San Miguel de Allende: "Pueblo Magico"
January 1, 1970
by Pamela Soto
During the course of my life I have traveled and experienced new places, dishes, traditions, and I have been lucky enough to share them with the people I love the most. I believe every place we visit leaves memories we will never forget, but there are some places in particular that offer more than just that. Mexico is known to be a country full of culture, traditions, and magic destinations that show just how much diversity it contains. San Miguel de Allende is a small city in the state of Guanajuato located in central Mexico I had the pleasure of visiting on December of 2015. My current boyfriend, who is from Slovakia and whom had never been to Mexico before, and I had a scheduled trip to Mexico to spend Christmas with my family. Since it was his first time visiting I wanted him to experience my country the best way possible so my family helped me planning a secret trip to San Miguel de Allende.
Before I continue, I would like to point out that San Miguel is a place not a lot of people are familiar with. Many people I have come across in life who knew I was from Mexico usually explained that the only places they had heard about were Cancun or Los Cabos. These two beautiful touristic destinations that are known to host many tourists worldwide do have a lot to offer, but if you are the kind of person who wants to experience more than that, San Miguel is definitely a fantastic option for you.
San Miguel de Allende, among other cities and towns, is called “pueblo Mágico”. This is something the government started to do since they wanted to promote tourism among these amazing places not everyone knows. The government makes sure these towns are always well maintained and available to explore no matter what language you speak.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN SAN MIGUEL
Something to take into account is that San Miguel is a city people should explore by walking. Since the streets are too narrow, it is hard to find space for cars to park, especially when there are big events happening (Baroque music festival on March, independence day on September, and the “locos” parade on June).
My family and I are big fans of Airbnb, so when we traveled to San Miguel we rented a house not so far from the center and big enough for all ten of us.
Since we were not staying at a hotel in the center we parked the cars on streets further from the center and paid for parking (around $17 USD per day). The benefit of walking is that you get to stroll around all the shops, galleries, restaurants, and interesting spots since they are located in the center of the city. You should also bring cash with you at all times since some stores do not accept payments with credit or debit cards.
WHAT TO DO
Once you get to the city center you can choose where to start. We decided to start our tour where the parish of San Miguel Arcángel was, which is a beautiful landmark of the city. This parish is located at a very convenient point for tourists. In front of it there is a square surrounded by restaurants, food stands, and artisanal and handmade souvenir shops. People gather around there to take pictures with the gigantic dolls that stroll around the square, get some street food, and sit on the benches to enjoy the view.
After enjoying the majestic view and purchasing some street food we basically walked with no specific direction in the streets, encountering numerous shops where we found art made by local artists, more restaurants, several museums, and so on. A very interesting feature about San Miguel is that almost every street in the center has something to offer. You will most likely find galleries, a restaurant, a few stores, and a lot of people on them.
San Miguel also counts with a mirador, which is where you can go and enjoy the city view from a higher level and take some pictures with the city as your background. The buildings and houses there are all painted with nice and bright colors, so your pictures will look great. There are also nice hotels with boutiques you can explore, a botanical garden with amazing contents and incredible views, museums and historical buildings that store ancient treasures, and depending on what time of the year you travel, you can find parties and music festivals truly mesmerizing. My family and I went there at the end of December and it was magical. But if you chose to go there on June or march you can be part of these amazing festivals and parties and live something you have never lived before.
But hey! Let us not forget about the nightlife. In San Miguel people can easily find bars, terrazas, and coffee shops that open until late and where they can enjoy of a cool and refreshing drink while listening to good live or DJ music. Or, if you are just looking for a relaxing evening with your family and/or friends, there are numerous restaurants to try.
Another thing you must do is taste the food. In San Miguel, food is something from another world. Mexico is known to be a country that uses a lot of spices on its dishes that makes them special and even tastier.
While we were in San Miguel, few of the things we ate were delicious street churros with chocolate and burnt milk. For those who do not know what churros are, let me explain: Churros are a very famous dessert in Mexico, and it consists of fried dough shaped like a tube, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and filled with either chocolate, burnt milk, or caramel.
We also could not miss out on a good order of tacos al pastor. These are made with pork meat that is marinated in a way that makes it look red. The cook piles the meat and cooks it while it rotates. They are my favorite and my bofriend’s too.
But the truly best place we ate was a seafood restaurant called “Pescau”. This restaurant is the perfect place to have a nice dinner with your family, friends, or your loved one. The dishes and drinks there are so delicious and fresh we got so excited and ordered so much food we could not even finish it. The service was great and the music and atmosphere on point. My parents, on the other hand, chose to try a restaurant that served bugs! Pictures looked great, but not great enough to make me eat them. That is one of the greatest things about a place like San Miguel. People can chose from street tacos, fancy seafood restaurants, and exotic dishes with crickets and worms. There are a lot of options!
I truly recommend people to go visit a place like this. Every single adventure we had there was so beautiful and we will never forget about it. Every time my boyfriend looks at the pictures he tells me how amazing that trip was and how much he wants to go back. My father has taken his Bostonian friends there and they absolutely loved it as well. Mexico has so much to offer to the people who are willing to travel and experience it.