Impressions From Our Trip To San Miguel De Allende

Impressions From Our Trip To San Miguel De Allende

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I recently traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for a long weekend. I already reviewed the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, and I wanted to share some basic impressions about our time in the city.

This blog is primarily about airlines and hotels rather than destinations, so I didn’t go around the city trying to photograph everything in order to review it. Nonetheless I’ll share my thoughts, because I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect going into this trip.

San Miguel de Allende is super charming

For those not familiar, San Miguel de Allende is the oldest city in central Mexico, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city’s history dates back to the 1500s, and so much has been preserved. For those who like architecture and history, the city is super charming. In a way the city reminded me of Cartagena, Colombia (there are of course tons of differences, but that’s the closest comparison I can come up with based on where I’ve been).

Streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Cute Starbucks in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Old church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Old buildings in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Old buildings in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Old buildings in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende is also extremely approachable — it’s safe, there are tons of expats (about 10% of the population), there are good restaurants, and it’s reasonably priced if you’re coming from the United States.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

We were in town for a family friend’s “round birthday,” though we only stayed for the first four days of the eight day trip. Since we were there at the beginning of the trip, we spent almost all of our time in the city. We still had some fun activities, from going to markets, to taking a cooking class, to doing some walking tours, to going to great restaurants.

Market in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Cooking class in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

However, outside the immediate city there are also hot springs, wineries, and more, which we didn’t have a chance to explore.

The city is walkable, but not

As someone who is married to someone who is obsessed with getting their steps in, walkability is something I tend to notice. San Miguel de Allende is simultaneously one of the most and least walkable cities out there.

On the plus side, the city is very centralized, so you can get everywhere by foot. We didn’t take a car once while in the city. That being said, unfortunately the walking isn’t particularly easy. San Miguel de Allende is a very old city, and most of the roads aren’t quite wide enough for two cars, and then sidewalks aren’t even wide enough for two people to comfortably walk by one another. On top of that, the streets and sidewalks are mostly cobblestone, and quite uneven.

So it’s not exactly the most relaxing place to walk, and I also couldn’t imagine jogging here. In the center of town you’re basically constantly stepping on and off the sidewalk, trying to avoid other people while not getting hit by cars.

Tight streets in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Narrow sidewalks in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

The mix of tourists was interesting

I found the mix of tourists in San Miguel de Allende to be interesting, though not surprising. A vast majority of tourists seemed to be domestic, which I always enjoy when in a foreign country (I’m sure there were some from neighboring Spanish-speaking countries as well, but it didn’t seem to be a majority). Beyond that, it seemed like most other tourists were from the United States, split up pretty evenly between two groups (obviously I’m generalizing here, but…):

  • There were the Americans giving off “spiritual journey” vibes, seeking out cool hats, avocado toast, and things to Instagram
  • Otherwise it was very much a New York and Los Angeles centric crowd, with a bunch of young finance-type people who probably read in Conde Nast this is the new “hip” place to go, or something

That’s most of what I observed, at least. There weren’t many American families, or people who didn’t give off strong coastal vibes. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that one way or the other, but the people watching sure was… entertaining.

I’m not sure I need to return, though…

I enjoyed visiting San Miguel de Allende, and I’m grateful I had the chance to visit. It really is cute, and for people into architecture and history, it’s worth a visit. However, I don’t necessarily need to return anytime soon (and to be clear, that’s not intended to be a diss).

First of all, San Miguel de Allende isn’t actually that easy to get to. Flying into BJX or QRO requires connecting from most airports in the United States, and then it’s still a 90 minute drive on top of that. So while it’s not actually difficult to get to, for me it’s not like a quick 90 minute nonstop flight from Miami to Cancun.

We basically had two (mostly) full travel days to get there and back. One good strategy could be to combine San Miguel de Allende with a trip to Mexico City, since it’s a roughly 150 minute drive away. Then you could fly into MEX and out of BJX or QRO, or vice versa.

Next, I think I got the gist of the city. Yes, of course I didn’t get to see everything, but I got a good taste of the city. The reality is that there are many places I still want to see (with Kyrgyzstan being in the top five on my list currently), so it wasn’t that I felt that there was so much more I absolutely needed to explore before checking out other places on my list. I’d happily return if a family member or friend wanted to go there, but that’s about it.

Masks are taken very seriously

Readers often ask what coronavirus precautions are like at destinations, so I’ll share what I noticed. Well, being from Florida, I can say that San Miguel de Allende is roughly the inverse of Florida when it comes to mask usage. I’d estimate 80%+ of people wore masks while walking around outside, even when not near others. Masks are expected to be worn just about everywhere as well.

Mask usage was common in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Bottom line

San Miguel de Allende is a gorgeous, historic, approachable city with amazing architecture, and if you’re into that, I’d highly recommend a trip there. The city has good restaurants, friendly people, and is safe.

However, it is a bit of a haul to get to from many points in the United States, so ideally I’d combine this with a trip to Mexico City, as the two cities are great complements and so different (yet amazing in their own ways). I’m happy to have visited, but I’m not rushing to return.

If you’ve visited San Miguel de Allende, what was your experience like? Anything otherwise planning a trip there?

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  1. Bryan Morgan Guest

    I lived in SMA from 1980 to 1984. It was a very different, very romantic, very charming place, and one of the most beautiful inhabited spots on Earth. I visited there in 2016. I was, frankly, appalled.

  2. Lee Guest

    You did miss some great sites and some lovely sights. The Botanical gardens, Fabrica Aurora, Gallery walks, concerts, plays, Atascadero, the Santa Monica restaurant, poetry readings, classes at the Instituto Allende, the film festival, the street murals..... So much that I stayed for years!

  3. None Guest

    Most of the mexican tourist guides i have used,,, claimed that san miguel is good, but patzcuaro is 10 times better, cheaper and a lot more to see,,

  4. Ric Garcia Guest

    Hands Down San Miguel de Allende is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Mexico

    1. Barbara Rogers Guest

      SMD is magical!!! I have been several times so much to see !! It’s a spectacular city. GO

  5. Amy C Guest

    We just got back from SMA. Had a great time (stayed in a beautiful home on an exchange) but agree that it is quite “touristy.” We really enjoyed the “Fat Bastard” art walks. I felt Guanajuato was more authentic- a great combination of more locals, things to do, and a University town. We did add on 10 days in CDMX and would highly recommend that option.
    Definitely go to Kyrgyzstan- we did a horseback...

    We just got back from SMA. Had a great time (stayed in a beautiful home on an exchange) but agree that it is quite “touristy.” We really enjoyed the “Fat Bastard” art walks. I felt Guanajuato was more authentic- a great combination of more locals, things to do, and a University town. We did add on 10 days in CDMX and would highly recommend that option.
    Definitely go to Kyrgyzstan- we did a horseback riding yurt trip before covid. Scenery was beautiful, no other tourists around, the hosts did not speak English, but were so kind. Highly recommend!

  6. Fed UP Guest

    SMdA is a big ex-pat tourist trap, yes, you can say its nice, but, is it really Mexico....

  7. Magdi Guest

    I agree 100% . I was there for 5 days on October. It has history but only you can visit one time.

  8. wfb Guest

    "we only stayed for the first four days of the eight day trip."

    Did you leave sooner than planned? Or had you planned another destination for the last four days?

  9. Gary Guest

    Judging a city in one weekend is totally ridiculous! If you can’t come for at least a week to write a more accurate article, then don’t come at all!

    1. Cece Guest

      My husband just spent a month in SMA and my daughters and I joined him for the last week of his trip. He expressed that it was necessary for us to experience the city firsthand and he was right. We completely fell in love and can't wait to return. Yes the streets can be a challenge, especially walking them all day(we did an average of about 7 miles per day) but even my 8 year...

      My husband just spent a month in SMA and my daughters and I joined him for the last week of his trip. He expressed that it was necessary for us to experience the city firsthand and he was right. We completely fell in love and can't wait to return. Yes the streets can be a challenge, especially walking them all day(we did an average of about 7 miles per day) but even my 8 year old was able to appreciate that our leg pain was worth exploring such a beautiful gem of a city.

    2. Leigh Gold

      Well, the world is about different opinions. If you have a strong passion to promote San Miguel maybe you should use your energy more constructively and tell us why you love it?!?!

      And let's be real...most Americans don't have time for a week in one destination, let alone a small regional city/town....so it's completely fair to provide an opinion based on a few days, which is how much time most of us have.

      If...

      Well, the world is about different opinions. If you have a strong passion to promote San Miguel maybe you should use your energy more constructively and tell us why you love it?!?!

