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A Solo Feminine Traveler’s Information to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


Have you ever ever questioned what it takes to develop into “the world’s greatest metropolis”? Much more, have you considered what metropolis that is perhaps? Barcelona, Spain? Berlin, Germany? Truly, based on Journey and Leisure‘s 2021 Greatest Cities within the World listing, it’s San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I’m right here to point out you why I believe it deserves the title.

I first heard about San Miguel when it gained the title again in 2017. I noticed lots of solo feminine vacationers posting about how protected and charming town is. Seeing different ladies write so favorably about San Miguel was an enormous “inexperienced flag” for me, so I made a decision to test it out.

That is my full information on San Miguel and its unimaginable potential to be among the best cities on this planet for solo feminine vacationers, full with issues to do, locations to remain, and rather more:

Issues to Do in San Miguel de Allende

1. Take a strolling tour

My favourite backstreet view of La Parroquia, San Miguel’s most well-known cathedral

The very first thing I seen about this metropolis was its breathtaking structure and European-esque cobblestone streets. I did most of my exploring of San Miguel on foot, which was a blast. There are lots of small streets with colourful buildings, like Callejón del Pueblito, which have little visitors and are enjoyable to stroll down.

With so many distinguished landmarks as effectively, I counsel beginning out your journey with a strolling tour. The Historic Strolling Tour of San Miguel has excursions each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10am for 300 pesos ($15 USD).

One other nice tour possibility is that this landmark tour which features a three-course Mexican lunch.

2. Hand around in the primary sq.

Papier-mâché variations of Mexican icons Frida Kahlo (left) and Cantinflas (proper), in entrance of La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel

The primary sq. in San Miguel, like a majority of Mexican cities and cities, options the city’s most necessary Catholic church. In entrance of the church is Jardín Allende, a small park with loads of benches to take a seat on and take within the surroundings.

Other than being the historic coronary heart of San Miguel, the primary sq. can be the financial and touristic middle. Every of the streets that shoot off from the sq. are closed to visitors, permitting solely pedestrians. This makes wandering from store to buy a lot simpler.

3. Catch an impromptu mariachi present

Since I stay in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the place mariachi music isn’t tremendous widespread, I’ve missed out on this quintessential a part of Mexican tradition.

Sometimes, the bands are employed for personal occasions. Nonetheless, a few of them in San Miguel hand around in the primary sq. and play for individuals, who pay round 50 pesos ($2.50 USD) for a particular track. Particularly at nighttime, with the twinkling lights and households strolling about with their sizzling chocolate in hand, the sound of mariachis enjoying feels just like the soundtrack for the sweetest Mexican Christmas film you’ll be able to think about.

4. Search for San Miguel’s most well-known donkey

As you’ll be able to see, this little man has lots of type. Though I don’t condone using donkeys (I’ve seen lots of vacationers do that), catching a glimpse of this one is a ceremony of passage when visiting San Miguel. His title is Burrito Filemon and he has is personal Instagram deal with, @burritofilemonsma.

5. Artwork-peep at La Fábrica de Aurora

As soon as a textile manufacturing facility for 90 years and now an infinite assortment of artwork galleries, La Fábrica de Aurora is certainly one of San Miguel’s most beloved sights.

I wasn’t positive what to anticipate earlier than I stepped foot inside, however I used to be impressed by the rigorously curated collections of each Mexican and worldwide artwork. You’ll discover sculptures flown in from the world over in a gallery proper subsequent to the work of a San Miguel native, an eclectic mixture of close to and much. There are 43 galleries in all, together with a number of small outlets and even a few eating places.

You can simply spend a complete morning or afternoon right here, which I positively suggest! I took it gradual, savoring every gallery, giant and small.

6. Go to smaller galleries

If you happen to can’t get sufficient of San Miguel’s artwork scene, pop in to any of the small galleries round city. Most of these I visited featured Mexican artists, lots of them from San Miguel or close by cities. My favourite was Galería 15 (Sollano #15, Centro). It options artwork from native artist Daniel Rueffert, whose work depict quotidian Mexican life in San Miguel and close by Los Pozos.

