Cervantes Arts Festival – Guanajuato, Mexico

A Colonial Showcase Resonates with Dance and Song

With its historic architecture and old-world courtliness, Guanajuato is the picture-perfect location for the Cervantes Arts Festival, an annual affair that keeps alive the image of the errant knight Don Quixote, tilting at windmills and fighting to preserve the romantic side of the Spanish soul.

On any given day, the narrow cobblestone lanes resonate with the music of the estudiantinas—local university students dressed as strolling 16th-century trou­badours and armed with mandolins and guitars, evoking the Andalusia of centuries ago.

The multiweek Festival Internacional Cervantino is considered one of the most important celebra­tions in Latin America, and it floods the city’s and state’s many venues with well-known performing artists from around the world. Anything being performed in the Teatro Juarez, the center of Guanajuato’s cultural life, is worth seeing, if only to admire the theater’s ornate metalwork, gilt carving, and thick velvet.

The opulent turn-of-the-century theater—consid­ered by Enrico Caruso to be one of the finest in the Americas—is located on the Jardin de la Union, the former mining capital’s main square and ultimate gathering place for the festival’s more spontaneous alfresco performances.

The venerable Posada Santa Fe, the oldest and most charming inn in town, has a number of rooms that overlook the plaza and the festival’s mov­able concert; its outdoor cafe downstairs promises front-row seats and some of the best regional food in town.

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