Your Ultimate San Miguel de Allende Travel Guide 2023
San Miguel de Allende is a breathtakingly beautiful city located in the heart of Mexico. From its enchanting cobblestone streets to its captivating architecture and rich culture, San Miguel de Allende has a unique charm that has attracted travelers from all over the world. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in this magical city. In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll explore the best places to eat, drink, and explore, as well as some of the must-see attractions and hidden gems that make San Miguel de Allende so special. So grab your passport, pack your bags, and get ready to unlock the magic of San Miguel de Allende!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In San Miguel de Allende
- Visit The Parroquia De San Miguel Arcangel: This stunning pink church is the icon of San Miguel de Allende. Located in the city center, it is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.
- Wander The Historic Streets: San Miguel de Allende is filled with colonial architecture and picturesque streets. Take a leisurely stroll through the city and take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful city.
- Explore El Jardin: El Jardin is the heart of San Miguel de Allende. This bustling square is surrounded by restaurants, shops, and historic buildings. Grab a coffee and watch the world go by.
- Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride: One of the most magical experiences you can have in San Miguel de Allende is a hot air balloon ride over the city. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside.
- Attend A Festival Or Event: San Miguel de Allende is known for its festivals and events. From Dia de los Muertos to the Festival Internacional Cervantino, there is always something happening in the city. Be sure to check the calendar before you go.
Where To Stay In San Miguel de Allende
- Centro Histórico: Centro Histórico is the heart of San Miguel de Allende. It is home to most of the city’s historic landmarks, including the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. This neighborhood is perfect for those who want to be in the center of the action. There are many shops, restaurants, and bars, making it a bustling and lively area.
- El Chorro: El Chorro is a beautiful, quiet neighborhood located near Centro Histórico. This neighborhood is perfect for those who want to experience the traditional Mexican culture and architecture. You can enjoy peaceful streets and beautiful views of the city, as well as several local markets and shops.
- San Antonio: San Antonio is a popular neighborhood located on the south side of San Miguel de Allende. This area has many art galleries, shops, and restaurants. It is also home to the famous San Antonio Church, a landmark known for its beautiful facade and baroque-style architecture.
- La Presa: La Presa is a charming and serene neighborhood located outside of the city center. This area is perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the peaceful countryside. You can enjoy beautiful views of the nearby reservoir, walk around the small parks, or simply relax in the quiet of your accommodation.
- Guadalupe: Guadalupe is a residential neighborhood located just a few blocks from the Centro Histórico. It is known for its colorful buildings, art galleries, and boutique shops. This area is perfect for those who want to be close to the action but prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.
Top San Miguel de Allende Hotels
- Rosewood San Miguel De Allende: This luxury hotel boasts a stunning colonial-style design and is located in the heart of the city. It features a rooftop terrace with sweeping views, a full-service spa, and several dining options.
- Belmond Casa De Sierra Nevada: This boutique hotel consists of several historic buildings and offers an authentic Mexican experience. Its rooms and suites feature antique furnishings and traditional artwork, while the property also includes several dining options and a spa.
- Hotel Matilda: A sleek and modern hotel located just a short walk from the main square, Hotel Matilda features a rooftop pool, a contemporary art collection, and several dining options. Its stylish rooms and suites are adorned with contemporary Mexican artwork and furnishings.
- Casa No Name: A charming bed and breakfast located just a few blocks from the main square, Casa No Name offers six rooms that are individually decorated with antique furnishings and original artwork. Its beautiful garden courtyard and rooftop terrace provide tranquil spots for relaxation.
- Casa De La Cuesta: A stunning boutique hotel housed in a 17th-century colonial mansion, Casa de la Cuesta boasts exquisite period details and antique furnishings. Its nine individually designed rooms feature original artwork and luxurious amenities, and the property also includes a rooftop terrace and outdoor pool.
