San Miguel de Allende

Travel Guide North America Mexico Guanajuato San Miguel de Allende

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Introduction

San Miguel de Allende is the principal city in the municipality of San Miguel de Allende, located in the far eastern part of Guanajuato, Mexico. A part of the Bajío region, the city lies 274 km from Mexico City, 86 km from Santiago de Queretaro, and 97 km from the state capital of Guanajuato. The city's name derives from two persons: 16th-century friar Juan de San Miguel, and a martyr of Mexican Independence, Ignacio Allende, who was born in a house facing the city's central plaza. San Miguel de Allende was also a critical epicenter during the historic Chichimeca War (1540–1590) where the Chichimeca Confederation defeated the Spanish Empire in the initial colonization war. Today, an old section of the town is part of a proclaimed World Heritage Site, attracting thousands of tourists and new residents from abroad every year.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the town was in danger of becoming a ghost town after an influenza pandemic. Gradually, its Baroque/Neoclassical colonial structures were "discovered" by foreign artists who moved in and began art and cultural institutes such as the Instituto Allende and the Escuela de Bellas Artes. This gave the town a reputation, attracting artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, who taught painting.

This attracted foreign art students, especially former U.S. soldiers studying on the G.I. Bill after the Second World War. Since then, the town has attracted a significant number of foreign retirees, artists, writers and tourists, which has shifted the area's economy from agriculture and industry to commerce catering to outside visitors and residents.

