Location:  Atotonilco, Guanajuato Mexico

Founded:  July 20, 1748

Population: 597 (2005 Census),

Altitude: 1900 Meters (6200 Feet)

Climate:  Semi-arid

Known For:  Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco


Agua Blanca is a beautiful resort with many services that make it a perfect place to stay while exploring the surrounding area.  If you prefer to have your arrangements made for you, join us for one of our tours!  The links below are all tours that include at least one night at Agua Blanca Resort.  As most of our tours are custom designed for clients with specific needs and interests, we can create a tour just for you! 


Custom Design a tour to include Mexico City, Teotihuacan, Tula, San Miguel de Allende, Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato City, Morelia, Lake Patzcuaro region, and Zihuatanejo - or head in another direction towards Valle de Bravo, Tepoztlan, Taxco,  Acapulco and Zihuatanejo.  This resort connects with explorations through Mazamitla, Guadalajara, Lake Chapala & Ajijic, Tequila and Puerto Vallarta.  Where you travel depends on how much time you desire, how fast a pace you choose - and how long you're willing to travel in one given day.  We design fast-pace adventures, slow-poke respites - we will even help you coordinate a partially self-guided tour with a little help along the way for budget/independent travelers.  Your next adventure with us is your next Bucket List Dream  



Join us for one of four science expeditions with Monarch Research Scientist Dr. Pablo Jaramillo Lopez!


$12000 MX



We custom designed this trip for a couple who booked a one week tour with specific interests.  Contact us with your specifics!



$1800 MX



This region has a magical Firefly season to behold if you are visiting during the summer months.  Be sure to contact us for more information!




The small village of Atotonilco is most famed for the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, or Santuario de Dios y de la Patria. The Nahuatl word Atotonilco means “in hot water,” which is in reference to the hot mineral springs that earned this small town prominence among the Chichimecas long before the arrival of the Spanish. There were many ancient rituals practised by the Chichimecas here, predominantly cleansing rituals involving puncturing the skin with maguey thorns, and washing away negative feelings in the medicinal waters.

Legend has it that Father Neri, who was preaching at missions in Dolores Hidalgo, was resting under a mesquite tree and dreamed of Jesus bearing a crown of thorns, and carrying a cross. Another legend claims Father Neri was in Atotonilco due to an illness, and learned of medicinal rituals taking place at the hot springs by indigenous locals, that involved fornication.

Father Neri blessed the first stone of the Sanctuary of Atotonilco on May 3, 1740. On that morning, it is purported that Father Neri traced the layout of the church, then saw three rainbows – one in the east, one in the north and one in the south, with none in the west. The main altar faces the west, towards the Holy Land. There were different phases of construction, including 1740 to 1748 when the central structure, tower and Purisisma Chapel were built. The second phase lasted until 1776, and saw the construction of many chapels and annexes. Father Neri lived at the site until his death in 1776, so never got to see the Santa Escuela Annex, and other various structures, nor sculptures, altars and paintings that were added in the following 100 years.

Celebrated martyr, Ignacio Allended married Maria de la Luz Agustina de las Fuentes in 1802 in the church, followed by the banner of the insurgent army depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe being delivered here on September 16, 1810. Following the War of Independence, Atotonilco became part of the municipality of San Miguel de Allende.

Sadly, the humidity from the hot springs have caused extensive damage to this Sanctuary, deeming it necessary to restore it. Restoration began in 1994, and the church was listed in World Monuments Watch in 1996. Further restoration work continued in 2010, including work on the drainage system. There was a chapel that had been built much later called Sagrado Corazon Chapel, which was demolished due to its blocking on part of the complex. An arch was uncovered, and a tree planted in the courtyard there in memory of Father Neri. The courtyard was also reconstructed to assist with the light and drainage, to keep the complex dry.

This incredible complex is considered Mexico’s own Sistine Chapel – with the interior covered in thousands of incredible murals. There are countless thousands of churches in Mexico – and this is of the most special, making it a worthwhile visit.

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