San Miguel de Allende was on my travel list for years before I was finally able to visit. It’s one of the most beautiful and safest cities in Mexico. San Miguel is located in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico about 3 hours north of Mexico City.
San Miguel is picturesque from every angle, some doors are adorned with real flowers, there’s plenty of cobblestone streets, and some of the prettiest interiors I’ve ever seen in Mexico. It also has a thriving art scene that can be felt throughout the entire city.
One of the Safest Cities in Mexico
Is San Miguel de Allende safe? I get this question when visiting any city in Mexico. The media sure knows how to instill fear. But I get it, as with any destination you always want to make sure that you’re not putting yourself in a risky situation. No one likes to be paranoid while traveling.
Rest assured, San Miguel is safe. It’s one of the top cities in Mexico where US expats go to retire (can’t blame them). And it’s also a popular place for destination weddings. We saw a few weddings while we were there.
The city makes for a beautiful backdrop and they certainly know how to celebrate a bride and groom. The streets fill with dancers and performers honoring the couple and anyone walking through can join in on the fun. We joined the one below!
We were out exploring the old town day and night and felt completely at ease. The streets were crowded well into the evening with musicians, locals dancing, tourists loving the festivities, and no one bothered us in any way the entire time.
I’m not sure if they normally have dance parties throughout the streets on weekends but they were entertaining. I’ve never experienced a place quite like San Miguel.
A lot of the locals knew English well, but since we’re fluent in Spanish we stuck to Spanish. Either way, no one seemed to have issues communicating. So I wouldn’t worry too much if your Spanish isn’t up to par.
San Miguel de Allende really is one of those magical cities where you feel like you’re walking around on a movie set the whole time. We were only there for 2 days, but we felt safe and welcomed with a great desire to return.
How to Get to San Miguel de Allende
There is no airport in San Miguel de Allende so it isn’t the easiest city to get to, but you still have several options to choose from.
• There are two nearby airports you can fly into- (BJX) Del Bajio Airport in Leon, Guanajuato, and (QRO) Queretaro Airport in the city of Queretaro. From those airports, you can either rent a car and drive yourself into San Miguel or hire a driver to take you into the city. The drive from the airport to San Miguel is around 1-1.5 hours. We hired a driver and recommend it as the most comfortable option. We didn’t want to drive in Mexico especially in San Miguel’s tight, cobblestone streets.
• You can rent a car from Mexico City or whatever city in Mexico you’re flying into and drive to San Miguel de Allende. The drive from Mexico City to San Miguel is a little over 3 hours.
• You can book a shared shuttle or private transfer from Mexico City to San Miguel with a reputable company. I recommend checking Tripadvisor for reviews.
Leon (BJX) to San Miguel de Allende
We flew into BJX airport and hired a shared shuttle to take us into the city. Since it wasn’t high season, we had the shuttle to ourselves.
We also booked a private driver to take us to Guanajuato City from San Miguel and then back to BJX airport after our trip was done. I’ll share more on Guanajuato on my next post, but for now, let me link those companies for you.
BajioGo– Excellent reviews on Tripadvisor, very responsive, and timely. They pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel door. The cost for both of us for a shared shuttle was $46. They also offer transfers from Mexico City.
SMAride– Even better reviews, but they only offer private transfers. However, they were timely, friendly, and super responsive. This may be a better fit if you don’t want to travel in a shared shuttle or if you’re traveling with a larger group. We used them to go to Guanajuato City ($70) and then back to BJX airport ($40). All in all, we loved our experience and glad we didn’t have to worry about a rental car.
Airbnb in San Miguel de Allende
We booked a beautiful home in San Miguel through Airbnb that I will link here. The house is larger than it looks in photos, minutes away from the center on a quieter street, and clean as can be. The superhosts were friendly and attentive (mother/daughter team).
I’m sharing a photo of the bathroom because I loved the shower! It has a skylight and it’s lined with a bunch of plants so you feel like you’re showering in nature.
If this is the first time you book an Airbnb, you can save $55 off your first booking with this code here. When I booked this trip, Airbnb’s were a lot cheaper than hotels in this city, so it may be worth looking into.
Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende
We didn’t do anything out of our norm in San Miguel. We ate a ton, walked all the streets, joined every party, captured all the pretty doors, and made sure to see the city from its best viewpoint.
There’s plenty more to do in San Miguel if you’re looking to explore further. You’ll find art galleries, beautiful shops, museums, and of course incredible food.
For the best viewpoint enter “El Mirador” into your maps. It’s only a 15-minute walk from the center, but since it’s uphill and normally warm it might be tougher. The walk up is beautiful and you’ll have plenty to capture along the way.
I don’t know the name of the shop that sells this drink below, but it’s right across the street from El Mirador. You might see a vendor displaying them on the street. They have different fruit flavors and they’re so refreshing after your hike up in the hot sun. Plus, it comes with a cute souvenir cup.
We visited San Miguel in early December and the weather was a perfect 70ºF. Apparently, the weather doesn’t vary much in this city so visit any time!
I’ll link some cool tours you can check out if you have extra days. If you’re booking during the pandemic, know that GetYourGuide is offering free cancelation on any of these tours up to 24 hours in advance, so you can book without worry.
Best Restaurants in San Miguel de Allende
Don Tacos Tequila– Vegan tacos worth writing about. They have several creative options on the menu that are delicious even if you’re not vegan. It’s a great spot if you’re looking for something that’s not meat-heavy, which I know can be difficult in Mexico. They also offer cocktails.
Baja Fish Taquito– Amazing fish tacos! They bring them to you in a little basket so they can stay warm as you eat. They have a variety of choices, but we went with shrimp and tilapia tacos.
Sabroso Taquería– Our first stop in San Miguel. It’s a cool little spot. We ordered a few tacos and drinks, and we enjoyed both. The piña colada was delicious.
Zenteno Café– One of our favorite cafes, we went back for seconds and even bought some coffee bags to bring home. They offered coconut milk which I very much appreciated.
Ki’bok Coffee– This cafe has a cute interior and great coffee. We ordered breakfast as well. Jorge liked his chilaquiles but my dish fell flat.
Lavanda Café– Probably the most popular brunch place in San Miguel. We had to wait in line to get a table, but I’m glad we did. The food was exceptional. You’ll find a lot of organic, farm to table type dishes. They grow their own lavender and roast their own coffee so make sure to order the lavender latte!
There are still so many dishes I didn’t get to try and streets I didn’t get to photograph! I’m looking forward to the day I can return to this beautiful city. If it’s not already on your list, I hope I inspired you to change that. There’s much more to Mexico than just the beaches.
Interested in exploring other parts of Mexico? Here are some helpful guides
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