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How to Plan Your Tour of San Miguel de Allende in 2024

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7 months ago

Planning a tour to San Miguel de Allende is always a good idea – it’s probably the most quintessentially picturesque town in all of Mexico. Its thriving arts and culture scene is set in a stunning colonial-era backdrop, with baroque architecture and cobblestoned streets. It has definitely earned its spot as a Pueblo Magico of Mexico.

San Miguel de Allende really should be at the top of everyone’s travel bucket list. There is truly something for everyone here, but we take you beyond the surface so you can really experience the town.

The best time to go to San Miguel de Allende

The best time to go to San Miguel de Allende is between September to December when there are fewer tourists but still a huge number of cultural activities taking place. Specifically, try to be in San Miguel de Allende for Mexican Independence Day (not to be confused with the Cinco de Mayo holiday in the United States) on September 16 if you can.

This is because the end of Spanish rule was officially declared in Guanajuato in 1810 which is the same state that San Miguel is in. Independence Day is just that bit more special in San Miguel because of this.

How to get to San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is situated about four hours’ drive north of Mexico City. I flew into Mexico City and took the first-class ETN bus directly from the Mexico City’s airport to San Miguel de Allende. It’s quite a pretty trip.

Travel tip: Try to sit on top of the front seat (it’s usually a double-decker bus) so you can enjoy the view. And make sure to check their schedule in advance.

You can also book a private transfer which will be inexpensive between a few people.

Please be aware that ETN’s buses depart from the lobby of the Camino Real Hotel. There is a covered pedestrian bridge that connects the hotel to the airport and there is signage everywhere.

Travel tip: You can also book a private shuttle bus in case ETN doesn’t have buses at a time that works for you.

To plan your tour of San Miguel de Allende, you first have to get there. There are two airports which are closer to San Miguel de Allende. The closest major international airport is Guanajuato International Airport (BJX) which is about 1.5 hours away from San Miguel de Allende. There are frequent flights from U.S. and Canadian cities to BJX.

Once you land in BJX, you’ll need to organize a taxi to take you to San Miguel de Allende. We found Uber to be quite pricey, so we would suggest that you book a private shuttle.

Queretaro International Airport (QRO) is technically the closest airport but it is also about 1.5 hours away from San Miguel de Allende. It is a smaller airport so there are fewer flights but you can usually get yourself a very cheap flight from a number of U.S. airports including Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH) and Mexican airports including Cancun (CUN) and Monterrey (MTY). You will also need a private shuttle from QRO to San Miguel de Allende.

Travel tip: Some people like to do a day trip from Mexico City for their tour of San Miguel de Allende.

A day trip from Mexico City is only a good idea if you’re short on time. Otherwise, we recommend staying in San Miguel for at least one night.

Where to stay in San Miguel de Allende

So many Americans and Canadians have already worked out that San Miguel de Allende is the perfect destination to visit (and to live) in Mexico. Many Americans even retire in San Miguel de Allende. It’s because of this that San Miguel de Allende has everything from basic accommodation to ultra high-end hotels.

If you’re looking for the high-end accommodation, the Rosewood Hotel is the one to stay at. Given its price tag per night, we don’t think so many of us will be staying here (we certainly didn’t). But the Rosewood’s rooftop is magnificent for cocktails.

The views are definitely better (and the surroundings more comfortable) than El Mirador (which we don’t love generally). It is essential for a visit to San Miguel de Allende.

If you’re looking to stay just outside the hustle and bustle but still enjoy the historic vibes, we would recommend Posada De La Aldea. The rooms are very reasonably priced, and the outside of the hotel has some of the most beautiful manicured gardens in the whole town.

Overall, though, our choice for accommodation in San Miguel de Allende is a house rental through Vrbo, and I’ll tell you why. San Miguel de Allende is known for its colonial charm, and, though you can get that from walking along the streets, you really feel it inside the buildings you’re looking at.

The best way to feel that charm in a guesthouse or home on Airbnb. The last time I visited, we stayed in one across the road from Parque Benito Juarez on Diezmo Viejo which we absolutely loved. It was multistorey with an internal courtyard, beautiful living spaces, and that amazing old-world charm that you just can’t get in a hotel.

Where to eat in San Miguel de Allende

Quince

For food, we absolutely loved the rooftop at Quince for its unparalleled views of San Miguel de Allende’s best sights, including the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel.

If you want to eat here (crispy tuna and the fried rice with brussels sprouts – they’re fantastic), you’ll absolutely need to make a booking well in advance.

Quince is quite fancy, which is to say that there is a DJ and it’s often where you’ll find people dressed very nicely who want to be seen. Get the margarita flight just for the joy of it.

Baja Fish Taquito

The fish tacos at Baja Fish Taquito were as good as any fish taco we picked up in Baja California (and that’s saying something because San Miguel de Allende is in the arid highlands of Mexico, not the Mexican coast). This is without doubt Daniel’s favorite restaurant in San Miguel de Allende (he feels very strongly about it).

I would agree that Baja Fish Taquito is probably one of the best restaurants in San Miguel de Allende. The food is also very reasonably priced and it’s clear that there is attention to detail in the dishes. There is no view from the upstairs patio, but the weather in San Miguel de Allende is usually great for outdoor dining so request a table outside if you can.

Trazo 1810

If you’re looking for something more upmarket, go to Trazo 1810. It’s fine dining, yes, but it’s the best bang for your buck, with sweeping rooftop views of the whole town. Trazo 1810 is famous for their fusion-style Mexican food. It’s the perfect cap to a visit to San Miguel de Allende.

Trazo 1810 also makes a fancy version of street cholotes which were absolutely a standout. The fresh cactus salad was also fantastic.

Tacos La Güera

If you want the best street food in San Miguel de Allende, you can’t miss Tacos La Güera on the corner of Nemesio Diez and Ancha de San Antonio. It’s just a cart on a street corner, so you might expect average tacos. They’re anything but average.

The man who runs the cart takes serious pride in his work. Make sure to ask for the molcajeteada sauce (tomatoes, garlic and peppers) which is super special. He only opens until about 3 pm (but it depends how busy he is, he told us).

And the best Ice Cream in San Miguel de Allende

If you read our articles, you know that ice cream is an important part of all of our travels. We make sure to try as many different ice creams everywhere we go in order to pick the best of the bunch.

The best ice cream in San Miguel de Allende is located in a tiny stall called Nieves Las Monjas. It’s superior to any ice cream in the main square (El Jardin) and cheaper, too. You’ll find interesting flavors like goat-milk caramel and tamarind.


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