Named after the hot springs that is one of the area's attractions, Aguascalientes ("hot waters") is a small state located in central Mexico. Its capital city of the same name lies about 420 km (260 miles) northwest of Mexico City. It is a generally arid state that is known for its special festivities, including the San Marcos Fair and the Skeleton Fair for Day of the Dead. Some of the traditional foods from Aguascalientes include enchiladas, pozole de lengua, as well as snacks such as sopes and tacos dorados.
Quick Facts About the Aguascalientes State
- Capital: Aguascalientes
- Area: 3230 miles² (5197 km²) (0.3% of the national territory)
- Population: 1.1 million (including a small percentage of indigenous Caxcanes, Zacatecas, Guachichiles and Guamares)
- Topography: mountainous, with altitudes ranging from 5250 to 10 000 feet (1600 to 3050 m) above sea level
- Climate: arid with occasional rainfall mainly during the summer months; average temperatures around 64°F (18°C)
- Flora: pine and cedar trees in the mountains, cacti and palm trees among other tropical species in the lower altitudes
- Fauna: puma, peccary, ocelot and squirrels in the mountains while coyotes, grey fox, raccoon, as well as owls and eagles inhabit the lowlands
- Major Festivals: Festival de las Calaveras (late October and early November) and Feria de San Marcos (mid-April to early May)
More About Aguascalientes
The capital of Aguascalientes was founded in 1575 and its name, which means “hot waters,” is thanks to the nearby hot springs that are one of the area's main attractions. Cattle farming and agriculture are the principal economic activities, however, Aguascalientes is also famous for its viticulture. The local wine is named after its patron saint, San Marcos. Other local specialties include hand-drawn linen thread work, wool textiles, and clay skeletons for the Festival de las Calaveras held yearly from October 28 to November 2, when the city’s population celebrates the Day of the Dead with an emphasis on the symbolism of Calaveras (skeletons).
Though ancient arrowheads, pottery shards and cave drawings have been found in the Sierra del Laurel and Tepozán, in terms of archeology and history, Aguascalientes is perhaps not as interesting as some other Mexican destinations. Its main attraction is a rather contemporary one: the annual Feria de San Marcos, San Marcos National Fair, held in the state capital, is famous throughout all of Mexico and attracts about a million visitors each year. This fair in honor of the patron saint begins in mid-April and lasts three weeks. It is said to be Mexico's biggest annual state fair, with rodeos, bullfights, processions, exhibitions, concerts and many other cultural events, culminating on April 25th with a big parade on the saint's day.
How to Get There
The state’s only international airport is located about 25 km south of the capital. There are frequent bus connections to other major Mexican cities from Aguascalientes city.