique for its large collection.

The splendor of the monuments from the colonial era has been preserved; like the baroque cathedral or the Guadalupe Convent; many of them can be seen from the cable car that crosses the city.

The Zacatecas desert also offers interesting attractions. Its entrails contain fantastic places such as the Sierra de Órganos and the Sierra de Cardos, which are ideal for those who enjoy rappelling and rock climbing.

Itinerary of the Viceroyalty Experience Tour of Central Mexico

Day 1

Mexico City. The tour begins with a visit to the historic center: the National Palace and its beautiful murals, the Plaza de la Constitución (or Zócalo), the Aztec Templo Mayor, and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Day 2

Depart for Querétaro, where a sightseeing tour and lunch follow, before continuing to San Miguel de Allende. The road then takes you to Guanajuato.

Day 3

The third day awaits us with a trip to San Juan de los Lagos, continuing to Aguascalientes for lunch, and then on to Zacatecas.

Day 4

Drive to San Luis Potosi to visit its historic center. In the afternoon the trip continues to Queretaro.

Day 5

On the last day a tour of Querétaro. For a happy ending, enjoy the beautiful downtown and its extraordinary atmosphere.