Just 70km southeast of Aguascalientes, LAGOS DE MORENO lies at the intersection of the road from Mexico City to Ciudad Juárez and the route from Guadalajara to San Luis Potosí and the northeast. Though the town has always been a major staging post, surprisingly few tourists stop here now and, despite the heavy traffic rumbling around its fringes, it's a quiet and rather beautiful little town, with colonial streets climbing steeply from a small river to a hilltop monastery.
Cross the bridge by the bus station and head to your left along the stream, away from the choking fumes of the main road, and it's hard to believe you're in the same place. Whether you plan to stay a couple of hours or a few days, you'll want to head for the zócalo: in the streets around it are a massive Baroque church and a smattering of colonial mansions and official buildings, including a forbidding-looking jail that's still in use. The Teatro José Rosas Moreno, on the north side of the square behind the church, which opened in 1906 to stage opera performances, is worth a look for the beautiful mural on the dome depicting the Revolution and Independence, with local hero José Rosas Moreno, a famous writer of tales and fables, as the centrepiece. Once you've seen the centre, you might want to embark on the long climb up to the Templo del Calvario, a hillside church ten blocks to the north. The monastery is inhabited by monks, so you can't visit, and the church itself is tumbling down, but it's worth the trek for the view, especially at sunset.
There are several reasonable hotels near the zócalo. On the square itself, the red-painted and cavernous Hotel París (Tel:474/742-0200; Price: M$150-200) has some basic but comfortable rooms and better remodelled affairs (Price: M$250-350). The slightly posher Hotel Colonial, Hidalgo 279 (Tel:474/742-0142; Price: M$350-500), has pretty public areas and its own restaurant though the rooms are only average. Finally, Hotel La Troje, on the east side of the plaza (Tel:474/742-6677; Price: M$250-350) has modern and reasonable rooms plus parking. The zócalo also boasts a few good bars and places to eat.
Getting to and from Lagos de Moreno could hardly be easier: there are buses at least every thirty minutes from Guadalajara, León, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas and Mexico City.