The colorful and lively colonial city of Guanajuato is a cultural mecca and internationally known as the host city of the annual Festival Cervantino (Cervantino Festival), a state sponsored cultural festival that’s held each year in October. The Cervantino Festival is one of the premier arts and cultural festivals in Mexico and Latin America and features performing arts from around the world with a special emphasis placed on artistic creations in the Spanish language.
The origins of the Cervantino Festival date back to the mid-20th century when short plays by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quixote, were performed in the city’s plazas. The festival was named in honor of Cervantes and officially founded in 1972, the same year that the original cultural program was expanded to include more international acts.
The Cervantino Festival encompasses a wide range of genres including opera, contemporary dance, theater, visual arts, film, literature and multimedia as well as a variety of workshops, exhibits and conferences. Events are held in venues throughout the city, both indoor and outdoor, including plazas, theaters, churches, historical buildings and even several museum spaces.
Attend a performance at the historic and elegant Teatro Juarez (Juarez Theater) and admire the building’s lavish interior of carved wood, stained glass and gold. Performances are also staged at the Teatro Principal (Principal Theater) and the Teatro Cervantes (Cervantes Theater). Outside the Cervantes Theater you can pose for photos alongside statues of Don Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho Panza.
Each of the city’s three major theaters hosts a full program of events during the festival and a less intensive program of events at other times throughout the year, so even if you aren’t in town during the Cervantino Festival, you can still appreciate the city’s rich arts and culture scene.