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Sights and Activities

  • La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel the current parish church of San Miguel, is unique in Mexico and the emblem of the town. It is one of the most-photographed churches in Mexico and the two tall towers of its neo-Gothic façade can be seen from most parts of town. The church was built in the 17th century with a traditional Mexican façade. The current Gothic façade was constructed in 1880 by Zeferino Gutierrez, an indigenous bricklayer and self-taught architect. It is said Gutierrez's inspiration came from postcards and lithographs of Gothic churches in Europe; however, the interpretation is his own and more a work of imagination than a faithful reconstruction. In front of this façade is a small atrium, which is guarded by a wrought iron fence. There is a monument in the atrium dedicated to Bishop José María de Jesús Diez de Sollano y Davalos.
  • Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez also called the Escuela de Bellas Artes or El Nigromante, is housed in the former Hermanas de la Concepción (English: Sisters of the Conception) convent. The Concepcion convent and adjoining church were founded in 1775 by a member of the De la Canal family, María Josefina Lina de la Canal y Hervás. In the latter 19th century, the convent was closed by the Reform Laws and it remained empty until the mid-20th century. The Escuela de Bellas Artes was established in 1938 by Peruvian Felipe Cossío del Pomar and American Stirling Dickinson. This and other art institutions began to attract American exchange students who came to study and live. The cultural center today is part of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) and is often referred to by locals as "Bellas Artes". It is a two-story cloister surrounded an extremely large courtyard with large streets and a large fountain in the middle. It houses art exhibits, classrooms for drawing, painting, sculpture, lithography, textiles, ceramics, dramatic arts, ballet, regional dance, piano and guitar.
  • Casa de Allende (Allende House) museum was the home of Ignacio Allende, who was a principal figure in the early part of the Mexican War of Independence. The structure was built in 1759 with Baroque and Neoclassical elements, located next to the San Miguel parish church. The museum it houses is officially called the Museo Histórico de San Miguel de Allende, and it is one of many "regional museums" of Mexico. This kind of museum focuses on the history of the local area from the prehistoric period to the present, especially the area's role in Mexico's national history. The lower floor contains exhibits about the founding of the town, its role in protecting the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Road and more. The upper floor contains exhibits related to Ignacio Allende and some of the rooms are preserved as they looked when he lived there. There are 24 rooms that chronicle the history of the area from the foundation of the town to the Ruta de la Plata (English: Silver Route), the genealogy of Ignacio Allende and the Mexican War of Independence. It was remodeled as part of the preparations for Mexico's Bicentennial. The restored museum was re-inaugurated by President Felipe Calderon in 2009.
  • Casa del Mayorazgo de la Canal dates from the 18th century, constructed by Mariano Loreto de la Canal y Landeta. During the late colonial period, this house was the most important secular building, being home to the De la Canal family, one of the wealthiest in New Spain. The original construction was inspired by French and Italian palaces of the 16th to 18th centuries. The house is considered to be a transitional work between Baroque and Neoclassical, as its façade was redesigned by Manuel Tolsá in the early 19th century. The façade is Neoclassical with the coat of arms of the family. The main portal has two levels with an arch and a relief of an eagle on the keystone. The main door is profusely decorated with high reliefs. Today, it houses the Casa de Cultura de Banamex (Banamex Cultural Center), which houses a collection of historic paintings and offers diverse expositions during the year.
  • Parque Juárez This park was established at the beginning of the 20th century on the banks of a river in French style with fountains, decorative pools, wrought iron benches, old bridges and footpaths. There is an area for children with playground and basketball. The garden area is filled with plants and trees of the region, chirimoyos, various berries and walnuts. The water areas host a large number of herons. After dark on many days, it is possible to catch an impromptu concert by local amateur musicians. Nearby there is a small commercial center on Zacateros Street where typical of the area such as objects made of brass and glass can be found. Near here there is a fountain dedicated to Ignacio Allende.
  • Mercado de Artesanias sells a wide variety of items such as those made from wool, brass, paper mache and blown glass, tin and silver. One figure that features prominently on merchandise is that of a frog, as the state's name of Guanajuato means "place of frogs". The market is located in a narrow alley filling three blocks behind the city's main fruit and vegetable market. The merchandise here is more authentic and cheaper than that found around the main square.
  • Oratorio de San Felipe Neri Church was built by Juan Antonio Perez Espinosa in 1712. This church was partially built by incorporating a former chapel used by the mulatto population of the town. That church became the chapel on the east side. The façade is of pink sandstone in Baroque style with profuse vegetative ornamentation. The decorative work of the portal also contains indigenous influences. The interior of the church has a number of paintings by Miguel Cabrera, including one of the Virgin of Guadalupe signed by him. The sacristy contains this last painting along with others depicting the life of Philip Neri. This room is cordoned off by a grate covered with leather from Córdoba, Spain. At the back there is a Baroque chamber/chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Loreto. This chapel was sponsored by Manuel Tomás de la Canal in 1735. It is richly decorated with three altars covered in gold leaf and is a replica of the Basilica della Santa Casa (English: Basilica of the Holy House) of Loreto, Italy.
  • Nuestra Señora de la Salud Church was built by Luis Felipe Neri in the 18th century. The main portal is in Churrigueresque (Spanish Baroque) style with two levels and a crest in the shape of a large seashell. The first level has an arch flanked by pilasters and niches with sculptures of the Sacred Heart and John the Evangelist. The interior has a layout of a Latin cross covered with vaults with side walls covered in oil paintings done by Agapito Ping between 1721 and 1785. One altar contains an image of Christ, the Good Shepherd, defending his sheep from various dangers including a group of unicorns. The church served as the chapel of the Colegio de San Francisco de Sales next door. The Colegio de San Francisco de Sales was as important as the college of San Ildefonso in Mexico City in the 18th century. Both Ignacio Aldama and Ignacio Allende attended school here.
  • Biblioteca Pública (English: public library) serves as the community center for San Miguel's large foreigner population. This library was established by Helen Wale, a Canadian, who wanted to reach out to local children. It is the largest privately funded, publicly accessible library in Mexico with the second-largest English-language book collection. The library has a café, sponsors tours and prints a bilingual newspaper. While self-supporting, it also sponsors educational programs for local youth including scholarships, donations of school supplies and free English and computer classes for children.
  • Casa de Inquisidor (English: Inquisitor's house) is located between Hernandez Macias and Hospicio streets. It was built in 1780 with an elaborate French façade and was the seat of the inquisition in the late 18th century.
  • Angela Peralta Theater was originally designed to host opera. It was inaugurated in 1873 with a performance by the most-prominent soprano of Mexico at that time, Angela Peralta. It continues to host a variety of musical events such as the Jazz Festival and the Chamber Music Festival.