Where To Eat In San Miguel de Allende
If you’re a foodie looking for a unique culinary experience, San Miguel de Allende won’t disappoint. The town has a vibrant food scene with a mix of traditional Mexican cuisine, international flavors, and modern twists. Here are the top five places to eat in San Miguel de Allende:
- El Pegaso: Located in the heart of San Miguel de Allende, El Pegaso is a popular restaurant among locals and tourists. It offers a variety of Mexican dishes, including tacos, enchiladas, and chiles rellenos. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, with colorful décor and friendly staff.
- La Posadita: For a taste of traditional Mexican cuisine, head to La Posadita. The restaurant is located in a beautiful colonial-style building with a charming courtyard. The menu includes dishes like mole, pozole, and cochinita pibil, all made with fresh, local ingredients.
- Hecho En Mexico: As the name suggests, Hecho en Mexico celebrates the country’s culinary traditions. The restaurant serves dishes from different regions of Mexico, such as ceviche from the coast, mole from Oaxaca, and tacos al pastor from Mexico City. The ambiance is colorful and lively, with a bar area that serves delicious cocktails.
- Moxi: For a fine dining experience, Moxi is the place to go. The restaurant is located in the Hotel Matilda, a luxury hotel in San Miguel de Allende. The menu features innovative dishes that blend Mexican and international flavors, such as beetroot gnocchi and duck confit tacos. The ambiance is modern and elegant, with a beautiful terrace overlooking the town.
- Don Taco Tequila: If you’re in the mood for tacos and tequila, Don Taco Tequila is the place to be. The restaurant offers a wide variety of tacos, from traditional pastor to more creative options like fish tempura. They also have a vast selection of tequila and mezcal, which you can enjoy at the cozy bar area or on the rooftop terrace.
These are just some of the top places to eat in San Miguel de Allende, but the town has many other hidden gems waiting to be discovered. No matter where you go, you’ll find delicious food and warm hospitality.
How To Get Around San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a charming and walkable town, but if you want to explore beyond the city center, there are plenty of transportation options available. Here are some of the best ways to get around San Miguel de Allende:
- Walking: Walking is the best way to explore the town and get a sense of its unique charm. The town is compact, and the streets are narrow and winding, so it’s easy to navigate on foot. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for some uphill climbs.
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available throughout San Miguel de Allende. They are relatively cheap, and most drivers speak some English. You can either flag down a taxi on the street or ask your hotel or restaurant to call one for you.
- Uber: Uber is available in San Miguel de Allende, and it’s often cheaper than a regular taxi. However, it can be more challenging to find an Uber driver in San Miguel de Allende than in bigger cities.
- Buses: Local buses are available, but they can be crowded and confusing for first-time visitors. They’re a good option if you’re traveling on a tight budget, but be prepared for a slower and less comfortable ride.
- Rental Cars: If you’re planning to explore the surrounding area, renting a car is a good option. There are several rental car agencies in San Miguel de Allende, and prices are relatively reasonable. However, keep in mind that parking in the town center can be difficult and expensive.
No matter which transportation option you choose, make sure to negotiate the price before getting in a taxi or hiring a car. And remember to keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas like buses and taxis.
San Miguel de Allende Weather
San Miguel de Allende boasts a pleasant and comfortable climate year-round, making it a perfect travel destination anytime. The city enjoys a temperate climate due to its high elevation of over 6,000 feet above sea level.
- Spring (March to May): San Miguel de Allende’s spring season is characterized by sunny days, occasional rain, and mild temperatures. The average daytime temperature during this time is around 77°F (25°C), while the nights can get chilly, dipping to around 46°F (8°C). You may want to pack light clothing and a light jacket to enjoy the sunny days while staying warm in the evening.
- Summer (June to August): San Miguel de Allende’s summer is relatively mild compared to other parts of Mexico, making it a pleasant season to visit the city. The temperatures range between 66°F (19°C) and 84°F (29°C), with occasional thunderstorms and rain showers in the evenings. You may want to bring light and comfortable clothing, but be sure to pack a raincoat or an umbrella for the sudden showers.
