When most foreigners think of Mexico, the modern coastal resorts of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Cancún come instantly to mind. But for the inquisitive traveler seeking a genuinely authentic and fascinating cultural experience, nothing quite compares with the colonial heartland. Located at around 6,400 feet in the country’s central highlands, Mexico’s colonial cities are strikingly well-preserved. As well as dramatic baroque architecture, they offer visitors a taste of a relaxed and sociable way of life. San Miguel de Allende is rather like a Mexican Santa Fe, with resident artists and numerous vibrant galleries. It also delights visitors with lively cafés, colorful craft shops and excellent restaurants. However, Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Zacatecas, Puebla and Morelia are all well worth a visit.

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