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Events and Festivals

Many of the festivals here are purely Mexican, combining social activity with religious expression. Throughout the year there are pilgrimages, all-night vigils, ringing church bells, processions and fireworks. The largest celebration of the year is that of the town's patron saint, the Archangel Michael. The angel's feast day is 29 September, but festivities take place for an entire week. Activities include private parties, sporting events, cultural events, indigenous dance and more. The week is popularly called the Fiestas de San Miguel de Allende. The finale is a procession of the actual image of St. Michael usually high on the main altar of La Paroquia, and he is taken on a flower-covered dais to "visit" the main churches in the historic district. Fireworks are a part of all festivities. Elaborate structures that spin and light in sequence, called "castillos" - castles - are installed in the esplanade at the Jardín, and sometimes at other churches in town.

There are also secular and cultural festivals during the year. The annual Festival de Música de Cámara or Chamber Music Festival occurs each year in August in the city's historic center. One of the purposes of the event is to bring this type of music to streets and other public venues as well as traditional concert halls such as the event's home, the Angela Peralta Theater. Other events include the Jornada de Cultura Cubana in March, the Festival de Tìteres in April, the Festival de Convivencia y Hermandad Universal in May, the Desfile de Locos in June, the Festival Expressiones Cortos in July, the Feria Nacional de Lana y Latón and the festival de Jazz y Blues in November and the Festival de San Miguel de Allende in December. As the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, the town was a focal point of 2010s Bicentennial celebrations, with reenactments of events such as the arrival of the message from Querétaro from Josefa Ortiz. Bicentennial celebrations also included events such as the Ballet Mazatl. Festivities were concentrated in and around the Jardin Principal, the Ignacio Allende House and the Centro Cultural.

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexico where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

Other Events and Festivals

  • Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810.
  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating and many towns in Nuevo Leon State hold processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout Nuevo Leon State and all of Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades, dancing and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.
  • New Year's Eve. Mexicans celebrate New Year's Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. One can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers being fired. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: "Feliz año nuevo!" People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne.
  • Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. The victory of the smaller Mexican force against a larger French force was a boost to morale for the Mexicans. A year after the battle, a larger French force defeated Zaragoza at the Second Battle of Puebla, and Mexico City soon fell to the invaders.

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Weather

San Miguel's weather is typical of central mountainous Mexico. It varies little, and even in the hottest months (May and June) when daytime temperatures can reach 35 °C, the dry air makes it tolerable and cool mountain breezes tend to make evenings delightful. Winter evenings (from December to February) can get cold, even down to freezing overnight, but it warms up quickly in the morning. The rainy season extends from June to September when days are pleasant for sightseeing until heavy downpours (usually late in the afternoon and evening) cool and freshen the air. The climate has the same lazy, quiet air and temperance as Palm Springs, encouraging long hours of swimming and pool-side tanning, reading or napping, or just lying in a hammock and forgetting the world exists.

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Getting There

By Plane

The closest airports to San Miguel are the Aeropuerto Bajío/León (BJX IATA), next to the town of Silao, about 93.5 km west of San Miguel de Allende and Aeropuerto Querétaro (QRO IATA), north of the city of Querétaro, about 86.5 km southeast of San Miguel de Allende. Arriving at either of these airports will reduce your final journey to a relatively inexpensive (US$30-60) hour shuttle or cab ride into town. Aeromexico Connect, Interjet, Viva Aerobus, Volaris and Magnicharters offer flights from Cancun, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta and/or Tijuana to the region in addition to United Express and American Eagle with flights from Houston Intercontinental and Dallas/Ft Worth respectively. A bus ride from Querétaro is even cheaper (around US$10-15), but the trip will take 2.5-3 hours because the bus is not direct to San Miguel and you have to take a taxi from the airport to the bus station. Colectivos from the bus station to the city center are much cheaper at M$5 pesos. The new Unebus de Guanajuato operates a thrice daily bus from nearby León/Guanajuato Bajio International Airport to San Miguel Allende. Plans are underway to expand service.

Your flight may be less expensive if you go through Mexico City (MEX IATA), and connect to a flight to León or Querétaro. Otherwise, Primera Plus offer hourly buses from Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport to Queretaro and Celaya where you can transfer to another bus to San Miguel. However, it's a 4-5 hour trip.

