Guanajuato Mummies: All You Need To Know Before Visiting

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The Guanajuato Mummies are a spooky tourist attraction in Guanajuato that is definitely not for everyone. The museum contains the remains of former residents of Guanajuato that have been mummified.

Guanajuato has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1988 due to its beautiful colonial architecture, silver mining history and other important historical sites. However, what may be a surprise to many people is that the Mummies of Guanajuato are actually the most popular tourist attraction in the city.

So many people visit The Mummy Museum (El Museo De Las Momias) that it is actually the second biggest source of income for the city behind property tax! Which is quite unbelievable. So keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Mummies of Mexico.

Why Are There Mummies In Guanajuato?

The first question most people will have when they hear of Mummies in Mexico is why are there Mummies in Mexico?

The major reason for the mummies in Guanajuato is that the dry warm climate creates the right conditions to preserve bodies. The dry air quickly dehydrates bodies leaving the skin and other features intact.

One of the mummies with stockings still on
On most mummies the clothing and hair are still intact

The Guanajuato mummies were discovered during the 1800s. If someone was buried in the Guanajuato cemetery the family had to pay a yearly tax to keep them there. If the family failed to pay this tax the body was taken from the grave and the place given to someone else.

Most of the mummies on display were killed as part of a cholera outbreak in 1833.

In 1865 workers in the graveyard opened the graves of people whose families had failed to pay their taxes. They were expecting to find only bones as the bodies had been there for a long time. However many of the bodies were remarkably well preserved with skin and hair still intact on many bodies.

Mummies Of Guanajuato History

Eventually, word got out about the mummies and tourists would pay graveyard workers for a private tour. For many years visitors would pay a fee and see the mummies in an underground room.

During the early years visiting the mummies was totally unregulated. As a result, people took things from the mummies such as name tags. This means that the true identity of many mummies is unknown. So many have been given nicknames such as La Bruja (The Witch).

Photo hanging on a wall showing the original room where the Guanajuato mummies where on display
Photo in the museum showing one of the original rooms where the Mummies were put on display

However, just recently an investigation was started by the National Institute of Anthropology and History to try and identify the mummies. So a team of specialists is looking through town records to try and identify as many remains as possible.

In 1969 the mummies were moved to the location they are today. The mummies today are on display in a museum behind glass walls with lighting and information given about the Guanajuato mummies history.

Where Are The Mummies Of Guanajuato

The Mummy Museum is located on a hill just outside of the city center of Guanajuato. Guanajuato is a beautiful city and one of my favorite cities in Mexico. So even if the mummies do not sound appealing to you I highly recommend visiting the city.

View from the mirador of Guanajuato
Guanajuato’s colorful city center

Visiting The Guanajuato Mummies Museum

Opening Hours 🕐

Monday to Thursday 9:30 am – 6:30 pm
Friday to Sunday 9:30 am – 6 pm

Entrance Fee 🎟️

Adults 92 pesos (4.50 USD) or 110 pesos (5 USD) to enter an extra room at the end. In my opinion, it is worth the extra money as it is so cheap.

Location 📍

Explanada del Panteón Municipal

How To Get To The Mummy Museum

The mummy museum is located up a hill just outside of the city center. If you walk from the city center it is about a 30-minute walk.

However, the altitude of Guanajuato is 2000m or 6700ft so if you are not acclimatized you will be out of breath quickly. But as long as you are reasonably fit it should be no problem at all.

But if you do not want to walk you can catch a local bus up the hill. You just need to look for a bus with ‘Momias’ written on the front. If you go to the main road that runs through the middle of town you can catch it there.

There are also tourist vans that will take you from downtown up the hill to the museum and there are many people around town selling tickets for them.

If you have a rental car then there is also a car park in front of the museum as well.

Letters written on a brick wall showing the direction to the museum
You will see signs all over town pointing to the Guanajuato mummies

What Time To Arrive

The Guanajuato Mummy Museum opens at 9:30 am and I would recommend that you arrive at the museum as early as possible. As I have mentioned the museum is the most popular tourist attraction in Guanajuato.

So if you arrive late in the day the museum will be very crowded and you may have to wait in lines to enter rooms. The museum is quite small so it is nice to be there when it is empty.

We arrived at the museum just after 9:30 am on a weekday. But we noticed as we were leaving just before 11:00 am that huge numbers of people were arriving and the museum was filling up quickly.

Exploring The Guanajuato Mummy Museum

Most of the mummies in the museum are standing up behind glass walls. It can be quite an intense experience and many people may find it too much to see the mummies up close.

As you walk through the museum there are also many old pictures of Guanajuato showing the original rooms the mummies were displayed in. But there are also many other photos showing what Guanajuato used to look like in the past which are very interesting.

One of the many quotes that are on the walls of the museum.

One section that is particularly disturbing is the mummified babies so be prepared. This section of the museum is called the angelitos (little angels).

One Mummy that is of particular interest is Remigio Leroy the first mummy to be discovered. He was a french doctor who died while visiting Guanajuato. You will see him in a purple box in a suit that is remarkably well-preserved.

One of the Guanajuato Mummies inside a glass box wearing a suit
Remigio Leroy was the first mummy to be discovered

The Screaming Mummies Of Guanajuato

A feature of the mummies that will be quite scary is their open mouths. The mummies that most people are used to are Egyptian mummies that are totally covered up. In comparison, the mummies of Guanajuato are totally exposed which will seem gruesome and in bad taste to some people.

However, in Mexican culture, there is a different view of death. The best example of this is Dia De Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead celebrations. During Dia De Los Muertos families will go to cemeteries and have celebrations at the graves of their deceased relatives.

One of the screaming mummies in a casket

So the mummies are super popular with Mexican tourists and for the most part, they have no problem with the appearance of the mummies. But it may be quite intense for some foreign visitors.

It almost seems like the mummies are screaming. This leads many people to ask if the Guanajuato mummies were buried alive. But the position of their mouths is natural and nearly all of them had passed away before they were buried.

However, there is one mummy that shows signs of being buried alive. Her name was Ignacia Aguilar and she suffered from a rare heart condition that made it seem like her heart had stopped but it hadn’t! 😱

Now You Know All About The Guanajuato Mummies

It is for sure an interesting museum and if you would like to see the Guanajuato mummies yourself it is worth a visit. Especially if you can take away the feeling to appreciate your life and that it matters.

Let me know in the comments below if you are planning on visiting the museum or how it felt for you to see them. I’d like to know as we had mixed feelings.

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Travel, health and fitness fanatic from New Zealand. Co-founder of Happy Healthy Nomads and always on a hunt for good food.

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