It’s only three hours north of Mexico City, but it feels like you are centuries away. San Miguel DE Allende is a picture-perfect combination of colonial town set in the backdrop of incredible hills and stunning sunsets (there might have been sunrises too, but this was vacation and that was too early!).
Wandering in SMA you are left to convince your brain that you are not in the heart of a European city. The feel, look and old world charm can overtake you quickly. Most importantly, it is the people that make this city such a winning destination. Friendly yet reserved, they warm quickly to a greeting in Spanish, or English, and by the end of our several weeks we felt we had made several new friends just from our daily encounters on the streets. This is a hardworking community who value family time and truly understand work-life balance.
Getting to SMA is simple – three airports surround it, with excellent connections to the USA, Canada and Europe. It’s an eight hour drive from the US border, meaning that you can cruise down the well constructed toll road and be in SMA in time for dinner.
SMA is called the “City of Fallen Women” for a reason…. Cobblestones. The combination of uneven walking surfaces and women from Mexico City moving about in VERY high heels creates a combination that is painful – both to watch and experience.
Getting around SMA was easy – use your feet. It’s a great city for walking, with everything feeling like it is about 20 minutes maximum. This is a city with hills – some steep, but a taxi, anywhere in town, is about $2.50 USD. Our accommodation was set high up, offering an easy 20 minute downhill walk to Centro, and a very easy cab ride back for nap time…..
Why nap time? The food…. It is incredible. There are literally hundreds of restaurants in SMA that offer creative, high quality food and impeccable, friendly service – all of which at a price point that we found almost unbelievable.
While in San Miguel, take some time to explore outside the city as well. The pyramid tour, particularly with Albert Coffee, was an excellent way to spend the day, as was the astrology lecture and local lunch served afterwards. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g151932-d8094629-Reviews-…
Likewise, Las Rancheritas is a wonderful local rug hooking group operated by the women of a neighbouring village. The beautiful works of art created by the women, as well as their stories of community development are inspiring, and the cooking (again with the food!) was incredible. They prepare a meal from scratch in front of you, demonstrating traditional techniques for preparation. http://rughookproject.com/
Around town, some key areas to explore: Instituto Allende – focal point for a lot of the arts, lectures, language lessons in a gorgeous setting.
Take the walking tour put on by the English Library to get a sense of the history of the city.
Spend time just relaxing in El Jardin, the Central Square. Listen to the hum of daily life, the church bells… more church bells… and then some fireworks.
Parque Juarez is lovely, lush and filled with happy families. The artist market is beyond the central square and offers block after block of incredible finds of silver, pewter, hats, glass wear, pottery – food…..
Also, get out of Centro and explore the areas around. We loved San Antonio area, with its great restaurants and calmer vibe. Likewise, try to hit El Charco – wonderful preserve area with great guides.
After all this time of wandering, eating, climbing hills – take a morning and hit La Gruta, the open air thermal spas….. relaxing, great for the tired muscles – and it really helped to work up an appetite!