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Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe: what to see and how to get there?

We are going to one of the most visited places of the Catholic religion, being surpassed only by the Basilica of San Pedro. We will tell you how our visit was, so you can get an idea of what you can see and we will also tell you how we did to get to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Place of pilgrimage.

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A bit of history

The Basilica of Guadalupe, officially called the Distinguished and National Basilica of Santa María de Guadalupe, has been the most important temple of the Tepeyac religious complex since 1976, since it is the place where the Tilma of San Juan Diego is kept and displayed, in which the Sacred Image of the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe is embodied.

It is a huge venue, whose capacity can reach up to 10,000 people. Every December 12, Guadalupan pilgrims come to celebrate the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The story tells that the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, whose native name was Cuauhtlatóhuac, “he who speaks like an eagle” on the Tepeyac hill. He had four encounters with her, in the first three of which he could not make the bishop believe him. But on the fourth occasion, he was carrying flowers on his cloak and upon discovering it, the image of the Virgin appeared painted “as by angels”. All this happened in 1531, and the day of the appearance of the mantle was December 12, which is why the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated on that day.

Since 2002 Juan Diego was named a saint by the Catholic Church.

Information to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

How much is it?

The best price, free. But if you wish, you can make donations in the basilica.

What are the opening hours to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe?

It can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 5:50 AM to 7:30 PM. There are masses throughout the day.

How can you get to the Basilica of Guadalupe?

By metro: take metro line 3 towards Indios Verdes and get off at the 18 de Marzo station. From there you can walk to the basilica, or if you don’t want to walk, you can transfer to line 6 in the direction of Martín Carrera and get off at La Villa-Basílica station.

What to see in the Basilica of Guadalupe and the religious complex of Tepeyac?

I had no idea how huge the religious complex of Tepeyac is, upon entering we find the atrium of the Americas in which we can see in addition to the Basilica of Guadalupe (which is actually the New Basilica), the Expiatory Temple to Christ Rey, which was the old Basilica of Guadalupe, and the Temple and convent of the Capuchin.

Map of the complex

The two Basilicas

Seeing the current Basilica, one realizes that it is of relatively modern construction, in a circular shape. It was built in the seventies, as I mentioned above, due to the need for a place that would allow a greater capacity. The fact of housing the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, required being able to receive the enormous number of pilgrims who came. The Expiatory Church of Christ the King, during the time it was the old Basilica, also suffered significant damage in the Cristero War and despite being restored, it could no longer hold the required capacity.

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Pilgrims come from everywhere

The masses go by one after another, practically without stopping, all full. In the same way, in the atrium we could see the pilgrims who came to visit not only the main Basilica, but the entire enclosure without stopping.

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Capilla de Indios

From there the route begins to be uphill, but not steep at all, we also have many places to stop, the first being the Capilla de Indios. This temple was built in 1649 and the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was housed there from 1695 to 1709, the year in which it was transferred to the old Basilica of Guadalupe. The image of the Virgin that Miguel Hidalgo used as a banner for the War of Independence was also here, nowadays it is in the National Museum of Archeology.

In addition, the foundations of the first two temples dedicated to the Virgin are preserved under this chapel, in the place indicated by Juan Diego. In fact, he lived in this place from 1531 until he died in 1548, being in charge of taking care of the temple at that time.

The place is much smaller than those that can be seen in the atrium of the Americas, it is more welcoming and here the cult of not only the Virgin of Guadalupe but also Juan Diego is felt much more, so much so that his relics are found in the temple.

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Capilla del Pocito

This temple has been built between 1777 and 1791 on a well of water considered miraculous. This made it become a place of pilgrimage. As many of the pilgrims came to drink and wash their wounds, many of them were sick, the place soon became a hotbed of infection. After many attempts, the decision was made to build the chapel and thus prevent access to the waters.

The chapel is very small, in a rich baroque style and circular in shape.

Capilla del cerrito

On the way to the capilla del cerrito (little hill chapel) we found a representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe receiving an offering. The place is very beautiful and it is at this point where many families congregate to take the “group photo”. If you didn’t bring a camera, no problem, there were several photographers in the area who printed the photo for you in no time.

We continue walking and arrive at the crowded Capilla del Cerrito where the miracle of fresh flowers and the first appearance of the Virgin are remembered. On the walls you can see the frescoes of the painter Fernando Leal, and in fact they are protected with glass so that they do not deteriorate further. Here we are already at one of the highest points of our visit, from here we can see the New Basilica and better observe its roundness.

The Tepeyac Cemetery is also located on the premises, where historical figures such as Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, among others, are found. We could not visit it since it was closed at the time. There is also the Museum of the Basilica of Guadalupe, inaugurated in 1941.

The image of the Virgin

After going up and down the hill, we returned to the Basilica to take a closer look at the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. To do this, there is a moving walkway that goes slowly and allows everyone to see the image, but without remaining parked there for a long time, which seemed to me quite fair and equitable for all visitors.

I went through the travelator several times so I could observe the mantle, take photos and even a small video. It is very well done since from the benches of the church it seems that the image is right there in front of you and that’s it, but the walkway that allows you to see it more closely is below everything, very well done.

Don’t miss it

It doesn’t matter wether you are Catholic or not, believer, non-believer, visiting this place is important to understand more about Mexico. As travelers it is one of those essential places, although I don’t really like to use that word, of a visit to the country.

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Olga Grijalva Alvarez

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.

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