Friday, August 7, 2015

The coolest town in Mexico you've never heard of: Zacatecas

After 6 days of being home from our rainforest trip, we loaded up Pepe, our loser cruiser, and headed out for another adventure. This time we headed North to the town of Zacatecas at 8000 feet above sea level for the end of their Folklore Festival. After 48 hours in Zacatecas we were wishing we had made plans to spend at least half of the summer there in addition to staying in SMA. There wasn't an hour that went by without Phil saying, "we should be living here" or "is it too late to move here"? Zacatecas is a bit more authentic and less overrun by senior citizen gringos, making the town cheaper than SMA and leaving us as the only Americanos running around. 

We hit the last weekend of the International Folklore Festival which runs for two weeks. Dancers from a variety of countries show up in traditional dance attire and dance on stages throughout the town. On the last night, a huge parade flows through town with each country (about 20) represented. If you're looking for a safe town to have an authentic experience, come to Zacatecas during the Folklore Festival and thank me later. 

We stayed at a hostel in the center of all the action. While the hostel smelled like a crap filled diaper, it made up for it's odiferous aroma by providing one of the best happy hour spots on its rooftop terrace. 


Zacatecas has many beautiful churches and the architecture was very European.


If you come to Zacatecas and are looking for the bull ring, it has now been incorporated into a "bougie" hotel. 

We caught the closing parade on the last night of the festival from a great spot. It was a beautiful procession of dancing and music from Mexico and around the world.





In addition from the 20+ countries that were at the festival, each of the 31 states of Mexico were also represented.


After the parade was over and the sun had set, we set out to find the donkey, mariachis and drunks in town. Each night, a group of about 100 people start off from the center of town, following a donkey carrying liquid refreshments through town. 

Right behind the donkey is a large cluster of mariachis playing proceeded by 100 half drunk tourists.

As the mariachis play, the crowd weaves through small streets as they make their way through town. It must suck to live along one of the streets that every night gets the presence of mariachis and loads of tourists.

After a good 30-40 minutes of strolling through town picking up other party goers you find yourself in a town square with one scared donkey, painfully loud mariachis and about 120 people dancing around having an awesome time. Here in SMA we too have the drunk donkey walk. If you visit inland Mexico, don't miss this event!

We loved Zacatecas. If we could do it again, we would definitely have spent more time there. The festival was the icing on the cake, but the town itself is a gem that seems to be relatively undiscovered by gringos.  We hope to return there one day.

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