2012 Mexican Roadtrip: Why Three Months in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico?

Dimitri had it right when he said we should spend three summer months in San Miguel de Allende. It is in the mountains and he thought it would have warm days and cool nights--it did. With a population of around 160,000 it would have good infastructure--it did. With an expat population over 15,000, he thought we'd have a lively social life, culture and great restaurants to go to--we did and it did.

The following is an article from the December 27, 2013 issue of The Week Magazine, which describes San Miguel very well:

"This week's dream: Mexico's answer to Paris and Rome

"The colorful colonial city of San Miguel de Allende 'unfolds like a brightly colored quilt' spread across the rugged Mexican sierra, said Necee Regis in The Boston Globe. Recently voted the world's best city by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, it makes 'an ideal destination for a weeklong sojourn.' A prosperous town of 160,000, San Miguel features a historic center that was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. And as home to about 17,000 expatriates, most of them Americans, it has a larger expat community than any other Mexican city. The dining and shopping would be great in any language, but most shopkeepers and restaurateurs speak English. Winter temperatures hover around 58 to 65 degrees.

"When the sun is shining, 'the city dazzles.' Its center abounds in pretty 17th- and 18-century buildings painted a rainbow of earthy hues and detailed with flowering courtyards, arched porticoes, and elaborate carved-wood doors. At the district's heart stand the neo-Gothic Parroquia de San Migue de Arcángel and a park lined with laurel trees that are 'pruned like marshmallows.' Artists and other vendors set up at El Jardín throughout the year, but the area becomes particularly festive as Christmas approaches. The cobblestone streets surrounding the park are lined with boutiques, galleries, and cafés. Local folk art and crafts are sold in the three-block-long Mercado de Artesanías. On Tuesdays, 'the Shangri-la of markets' Tianguis del Martes--sprouts up at the edge of the city with 'phantasmagoric displays' of fresh meats, produce, flowers, and piñatas.

"The hot-spring parks outside the city are also worth visiting. At Escondido Place, admission costs about $8 and 'the scenic thermal pools lead one to another.' Winter's dry weater encourages outdoor activities, but we learned to enjoy San Miguel even in inclement weather. 'Our las week was a blur of rain so drenching that stone channels, cut along the edges of the streets, became gushing rivers.' Still, we weren't deterred. We made origami boats instead and raced them, 'whooping like children as the tiny ships sped away.'

"At the historic district's Casa de Sierra Nevada (casasierranevada.com) doubles start at $230."