Editor’s Note: A wonderful idea for Mexican travelers is to combine a tropical beach vacation with a city stay. Foreign residents in Mexico also enjoy this travel idea. The tropical beach resort of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and San Miguel de Allende offer travelers this combination option. San Miguel is located in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. Visitors to each area travel back and forth to enjoy the benefits of both. This article is by Barbara Erickson about some of the activities in her city of San Miguel. Photos are courtesy of Alexis White.
By: Barbara Erickson
San Miguel de Allende is magical. For starters, the light is exquisite. The skies are full of enormous cumulus clouds and moments of intense sunshine, the earth tones of the homes and buildings glow richly as you walk down the cobble stone streets. No wonder painters still come to work here. The old facades with their worn carved stone features transport you back to the 18th century; hidden patios call you to rest in their cool interiors. The World Heritage City designation means that the old colonial center will remain protected and preserved, the many restaurants nestled inside historic homes give visitors the option to transport themselves to a time long gone, if even just for a dinner.
San Miguel is famous for its churches, the oldest dates to the founding by Spanish priests in 1555. When you hear the bells chiming in San Miguel, some one is actually ringing them – it is not a recording. Although there is a local saying: “no one knows for whom the bells toll in San Miguel…nor when nor why.” When you walk through town and women in Otomi Indian dress approach you with colorful little dolls for sale, they are really Otomi women and they make the dolls, not people dressing up for tourists.
Besides the enchantment of light there is the delight of visiting a vibrant small city full of places to eat; from the 20 peso taco to the 4000 peso dining experience. San Miguel has a thriving organic and artisanal food scene. Several stores sell locally grown produce, local artisanal cheeses and there are at least three incredible bakeries. Every Saturday there is a wonderful organic fair where all of San Miguel comes together to shop, eat and visit. Wonderful restaurants offer many culinary options, from traditional Mexican to Lebanese, Chinese, Italian and French and fusion.
And of course there are many things to do; take in an art opening, shop for all sorts of treasures, boutique clothes or artisanal marvels. Visit the Mask Museum or the History Museum where the famous insurgent Ignacio Allende was born, see a movie, hear a lecture, take a house and garden tour, or a historic walking tour, listen to music, take a yoga or art class, study Spanish, visit the botanical garden with their incredible collection of cactus, visit our newly opened pyramid at Canada de la Virgin with an anthropologist who helped uncover it, visit the hot springs, get a massage in one of many SPAs or just hang out and listen to Mariachis in the garden.
Best of all, San Miguel is full of interesting, warm and friendly people from everywhere. So don’t miss out on this magical town where the energy is good, the eating an adventure, new friends will entertain you and fun is a daily part of life.
Links: La Calacaca Festival https://www.facebook.com/LaCalacaFestival
Fabrica Aurora http://fabricalaaurora.com/welcome.html
Mask Museum and Gallery http://www.casadelacuesta.com/gallery.html
Pyramid and More Tours: http://www.coyotecanyonadventures.com/index.php?lengua=eng&pagina=main&subseccion=1259556613
Botanical Garden: http://www.elcharco.org.mx/Ingles/index.html
Bird Watching with Audubon: http://www.audubonmex.org/
Favorite Places to stay: Casa De la Cuesta http://www.casadelacuesta.com/
Vacation Rentals: http://vacationrentalswithpersonality.com/
Fabulous home for rent: www.casa-sanmiguel.com
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: