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

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become “the world’s best city”? Even more, have you thought about what city that might be? Barcelona, Spain? Berlin, Germany? Actually, according to Travel and Leisure‘s 2021 Best Cities in the World list, it’s San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I’m here to show you why I think […]

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Have you ever ever questioned what it takes to change into “the world’s finest metropolis”? Much more, have you considered what metropolis that is likely to be? Barcelona, Spain? Berlin, Germany? Truly, in response to Travel and Leisure‘s 2021 Best Cities in the World checklist, it’s San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I’m right here to indicate you why I believe it deserves the title.

I first heard about San Miguel when it received the title again in 2017. I noticed loads of solo feminine vacationers posting about how protected and charming town is. Seeing different girls 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 finest cities on the 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 loads 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 properly, I recommend beginning out your journey with a strolling tour. The Historical Walking 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 includes 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 principle sq. in San Miguel, like a majority of Mexican cities and cities, options the city’s most essential 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 heart. 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 dwell in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the place mariachi music isn’t tremendous common, 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 folks, who pay round 50 pesos ($2.50 USD) for a particular tune. 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 may think about.

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

As you may see, this little man has loads of fashion. Though I don’t condone using donkeys (I’ve seen loads of vacationers do that), catching a glimpse of this one is a ceremony of passage when visiting San Miguel. His identify 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 unit for 90 years and now an unlimited assortment of artwork galleries, La Fábrica de Aurora is one among 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 fastidiously 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 would simply spend a whole morning or afternoon right here, which I positively suggest! I took it gradual, savoring every gallery, giant and small.

6. Go to smaller galleries

When you 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, a lot 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. Find out about Mexican toys at Museo La Esquina del Juguete Fashionable Mexicano

All the pieces 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 attention-grabbing it was!

The Museo La Esquina del Juguete Fashionable Mexicano has an intensive assortment of various kinds of toys from each state in Mexico. From (very creepy, IMO) child dolls to lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) collectible figurines and the whole lot 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 experience 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 components of Mexico and overseas. Spend a day strolling the paths, testing the greenhouse, visiting the café, or having your individual lakeside picnic.

9. Hop on a trolley tour

As you stroll across the historic heart of San Miguel, you’re certain to see these trolleys carrying keen vacationers. Particularly in case you’re new to city, hopping on a trolley tour is an effective 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 pair of:15pm; you should purchase tickets on the trolley itself or on the stand subsequent to the Portal de Guadalupe. Discover extra information about trolley tours here.

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

The very best 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 an incredible little perch with the most effective view. There was virtually no one 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 in the end to essentially 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 pretty much as good because the one I had slightly below.

To get to my secret spot, discover the Centro de Allende and climb the steps, or you may 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. Take a look at the enormous murals on the Centro Cultural Allende

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

Considered one of my favourite points of the Mexican artwork scene on the whole is the emphasis on murals. In cities throughout the nation, you’ll discover a few of the world’s finest muralists. San Miguel is not any exception, and the Centro Cultural de Allende has an unimaginable assortment, and it’s completely free.

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

12. Discover trinkets and souvenirs on the Mercado de Artesanías

If you wish to take residence 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 the whole lot 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 carried out respectfully.

San Miguel is understood for a couple of handicrafts particularly, amongst that are tiled mirrors and stained-glass sconces. Because the metropolis is so near many copper and silver mines, you may as well get genuine copper and silver gadgets as properly.

13. Stroll by way of Parque Benito Juárez

With towering hundred-year-old bushes, 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 beloved that I might lower by way of this park on my solution to different locations, because it offers that excellent breath of contemporary air after strolling by way of 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 heart (about 100 pesos ($5 USD) in an Uber, which was properly 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 slightly eerie, largely due to how graphic a few of the murals are. When you look intently, you'll find depictions of the satan and different oddities. Though the work have been slightly creepy, they inform a graphic story of the significance of Catholicism in Mexico. It was an interesting day journey, one I like to recommend to anybody touring to San Miguel.