7. Study Mexican toys at Museo La Esquina del Juguete Standard Mexicano

Every part on this museum screams “kitsch”

I’ve to confess that I wasn’t positive what to make of all of the suggestions to go to this museum. I gave it an opportunity and was shocked at how fascinating it was!

The Museo La Esquina del Juguete Standard Mexicano has an intensive assortment of several types of toys from each state in Mexico. From (very creepy, IMO) child dolls to lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) collectible figurines and all the pieces in between, this museum has surprises round each nook.

I particularly preferred the gathering of judas, characters product of papier-mâché that depict corrupt politicians, thieves, and different villains as devilish creatures (see the picture above).

8. See all of the cacti at El Charco del Ingenio

Only a quick taxi trip from downtown, El Charco del Ingenio is a cacti-filled paradise on the outskirts of San Miguel. This botanical backyard and nature protect options over 500 species of cacti and 300 species of succulents. El Charco focuses on preserving native plant species and rescuing others from numerous elements of Mexico and overseas. Spend a day strolling the paths, trying out the greenhouse, visiting the café, or having your personal lakeside picnic.

9. Hop on a trolley tour

As you stroll across the historic middle of San Miguel, you’re sure to see these trolleys carrying keen vacationers. Particularly in case you’re new to city, hopping on a trolley tour is a good way to get acquainted with the essential historical past of town and see a few of its most iconic sights.

Excursions in English function each Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15am and a couple of:15pm; you should purchase tickets on the trolley itself or on the stand subsequent to the Portal de Guadalupe. Discover extra details about trolley excursions right here.

10. Discover the most effective (secret) chook’s-eye view of town

The most effective a part of this golden-hour view was that I had all of it to myself.

I discovered this spot by full accident after wandering round Parque Benito Juárez (extra on that later). After leaving the park, I seen some stairs and determined to climb them. After a breathless ascent, I got here to a tremendous little perch with the most effective view. There was nearly no person there, so I relished within the peace and serenity.

As soon as I climbed all the way in which to the highest, I spotted that the steps led finally to probably the most well-known mirador (lookout level) on the town. There have been tons of individuals there to see the sundown over San Miguel, and I believe the view from there wasn’t nearly as good because the one I had just under.

To get to my secret spot, discover the Centro de Allende and climb the steps, or you’ll be able to take a taxi to the mirador and stroll only a block previous it to Callejón del Chorro, the place you’ll discover the steps that result in the key lookout level.

11. Try the large murals on the Centro Cultural Allende

Every mural has a wide range of symbols which are particular to Mexican tradition and historical past.

One among my favourite features of the Mexican artwork scene usually is the emphasis on murals. In cities throughout the nation, you’ll discover among the world’s greatest muralists. San Miguel isn’t any exception, and the Centro Cultural de Allende has an unimaginable assortment, and it’s completely free.

Upon getting into, you’ll instantly see the burst of colorfully painted partitions past the reception counter. After you admire the murals inside, you’ll be able to stroll by to the backyard. There, you’ll see sculptors working and tables the place you’ll be able to sit and benefit from the artsy environment.

12. Discover trinkets and souvenirs on the Mercado de Artesanías

If you wish to take house one thing particular out of your travels, hit up the Mercado de Artesanías for some Mexican delights. I like these markets, as a result of almost all the pieces is handmade by native artisans. From jewellery to small collectible figurines to handwoven rugs, this market has all of it. The costs are additionally fairly low in comparison with different locations in Mexico, and haggling is feasible if performed respectfully.

San Miguel is understood for a number of handicrafts particularly, amongst that are tiled mirrors and stained-glass sconces. Because the metropolis is so near many copper and silver mines, it’s also possible to get genuine copper and silver objects as effectively.

13. Stroll by Parque Benito Juárez

With towering hundred-year-old timber, native plant species, and quaint strolling paths, Parque Benito Juárez is a beautiful pure oasis that’s excellent to picnic or go for a stroll. I liked that I may minimize by this park on my approach to different locations, because it offers that excellent breath of recent air after strolling by the cobblestoned metropolis all day.

