The state of Aguascalientes in Mexico is nestled into the state of Zacatecas on its north, east, and west and on the south by the state of Jalisco. It’s one of the smallest states in Mexico with only about 1 million inhabitants of varying ethnicity in the entire state. The majority of people who reside here are of European descent, including Spanish, French, Dutch and Italian.
While it’s certainly not a tourist’s hotspot, visitors here find it to be a friendly and relaxed place where its residents call themselves "Hidrocalidos", which means warm. The many attractions here include touring its fantastic ancient architecture, enjoying its healing mineral springs, touring its old haciendas, and exploring its protected nature reserve.
The abundance of thermal hot springs is what gives this state its name. Aguascalientes means “Hot Waters”, and the springs at “Ojo Caliente” within the state’s capital at Aguascalientes City, are a big hit with tourists.
The capital city of Aguascalientes City can be characterized by its rich, colonial-style architecture, as well as the four distinctive neighborhoods from which the town originated. The neighborhoods hold unique attractions that you don’t want to miss if you are traveling to this city.
The neighborhood of Guadalupe has some of the most beautiful cemeteries in Mexico.
The neighborhood of Triana has the most Spanish influence in its architecture and is the oldest neighborhood in the city. It’s home to the José Guadalupe Posada museum and the stunning Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
La Salud, with its cobblestone streets, offers visitors a look at an ancient plaza, church, and cemetery that was intended initially to be the home of a great convent complex, but the convent was never finished.
The San Marcos neighborhood is home to Aguascalientes’ number one tourist attraction: the famous Aguascalientes San Marcos Fair (“Feria de San Marcos”). It’s probably the only time that you will find this peaceful town turned on its head, wild with excitement! Celebrated annually for hundreds of years, it draws in 7 million people! No surprise that it’s Mexico’s biggest fair. It takes place during the month of April and lasts 3-4 weeks.
Other attractions nearby the capital include some magnificent ancient haciendas which are open to the public for touring. “Must sees” are the Hacienda and Temple of San Blas de Pabellón, Hacienda El Chichimeco, or the Hacienda de los Cuartos.
The town of Pabellon de Hidalgo is located 36 km north of Aguascalientes City and has many wonderful attractions that are worth checking out. The historic Hacienda de San Blas is located here, which houses the Museo de la Insurgencia, a museum with displays focused on Mexico’s Independence. Also worth viewing are the historic San Blas Temple and the El Milagro de la Alameda recreational center.
Rincón de Romos is located 41 km north of Aguascalientes City and is home to the Aguascalientes State Fair, which is regionally famous and occurs each year in January. If you are travelling through here during this time, it would be a great family event to attend.
An interesting side note about Rincón de Romos is that it was once home to a priest named Padre Nieves, who was believed to invoke miracles. Many people go to Rincón de Romos to pray for miracles.
San Jose de Gracia is located 38 km northwest of Aguascalientes City and is the gateway to an ecological preserve named Sierra Fria where visitors can enjoy the scenery of dwarf pine trees and wide ravines, in which can be seen many wild animals. Here visitors can enjoy steep-sided cycle paths, camping, picnicking, and hunting.
Another main attraction in the town is the Presa Plutarco Elias Calles, a magnificent dam built on a ravine, where 3 three villages (Tepupa, Batucada, and Suaqui) had been flooded over. The towers of Batucada’s old parish can occasionally be seen through glass covering part of the dam. Visitors to this amazing site can enjoy a boat tour or do some fishing, reeling in such fish as catfish, tilapia, or black bass.
Valladolid is located 19 km north of Aguascalientes City and is famous for its Campestre Valladolid Ejidal Spa. The spa boasts an Olympic size swimming pool, shallow pools for children, as well as several courts for athletic games. Valladolid is a popular place to tent camp or station your RV.
Calvillo is located in the western part of the state, about 52 kilometers from Aguascalientes City. The city proper and its surrounding areas are a magnet for tourists!
The town’s 18th century main plaza with its surrounding orange trees, exudes the ambiance of Mexican tradition, and it’s beautiful 18th century temples and churches are not to be missed: the Temple of our Lord of the Salitre, with its treasured religious art, the beautiful church with its single-piece dome architecture, of which only five domes like it exist in the whole world, and the Guadalupe Temple with its majestic towers.
South of the city is the Sierra del Laurel, a highly sought-after rock climbing destination. Other nearby attractions include cave paintings at El Tepozán, the La Cordorniz Dam, and an ex-convent.
If you are looking for some exciting things to do in an uncrowded place, you will find many wonderful attractions in the peaceful state of Aguascalientes!