- Fall (September to November): The fall season in San Miguel de Allende is characterized by sunny and dry days and cool nights. The average temperature during the day is around 75°F (24°C), while the nighttime temperature falls to around 45°F (7°C). Bring a mix of light and warm clothing to enjoy the sunny days while staying cozy at night.
- Winter (December to February): San Miguel de Allende’s winter season is the coldest and driest of all, with occasional foggy and windy days. The temperature ranges between 66°F (19°C) during the day and 36°F (2°C) at night. It is essential to pack layers of warm clothing, a coat, and boots to stay comfortable during the cold evenings.
Overall, San Miguel de Allende’s weather is pleasant throughout the year, and it’s up to you to decide when to visit depending on your preferred climate.
Best Time To Visit San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a city that can be visited year-round due to its moderate temperatures, but there are certain times of the year that are particularly favorable for tourism. The best time to visit San Miguel de Allende is from November to April, during the dry season. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 70s°F (20s°C) and cool evenings.
From May to October, the rainy season starts, with the wettest months being July, August, and September. While the rainy season may not be the best time to visit San Miguel de Allende for some, it can be a great time to take advantage of the lower prices and smaller crowds.
Another important factor to consider when planning your visit to San Miguel de Allende is the city’s festival calendar. If you’re looking to experience some of the city’s most vibrant cultural celebrations, then plan your visit during one of the following festivals:
- Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – celebrated on November 1st and 2nd
- Fiestas Patrias – Mexican Independence Day, celebrated on September 15th and 16th
- La Calaca – Halloween festival, celebrated in late October
- Semana Santa (Holy Week) – celebrated in April
No matter when you decide to visit San Miguel de Allende, you’ll be sure to enjoy the city’s rich culture and charming architecture. Just be sure to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly to make the most out of your trip.
How To Stay Safe In San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it’s always important to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your visit:
- Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings: Whether you’re walking through the historic district or exploring the countryside, keep your eyes and ears open. Avoid areas that feel unsafe, especially at night.
- Don’t Flaunt Your Wealth: San Miguel de Allende is known for its luxury homes and hotels, but showing off your valuables can make you a target for thieves. Leave expensive jewelry and electronics at home, and keep your cash and cards hidden in a secure location.
- Use Common Sense When Using Public Transportation: Taxis and buses are a convenient way to get around, but always make sure to use a licensed service. If you’re traveling alone, sit near the driver or in a crowded area to avoid unwanted attention.
- Respect Local Customs: San Miguel de Allende has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to be respectful of local traditions and customs. Avoid public displays of affection, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and always ask permission before taking photos of people.
- Stay Informed About Local Events: While San Miguel de Allende is generally safe, there may be occasional protests or demonstrations that can disrupt travel plans. Check local news sources and embassy websites before heading out, and avoid large crowds if possible.
By following these simple safety tips, you can enjoy all that San Miguel de Allende has to offer with peace of mind. As always, trust your instincts and err on the side of caution when exploring new destinations.
San Miguel de Allende Customs and Etiquette
San Miguel de Allende is a city steeped in tradition and culture, so it’s important to be respectful of local customs and etiquette during your stay. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Greeting People: Mexicans are generally very friendly and courteous. When meeting someone new, it’s common to shake hands or give a slight nod of the head. If the person is a close friend or family member, a hug and a kiss on the cheek is the norm.
- Language: Spanish is the official language of Mexico, but many people in San Miguel de Allende also speak English. If you’re visiting from an English-speaking country, it’s still a good idea to learn a few basic Spanish phrases to show your respect for the local culture.
- Dress Code: San Miguel de Allende is a conservative city, so it’s best to dress modestly. Shorts and revealing clothing are generally not acceptable in public places, especially in religious buildings.
- Tipping: In restaurants, it’s customary to leave a tip of 10-15% of the total bill. In bars and cafes, it’s common to leave a small tip of a few pesos. In general, it’s polite to tip for good service in any situation.
