Travel + Leisure's Top Destinations 2012


Resting high in the mountainous bajío region, San Miguel brims with an exquisite cosmopolitan charm and an unrivaled natural beauty. It’s pristine architecture, vibrant art scene, year round moderate climate and nearly constant festival schedule have made it a “must visit” for savvy travelers everywhere. Both Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Travel have selected San Miguel as one of the top destinations in all the world and after your first few minutes in this glorious city, it will be easy to see why.

History and Background

Founded in 1542 by the Franciscan monk Fray Juan de San Miguel, the town gets it’s name from native son General Ignacio Allende,who was a leading player in the war against Spain for independence. By 1900, San Miguel de Allende was in danger of becoming a ghost town. Declared a national historic monument in 1926 by the Mexican government and the downtown historic district was revitalized. In 1938, Peruvian artist Felipe Cossio del Pomar established San Miguel’s first of many art schools. Today, the town retains a distinctly artistic flair which is most evident in and around the Jardin Municipal (city garden), which fronts the remarkable La Parroquia, a neo-gothic church and the cobblestone streets, picturesque domes and Spanish colonial architecture.

Things to Do

San Miguel is for lovers, explorers, artists and the refined traveler that enjoys a world class meal as much as kicking back in a friendly town square to enjoy a good book. The exquisite luxury hotels in San Miguel, the dining, the shopping, the art galleries and the tours of the surrounding hillsides could keep anyone busy for months. There are challenging golf courses, hiking in the Jardín Botanico, invigorating horse back riding, the Museo de San Miguel de Allende and for the festive, there is an annual flurry of fiestas and celebrations like the Expresión en Corto International Film Festival, the most prestigious in all of Latin America.

Travel Tips

You’ll find the best rates now on hotels if you book mid-week or for a week or more.  Pack comfortable walking shoes…. you’ll need them for the cobblestone streets and sidewalks.  Be sure and bring a sweater or jacket for the cooler nights.  Don’t forget the sunscreen.  At 3,000 feet, the sun is intense any time of the year. 

Getting to San Miguel de Allende

You have the option of three airports:

  • Queretero (QRO) is 45 minutes from San Miguel. This international airport recently opened, so flights are limited. Continental offers daily service from Houston.
  • Leon (BJX) is approximately 1-1/2 hours from San Miguel with direct flights now from most major US cities. Shuttle services are available.
  • Mexico City (MEX) is approximately 3 hours from San Miguel. You can take the Primera Plus bus from the airport terminal to Queretaro, then onto San Miguel.  Shuttle services are available with door-to-door service from teh airport.  You’ll typically find the best airfare flying into Mexico City. 

First class bus service from San Miguel to other cities in central Mexico is provided by ETN and Primera Plus.

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