      And let's be real...most Americans don't have time for a week in one destination, let alone a small regional city/town....so it's completely fair to provide an opinion based on a few days, which is how much time most of us have.

      If we did subscribe to your proposition of minimum a week visit, then San Miguel would also lose a lot of tourist dollars for their economy, because we rarely have the time.

      This is not Travel+Leisure, it's a blog....by the way....

  10. Dave Lockwood Guest

    My husband and I were in SMA three weeks ago and agree with your assessment. Friends of ours just purchased a home there so we decided to check it out. Lovely people, great restaurants but after a week we were out of things to do at least within the city. We stayed in a lovely apartment with a rooftop deck which was a perfect place for a glass of wine in the evening. The ride...

    My husband and I were in SMA three weeks ago and agree with your assessment. Friends of ours just purchased a home there so we decided to check it out. Lovely people, great restaurants but after a week we were out of things to do at least within the city. We stayed in a lovely apartment with a rooftop deck which was a perfect place for a glass of wine in the evening. The ride from BJX was more than two hours which made a long day after departing Palm Springs at 6 am and connecting through IAH. A four day visit is plenty of time to experience the city.

  11. John Wilhelm Guest

    You need to go back the wineries and the hot springs are so amazing To me that's why I am going back, also I want to go during Halloween and the mexican celebration of the dead.

  12. Karen Guest

    We are full time traveler's and have spent 6 years jumping from place to place. When we arrived in San Miguel we'd averaged 10 Days per location for the past 2 years.

    When we got to SMA we stayed for 8 months.

    I'm sorry but there's no way you can appreciate the city, the people, the culture or the true heart of SMA in just 4 days.

    The cobblestone streets are part of...

    We are full time traveler's and have spent 6 years jumping from place to place. When we arrived in San Miguel we'd averaged 10 Days per location for the past 2 years.

    When we got to SMA we stayed for 8 months.

    I'm sorry but there's no way you can appreciate the city, the people, the culture or the true heart of SMA in just 4 days.

    The cobblestone streets are part of the incredible beauty of the city. As are the markets, the restaurants, the celebrations.

    I'm going to guess you're the type that got annoyed by the noise of the fireworks?

    For anyone reading, flying into CDMX and bus via ETN to SMA. Its 4 hours but you get the benefit of exploring the city and a lovely journey in super comfortable business class type seats.

  13. Josseh Guest

    I visited this city back in July and was there for two weeks
    Loved it !!!
    Looking forward for next year to go back and stay for a whole month

    1. Jill Bogart Guest

      Joseph, I am considering renting a furnished apartment for 3 - 6 months in SMA. Is that expensive? I’d like to be in the city.

      Is Covid-19/Delta viruses a problem? I am fully vaccinated, and would like to go after the holidays. Do people drive? Is having a car a problem? Any information would be helpful and so appreciated. Thank you.

  14. Jared Guest

    A visit to the Al Archa Nat'l Park, Ala Kul and Altyn Arashan are highly recommended when visiting Kyrgystan. The remote natural attractions are the jewels of Kyrgystan and to be admired. I have led multiple hikes and treks across Central Asia, including a five month trek across the remotest areas in Kyrgystan. Kyrgystan is a country for remote nature lovers. I would love to share my pointers, if you're interested.

    Bishkek is just like...

    A visit to the Al Archa Nat'l Park, Ala Kul and Altyn Arashan are highly recommended when visiting Kyrgystan. The remote natural attractions are the jewels of Kyrgystan and to be admired. I have led multiple hikes and treks across Central Asia, including a five month trek across the remotest areas in Kyrgystan. Kyrgystan is a country for remote nature lovers. I would love to share my pointers, if you're interested.

    Bishkek is just like any other post-Soviet city. I don't find it particularly note-worthy to spend much time in. There are a couple good restaurants you can try in Bishkek; Arzu and Vinoteka. For an authentic experience, I would suggest traveling to the remote settlements to try the flavorful steamed and boiled mutton dishes and other declicacies from the nomadic tribes. There are food tours, which attract tourists for a more palatable experience. Or you can get in touch with the likes of me for reliable local contacts.

  15. Emily Guest

    San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful city and one especially suited to discovering on foot at a leisurely pace. I did not find the city difficult to navigate by foot and certainly did not find the vehicles obtrusive. It is not that different from the Walled Town of Cartagena with respect to the streets and vehicular traffic.