- Religion: San Miguel de Allende has a strong Catholic influence, so it’s important to respect religious customs. Dress modestly when visiting churches and other religious buildings, and don’t take photographs without permission.
- Timekeeping: In Mexico, punctuality is not as important as in other cultures. If someone is running a little late, it’s usually not a big deal. However, it’s still polite to be on time for appointments and meetings.
Overall, San Miguel de Allende is a welcoming and friendly city, and if you show respect for local customs and etiquette, you’ll be sure to have a great experience.
Other Things To Know About San Miguel de Allende
If you’re planning a trip to San Miguel de Allende, there are a few things you should know about the city and its surrounding area before you go. Firstly, San Miguel de Allende is located in central Mexico, in the state of Guanajuato. The country’s official language is Spanish, but you’ll find that many people speak English as well, especially in tourist areas.
Mexico’s currency is the Mexican peso (MXN), and you’ll be able to use credit cards and ATMs throughout San Miguel de Allende. It’s always a good idea to carry cash with you, however, as some smaller businesses may not accept cards.
In terms of time zone, San Miguel de Allende is located in the Central Time Zone, which is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-6). This means that if you’re traveling from the United States, you may only need to adjust your watch by one hour depending on where you’re coming from. Overall, San Miguel de Allende is a welcoming and vibrant city with a rich history and culture. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s colonial architecture, sampling delicious Mexican cuisine, or simply soaking up the atmosphere in one of the many lively plazas, you’re sure to have a memorable experience in this beautiful part of the world.
San Miguel de Allende Travel Costs
San Miguel de Allende can be a relatively affordable travel destination, especially compared to other popular destinations in Mexico. However, like any destination, it’s important to be aware of your expenses so you can budget accordingly. Here are some costs to consider when planning your San Miguel de Allende trip:
- Accommodation: Accommodation options in San Miguel de Allende range from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. Prices vary depending on the time of year and location, but on average, you can expect to pay around $50-100 USD per night for a mid-range hotel or Airbnb. Hostels can be even more affordable, with dormitory beds starting at around $10-20 USD per night.
- Food And Drink: Food in San Miguel de Allende can be affordable if you stick to local street vendors and smaller, family-owned restaurants. On average, a meal at a local restaurant will cost you around $10-15 USD. If you’re looking for higher-end dining options, expect to pay more, but you can still find good deals if you do some research ahead of time.
- Transportation: Transportation costs in San Miguel de Allende can be minimal if you’re willing to walk or take public transportation. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also available, but they can be more expensive. Expect to pay around $1-2 USD for a bus ride and $5-10 USD for a taxi or Uber ride within the city.
- Activities: Many of the best activities in San Miguel de Allende, such as wandering the colorful streets or visiting local markets, are completely free. However, if you want to take a guided tour or visit a museum or art gallery, expect to pay around $10-20 USD per person.
Overall, budget-conscious travelers can expect to spend around $30-50 USD per day in San Miguel de Allende, while those who want to indulge in luxury experiences can expect to spend more. However, by doing some research and being mindful of your expenses, you can enjoy all that this beautiful destination has to offer without breaking the bank.
Finding Affordable Flights To San Miguel de Allende
One of the most important aspects of planning your San Miguel de Allende trip is finding affordable flights. While the city may not be as popular as other tourist destinations in Mexico, there are still plenty of airlines that fly into San Miguel de Allende. The nearest airport to San Miguel de Allende is Queretaro International Airport (QRO), which is approximately an hour away from the city. However, most travelers opt to fly into Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) which offers a wider selection of flights and airlines. From there, you can take a bus or hire a private transfer to San Miguel de Allende.
When searching for flights, it’s best to use travel websites that compare multiple airlines to find the best deals. Some popular sites include Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner. It’s also recommended to search for flights on a Tuesday or Wednesday as these tend to be the cheapest days to fly. Another tip for finding affordable flights to San Miguel de Allende is to book your trip in advance. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to find cheaper fares. If you have flexible travel dates, consider traveling during the low season (June to October) when prices tend to be lower.
