San Miguel de Allende, one of the jewels of the Bajío region in Mexico.
Known for its beautiful colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. It is one of the most popular destinations in the country for foreigners, especially American retirees.
The combination of high quality of life, awesome mexican food, and laid-back atmosphere, makes San Miguel one of the best options in the country for expats.
Top 5 Things to Do
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
The most emblematic place of the city. It is a must-do to spend time exploring Jardín Allende, where the Parroquia is located. There are also many great restaurants and bars around this area.
For the best view of the city, go to El Mirador. You can take an uber up there, but I recommend the 15-minute uphill walk from Jardín Allende. The city seems a lot bigger from this viewpoint.
Mercado de Artesanías
The best spot to purchase souvenirs for your loved ones. It is located on Callejón Lucas Balderas. Most of the art pieces found in this place are made by local Mexican artists. Support the local economy!
Beautiful spa about a 15-minute drive outside of the city center. Here you can swim in hot springs, take a massage, and/or chill at the pool. The most “instagrammable” spot in San Miguel de Allende!
Day Trip to Guanajuato City
The capital of the state of Guanajuato. It is debatable which city is most beautiful. It is about 1-hour drive from San Miguel, which makes it perfect for a day trip. However, if possible, spend a few days in this beautiful city.
Tours & Activities
If you want to save the headache of planning activities abroad, check out our partner Viator. They offer memorable experiences from San Miguel de Allende. The best thing: they are affordable, high quality, and have an awesome free cancelation policy.
Getting to San Miguel de Allende
Getting to this beautiful town can be a little bit tricky. There is no international airport in San Miguel de Allende. To get here, you will have three options:
- Bajío International Airport (BJX) – ~60 miles
- Querétaro Intercontinental Airport (QRO) – ~50 miles
- Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) – ~170 miles but the most accessible from most countries.
For detailed logistics on how to get to San Miguel, make sure you review our article on How to Get to San Miguel de Allende.
Tourist Visa – 180 days for citizens of the Schengen Area, UK, USA, Canada or Japan.
- Passport with more than 6 months of validity
- A properly completed Multiple Migratory Form (FMM). Don’t lose it, you need it to get out of the country.
There are a few other visa options if you decided to stay longer than 6 months. For more detailed visa requirements, visit the Mexican Embassy Website.
Demonstrate Economic Solvency:
- $2600/month for the last 6 months
- $43,000 in investments/savings in the last 12 months
Demonstrate Economic Solvency:
- $4350/month for the last 6 months
- $170,000 in investments/savings in the last 12 months
Weather in San Miguel de Allende
High’s in the 70’s and 80’s year-round. It can get a little rainy in the summer and chilly at night in the winter.
How to Stay Safe in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende had been out of the radar of the drug cartels for many years. It was known to be one of the safest cities in Mexico.
All that has changed in recent years.
The city has experienced some criminal activity lately. However, have in mind that most of the criminality in Mexico is concentrated in the drug trade world. The tourists and expats are not the target.
I encourage you to ignore the media and visit San Miguel de Allende. Don’t let other people stop you from exploring this beautiful city.
As always, follow our 10 Travel Safety Tips for First-Timers and never drop your guard.
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Where to Stay in San Miguel de Allende
I recommend staying in Zona Centro, as close to Jardín Allende as possible.
You will be at walking distance to most of the attractions, restaurants, and bars.
There are plenty of boutique hotels and Airbnb’s around this area.
A few luxury options as well, like the Rosewood Hotel where Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar is located.
San Miguel de Allende is one of the most expensive cities in México. You will notice that the cost of accommodation will be significantly higher. However, it still is cheaper than countries like the US, UK, or Australia.
Airbnb is the most affordable option, especially if traveling with a group.
Recommended Hotels in San Miguel de Allende
Luxury: Casa No Name Small Luxury Hotel
Mid-Range: Clandestino Hotel
Budget: Selina San Miguel de Allende
Cost of Living in San Miguel de Allende
Competing with Monterrey for the most expensive city in Mexico. The influx of expats in recent years have increased the cost of living in the city. However, it still at a great price for what it offers.
You can find a nice 1-bedroom apartment in a good area for ~$700 USD/month.
If you are coming from the US, you will find grocery costs to be ~15% cheaper. A little bit more if you come from super expensive cities like LA or NYC.
However, eating out will be significantly cheaper than in the states. I would say 20% cheaper, on average.
Uber is ridiculously cheap in Mexico City. A 15-minute Uber ride ~$5 USD.
There is also Didi, which is even cheaper most of the time.
The best strategy to save on transportation is to stay walking distance to the gym, market, coffee shops, and bars.
Internet packages start at ~$20 USD/month for 30 Mbps.
Movies: $3 USD
Beer: $1.50 USD
Drinks: $5 USD (At regular bar)
Bowling: $4 USD/line + $1 USD/shoes
Internet Speed in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico City has good internet speeds. I don’t think you will have any issues getting work done in this city.
On average, you can find 40 mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.
However, there are higher speed plans if needed. Most coffee shops and co-working spaces in the city have great internet.
Language Barrier in San Miguel de Allende
Pretty much everything in this town is tailored for English speaking nomads and retirees.
Most locals speak at least basic English.
Learning some basic Spanish is not going to hurt, but not necessary.
1. Fiambre Estilo San Miguel de Allende
Rice, beans, pork cracklins, fried sweet plantains, fried egg, avocado, arepa
2. Enchiladas Mineras
A type of corn cake/corn bread
3. Dulce de Cajeta
Popular fritter usually stuffed with pork or beef.
4. Patitas de Puerco
Breakfast plate that originated from combining rice and beans leftovers with pork, sausage, and/or eggs.
Fried dough ball stuffed with white cheese.
Nightlife in San Miguel de Allende
A nice rooftop terrace with a good selection of cocktails and tapas. It is the best option for pre-gaming and/or those chill nights with friends.
Website: La Azotea
A fun cantina bar for those who prefer nightlife with a more local vibe. This place is open every day of the week.
Website: Cantina La Coronela
A fun nightclub for those who prefer dancing all night long. If you like reggaeton, cumbia, and bachata, you will have a blast.
Website: La Ingrata
Popular Italian restaurant and bar. The atmosphere, food, and cocktails are great. It is also a popular nightlife spot, open every day of the week.
Website: Mama Mia
Overall Rating (6/10)
San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful town that everybody should visit if staying long term in Mexico.
It’s a great spot for retirees looking for great weather, delicious food, and laid-back vibes.
However, if you are a nomad looking for adventure, this town is not for you. Spend a weekend and get out.