If it’s the first time you travel to Leon in Mexico then you should read something about the city, prepare your trip and take basic traveler precautions. Leon is located in the State of Guanajuato, one of the safest States in Mexico. In the U.S. State Department website you can see that there is no advisory information for Guanajuato State.
Below I will give you 9 recommendations to prepare yourself before you travel to Leon.
1. Manage your money
Call your bank or credit card company and let them know about your travel plans. Most banks and credit card companies keep track of spending patterns and may interpret an unexpected overseas purchase as credit card fraud. Don’t let your bank or credit card company lock your account if you use your card.
I suggest you change some Mexican currency at your local bank in advance to cover the first days of expenses.
If you don’t bring cash with you visit an ATM as soon as you arrive at the airport and make a withdrawal of local currency. There are two ATM machines at the airport, one from Banbajio and another one from Bancomer. Call your bank or credit card company before you travel and ask them what percentage or fee you have to pay when you take out money from ATM machines with your credit and debit cards. It might be better to bring cash if you stay in Leon for a short period of time.
There is one currency exchange office at the airport, Globo Cambio. Their phone number is 01-800-00-45626. You can call them or visit their website to check their currency exchange rate.
2. Know how to get to Leon and around Leon
Leon has an international airport located at approximately 30 kilometers from Leon city center. It is known as Aeropuerto Internacional del Bajio (BJX). The airport has 250 weekly inbound flights from main cities in Mexico and receives direct international flights from USA cities. The main airlines going to this airport are Aeroméxico, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Interjet and others. There are taxis that take you from the airport to Leon. The taxi fare from the airport to downtown Leon costs 400 pesos. Taking a taxi inside the airport is safe.
There are several rental car companies inside Leon airport. You can contact Hertz, Europcar, Budget, Alamo, National, Avis, Thrifty and other companies before you travel, or you can visit their office inside the airport.
If you’re taking taxis in Leon, it’s better to take them from the hotel or call a taxi service. If you are calling a taxi I suggest you call Taxitel, their phone number is (477) 770-2121.
Mexico’s national bus network is professionally run and offers a good way to travel across Mexico affordably. The best bus companies in Leon bus station are ETN and Primera Plus. Leon bus station is located at downtown Leon and the phone number is (477) 763-0737.
3. Look for the best places to stay when you travel to Leon
There are many places to stay in the city of Leon. You can look for hotel names and ratings at TripAdvisor.com. Just write “Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico” in the text box. One of the best hotels is the Crowne Plaza or hotels near the Poliforum.
If you want to save money, stay for longer periods of time or stay in a house then I recommend you look for accommodations at Airbnb.com. When you go to Airbnb website write “Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico” in the text box. The north area of Leon city is the best place to stay. Some of the best neighborhoods in Leon are Gran Jardín, Campestre, El Refugio, and Jardines del Moral.
4. Attend the most important business events related to footwear and leather goods
There are two main business events related to footwear and leather goods in Leon.
The international Footwear and Leather goods fair (SAPICA) takes place in Leon twice a year. It is the most important footwear show in Mexico and Latin America. It brings together the most important suppliers of footwear, 95% being direct manufacturers.
SAPICA has a total of 45,000 square meters of exhibition space. You will find all types of footwear. It has 9 pavilions: Western, Sports, Children, High Fashion, Casual, Ladies Showcase, Men and Leather Goods.
If you want to manufacture in Mexico, this shows is your best opportunity to get to know what Mexico has to offer in footwear and leather goods.
For more information you can visit: www.sapica.com
It is the most important international trade fair in Mexico for the leather and footwear supply industry and related sectors such as the automotive and furniture industry.
For more information you can visit: www.anpic.com
5. Look at the weather forecast, but don’t worry too much because weather in Leon is good
Leon city has a hot weather, with humid summers and mild to cool winters. Temperatures fall at night and rise at day. The average annual temperature is 20 °C (67.8 °F). There are no extreme temperatures in Leon. You can read all about Leon’s weather in this link.
6. Take time to visit touristic places and events in Leon and near Leon
If you have spare time to travel near Leon then you should go to Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende.
This city is the capital of Guanajuato State, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beautiful colonial era city. Founded in 1559 is a former silver mining town, known also as the birthplace of the Mexican Independence.
The historic center of Guanajuato has a distinct European flavor with hundreds of narrow cobblestones. You will find charming plazas with sidewalk cafes, museums, theaters, mexican traditional markets and historic monuments.
Guanajuato has an underground network of tunnels that run beneath the city helping to control the flow of traffic. These tunnels are part of the charm and mystery of the city. If you have some free time during your business trip you should visit this beautiful city, it’s just about 35 minutes away from Leon.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a unique colonial town with a multicultural artistic community. As a result of the arrival of the National Fine Arts Institute in the 1940’s, painting, theater and music found a unique location to attract domestic and foreign artists giving San Miguel an outstanding cultural level.
Yo will be amaze with its baroque and neoclassic architecture. This city is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and a splendid location for cultural activities, concerts and performances all year long.
At night San Miguel becomes alive in a unique and contemporary way, with an unusual supply of high quality restaurants and bars with a constant flow of musicians from diverse parts of the world. It’s about 1 hr 45 minutes from Leon. We recommend you to take one full day to visit this city, and if possible, stay one night. You will be relaxed and enchanted with the lifestyle of San Miguel de Allende.
7. Visit local websites of news, organizations and activities in Leon
Here are 7 websites about news and activities in Leon. Most of them are in spanish. If you don’t speak spanish you can at least use Google Translate to understand the content.
1. Bonito Leon: Website displaying events and news in Leon.
2. AM: Newspaper in Leon
3. Poliforum Leon: Exhibition center where SAPICA, ANPIC and many other important exhibitions take place.
4. Government of Leon: Website of the municipal government of Leon.
5. El Heraldo: Newspaper in Leon
6. COFOCE: Guanajuato World Trade Commission
7. CICEG: Guanajuato Footwear Chamber
8. Take normal safety precautions when you travel to Leon
In 2010 Leon had a population of 1,720,733, so as in any city, you need to take normal traveler precautions. I don’t want you to feel unsafe, I just want you to be cautious. Below I list 4 precautions you should take when you travel to Leon.
1. Avoid wearing conspicuous jewelry. Don’t pack valuable items if they’re not essential.
2. Maintain awareness of your surroundings and avoid situations in which you may be isolated.
3. Use ATMs in malls or stores. Don’t use ATMs at night or in deserted places.
4. Ask the hotel personnel or your Mexican agent if there are some areas of the city you should avoid.
9. Save information of near consulates
If you are a USA or Canada resident then the following information might be useful. Write it down or save it in your computer.
The nearest Consulate of USA is in Guadalajara city. The telephone number is +52 (333) 268-2100. The nearest Consular Agency of USA is in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and the telephone number is +52 (415) 152-2357.
The nearest Consulate of Canada is in Guadalajara city, a two hour drive from Leon city. Their telephone number is +52 (33) 3671-4740, and their email is email@example.com
Make appropriate preparations and take normal traveler precautions when you travel to Leon. Prepare an itinerary and reserve a room before traveling. Hire a local agent if it makes you feel safer. It’s always better to have a local contact anywhere you travel.
If you think some preparations or precautions about traveling to Leon are missing in this post please make your comment below. You can also contact me if you have any other questions or comments.