    On a more relevant note, La Alborado is one of the finest restaurants we have visited,...

    San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful city and one especially suited to discovering on foot at a leisurely pace. I did not find the city difficult to navigate by foot and certainly did not find the vehicles obtrusive. It is not that different from the Walled Town of Cartagena with respect to the streets and vehicular traffic.

    On a more relevant note, La Alborado is one of the finest restaurants we have visited, anywhere. I would recommend a visit to this restaurant for trying their authentic and their innovative culinary creations!

  16. James Guest

    As a Gringo who calls San Miguel de Allende home I think the author of this article is missing so much. We aren’t sorry you don’t enjoy walking our streets which are small, with small sidewalks, and made with cobble stones. What do you expect from a city from the 1500’s with ask our history. We love to walk our streets and as a community you will generally find everyone walking them all the time...

    As a Gringo who calls San Miguel de Allende home I think the author of this article is missing so much. We aren’t sorry you don’t enjoy walking our streets which are small, with small sidewalks, and made with cobble stones. What do you expect from a city from the 1500’s with ask our history. We love to walk our streets and as a community you will generally find everyone walking them all the time as unlike cities in the USA… we have a community and city we enjoy and take pride in. We take time to enjoy our community and those that live in it and visit it. I find this traveler very arrogant. Stay home next time, sit in your house and have no connection with your community outside of your 4 lane each way highways and little communication with those around you. You really missed out on realizing you had access to our slice of Heaven on earth.

    1. Jill Bogart Guest

      Hi there! I am thinking of visiting SMA after the holidays to see if I would like to stay indefinitely. I am retired. Any hotel recommendations? I want to visit at least a week or so. Thank you.

  17. The Black Brent Guest

    Complaining about streets in a 600 year old city not being wide enough for two cars and the pavement being (uneven) cobbles...

    How American do you want to be?
    Yes.

    1. GGC New Member

      A 600-yr old city that is a Unesco world heritage city should have motor traffic banned from the old town, it helps to preserve the heritage and makes it more friendly for tourism which was a world heritage site is ultimately after.

      Normal set up in Europe where there are plenty of world heritage towns, check out Carcasonne in France just to mention one.

  18. Alan Gold

    I was just in San Miguel last week and we stayed at a hotel outside of the town with hot spring pools. I enjoy bicycling but within the city it is bone jarring due to the cobble stone streets. Unfortunately some of the areas near to the city are also paved with cobble stones.

    I visited several of the hot springs and while they are nice, none of them have truly hot water, more...

    I was just in San Miguel last week and we stayed at a hotel outside of the town with hot spring pools. I enjoy bicycling but within the city it is bone jarring due to the cobble stone streets. Unfortunately some of the areas near to the city are also paved with cobble stones.

    I visited several of the hot springs and while they are nice, none of them have truly hot water, more like warm water.

    In the small towns around San Miguel, masks are rarely worn and not even required when entering shops. Within San Miguel city, the experience is as you described.

  19. James S Guest

    Oh to address your questions about shoes...

    Growing up in Mexico, it was common to keep your shoes on inside because of scorpions. So I understand why they want to ensure shoes are cleaned when entering hotels, because you might keep your shoes on in your room longer than you would in the US or Japan.

    (always check shoes before putting them on).

  20. whstoneman New Member

    We have just returned from SMA and I must say, it was the most pleasant experience we have ever had. Lots of walking and it really was a treat to be able to get out and enjoy the city. Looking forward to our future visits and extended stay in this lovely city.

    1. Jill Bogart Guest

      Did you have your car?

  21. Robert D Guest

    I’ve had trips to both Mexico City and Guadalajara I the last few weeks, and yes, thankfully, COVID precautions such as mask wearing are taken much more seriously in Mexico than in the US. Those shoe sanitation mats you noted in the hotel review are everywhere.

    I was wondering how you got to SMA from Queretero. Did you rent a car? That is probably the biggest thing that has kept me from visiting there,...

    I’ve had trips to both Mexico City and Guadalajara I the last few weeks, and yes, thankfully, COVID precautions such as mask wearing are taken much more seriously in Mexico than in the US. Those shoe sanitation mats you noted in the hotel review are everywhere.

    I was wondering how you got to SMA from Queretero. Did you rent a car? That is probably the biggest thing that has kept me from visiting there, it is just so difficult to get to. I rented a car for 2 days in Guadalajara and wow, what an experience that was!

    Perhaps slightly off-topic, but the only place I have ever seen the term “round birthday” is on this blog, and I’ve seen it here a few times. So I googled it and turns out it’s a German term. Go figure! LOL

  22. Geoff S Guest

    My wife and I just returned from SMA last night, after also visiting Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, and Mexico City. My parents lived there for 14 years in the ‘80 and ‘90s and we went there every year when they were there, but this is the first time we’d been back. As it was back then, and as your photos show, it’s a drop dead gorgeous place. Also, as your post implies, it’s a place with...

    My wife and I just returned from SMA last night, after also visiting Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, and Mexico City. My parents lived there for 14 years in the ‘80 and ‘90s and we went there every year when they were there, but this is the first time we’d been back. As it was back then, and as your photos show, it’s a drop dead gorgeous place. Also, as your post implies, it’s a place with small attractions, so go there for the atmosphere rather than for specific things to see. Compared to the ‘80s and ‘90s, much is the same, except that it is much more affluent and much more food-oriented (which can be said for pretty much everywhere though).

    One of our favorite things about SMA was the walking. Your description of walking conditions is pretty accurate, but I’d add a couple of things. First, the traffic moves slowly, forced in part by many speed bumps (topes) and drivers are considerate to pedestrians (the complete opposite of Mexico City!). So, yes, while you need to constantly move on an off the sidewalk to pass other pedestrians, the walking conditions are pretty comfortable. We ended up up walking around the city about 10 miles every day.

    As for Covid-stuff, our outside experiences were Oaxaca, masks on nearly everyone, Puerto Escondido not many masks, SMA masks on say 60%, and Mexico City on nearly everyone. Inside was masks on everyone everywhere.

    For transportation, it was $80US for a 70 minute trip from Queretero, and $25US pp for a really comfortable nearly four hour bus ride to Mexico City.

    As for safety, on all of our trip, everything felt very safe, whether while in transit or walking. I can’t say for sure whether it was or not, just saying that in comparison to many places we’ve been that weren’t safe and didn’t feel safe.

  23. glenn t Diamond

    Very impressed by the apparent street cleanliness and absence of grafitti. I totally get your comments about uneven cobblestones and narrow footpaths!
    The only downside for me would be the possibility of running into Ted & Ann...

  24. James S Guest

    "There weren’t many American families, or people who didn’t give off strong coastal vibes. "

    Is this code for "not obese"

  25. GT Traveller Guest

    Agree, SMA is over rated, and not easy to navigate thru it. Antigua in Guatemala is much nicer and manageable.

  26. Ted Melancon & Ann Melancon Guest

    Been going there for 20 hrs every year sometime twice a year until the China flu. Don’t want to have to test before leaving don’t like mask
    But I love San Miguel great people good restaurants . Safe and relaxing
    melancon Hanks and Berlin’s two great restaurant and bar

  27. Lloyd Cooke Guest

    SMA is like most places. If you just want to see the main sites you can do that in 3 to 6 days. Yes even Paris and London. Most people i meet in San Miguel are there for 1 to 3 months which is a whole different experience. And they return each year and learn some Spanish to increase the enjoyment by spending some time with locals.

  28. JD Guest

    We visited San Miguel In the early 2000’s, fell in love with it, sold everything in Vail Colorado, moved here and never looked back. We are glad that most people don’t move here or like yourself are so Americanized don’t really care one way or another if they ever come back. Glad though that the time you spent in our beautiful city was enjoyable. Cheers and look forward to your next review!

  29. AJ Guest

    Agree with the folks recommending Guanajuato, Queretaro. Zacatecas is also a day trip away. I will forever be grateful to Mexico for opening to us last year and staying open. We spent four great months from coast-to-coast, with the majority spend in the central mountains. I like San Miguel, but I prefer the other three cities that I mentioned. The hills in San Miguel are formidable and make it difficult to get around on foot...

    Agree with the folks recommending Guanajuato, Queretaro. Zacatecas is also a day trip away. I will forever be grateful to Mexico for opening to us last year and staying open. We spent four great months from coast-to-coast, with the majority spend in the central mountains. I like San Miguel, but I prefer the other three cities that I mentioned. The hills in San Miguel are formidable and make it difficult to get around on foot unless you are sticking around the city center. Lucky, curious, what are your five countries to visit? Might be a good article?