14. Take a fast journey to Mexico’s Sistine Chapel: El Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco

The Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco is only a 20-minute drive outdoors of San Miguel’s middle (about 100 pesos ($5 USD) in an Uber, which was effectively price it). This historic chapel is named “the Sistine Chapel of Mexico” due to its intricate fresco murals.

I discovered the chapel itself to be a bit of eerie, principally due to how graphic among the murals are. If you happen to look intently, you will discover depictions of the satan and different oddities. Although the work had been a bit of creepy, they inform a graphic story of the significance of Catholicism in Mexico. It was an enchanting day journey, one I like to recommend to anybody touring to San Miguel.

The place to Keep in San Miguel de Allende

Greatest bang in your buck

  • Lool Beh Hostal Boutique: Past the very good location and hospitality, Lool Beh Hostal Boutique is the most effective price range possibility I may discover in San Miguel. It has a snug, cozy vibe, and plenty of pure mild within the rooms. Plus, the worth is unbeatable at simply 650 pesos ($32.50 USD) per night time for a personal room with a shared toilet.

Mid-range treasures

  • Airbnb: There are nice choices on Airbnb if you would like a extra luxurious keep for a lower cost than a lodge. For instance, this one-bedroom villa has a phenomenal backyard and nice location for simply $47 per night time (plus tax + charges).
  • Selina: You’ll discover Selina hostels all through Mexico, and I’ve stayed in a number of. I typically discover them to be a bit too rowdy, however the costs are first rate, they usually’re all the time centrally situated, as is the one in San Miguel.

Luxurious stays

  • Stay Aqua City Resort: I didn’t keep right here, however I’ve heard all about Stay Aqua and have pushed previous it a number of occasions. To start with, this city resort lodge has a pool with a powerful view of San Miguel and its surrounding nature as a consequence of its location outdoors town middle. It’s additionally identified for its luxurious facilities and in-house spa. Rooms begin at round $285 per night time, relying on the season. Try Stay Aqua’s rooms right here.
  • Rosewood Resort: Other than having certainly one of San Miguel’s greatest terraces, Rosewood Resort has a fantastic location and gives a style of Mexico’s basic luxurious. Rosewood boasts the enduring structure that San Miguel is understood for, with a contact of recent aptitude and class. Rooms begin at round $500 per night time.

Greatest Locations to Eat in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel is a foodie’s paradise. When touring in Mexico, typically it’s a bit difficult to search out vegan or vegetarian choices, however I used to be pleasantly shocked to search out not solely fully vegan eating places but in addition in depth choices at non-veg locations. What’s extra, I discovered loads of locations the place there was not solely wonderful meals but in addition a fantastic environment.

These are my high spots to eat and drink in San Miguel:

Vegan choices galore

  • Soltribe Delicacies: Serving up veganized Mexican favorites like ceviche and nachos, this was my favourite vegan restaurant. You may see what specials they’ve every week on Soltribe’s Instagram.
  • La Cabra Iluminada: Discovering a vegan espresso store was an absolute dream. La Cabra Iluminada has a cool minimalist vibe and serves high-quality espresso, tea, and pastries.
  • Don Taco Tequila: With an impressively in depth menu of Mexican delicacies, Don Taco Tequila has one thing for everybody, vegan or in any other case. It is a great place for dinner, nevertheless it tends to refill, so contemplate making a reservation.

Greatest rooftops and terraces

  • Inside Café: If you happen to blink, you would possibly miss the doorway of Inside Café, because it’s a bit hidden on one of many metropolis’s most bustling streets. After climbing a number of flights of stairs, you’ll arrive at among the best terraces in San Miguel. The most effective half, although? The meals is superb and the drinks are scrumptious and refreshing. Strive the jamaica lemonade!
  • Jacques: Situated on Callejón del Pueblito (an cute hall), Jacques serves delicious meals, with the added bonus of a breezy terrace and good vibes throughout. It’s additionally pet pleasant, and the menu is generally vegetarian or vegan.

