If you are looking for an artistic colonial Mexican town with lots of culture, beautiful golden light, and amazing food, then San Miguel de Allende is the town you should choose to visit in Mexico. With its choice of art galleries, classes, nightclubs, bakeries, and organic cafes and markets, you will not be bored.
There is no need to rent a car, as you can walk just about anywhere. If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the bus or a taxi. The taxi’s are very inexpensive and, during the day, charge a flat rate of 30 pesos in Centro or 35 pesos to get outside of Centro. Expect to pay about 5 pesos more after dark. I do suggest that you bring a good pair of walking shoes. Walking on the cobblestones takes a bit of getting used to and isn’t the place to break in that new pair of heels. Also, being a mountain desert town, know that the days can be hot but the nights chilly, so bring suitable clothes for the range of temperatures.
While in San Miguel de Allende, don’t miss the El Charco Botanical Garden. It’s a scenic nature conservation area, and is my favorite place to go for inspiration. They have monthly temascal ceremonies and a beautiful traditional full-moon ceremony which I try not to miss.
One of my other favorite activities is the Saturday organic farmer’s market on the corner of Ancha de San Antonio and Cardo from 8:30am to 2:30 pm. I also love going to the Escondido Place Hot Springs for a relaxing soak in the waters.
Where To Stay
I recommend staying at Casa Calderoni Bed and Breakfast. They have a night watchmen, something a lot of bed and breakfasts don’t offer. If you forget your keys, you don’t have to worry about not being able to get back inside your room. They also offer a concierge to help you in arranging your tours and in getting those coveted restaurant reservations. What I like best about this bed and breakfast is that they cook your breakfast to order instead of just setting out yogurt and granola. They are in a great location in Centro (less walking on those cobblestones) and have a terrace with gorgeous views on the roof. Staying here is more like staying at a small boutique hotel, it is so luxurious.
How To Get Here
Mexico City is usually the most affordable airport to fly into to get to San Miguel de Allende. I think the best bus line to take is ETN. They also give a discount on the bus fare if you book ahead online. (If you do this, make sure to give yourself time to clear customs at the airport before your bus leaves.) You will take a taxi (pre-pay at the taxi counter inside the airport) to the Mexico Norte bus station. From there, just check in at the ETN bus counter and board the bus. Make sure you get some pesos at the airport ATM before departing, so you can buy a bottle of water and snacks at the bus station. The bus to San Miguel de Allende takes about three hours.
The closest airports to San Miguel are in Léon (BJX, about 70 miles away) and Queretaro (QRO, about 45 miles away). If you land at either of these airports, the easiest way to get to San Miguel is by taking a shuttle.