  30. Dr. Stan Guest

    Happy am I that you could spend a couple days in SMA. It's where I grew up, where 3 of my 9 brothers still live, and I love it as a place to visit for 2-3 days.

    I enjoyed the similarity of your reaction to the damn cobblestone streets to my own. I HATE them and they have been there since I left in 1965. The sidewalks are narrow but were fine BEFORE modern...

    Happy am I that you could spend a couple days in SMA. It's where I grew up, where 3 of my 9 brothers still live, and I love it as a place to visit for 2-3 days.

    I enjoyed the similarity of your reaction to the damn cobblestone streets to my own. I HATE them and they have been there since I left in 1965. The sidewalks are narrow but were fine BEFORE modern times when there are so many people around.

    Did you happen to see the original gasoline pump (for cars) right outside the market? It was there when I was an adolescent and it was the ONLY ONE in town. Now one of my brothers owns most of the PEMEX gas stations around SMA and yet we all want to keep the old one there to remind us of former days.

    There was only one two-floor cinema before...and you had to choose where to sit on the main floor CAREFULLY. Otherwise you would get urinated on by guys in the balcony. Simpler times they were.

    You are right about facemasks' being used faithfully. Here in México City it's about 90-95% of the people, not the 80% you observed in SMA.

    So, thanks for visiting and I agree that it's not a place to visit often or multiple times....but then it is not what it USED to be, either.

    1. Geoff S Guest

      I did see the old gas pump and thought it was really cool that it was still there. Thanks to your family!

  31. PG-SFO Guest

    Firstly, my partner and I were there at exactly the same time as you just prior to TG, and we saw you and Ford. I couldn't be certain and I wish we had said something - it wasn't until the QRO arrival review that I realized it was you both!

    Multi-year SMA visitor, and many of your observations are true - however, we still love it and can enjoy it. It has changed a lot...

    Firstly, my partner and I were there at exactly the same time as you just prior to TG, and we saw you and Ford. I couldn't be certain and I wish we had said something - it wasn't until the QRO arrival review that I realized it was you both!

    Multi-year SMA visitor, and many of your observations are true - however, we still love it and can enjoy it. It has changed a lot over the years, and the tourist numbers are growing. This time, we also noted a much higher mix of domestic tourists, and that was really refreshing to see. On this last trip we spent a few days in Queretaro as well, and we really enjoyed it - this was the first time we had been there, and it offers a more immersive traditional experience, lower prices and in general is a larger city that offers a broader array of diversions than craft shopping and dining that is the mainstay of SMA.

  32. Leigh Gold

    The photo of the Starbucks at the street corner says it all to me. The central part of town is pretty, but it all felt gentrified for the American ex-pat community and tourists. Once was enough for me.

    Nearby Guanjuato felt much more authentic, beautiful and special, or go south and visit the city of Oaxaca...and so many other options!

  33. Ed Tame Guest

    Maybe you should combine with Querétaro as well, which is also a very pleasent city in the centro histórico and goos restaurants as well. Also I noticed you did not comment on the parades that practically are every weekend and which are also very interesting.

  34. Nate nate Guest

    Thanks for this. I probably read too many articles about violence in Mexico, particularly out of the main tourist areas of Cancun and Cabo. How did you feel, safety-wise, during the drive to/from the airport?

    1. whstoneman New Member

      We just returned from SMA and to be perfectly honest, I felt more comfortable in SMA than I have ever felt in Atlanta, New Orleans, or NYC. We used a very prominent shuttle company that went out of their way to make the brief trip enjoyable.

  35. Henry Guest

    Well, as the saying goes "different people, different tastes". I have traveled to over 35 countries and lived in the US, Europe, China and Mexico. Having said that, I love San Miguel because is a small safe and beautiful city meeting my priorities such as cultural activities (classical music, jazz, salsa, theatre, opera, galeries, pyramids, etc.), nature activities and fantastic restaurants and bars. So, it's perfect for those that are looking for similar things. The...

    Well, as the saying goes "different people, different tastes". I have traveled to over 35 countries and lived in the US, Europe, China and Mexico. Having said that, I love San Miguel because is a small safe and beautiful city meeting my priorities such as cultural activities (classical music, jazz, salsa, theatre, opera, galeries, pyramids, etc.), nature activities and fantastic restaurants and bars. So, it's perfect for those that are looking for similar things. The ride from the airport at Querétaro to SM is just 45 mins, at least that's what it takes me. So, to me is a place that offers always something new every time I go. Hope this provides more info.

