Frequently Asked Questions

Where is San Miguel de Allende

Four hours (by car / bus) North of Mexico City, four hours West of Gudalajara, at 6,500 feet in the 'highlands' of central Mexico in an area called 'The Bajio', a vast plateau of fertile soil, farm-lands and rolling hills.

Arriving to San Miguel de Allende

If coming from outside Mexico by plane, use the Leon, (BJX) or Queretaro (QTRO) International Airports, served my major lines like American and Continental. These airports are 1.5 and one hour's drive away from San Miguel. If flying into Mexico City, an express bus, Primera Plus Line (with bathroom, movies, security) to Queretaro (time, 3 hours) and then to San Miguel (1 hour from QTRO) leaves from the airport each half hour. Private van services also run daily to these airports to and from San Miguel. Try bajiogo.com

Brief history

San Miguel de Allende is steeped in Mexican and Spanish history, since its foundation in 1542 by Fray Juan de San Miguel, a Franciscan missionary. Rich in culture, heritage and history—as the home of heroes of the Mexican independence and as a center for the arts, San Miguel was named a UNESCO World Heritage city in 2008.

Population

It is estimated that some 75,000 people live within the town out of some 180,000 who live in the municipality (10 mile radius). It is estimated that 7,000+ foreign residents, including North and South Americans and Europeans count in this overall population.

What is the "El Centro" area?

It is generally considered a 32 block area that is referred to as the "Historical" area, where all construction and remodeling is overseen by INAH, Mexico's institute of history and anthropology, where the historical integrity of the city is maintained. These blocks are within a five to ten minute walk to 'El Jardin', the heart-of-the-city square anchored by the Parroquia de San Miguel, the land-mark church. Outside of these blocks are still close-in neighborhoods, and colonias such as colonia Guadalupe and San Antonio.

Climate / Temperatures

See Season Events & Information for monthly temperatures and find fairly accurate daily forecast: http://weather.yahoo.com

Area transportation - Are taxis safe?

There have not been reports of robberies or assaults associated with taking taxis. For hour-by-hour local comments, questions and 'news' by English-speaking residents covering just about anything to do with life in San Miguel subscribe to Civil_SMA@yahoogroups.com and you would find any such reports. San Miguel's Centro is very 'walkable' but taking taxis from 'here to there' makes like easy, and it's relatively inexpensive.

How much does a taxis cost?

30 pesos within a broad range of the city – If going outside the city, for instance, to Liverpool Mall, 'La Luciernaga Mall', ask the driver. It should be about 40 pesos.

Rent a car?

There is one car rental agency in town on Codo Street (Walk 6).

Hire a private driver?

Tour companies offer private cars and drivers, or group transportation to popular places. Try bajiogo.com

Take a city bus?

Look for the sign on the front windshield of the destination. The cost will generally be 3 pesos. Have patience.

What about buses between cities?

Mexico has a good inter-city bus system. ETN is the top luxury line, Primera Plus is also a very comfortable line. You can reserve and purchase tickets on-line with these two companies.

Money / currency exchange

There are ATM machines on and around the main-square (El Jardin). Also, money exchange places like Intercam and Monex, that post the exchange rate of the day. Many hotels and restaurants do take credit cards, but some of the smaller places are not set up for it. U.S. dollars are accepted but not coinage. It's best to carry pesos.

Emergency Numbers

  • 066 (Spanish language) emergency reporting center
  • 152-2890 police, public security
  • 152-2545 Red Cross
  • 152-2357 U.S. Regional Consular Agency

What are / when are Holiday Events & Celebrations?

See Season Events & Information

Churches and clubs, English speaking

Find the Lyons and Rotary Clubs and many churches including St. Paul's Anglican Church and the inter-denominational Community Church of San Miguel – all English-speaking. Each has an on-line presence with meeting dates and times.

What about taking a class?

There are all kinds of classes in San Miguel. See the Atencion newspaper (English language) sold in El Jardin daily, for all sorts of classes from cooking to yoga to writing, and check with the Instituto Allende and the Bellas Artes schools of art and culture. Also check with www.lifepathretreats.com

Any good day-trips?

During the winter months the Monarch Butterfly trip can be a day trip, or over-night excursion. Good day-trips include seeing Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Pozos, Querretaro and a half-day trip to the Cañada de la Virgen pyramid complex. Bicycle and horseback day-trips are also a good way to explore the countryside.

Dress?

Check the weather. And, San Miguel streets are mostly cobblestone (and some of them rough) so comfortable, no-heeled walking shoes will make life easier.

Who does this website?

Me. I've lived here over a decade. Have a business here, belong to groups and clubs, take classes, take taxis and buses, drive the highways, go on day-trips, volunteer with not-for-profits (past President, four years of the Chamber Music Festival of San Miguel), interact with local and national government agencies, speak Spanish, know the community, and been visiting since 1974 and have seen the town change, yet improve in many ways.