We’ve just returned from a fabulous trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and loved every minute of it. It was a couples trip to celebrate my birthday. Being surrounded by friends and discovering a new destination was the perfect way to toast another trip around the sun. Here are our suggestions based on our trip. A separate post will follow with everything I packed and wore on the trip. Have you been to San Miguel? You’re in for a treat! Check out our San Miguel de Allende travel guide.
San Miguel de Allende is the principal tourist city in Guanajuato, Mexico.The city’s name derives from two persons: 16th-century friar Juan de San Miguel, and a martyr of Mexican Independence, Ignacio Allende, who was born in a house facing the city’s central plaza. San Miguel de Allende was also a critical epicenter during the historic Chichimeca War (1540–1590) where the Chichimeca Confederation defeated the Spanish Empire in the initial colonization war. Today, an old section of the town is part of a proclaimed World Heritage Site, attracting thousands of tourists and new residents from abroad every year. It’s known for its fantastic cuisine, artisans and culture.
Dallas to San Miguel is an easy two hour direct flight on American Airlines. You have your choice of two airports and we chose to land in Querétaro Intercontinental Airport in Querétaro. From there, it’s a one hour drive to San Miguel depending on traffic. We pre booked our driver for the entire trip and highly recommend their services. They will correspond with you via e-mail and you will pay them with cash upon travel. TIP: Be sure to have pesos with you when you land. We ordered ours ahead of the trip through our bank.
We stayed at the most beautiful private home centrally located in San Miguel and walking distance to everything. The homeowner is allowing me to share the property with my followers and you can see it HERE. For a group trip, I prefer a beautiful home instead of a hotel. Casa Villa Blanca was perfect as we were 4 couples and I would absolutely rent it again. A vacation at Villa Blanca in the historic center of town has the best views of San Miguel. It is truly like having a boutique hotel all to yourself. This luxurious 4 bedroom hillside villa was upgraded in 2015 with furniture, new bar cut into the hillside terrace, and a new outdoor gourmet kitchen with a covered patio with the best view in San Miguel. By day you can enjoy your cold beer with your comida from the gourmet outdoor kitchen with BBQ grill and tanning on the sun chaises. In the evening have drinks from the Cave Bar and watch the sunset then retire to the cozy couches in front of the outdoor fireplace and light up the stone fountain to create the perfect ambiance for a cocktail gathering. It truly has the BEST view of the nightly San Miguel sunsets!
Pete and I arrived a day ahead of our group to do a little prep work. We worked with the house staff to stock the refrigerator, get cocktail provisions, assign bedrooms and put out welcome gifts. We also walked the town center to get our bearings. That evening we wandered into Atrio for our first rooftop dinner and it was spectacular. More restaurant recommendations are listed below. Be forewarned, San Miguel sits at an elevation of 6,200 feet and we weren’t adequately prepared for this adjustment. I had a massive headache the first night. Be sure to hydrate before your departure and stay hydrated. After all, its super dry due to the desert.
As with all of my travel, I highly suggest hiring a guide and doing a walking tour on the first day of your trip. Once everyone arrived, we hired Joseph Toone who has also written many books about San Miguel. In fact, this book was part of my Christmas gift to all the couples. He did a fabulous 2 hour walking tour to introduce us to San Miguel’s history, culture and many churches. He has numerous tours, which you can find HERE. There is so much to do and see in San MIguel that it will take several trips to do it all. In fact, I now see why so many people own a second home in San Miguel or live there full time. It’s an easy way of living, a safe environment and the people are so friendly!
You only need to pack casual clothes, good walking shoes (no heels), sunscreen, a hat and a wrap/light jacket for evening. The temps really drop at night! Did you know that San Miguel is one of the top wedding destinations? They have over 1,000 weddings a year! If you watched me travel in real time on Instagram, you noticed the street lanterns and lights. These were still up from the holidays and it makes the town so festive, especially at night.
San Miguel de Allende is the perfect trip for couples, singles, families… you name it. A long weekend (4 days/3 nights) is a great stay in this lovely little city but we could certainly do a week. There’s so much to do and see that we can’t wait to return. We are so grateful that our friends joined us and celebrated my birthday.