By Bus

  • Central de Autobuses, Calzada de la Estación 90 (Los Mezquites), ☏ +52 415 152 2206. The town is well-served by first-class and second-class buses, and tickets for both can be purchased here at the station. Local buses marked 'Central' (M$5 (pesos)) run frequently from the station to the center of town. The following intercity bus companies serve San Miguel de Allende.
  • Grupo Estrella Blanca, ☏ +52 55 5729-0807, toll-free: 800-507-5500. They also operate the Autobus Americanos, Elite, Elite Plus, Futura, Futura Select and the Oriente brands. They connect San Miguel de Allende to Guadalajara, Guanajuato, León, Mexico City (México Norte); Morelia and Tepotzotlan. They also offer onward services up to Durango, Ciudad Juarez, Puebla and Reynosa.
  • ETN (Enlances Terrestre Nacionales); Turistar, ☏ +52 473 733-0289, toll-free: 0800 8000-386. a 'deluxe' class bus service that rival business class travel on a plane. They connect San Miguel de Allende to Guadalajara, Guanajuato, León, Mexico City (México Norte) and Morelia.
  • Omnibus de Mexico, ☏ +52 55 5141-4300, toll-free: 01 800 765-36-66. Also include the Noreste and the Omnibus Plus brands.
  • Primera Plus, ☏ +52 447 710-0001, toll-free: 800 375-75-87. The major bus line for the region which also include the Coordinados and the Flecha Amarilla lines for travel in the state and to adjacent states. Their first class buses go to Celaya, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Lago de Moreno, León, Mexico City (México Norte); Morelia and Moroleon. Passengers connect in León, Guadalajara or Mexico City to get to additional cities. They offer more frequent services to Celaya, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato and other nearby towns on the Flecha Amarilla second class line or on Coordinados.
  • Pegasso, ☏ +52 415 109-29-93, toll-free: 01 800 622-22-22. From here they only go to Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico City (México Norte); Queretaro, San Juan del Rio, San Felipe de Guanajuato & Tepozotlan.
  • Peradora Agencia de Viajes, Cuna de Allende 17, ☏ +52 415 152 8011. An independent travel agent that sells first-class tickets for Primera Plus and ETN bus lines.

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Getting Around

By Car

Driving in San Miguel can be challenging due to very narrow streets and limited parking, and is best avoided. There was a time when the city was not so wealthy and only taxis could be found on these roads. Now that the real estate market has boomed, an influx of money has made cars more affordable and now the average resident is more likely to own one – good news for the economy, but bad news for the roads.

Many two-way streets in San Miguel are too narrow to support two lanes of traffic, and it's not uncommon for a street to become so choked with cars that drivers have to get out and negotiate which one is going to back up to a wider street to let the other pass. Many streets are one-way and indicated by arrow signs placed on the sides of buildings; a double arrow indicates a two-way street.

Watch out for very steep streets. They can get even steeper than you realize and at least one in San Miguel is so narrow at the bottom that no more than a medium-sized car with its side mirrors pulled in can safely maneuver between the buildings. Scratches on the walls attest to drivers who have literally had to scrape between the buildings. Backing up the hill is usually not an option. Following a city bus is a good way to guarantee not getting into a tight situation.

On-street parking regulations are widely ignored by Mexicans. If you park on the street, do NOT leave it parked for more than 24 hours (There are no signs warning about this). Parking violations may result in the transit police removing your license plates. You will then need to find the police station, pay a fine, and hope that your plates are returned. A better alternative is that there are several paid parking lots in town; look for 'E' signs indicating estacionamiento (parking).

By Public Transport

San Miguel has its own pleasant and reliable bus system that serves the entire town, including out-of-the-way places like the Luciérnega Shopping Center. Buses are called urbanos and run from 07:00-21:00 daily for a flat rate of M$5 inside the city center (single ride, no transfer, driver gives change). The schedule is every 15-20 minutes in the central city; every 1-2 hours to and from outlying areas in the municipality. Routes are never referred to by their number but by the name of the destination. There is no route map.

