Aguascalientes refers to both a state in Mexico and its capital city.
The city is colonial (founded in 1575), with plenty of haciendas and Spanish architecture to go around. Within Mexico, it’s famous for the Feria Nacional de San Marcos and for its museums.
Despite a small population (read: plenty of breathing room), Aguascalientes offers much in terms of nature, culture, concerts, and more.
Agriculture’s Roots in Aguascalientes
Today, many families still run small- to large-sized farms.
In small towns, it isn’t uncommon to see a small house with several cows or lambs on the lot.
This, in fact, is how the famous Feria de San Marcos got started–as a livestock exposition.
What Puts Aguascalientes on the Map?
Aside from the loveliest of people, the tastiest of entrees, and the most breathtaking landscapes I’ve ever seen, theme parks, water parks, and museums make visiting (or living in) this city an adventure in its own right.
Because of the Spanish influence, there are many haciendas (homesteads) in the state of Aguascalientes. Some are beautifully preserved, and others are technically ruined. Both make for excellent photo opportunities.
Visit the Pueblo!
The hacienda heritage has paved the way for several picturesque pueblos outside of the city proper.
Two of my favorite pueblos are Jesus Maria and Santiago.
Jesus Maria is on the outskirts of the city, but the plaza always offers a place for a conversation with a good friend, complete with helado (ice cream).
Festivals and concerts are commonplace there. Catch a show!
Santiago is a ways off, but it’s worth the drive. The town is tiny but beautifully maintained, and hiking is nearby for those who want to reconnect with nature.
Many Museums in Aguascalientes
I have two favorite museums in the city: The National Museum of Death and The Ferrocarrilero Aguascalientes Museum (rail road museum).
The first celebrates Mexico’s rich cultural tradition of Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), and the latter, the city’s once important presence on the railroads.
Aguascalientes means Hot Waters.
If you know just a little Spanish, you might have realized that the translation of the city’s name is “Hot Waters.” Are there hot waters there? Yes, there are! The name of the city comes from the plentiful hot springs in the area.
If you’re interested in learning where you can take a dip in some hot water (which was believed to have medicinal properties), check out Ojocaliente, Aguascalientes. Just remember to be careful with the temperature and not to spend more than 20-30 minutes in the springs. Check with a doctor if you have questions.
Good and Clear
In Aguascalientes, the motto is “Bona Terra, Bona Gens, Aqua Clara, Clarum Caelum” – this means Good Earth, Good People, Clear Water, and Clear Sky.
The motto tells no lies.
Anybody would be lucky to call this locale home.
If you’re an expat, what hidden gems have you found where you live? If you’re an “expat in training,” would you consider setting up shop in Aguascalientes?
by: Dale Hanstad