San Miguel de Allende
Recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as “Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús de Nazareno de Atotonilco”, San Miguel de Allende is indeed a magnificent city located on the side of a mountain. Breathtaking views, history, shopping, good food and festivals all mix here to offer the visitors the best time ever.
Location and how to get to San Miguel de Allende
The city is located in central Mexico, about 170 miles/273 km NW of Mexico City.
The closest airport to the city is Queretaro (QRO), at about 45 miles/ 72 km. Another option is Léon (BJX), at about 70 miles/112 km. You can catch a local flight to either one and then travel by bus to San Miguel; the bus ride is between 1 and 2 hours.
Another option is to fly into Mexico City and then take a bus directly to San Miguel. There are buses leaving every 45 min to 1 hour and the journey takes about 3 hours. This is the cheapest alternative possible when traveling to San Miguel.
Weather and Temperatures
The weather is typical for the central mountainous region of Mexico. The hottest month of May and June are cooled down by the mountain breezes so even though the temperatures can get to 35C/100F, the air is tolerable. During winter it gets below freezing during the night but the air warms up quickly in the morning. The rainy season is between June and September but unless you are right smack in a downpour you can enjoy a lot of time sightseeing.
May avg high 28C/83F ; avg low 14C/57F
Dec avg high 22C/71F; avg low 8C/47F
>>more information on Weather in Mexico
Things to do
About 90% of sights in San Miguel are within walking distance of each other. So pack a good pair of walking shoes! The city is built on a mountain side and the streets are narrow and cobbled, which means you’d need a bit of stamina to be able to walk all day.
If you feel you are not up for it, you can take a tour bus. They are cheap ($60 pesos). The ride takes you up on the hill where you can see a fantastic view of the city.
El Jardin (zocalo) is the main square in the city. Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel (see photo top right) is a marvelous pink building located in the square and the center of attention for all travelers. Also in the same area, you can find Templo de la Concepcion (church), Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Salud (church), Templo de San Francisco (church) and many museums. If you want to explore the inside of some historical buildings, Angela Peralta Theatre and the home of Ignacio Allende are the perfect choices. Now museums, they present the history of the town.
Jardin Botanical is located just above the town and comprises and amazing collection of cacti.
San Miguel is the perfect town if you plan to learn Spanish. You can arrange “home stays” as part of the Spanish classes organized by schools.
The city is also home to colorful festivals, such as Semana Santa (the Easter holy week) – don’t miss the parades – or Dia de las Locos (in mid-June). If you travel here before Independence Day (September 16) you’ll witness some of the most interesting parades in the city.
If you think you can escape shopping here you are wrong. Practically every small street hides some artisan shop and it will hard to avoid buying some souvenirs. Jewelry, clothes, and pretty much anything you’d need for your home are available but it’s your responsibility to choose what’s authentic over what’s not.