Last Updated on March 12, 2022 by Janine
Trying to figure out how to get from Mexico City to Guanajuato? In this article, I’ll cover the main ways to get between the two cities to help you decide which transportation method is best for you.
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Guanajuato is one of the most beloved cities in Mexico due to its friendly and safe atmosphere, vibrant arts scene, and beautiful setting. While at first glance it may not appear to be particularly close, Guanajuato is really easy to get to from Mexico City and it’s well worth the trip.
Whether you’re looking for a quick side trip from Mexico City, or you want to devote your entire vacation to experiencing a new city, you’re sure to find tons of things to do in Guanajuato.
But first, you’ve gotta get there.
Where is Guanajuato, Mexico?
Guanajuato is a state located north of Mexico City in a region of Mexico known as El Bajío. Guanajuato City sits near the center of the state.
How far is Guanajuato from Mexico City?
The distance from Mexico City to Guanajuato City is 358km or 222 miles. It takes about 4 and a half hours to drive from the center of Mexico City to Guanajuato City. The journey takes about 5 hours by bus from Mexico City’s Central de Autobuses del Norte bus station (Central Norte).
Keep in mind that travel times will vary depending on traffic. Mexico City is known for heavy traffic, so it’s best to travel outside of peak hours.
Mexico City to Guanajuato Buses
One of the most popular ways to travel between Mexico City and Guanajuato is by bus. Buses in Mexico are safe, affordable, and reasonably priced. And, once you understand how to catch them, they’re an easy and efficient way to travel.
To reach Guanajuato from Mexico City you’ll need to leave from Mexico City’s northern bus terminal, called Central Norte.
The best way to get to Central Norte from within Mexico City is with Uber. If you’re headed to Central Norte from the Mexico City airport, I estimate that it will cost you less than 200 pesos (or $12 USD) and take about 30 minutes, but this will vary depending on the time of day and the traffic situation.
Many different bus lines depart from Central Norte to destinations throughout Mexico. You will want to look for the Primera Plus, ETN, or Futura bus lines. Each of these companies offers direct service to Guanajuato City.
You can purchase bus tickets in person at the bus station or book them online in advance using the Busbud website. Busbud is a search aggregator that will show you bus departures from multiple different companies. You can choose the option that works best for you. The website is in English and they accept GooglePay and all major credit cards.
ETN buses are the most luxurious and therefore come with the highest price tag, about $835 MXN which is approximately $43 USD.
Primera Plus is the middle-of-the-road option. The buses are still very comfortable, but not quite as deluxe as ETN. A Primera Plus ticket typically runs about $600 MXN or $30 USD.
Futura buses also tend to cost about $600 MXN for this route, but in my experience, they aren’t as nice as the other two bus lines. I’ll take Futura if there’s no other option, but it definitely isn’t my first choice.
Note: When searching for bus schedules on these websites it can be tricky to nail the nomenclature for Central de Norte. Try inputting Central Norte or Mexico Norte and the site should autosuggest the correct option.
Safety Tip: While buses are generally a very safe way to travel within Mexico, I would avoid taking night buses, especially for this region. The city of Guanajuato is very safe, but the route the bus takes passes through a couple of towns that are known to be dangerous. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid traveling at night when the bus could be more vulnerable.
Keep yourself entertained during the bus trip with these vacation travel quotes. They’ll have you ready to hit the ground running in Guanajuato!
Driving from Mexico City to Guanajuato
Driving is a great way to explore Mexico as you have the opportunity to stop off in all kinds of places you probably wouldn’t visit otherwise. This region of Mexico is full of beautiful towns and that would make perfect day trips or side trips on your way to Guanajuato.
Some stops you may be interested in include:
- Queretaro City
- Tequisquiapan, Queretaro
- San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
The route from Mexico City to Guanajuato is pretty straightforward. It’s best to stick to the toll roads (called cuotas) as they are patrolled and in better repair than the free highways (libres).
I’ve included a map of the route below, for your reference.
My favorite tool for finding great deals on rental cars is Discover Car Hire. It pulls rates from a selection of different rental car companies so you can find the best option for your trip.
Click here to check rental car rates!