Destinations are generally marked or painted on the side or on the windshield. Centro means downtown and Central means bus station. Buses are white with color-coded trim. All the blue-white and orange-white buses pass the stop opposite the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri downtown. Yellow-white buses make a circle around town passing near Centro and Central. All red-white, green-white, purple-white buses and some yellow-white buses connect to the outlying suburbs and are boarded at various stops located several blocks outside the center of town.

By Foot

Maybe 90% of San Miguel's attractions are within walking distance. Just keep in mind that because San Miguel was built into the side of a mountain, it can turn out to be difficult to traverse, some inclines are 15 or 20 degrees. Furthermore, the streets are cobbled and narrow – some were nothing but goat tracks before they were paved – and many have fallen into disrepair. Curbs are often a high step away from the road. All in all, the town can be unforgiving to an inexperienced walker. For this reason, it is advisable to bring comfortable shoes.

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Eat

  • Café de la Parroquia / La Brasserie, Calle De Jesus 11 (one block from the Jardín), ☏ +52 415 152 3161. Café de la Parroquia: 08:00-16:00; La Brasserie 18:00-22:00. Beautiful courtyard dining on fresh, local ingredients. Although many menu items seem at first to be the "usual", there's nothing ordinary about them. Try in particular the chicken soup (throw in all the onions and cilantro), tacos and any omelette. US$6-12 entrees.
  • Cafe La Ventana, Diez de Sollano 11, ☏ +52 415 154 7728, ✉ josefinavalentini@yahoo.com. M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 09:00-15:00. Has good breakfasts and great coffee. Practices Fair Trade.
  • Cafe San Antonio, Refugio Sur 24, ☏ +52 415 152 3016. Regional, national and international cuisine. Enjoy your breakfast, lunch or dinner in a luscious and open courtyard in the heart of Colonia San Antonio, under the century old native mesquites, pines and pirules. Truly a unique experience.
  • Café Yenatu Panza, Calzada de la Aurora 48 (follow Hidalgo out of the Jardín until it turns into Aurora), ☏ +52 415 152 8900. Daily 08:30-12:00. This is undoubtedly the most innovative and creative breakfast menus in town featuring design-your-own omelets & breakfast burritos, exquisite French toast, and home made fruit salsa. The vibe is very comfy and clients can choose from indoor or outdoor-garden seating. There's even free wireless. M$5-7.
  • Cafetería San Agustín, San Francisco 21, ☏ +52 415 154 9102. Daily 08:00-23:00. A well-run restaurant with great food, Mexican and international. The restaurant/cafe in proud of their freshly made churros and a variety of hot and cold chocolate milks. Owned by Margarita Gralia.
  • Casa Payo, Zacateros 26, ☏ +52 415 152 7277. One of the most traditional restaurants offering Argentine cuisine, with Mediterranean ambience inside dining and exterior in a charming patio featuring live music.
  • Cha Cha Cha, 28 de Abril Norte 37 (Colonia San Antonio). Daily 13:00-19:00. Owned and operated by Mexican couple.
  • El Correo, Correo 23 (a block away from the main square), ☏ +52 415 152 4951. A small Mexican food spot which offers simple yet interesting authentic Mexican food in a great location.
  • Grill & Garden (formerly Bistro Los Senderos), Libramiento SMA-Dolores Hidalgo Km 3.5 (8 minutes N of San Miguel), ☏ +52 415 155 9594, info@bistrolossenderos.com. F-Su 13:00-19:00. Relaxed country atmosphere serving old favorites and innovative fusion dishes – the restaurant has its own organic herb and vegetable garden. Great place to take visitors, and kids – bicycles available and horse back rides by reservation. Gets very busy on Sundays, reservations recommended. This charming place also prepares gourmet picnics, and available for private events. M$200-400.
  • La Grotta, Cuadrante 5, ☏ +52 415 152 4119. Daily 14:00-22:00. A wonderful, multi-story restaurant owned by Daniel and son Dyami. La Grotta is located downhill, around the corner, just a block from the main cathedral. The restaurant is casual and the main items are pizza, calzones, and Italian-related. The food is very carefully and freshly prepared.
  • Juan's Cafe Etc (Café Etc.), Relox 37, ☏ +52 415 154 8636. Daily until 16:30. Great breakfasts and coffee. Practices Fair Trade.
  • El Pegaso, Corregidora 6 (just off the Jardín), ☏ +52 415 154 7611, ✉ elpegasomx@gmail.com. Daily 08:30-22:00. This trendy cafe style restaurant offers a delightful blend of Mexican and international flavor. Its atmosphere is definitely one of the best in town.
  • Posada Carmina, Cuna De Allende 7, ☏ +52 415 152 8888, fax: +52 415 152 1036, ✉ hotel@posadacarmina.com. This restaurant is based in the patio of a charming inn located in a remarkably well preserved colonial house. Branded as 'fusion', the food offered by this restaurant will make your visit to San Miguel even more memorable, it mixes the classic elements of Mexican cuisine with oriental flavors and dishes.
  • Restaurante Mama Mia, Umaran 8 (S of the Jardín, half a block from the Parroquia), ☏ +52 415 152 2063, ✉ contactosanmiguel@mamamia.com.mx. Su-Th 08:00-03:00, F Sa 08:00-05:00. An open air patio restaurant with a stage and an exterior/second floor patio. The restaurant has traditional Mexican dishes, but specializes in pizzas and pastas. An always packed space, this is an amazing place to eat with a clean kitchen, and a lively bar.
  • El Rincon Español, Correo 29. Administered and owned by a Catalan immigrant.
  • El Rinconcito, Refugio Norte 7 (Colonia San Antonio), ☏ +52 415 154 4809, ✉ mercigo70@gmail.com. W-M 13:00-21:00. Try the Mar y Tierra.
  • Tacos Don Felix, 15th Fray Juan de San Miguel, ☏ +52 415 152 5719. F Sa 18:00-24:00, Su 14:00-18:00. Wonderful soups, nachos, and entrees. Try the Three meats enchiladas. Friendly service. Moderate.