Finally, don’t forget to check for any promotions or discounts that airlines may offer. Signing up for their email newsletters or following their social media pages can help you stay updated on any sales or promotions. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find affordable flights to San Miguel de Allende and save money on your trip.
Backpacking San Miguel de Allende Suggested Budgets
San Miguel de Allende is an excellent destination for budget backpackers who want to experience a unique blend of Mexican culture and colonial architecture without breaking the bank. Here are some suggested budgets for backpacking in San Miguel de Allende:
Low Budget: $25-$35 USD per day
- Accommodation: Stay in a hostel or budget guesthouse for around $10-$15 USD per night.
- Food: Eat street food or at local markets for cheap and delicious meals, which can cost around $5-$10 USD per day.
- Activities: Walk around the city and admire the architecture, visit local markets, and hike to nearby viewpoints for free.
- Transportation: Use public transportation or walk around the city.
Mid-Range Budget: $35-$50 USD per day
- Accommodation: Stay in a budget hotel or private room in a hostel for around $20-$30 USD per night.
- Food: Eat at mid-range restaurants for around $10-$15 USD per meal.
Activities: Visit museums and galleries, take a guided walking tour of the city, and enjoy the nightlife for around $10-$20 USD per day.
- Transportation: Use public transportation or rent a bike.
Luxury Budget: $50-$75 USD per day
- Accommodation: Stay in a mid-range hotel or private room in a hostel for around $30-$50 USD per night.
- Food: Eat at nice restaurants for around $20-$30 USD per meal.
- Activities: Take a cooking class, visit hot springs, and go on day trips to nearby towns for around $20-$40 USD per day.
- Transportation: Use public transportation, rent a bike, or hire a private driver for day trips.
With these suggested budgets, backpackers can enjoy everything that San Miguel de Allende has to offer without breaking the bank. Remember to always plan ahead, research prices, and ask locals for their tips and recommendations to make the most of your trip on a budget.
San Miguel de Allende Money Saving Tips
San Miguel de Allende can be an expensive destination, but there are plenty of ways to save money while still having a great time. Here are some tips:
- Stay In A Budget-Friendly Accommodation: There are plenty of hostels and budget hotels in San Miguel de Allende that offer great value for money.
- Walk Or Use Public Transport: Walking is a great way to explore the city and get some exercise. If you need to use public transport, opt for the local buses rather than taxis, as they are much cheaper.
- Eat At Local Markets: The local markets offer delicious and affordable food, so make sure to try them out.
- Avoid Tourist Traps: The popular tourist areas tend to be more expensive, so explore the less touristy areas for cheaper options.
- Take Advantage Of Free Activities: San Miguel de Allende has many free activities, such as visiting the public parks, walking around the historic center, and watching the sunset from El Mirador.
- Shop At Local Stores: The local stores offer great prices on souvenirs and other items, so skip the tourist shops and shop locally.
- Bring Your Own Water Bottle: Instead of buying bottled water, bring your own water bottle and refill it from the public fountains.
With these money-saving tips, you can enjoy all that San Miguel de Allende has to offer without breaking the bank.
What To Pack For San Miguel de Allende
When it comes to packing for San Miguel de Allende, it’s important to consider the climate, activities, and cultural norms. Here are some essential items to pack for your trip:
- Comfortable Shoes: With cobblestone streets and hills, San Miguel de Allende is not a place for high heels. Pack comfortable walking shoes or sneakers that can handle uneven surfaces.
- Lightweight Clothing: The weather in San Miguel de Allende is typically mild and dry. Pack breathable, lightweight clothing such as cotton t-shirts, sundresses, and shorts. However, be sure to bring layers for cooler evenings and mornings.
