On the surface, Guanajuato looks like any colonial city you’d find in Mexico. Located northwest of Mexico City, the municipality of 170,000 is filled with parks, plazas and colonial era churches. It was silver mining that led to the establishment of Guanajuato and the vast amounts of silver in the ground brought wealth and culture to the city. Guanajuato is squished in a narrow valley. Many of its roads are too narrow for cars to pass. The solution? Build a subterranean road network. The underground labyrinth is really quite extraordinary and is open to the public.
Welcome to Guanajuato
Guanajuato is the capital of Mexico's Guanajuato State. The city was founded in 1548 and thanks to the discovery of silver, it grew rapidly.
Guanajuato is your typical Mexican city with beautiful parks, plazas and churches. The Basilica de Guanajuato is just one example.
Many of Guanajuato's streets are too narrow and too steep for cars and trucks.
The solution to Guanajuato's traffic problems? Tunnels!
The city's subterranean roads are built in converted underground caverns where the Rio Guanajuato (River) used to flow.
The original course of the Rio Guanajuato under the city resulted in frequent flooding.
In the mid-20th century, the river was rerouted, leaving behind a network of caverns.
The old river tunnels were converted into roadways.
The underground network of roads makes it easy to get around town.
Occasional Traffic Jams
Most people prefer to use the tunnels and as a result, the traffic on the surface is light. Although sometimes traffic does get backed up down below.
The roads are paved with cobblestones, so prepare for a bumpy ride.
Most of the roads are one way, which reduces the chance of accidents.
The roads are marked with bright signs, so visitors don't get lost.
Not Just for Cars
There are sidewalks that allow pedestrians to use the tunnels and avoid the maze of surface streets.
Pedestrians can access the streets above via stairs to the surface.
Several bus lines run and stop underground.
The tunnels are fun to explore either on foot or by car.
The Weeping Woman
There's even a legend about a weeping woman, La Llorona, whose spirit is said to roam the tunnels.
If you'd like to know more about Guanajuato, Mexico and the tunnels below, check out the city's website.