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Drink

  • Berlin Bar & Bistro, Umaran 19, ☏ +52 415 154 9432, ✉ reserv@berlinmexico.com. Daily 17:00-01:00, dinner served until 23:30. For a great nightcap, Berlin is a great chill bar. The owner is very welcoming and the food is sublime.
  • La Cava de la Princesa, Recreo 3, ☏ +52 415 152 1403. Showcases musicians from Mexico City. Cover charge depends on the band.
  • El Grito Night Club, 15 Umaran (about a block from the Jardín), ☏ +52 415 120 0156, ✉ elgritonightclub@gmail.com. F Sa 22:00-04:00, holidays. This is arguably the most popular club in town, and easily the most expensive. It has a US$15 cover charge, enough to dissuade the casual visitor from dropping in to take a look. Inside, the building is a panoply of stone and glass sculptures, light displays, and music. How energetic the evening gets usually depends on the crowd, but it's hard for the evening to get much past midnight before the dancing starts. El Grito is only open Fridays and Saturdays, or on certain holidays, like New Year's Eve (when they jack the price up to US$50).
  • Mama Mia, Umaran 8 (a few doors from the Jardín), ☏ +52 415 152 2063, ✉ contactosanmiguel@mamamia.com.mx. Su-Th 08:00-03:00, F Sa 08:00-05:00. Mama Mia's is four clubs in one. There's a restaurant and bar in the center with some amazing Italian food, a sports bar to the left (usually displaying a soccer or football game of some kind), a music bar to the right where local acts frequently play (especially Pilaseca, a very popular funk-blues band that tours most of Mexico and the States), and a hard-to-find rooftop lounge overlooking the city. This is a great default place to while away the hours when nothing else is appealing – the music is worth it, if nothing else.
  • Manolo's Sports Bar, Zacateros 26, ☏ +52 415 152 7277. Daily 15:00-23:00. Complete coverage of national and international sports – if it is on TV they have it.