- Sun Protection: The sun can be intense in San Miguel de Allende, especially during midday. Be sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Daypack: Whether you’re exploring the city or going on a day trip, a small daypack can come in handy for carrying water, snacks, and any other essentials.
- Cash And Card: While there are ATMs in San Miguel de Allende, it’s always good to have some cash on hand for small purchases or tipping. Bring a debit or credit card as a backup for larger expenses.
- Toiletries: Pack your usual toiletries, including a reusable water bottle, hand sanitizer, and insect repellent.
- Camera: With its stunning architecture and colorful streets, San Miguel de Allende is a photographer’s paradise. Don’t forget to pack your camera or smartphone for capturing memories.
- Respectful Clothing: San Miguel de Allende is a conservative town, and it’s important to dress respectfully when visiting churches or other religious sites. Pack clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, such as a maxi dress or lightweight trousers.
By packing these essentials, you’ll be ready to enjoy all that San Miguel de Allende has to offer!
Can You Drink Tap Water In San Miguel de Allende?
As a traveler, it’s important to stay hydrated, but it’s also important to know whether the tap water in San Miguel de Allende is safe to drink. The short answer is no. It is not recommended to drink tap water in San Miguel de Allende, as it may contain harmful bacteria and viruses.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for safe drinking water. Many hotels and restaurants in San Miguel de Allende offer filtered water for their guests. You can also purchase bottled water from local stores and vendors. Just be sure to check that the seal on the bottle is intact before purchasing. If you are looking to reduce your plastic waste, you can also bring a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter. This way, you can refill your water bottle at public fountains or from your hotel’s filtered water dispenser.
Overall, while it is not recommended to drink tap water in San Miguel de Allende, there are plenty of safe alternatives available. Just be sure to stay hydrated and always prioritize your health and safety while traveling.
Other Things To See And Do In San Miguel de Allende
Aside from the top attractions mentioned earlier, San Miguel de Allende is also home to several other sights and activities that you shouldn’t miss out on.
- Explore The Art Galleries: San Miguel de Allende is known for its vibrant art scene. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and visit the many art galleries showcasing a variety of artworks from local artists.
- Visit The Hot Springs: If you want to relax and unwind, head to one of the hot springs in the area. Some popular ones include Escondido Place and La Gruta.
- Attend A Cultural Event: San Miguel de Allende has a rich cultural heritage and hosts many events throughout the year. From music festivals to art fairs, there’s always something happening in this vibrant city.
- Take A Cooking Class: Learn how to make traditional Mexican dishes with a cooking class. You can find classes that teach everything from street food to gourmet cuisine.
- Explore The Surrounding Towns: San Miguel de Allende is located in the heart of Mexico and is surrounded by many charming towns and villages. Take a day trip to nearby towns like Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, and Querétaro.
- Enjoy The Nightlife: San Miguel de Allende has a lively nightlife scene with many bars, clubs, and restaurants. Check out some of the rooftop bars for amazing views of the city.
- Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride: Experience the breathtaking views of San Miguel de Allende from above with a hot air balloon ride. It’s an unforgettable way to see the city and the surrounding countryside.
Overall, San Miguel de Allende offers a plethora of things to see and do, making it the perfect destination for a memorable vacation. Don’t hesitate to add these additional activities to your itinerary and unlock the full magic of this beautiful city.
The Bottom Line
San Miguel de Allende is a must-visit destination in Mexico, known for its charming cobblestone streets, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. This comprehensive travel guide has provided you with all the information you need to plan your trip to this magical city. From the top things to see and do, to where to stay, eat, and how to get around, we’ve got you covered. As you plan your trip, be mindful of the weather and customs and etiquette of San Miguel de Allende, and take precautions to stay safe. It’s also important to budget accordingly, but don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to save money while still enjoying all that the city has to offer. Whether you’re backpacking on a budget or indulging in a luxurious getaway, San Miguel de Allende is the perfect destination for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to unlock the magic of this beautiful city. Happy travels!