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Also referred to as the Bajío, this area (parts of the states of Guanajuato, Querétaro, and Michoacán) really is the heartland of Mexico—geographically and historically. This is where men and women first fought and died for national independence, and where a 60-foot-high statue of Christ the King (Cristo Rey) keeps watch from atop the highest mountain in Guanajuato. The main attraction of the region is a collection of colonial cities, many former silver-and-gold-mining centers. Beyond city life, the mountains beckon intrepid bike riders, and natural hot springs invite all to relax.