  36. Sheila MacDonald Guest

    We have been spending two months there every winter for ten years. Before Covid-19 there were so many cultural activités, such as plays and play readings, music, opera competition finales, lectures and visiting speakers, all in English. These photos of empty streets are so unsusual. The writer skimmed the scene, and missed the essence.

  37. Steve Diamond

    Not sure there is a single young finance professional in nyc or texas that has not visited San Miguel in the past couple of years. Feel like I know someone there for a wedding every single weekend. Glad you enjoyed it but i dont have any desire to go back.

  38. Gabriel c Guest

    There is no realistic -nor safe- way to drive from Mexico city into SMA in less than 4 hours.

    You can fly also from SLP airport with also US direct flights to DFW and IAH, just two hour drive.

    You missed Mineral de Pozos ghost town, it is worth the 1 hour drive.
    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g150799-d1024324-Reviews-Pozos_de_Mineral-Guanajuato_Central_Mexico_and_Gulf_Coast.html

    1. DenB Diamond

      It's Mexico. Take the bus. "Executivo"

  39. Jerry Diamond

    Gee I hated Kyrgyzstan, good luck with that one. Oddly enough though... With their CBT system, it sort of draws a similar demographic of tourists as SMdA does, except from Europe as opposed to North America.

  40. DenB Diamond

    If you liked the charm and you're ready to delve deeper into Mexico (fewer Americans), I can report that I enjoyed the following more than I did San Miguel: Zacatecas, Guanjuato, Morelia, Patzcuaro, Oaxaca. Each very different from the next in food, architecture, even climate. Viva Mexico! We visited 9 cities and we agreed that SMdA and Puerto Escondido were less satisfying to this gay 40s non-drinking foodie couple than the ones I listed above....

    If you liked the charm and you're ready to delve deeper into Mexico (fewer Americans), I can report that I enjoyed the following more than I did San Miguel: Zacatecas, Guanjuato, Morelia, Patzcuaro, Oaxaca. Each very different from the next in food, architecture, even climate. Viva Mexico! We visited 9 cities and we agreed that SMdA and Puerto Escondido were less satisfying to this gay 40s non-drinking foodie couple than the ones I listed above. BTW sadly chain hotels were rare and where they were available they weren't the smart choice.

  41. Avi M Guest

    I'm glad you were able to visit! SMA is quite popular amongst retired Americans as it has a balance between modern amenities and a small town feel. However, I much prefer the city of Guanajuato nearby. I feel the colors and layout of the city are more charming, while prices are lower and BJX is much closer! I hope you get to check it out if you haven't already. Thanks for being my favorite blogger! I read your articles every day!

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Jared Guest

A visit to the Al Archa Nat'l Park, Ala Kul and Altyn Arashan are highly recommended when visiting Kyrgystan. The remote natural attractions are the jewels of Kyrgystan and to be admired. I have led multiple hikes and treks across Central Asia, including a five month trek across the remotest areas in Kyrgystan. Kyrgystan is a country for remote nature lovers. I would love to share my pointers, if you're interested. Bishkek is just like any other post-Soviet city. I don't find it particularly note-worthy to spend much time in. There are a couple good restaurants you can try in Bishkek; Arzu and Vinoteka. For an authentic experience, I would suggest traveling to the remote settlements to try the flavorful steamed and boiled mutton dishes and other declicacies from the nomadic tribes. There are food tours, which attract tourists for a more palatable experience. Or you can get in touch with the likes of me for reliable local contacts.

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GT Traveller Guest

Agree, SMA is over rated, and not easy to navigate thru it. Antigua in Guatemala is much nicer and manageable.

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Henry Guest

Well, as the saying goes "different people, different tastes". I have traveled to over 35 countries and lived in the US, Europe, China and Mexico. Having said that, I love San Miguel because is a small safe and beautiful city meeting my priorities such as cultural activities (classical music, jazz, salsa, theatre, opera, galeries, pyramids, etc.), nature activities and fantastic restaurants and bars. So, it's perfect for those that are looking for similar things. The ride from the airport at Querétaro to SM is just 45 mins, at least that's what it takes me. So, to me is a place that offers always something new every time I go. Hope this provides more info.

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