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Sleep

  • Casita San Miguel, Colonia Allende (20 min walk from the Jardín), ☏ +52 415 117 7223. Check-in: 12:00PM, check-out: 2:00PM. A clean, comfy and friendly alternative to lonely, boring hotels, the Casita is social like a hostel, but far more private — and much kinder to your budget. Includes a fully-equipped kitchen where guests can cook any time. Clean and well-maintained. M$390 and up.
  • Hostal Alcatraz, Relox 54, Zona Centro, ☏ +52 415 152 8543, ✉ info@alcatrazhostal.com. Check-out: noon. The most central of the four hostels. Good showers, lockers outside of the dorms, no private rooms, nice staff. Dorms M$180.
  • Hostel Inn, Calzada de la Luz 31a, Zona Centro, ☏ +52 415 154 6727, ✉ hostelinnmexico@yahoo.com. Price depends on the season, see their website. There's a laundry service with same day pickup. Dorms around M$150.
  • Hostal-Hotel Internacional, Recreo 80, ☏ +52 415 121 0698, ✉ smainternacionalhostal@hotmail.com. Dorms M$150.
  • Iron House Hostel, H Colegio Militar 17-D, Col. Guadalupe (8-min walk from the Parroquia), ☏ +52 415 154 6108, ✉ ihh_sma@hotmail.com. Independent hostel. Ricardo, the owner, is a resident of San Miguel and is always happy to show you the real gems of the town: the best sights, clubs, restaurants, bars, hot springs, artisanal markets. Weekly and monthly rates available. US$25 private room, US$10 dorm
  • Casa Carly, Calzada de la Aurora 48, ☏ +52 415 152-8900. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Seven charming casitas (small houses) surrounding a beautiful garden. Each casita has a kitchenette, coffee maker, TV, DVD player with a huge selection of films, Wi-Fi. On the grounds is one of the best breakfast cafes in the entire town (not included in room rate). US$75.
  • Casa Carmen, Correo 31, ☏ +52 415 152 0844. Bed and breakfast close to El Jardin. Eleven rooms start at US$92 per night, US$24 per additional guest. Breakfast and lunch are served in a comfortable dining room. The food is outstanding - including soup, main course, and dessert at lunch time. There is also an interior courtyard and rooftop garden. Owner is very warm and friendly. US$92 and up.
  • Casa Don Pascual, Camino Real De Xichu 27, ☏ +52 415 152 3962. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Colonial-style boutique bed and breakfast with magnificent views. Has free Wi-Fi and outdoor pool. Doubles M$3,146+
  • Casa Florida, Hernandes Macias 60 (2 blocks from the main Jardin), ☏ +52 415-154-8195 (Mexico), +1 813-480-0505 (USA). 3 wonderfully designed rooms, full breakfast, roof garden, great sunset and close to El Jardin. US$99
  • Casa Mia Suites Apartments, Correo No. 61 Int 1 Col. Centro CP, ☏ +52 415 152-2757. Each room has a terrace, private toilet and bath with toiletries, living room, and fully equipped kitchen. High-speed Internet, car hire, currency exchange, and laundry/dry cleaning. US$110 and up.
  • Casa de la Noche, Organos #19, Centro. A former brothel (or "house of the night") that has been converted into a very charming guest house with rooms and suites. 5 minutes from El Jardin and Parrochia. The grounds are beautiful with Mexican handiwork evident everywhere. Rooms, US$40 and up; suites with kitchenette, US$100 and up. Weekly and monthly rates are available.
  • Real de Minas, Camino Viejo Al Panteón 1 (Calle Ancha San Antonio). Great location near downtown. Inside this colonial-style building you will find a water well. People say Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico's independence hero, used to drink this water when he was in San Miguel. US$100
  • Dos Casas Hotel, Quebrada 101, ☏ +52 415 154 4073. Contemporary designed boutique hotel, 2 blocks from the center. Includes wine bar and restaurant.
  • Hotel El Atascadero, Prolongacion Santo Domingo S/N,, ☏ +52 415 152 0206. One of San Miguel's oldest family-owned hotels. Once home to a famous bullfighter, a silk plantation, and has been for decades a retreat for artists such as Diego Rivera and Pablo Neruda.
  • Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Nemesio Diez 11, Col. Centro, ☏ +52 415 120 3500. Luxury boutique resort with accommodations, on-site restaurants, SENSE, A Rosewood Spa and space for meetings, weddings and events.
  • Sagrada Wellness, La Mesita 11, Rancho La Mesita (15 min out of town). A retreat. San Miguel is not only a wonderful visit because of the town, but also spectacular for its gorgeous countryside. Sagrada's quiet and tranquil location is high up in the country with views of the high desert. Cabanas and canvas bungalows are spacious and with modern amenities. Architecture is amazing - very modern and built with sustainable materials. Food, yoga, and other spa treatments are offered separately.
  • Villa Mirasol, Pila Seca 35, Centro (4 blocks from the main square), ☏ +52 415 152 6685. Converted colonial home with 12 rooms and suites. US$100-150.
  • Hacienda de Guadalupe (Boutique Hacienda), Hidalgo #4 (Half a block from the center of the town), ☏ +524151210700, ✉ haciendadeguadalupehotel@gmail.com. Check-in: 3 pm, check-out: 12 pm. Boutique hotel. $336.