Cafés which are a digital nomad’s dream

If I may write a complete exposé about Murmullo, I’d.
  • Murmullo: Housed in what was once a graffiti-covered, deserted colonial constructing, Murmullo was by far my favourite place to seize a espresso and work on my laptop computer. The espresso was divine, the meals was high-quality and reasonably priced, and the whole place has an artsy vibe. The café is a part of Centro Cultural Allende, which is an artwork gallery/cultural middle that hosts artwork workshops and exhibitions.
  • Amapola: Within the coronary heart of San Miguel’s historic middle is Amapola, a hip café excellent for chilling or working in your laptop computer. There’s a patio inside with a pair small outlets, and the environment is laid again, with a cool mixture of younger professionals and locals working, consuming, and hanging out.

Getting Round San Miguel de Allende

Metropolis buses

It could be intimidating to make use of public transportation whereas touring in an unfamiliar metropolis, however I discovered town buses to be fairly simple to navigate. If you happen to’re a bit outdoors town middle and wish to get again to it, simply search for a bus heading in that route that has “Centro” written on it.

I do know these instructions sound obscure, however that’s how public transport works in most of Mexico, particularly in smaller cities like San Miguel. The most effective rule of thumb is simply to ask the bus driver if they’ll go by your vacation spot, so having grasp of Spanish is perhaps useful. If you happen to aren’t in a position to ask the motive force the place the bus goes, you’ll run the chance of ending up misplaced someplace — which isn’t the worst factor that might occur.

Taxis

I discovered town taxis to be a bit sparse, so I’d find yourself ready a very long time to catch one which was empty. Anticipate to pay round 60 pesos ($3 USD) for a taxi trip anyplace in or round downtown, or round 80-100 ($4-5 USD) if going someplace farther away, corresponding to El Charco del Ingenio.

Rideshares and personal transportation

There are two main rideshare apps that you should utilize in San Miguel: Uber and DiDi. I discovered Uber to be extra dependable and it has extra drivers, making your wait time considerably shorter. DiDi was nice, however typically it might take as much as quarter-hour simply to discover a driver.

I ended up utilizing a personal firm known as Línea Dorada greater than taxis or rideshares. All it’s a must to do is ship them a message on WhatsApp they usually’ll ship a driver to you, charging the identical as a taxi would. This was rather more handy than a taxi and faster than an Uber or DiDi.

Attending to and from the airport(s)

To get to San Miguel de Allende, you’ve a number of choices. You may fly into Mexico Metropolis and take a bus on to San Miguel, which takes about 4 hours. You too can fly into both Querétaro or Guanajuato’s airport and take a cab to San Miguel, however it would value you round 1,000 pesos ($50 USD).

I flew into Querétaro, then took a taxi (for 300 pesos ($15 USD), which I assumed was a bit ridiculous) to the bus station there. Then, I hopped onto a bus to San Miguel for 100 pesos ($5 USD). That is the most cost effective approach to do it and it wasn’t a trouble in any respect.

Staying Protected in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is a little bit of a paradox. On one hand, it’s within the state of Guanajuato, which some discuss with because the homicide capital of Mexico. Then, you’ve San Miguel, which is named one of many most secure cities in Mexico — which doesn’t actually make sense till you get there.

I felt completely protected in San Miguel as a solo feminine traveler. It’s regular to have my guard up when touring solo, however the metropolis has such a laid-back vibe that I didn’t really feel like I needed to be as vigilant as elsewhere. I walked across the metropolis middle at night time, however was cautious to keep away from leaving the downtown space. I used Línea Dorada to get from place to put at night time, which is about as protected as you will get relating to transportation.

General, any security recommendations on touring alone will apply when touring to San Miguel, however there’s no specific cause to be afraid to go to by yourself. This metropolis has an enormous inhabitants of retired Individuals, Canadians, and different foreigners, who positively wouldn’t select San Miguel if it weren’t protected, so hold that in thoughts.

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