Have you been to San Miguel? Leave a comment below with your suggestions. Also, be sure to check out my friend Alicia Wood Lifestyle’s blog post on what she wore on the trip. Want more travel content? Check out our London/Edinburgh itinerary HERE.
xoxo – Tanya
P.S. A HUGE thank you to homeowner Peter D. for meeting with me ahead of the trip and helping me plan our itinerary. Tiffany D. and Suzanne D. also had excellent recommendations. Once we were in San Miguel, Recreo owner Lisa Coleman was a wealth of knowledge and refined our plan.
Cocktails, Bars and Restaurants
Panio – for baked goods (dine in or to go). Pastries taste like you are in France! We got these to go several times.
Lavanda Cafe – Great breakfast spot! Very small so go early to avoid long lines. Cash only. Pete and I had breakfast here and it’s delicious. I suggest a maximum of 4 people as its a tiny space and large parties will have a hard time getting seated.
El Pegaso – Fabulous traditional Mexican food
El Correo – Great spot for authentic Mexican breakfast. We loved it! No reservations. Walk in only.
San Agustin Chocolate and Churros – The name says it all. Delicious! This is a great afternoon break and snack.
Casa No Name – Sunday Brunch. Highly recommend! Amazing experience and delicious food. Hard to get this reservation as it is a tiny, boutique hotel. You are seated in the courtyard of the hotel (see picture above).
Atrio – Lunch or dinner. Great rooftop dining experience. Order the margarita with Casa Dragones (pictured above). We loved it so much that we went twice!
LUNA Rooftop bar at Rosewood Hotel. Great atmosphere and views! I suggest going here on your first night for your first sunset.
Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel – Afternoon cocktails. Beautiful presentation!
ZUMO Hotel Villa Limon. Great rooftop dining. Owner Stewart Haverlack is such a gem! This is where we celebrated my birthday dinner. Stewart had flowers on the table and arranged for a Tres Leches cake for my birthday. I’m pictured with Stewart above (wearing a blue dress) at ZUMO.
The Restaurant – Beautiful restaurant, fabulous food & wine! Our dinner was divine.
QUINCE – Great rooftop and entertainment! The view is spectacular for sunset. Fun place to celebrate. I would suggest doing sunset drinks here and going somewhere else for dinner. The food was good (not great) but the atmosphere was fun.
Boca Ciega – Phenomenal! Mediterranean restaurant not to be missed. Perhaps our favorite meal! Small and intimate restaurant experience. We had dinner here and we’re still talking about it.
Activities and More
Tres Raices winery tour, tasting and lunch. This is a beautiful winery about 30 minutes by car. Hire a driver to take you. Good wines, great food and beautiful atmosphere! We felt like we were in Santa Barbara.
Sazon Cooking School – We dind’t do this but I hear great things about it.
Casa Dragones tequila tasting – It’s definitely our favorite tequila. We request it in restaurants when we order a margarita.
Atotonilco Cathedral – This is the church people make pilgrimages to. It’s an18th century Baroque temple located 14 kilometers from San Miguel de Allende.
Spa at the Rosewood San Miguel – The spa was booked by the time I inquired. They do give priority to their hotel guests.
Hot Air Balloon ride at sunrise. We didn’t do this but I’m sure the views are spectacular.
Best panama hats: La Havana Premium Cigars and Hats
Best Jewelry – Piedras (By appointment only; call ahead/ private residence and shop – owner/artisan Bill Harris)
Best poncho’s, capes and fashion: Recreo; Lisa Coleman (pictured above) is the owner and made us feel so welcome! She had so many excellent recommendations about San Miguel.
Best Otomi embroidery- Arte Limon (2 locations)
Fragrance shop – XINU; inside Meson Hildalgo – Hildalgo 19 (hard to find)
Artesanias Market (Mercado) – The typical Mexican parket. We got napkin rings, paperweights, Christmas ornaments and souvenirs. You need to have pesos (cash).
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Tags: Mexico, San Miguel, San Miguel de Allende, travel essentials, travel guide, travel photoshoot