San Miguel de Allende: the Best City in the World

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Guest post by: @motiontoroam

For two years in a row, San Miguel de Allende was voted the Best City in the World by Travel + Leisure, and it’s no wonder why! With its cobblestone streets, famous pink church, thriving arts and rich cultural festivities, you’ll be charmed by this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site city in central Mexico.

Find out more on how to get here, why you should visit San Miguel de Allende, and what to see and do when you visit!

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Why You Should Visit San Miguel de Allende

With Travel + Leisure voting SMA the Best City in the World two years in a row, in 2017 and 2018, more and more tourists are heading here so go visit SMA now while it still has its small-town feel!

Helpful Tip: if you’re looking for a place to go in the fall, consider SMA! Every year on September 29, SMA celebrates its largest festivity of the year, celebrating SMA’s patron saint, the Archangel Michael throughout the entire week. Locals celebrate the Fiestas de San Miguel de Allende with parades, dances, private house parties, sporting and cultural events and more. Of course, fireworks are always a part of the festivities.

Where to stay in San Miguel de Allende

If you are looking for a place to stay in San Miguel de Allende, here is a list of the best hostels in town:

HostelNoteRatingPrice (USD)
Lool Beh Hostal4-bed dorms9.3/10 from $11Book now
La Catrina HostelRoof terrace9.1/10from $10Book now
Casa LoteriaPerfect location9.1/10 from $10 Book now

What to See and Do

There are tons of things to explore around SMA! Here are a couple of our top favourites that you cannot miss while you’re there. And get your cameras ready because you’ll want to get lost in the streets and take pictures around every corner.

1. La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, the Iconic Pink Church

  • This incredibly beautiful church is in “el centro”, the centre of San Miguel de Allende. To find it, just head towards the centre of the town. Look up, you can’t miss it!
  • Helpful Tip: Hang out in the plaza area in front of the church! There’s always something going on here, and you might be able to catch the church bells ringing! The church bells ring at all different times throughout the day and there is no set schedule, so we suggest you hang out in the plaza to try to capture the bells ringing. And check out the tons of restaurants and shops around this square.
  • Address: Plaza Principal S/N, Centro, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico
San Miguel de Allende

2. Josephine’s Smoothies

  • We came here every day! These cold smoothies will keep you cool and refreshed while walking around warm SMA.
  • Helpful Tip: The owner, Lindsay is so friendly and can give you all of her secret tips for where the best food is, and how to make the most of your time in SMA. When you go, please tell her we said hi! And take a fun pic outside of her adorably painted smoothie store! Check them out on Insta,
  • Address: Calle Maria, Grever 5, Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende

3. Calle Aldama, Back of the famous pink church, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel

  • This is one of the most photographed places in SMA. When you’re here, it’s a must-see!
  • Helpful Tip: If you have time, head over to Parque Juarez, the town park, before or after you see this! It’s a fun area with basketball courts, playgrounds for kids, and a place where locals come to hang out, play, exercise, and walk their dogs.
  • Address: The entire street, Calle Aldama, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico (you can just put it in your GPS- it’s close to Parque Juarez, the city’s beautiful park)
San Miguel de Allende church

4. Escondido Place

  • Spend the day relaxing at Escondido Place, swimming in the natural hot springs, mini cave area, and in the multiple pools available. There is a restaurant area, or picnic tables if you want to bring in your own food.
  • Helpful Tip: It’s 150 pesos ($7.80) to enter for the entire day, from 8 a.m. to 5:30: p.m. There is also a spa area if you want to get a massage while there! You can take an uber or taxi here for around 120-180 pesos ($6-$9 USD). To get back to town, the front desk can call a taxi for you.
  • Address: San Miguel de Allende – Dolores Hidalgo Km 10, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

How to Get to San Miguel de Allende

The closest airport to San Miguel de Allende (SMA) is located about 1.5-3 hours away in Leon, Guanajuato. The airport is called Del Bajío International Airport, Aeropuerto Internacional de Guanajuato, and its code is BJX.

San Miguel de Allende street

But don’t worry! We’ll make it super easy for you on how to get to this charming town so that when you go, you’ll know exactly what to do and the best way to get here for your budget and time schedule!

1. Public bus transport

This is the cheapest way but could take longer than an Uber or taxi. But, if you’re not in a rush, this option could save you at least $40.

  • Go to the Right after you leave the airport, and you’ll see the Unebus bus bench. On the glass wall of the bench is a large painting of the Unebus bus schedule. So it’s easier for you, we’ve included the Unebus bus schedule here as well, which we were given when we went in March 2019.
  • Depending on the time your plane lands and the bus schedule, here are 3 options for you:

(a) Go straight to SMA on Unebus (best option- do this if your timing is right!); or

(b) Go to Guanajuato on the Unebus for approx. 50 pesos ($2.58 USD). At the Guanajuato bus terminal, go to the small booth near the bus parking and ask when the next buses are to San Miguel de Allende. We went on ETN, and highly recommend! ETN offers “Regular” or “VIP” buses. The “Regular” bus to SMA costs 117 pesos per person ($6 USD) and the “VIP” bus is direct, costs 170 pesos per person, ($8.80 USD). It’s 2 hours shorter to take the “VIP” bus, which is direct; or

(c) take Unebus to Silao for 25 pesos ($1.30 USD). At the station in Silao, take the bus to Guanajuato for 29 pesos ($1.50 USD). In Guanajuato, take the ETN bus to SMA.

Because of the time our flight arrived, we went to Silao first.

Helpful Tip: The time zone in Guanajuato is Mountain Time, so if you want to plan your options before you arrive, keep this in mind.

2. Uber (Lyft is still not used in Guanajuato)

  • Ubers from the airport to SMA cost around upwards of 580 MX pesos, $30 USD. It could be much more, depending on the time of day. Uber drivers can’t pick up riders inside the airport, so just go outside of the parking lot area to meet with your Uber driver.
  • Helpful Tip: The airport provides free unlimited wifi, so if you don’t have a cell phone plan for Mexico you can still do this using wifi.

3. Taxi (most expensive)

  • Although it’s the most expensive, this way is direct and maybe the shortest. Inside the airport, look for the Taxis Autorizados sign and tell them you want to go to SMA. They’ll give you a ticket, which you’ll give your taxi driver outside. It’s about 1.5 hours directly to SMA and may cost upwards of around 1,000 MX pesos, $51 USD.
  • You can also take a taxi to the Central de Autobuses de Guanajuato for around 500 pesos ($26). At the Guanajuato bus terminal, take the ETN bus to SMA.
San Miguel de Allende sunset

Let us know if you have any questions about SMA, where to stay, or other places to see. We’re always happy to share our Travel Tips with others who want to explore the world, and can’t wait to see your pics from your time in SMA! Enjoy visiting the best city in the world : )

Author Bio

Hi there! We’re Christina and Eric, two attorneys from San Diego, California who sold our home and everything we owned, quit our jobs at law firms and left the 9-5 “cage life” to travel the world and pursue a more fulfilling life for ourselves.

Together, we’ve travelled to 18 countries around the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, North America, and Africa.

Our goal is to inspire and empower you to redefine what is possible in life, to show that world travel is available for EVERYONE, and help others identify and eliminate the barriers that prevent you from truly living life to the fullest, and living life on your own terms.

For Travel Tips and secrets on every post, check Eric and Christina out on their:


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