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Learn

Language

Several schools offer classes and arrange a 'home stay' with a host family for a very good price.

  • Habla Hispana Spanish School, Calzada de la Luz 25, ☏ +52 415 152 0713. Spanish classes at Habla Hispana are focused on enable students to communicate effectively. Emphasis is placed on verbal interaction in the classroom, and class placement is based more on verbal fluency than on academic knowledge. Spanish classes at Instituto Habla Hispana are designed as four-week sessions and divided into three levels: Nivel Principiante (Beginner), Nivel Intermedio (Intermediate), and Nivel Avanzado (Advanced). The school is flexible in working with students who cannot stay for four-week sessions and also will work with you on focused Spanish for medical professionals. Comfortable and affordable accommodations are available in a residence on same school grounds as well as homestays with local families. Program also includes cultural tours, music and cooking.
  • Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 22, ☏ +52 415 152 0929, +52 415 152 0190, fax: +52 415 152 4538, ✉ recepcion@institutoallende.edu.mx. M-F 09:00-11:00 or 15:00-17:00. The oldest school of arts and language in Latin America, housed in a former 17th-century palace. Offers month-long courses of 1-6 hours a day are offered, for all levels.
  • Language Point (Languages), 20 de Enero Sur 42 (SW of the Jardín), ☏ +52 415 152 4115. 08:00-14:00. Spanish by speaking. Learn in groups of 3 maximum. Spanish lessons are designed to teach you the tenses and vocabulary. The small class size allows real conversation, even for beginners. US$143/week.
  • MexArt: Summer Teen Institutes, Calzada de la Aurora 48 (Casa Carly), ☏ +52 415 152 8900, ✉ carly@gomexart.com. MexArt Summer Teen Institutes are one-month programs where students may focus on art or dance and Spanish language while immersed in Mexican culture. Students live in a central B&B with experienced counseling staff. MexArt excels in teaching the visual arts, dance, and Spanish. Participants choose one area in which to focus and choose other areas with which to experiment. Open to students ages 14-18.

Art

San Miguel's many art institutes are always open to travelers looking to discover (or become the next) Frida Kahlo. Painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, you name it and it's probably there.

  • Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez (Bellas Artes / Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción), Hernández Macías 75, ☏ +52 415 152 0289, ✉ bellasartessma@hotmail.com. M-Sa 10:00-19:30, Su 10:00-02:00. This former convent is now an art school and cultural center, and offers classes and workshops in painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, and ceramics.
  • Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 22, ☏ +52 415 152 0929, +52 415 152 0190, fax: +52 415 152 4538, ✉ recepcion@institutoallende.edu.mx. M-F 09:00-11:00 or 15:00-17:00. The oldest school of arts and language in Latin America, the Instituto offers accredited undergraduate degree programs, an international Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and art and photography workshops for travelers and the general public. Instituto Allende (Q17989128) on Wikidata Instituto Allende on Wikipedia edit
  • Fábrica la Aurora, Calzada de la Aurora s/n (Colonia Aurora), ☏ +52 415 152 1312. A number of resident artists with studios here offer classes and workshops in a variety of media. edit

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafe's are widely available and you generally can find one in the direct vicinity. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.

Post

The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 13:05 on Jan 2, 20 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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