Flights from Mexico City to Guanajuato
Depending on your travel plans and preferences, you may wish to fly into Guanajuato.
My favorite tool for finding affordable flights is SkyScanner. You can easily compare fares across a variety of different airlines, and see which days are the most reasonable to travel. This makes it easy to find the best combination of short travel times and affordable prices.
Click here to compare flights from Mexico City to Guanajuato.
If you fly to Guanajuato you will land in the Guanajuato International Airport (BJX) which is in the town of Silao, Guanajuato.
Silao is located about 30 km from Guanajuato City and it typically takes 30 minutes driving to reach the city from the airport.
The easiest and safest way to reach Guanajuato City from the airport is by arranging an airport transfer in advance.
Click here to book your airport transfer.
A Final Word
I hope this guide has helped you figure out how to get from Mexico City to Guanajuato. I promise it’s worth the trip!
And don’t forget to check out my Guanajuato travel guide for tips on what to do while you’re there!
Continue Planning Your Trip!
Mexico Guide Books
This Mexico phrasebook will help you communicate, even if your Spanish skills are lacking.
This Mexico travel guide is packed with all the info you could ever need.
I use a combination of Booking, Airbnb, and VRBO to find accommodation throughout Mexico.
Booking.com is awesome for booking hotels and resorts, while Airbnb and VRBO specialize in apartments and villa rentals, making it a great place to find long-term stays.
Some cities in Mexico have more listings on VRBO than Airbnb (or vice versa), so it’s best to check both to find the perfect place!
Rental cars add tons of flexibility to your travel plans. If you opt to rent one, I recommend using Discover Cars to find the best rates!
Skyscanner is my favorite tool for finding the best deals on airfare.
Never leave home without travel insurance.
SafetyWing offers super-affordable policies that cover things like medical expenses, trip interruption, and lost luggage. They even offer coverage for some expenses related to COVID-19. Their policies are particularly great for long-term travelers, making them a great option for Mexico.
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RocketSpanish has a well-structured program that will take you from bumbling to conversational in just a few modules. Start your free trial today!
Still have questions?
Join my Female Travelers in Mexico Facebook group, a supportive community of fellow Mexico travel enthusiasts, where you can find answers to all your travel questions!
Thanks for sharing some good information, but in the end, you haven’t really said which method of transportation you preferred, bus or train? (not just taking into account the total time it takes but also how pleasant one is over the other)
Hey Mike! Thanks for your comment. I think both bus and rental car are great ways to travel through Mexico. The best choice really depends on your personal preference. Personally, I think the bus is a really comfortable (and affordable) way to travel along this route, but if you want to stop off in small towns along the way, a rental car will offer more flexibility.
IMO, If you are on a budget and traveling alone… walk, use collectivos, the metro and buses.
Unfortunately, Mexico does not have a passenger train (other than the metro/subway) in CDMX(Mexico City). If Mexico ever partnered with China and built a high speed train network, Mexico would benefit tremendously.
When you are 2 or more people, then renting a car is a good option economically, but make sure the insurance will cover damage or theft. Driving over an unmarked/unseen speed bump is one of the more common causes of damage to rental cars in Mexico. I only rented a car a couple times when I have been alone in Mexico, but will frequently use a car when with others.
Traveling “long”distances in Mexico is arduous and time consuming because of their UBIQUITOUS use of speed bumps. Many of the State/Federal roads go through small town after small town and they use these to force traffic to slow down when entering or exiting each “village”.
If you have limited time, flying could be the best option. As an example, I was in Oaxaca City and wanted to get to Puerto Escondido and didn’t want to sit in a bus for 8 hours making the grueling ride down the mountain, so I paid the $100USD to fly. (Would have been less expensive if I had booked in advance)
I try to break a trip into 3-4 hour maximum bus trips, but will occasionally take a night bus instead if I want to travel 10-12 hours and be done with it (When there aren’t Good stops along the way)
There really is No pleasant way to travel long distances on the roads in Mexico. You just have to take a deep breath and plan for it to take 1 hour for every 20 miles traveled
Thanks so much for this comprehensive comment, David. I totally agree with your insights. You’re right, there really is no way to comfortably travel long distances on Mexico’s roads!