The place to Keep in San Miguel de Allende

Finest bang to 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 might discover in San Miguel. It has a snug, cozy vibe, and many pure gentle 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'd like a extra luxurious keep for a cheaper price than a resort. For instance, this one-bedroom villa has an exquisite 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 couple of. I usually discover them to be a bit too rowdy, however the costs are respectable, they usually’re at all times centrally positioned, as is the one in San Miguel.

Luxurious stays

  • Dwell Aqua City Resort: I didn’t keep right here, however I’ve heard all about Dwell Aqua and have pushed previous it a couple of occasions. To start with, this city resort resort has a pool with a powerful view of San Miguel and its surrounding nature attributable to its location outdoors town heart. It’s additionally identified for its luxurious facilities and in-house spa. Rooms begin at round $285 per night time, relying on the season. Check out Live Aqua’s rooms here.
  • Rosewood Lodge: Other than having one among San Miguel’s finest terraces, Rosewood Lodge has an awesome location and affords a style of Mexico’s basic luxurious. Rosewood boasts the long-lasting structure that San Miguel is understood for, with a contact of contemporary aptitude and magnificence. Rooms begin at round $500 per night time.

Finest Locations to Eat in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel is a foodie’s paradise. When touring in Mexico, generally it’s a bit difficult to seek out vegan or vegetarian choices, however I used to be pleasantly shocked to seek out not solely utterly 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 glorious meals but in addition an awesome 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 possibly can 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. This can be a great place for dinner, nevertheless it tends to replenish, so contemplate making a reservation.

Finest rooftops and terraces

  • Inside Café: When you 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 finest terraces in San Miguel. The very best half, although? The meals is wonderful and the drinks are scrumptious and refreshing. Attempt the jamaica lemonade!
  • Jacques: Positioned 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 usually vegetarian or vegan.

Cafés which might be a digital nomad’s dream

If I might write a whole exposé about Murmullo, I might.
  • 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 inexpensive, and your complete place has an artsy vibe. The café is a part of Centro Cultural Allende, which is an artwork gallery/cultural heart that hosts artwork workshops and exhibitions.
  • Amapola: Within the coronary heart of San Miguel’s historic heart 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 might be intimidating to make use of public transportation whereas touring in an unfamiliar metropolis, however I discovered town buses to be fairly straightforward to navigate. When you’re a bit outdoors town heart 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 very best rule of thumb is simply to ask the bus driver if they are going to go by your vacation spot, so having a superb grasp of Spanish is likely to be useful. When you aren’t in a position to ask the driving force the place the bus goes, you’ll run the danger of ending up misplaced someplace — which isn’t the worst factor that would occur.

Taxis

I discovered town taxis to be a bit sparse, so I might find yourself ready a very long time to catch one which was empty. Count on to pay round 60 pesos ($3 USD) for a taxi experience wherever in or round downtown, or round 80-100 ($4-5 USD) if going someplace farther away, resembling 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 effective, however generally it will take as much as quarter-hour simply to discover a driver.

I ended up utilizing a personal firm referred to as Línea Dorada greater than taxis or rideshares. All you need 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 gotten a couple of choices. You possibly can fly into Mexico Metropolis and take a bus on to San Miguel, which takes about 4 hours. You may as well fly into both Querétaro or Guanajuato’s airport and take a cab to San Miguel, however it is going to price you round 1,000 pesos ($50 USD).

I flew into Querétaro, then took a taxi (for 300 pesos ($15 USD), which I believed 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 affordable solution to do it and it wasn’t a trouble in any respect.

Staying Secure 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 gotten 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 in different places. I walked across the metropolis heart 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 in terms of transportation.

Total, any safety tips on traveling alone will apply when touring to San Miguel, however there’s no explicit purpose 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 maintain that in thoughts.

Pin me for later:

When you’re not satisfied that San Miguel de Allende deserves its title as the most effective metropolis on the planet, contemplate checking it out to see what all of the hype is about. As a solo feminine traveler, that is by far among the finest cities I’ve ever visited for its sights, gastronomy, and general security.

Have you ever visited San Miguel? How does it stack up in opposition to your favourite cities?

This put up was written by Emily Becker, a Mexico-based freelance journey author.

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Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Be My Travel Muse blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!
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