Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende
Is this popular destination worth a drive from CDMX?
Is going from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende worth the trouble? This colonial town is a popular stopping point for CDMX visitors, and for some, the trip from CDMX to San Miguel is becoming a popular one. If you’re in the capital, the drive to this UNESCO World Heritage Site can be tempting.
Why You Should Go to San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel is Gay-Friendly
The town is full of expats and tourists, so LGBT people hardly get a second glance. The local economy is tied to outsider money, and if you’re paying, they’re selling – no matter your sexuality. There aren’t gay bars or much of a “scene” to speak of.
History and Architecture
The Parish Church of San Miguel Arcángel or La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel is the crown jewel of San Miguel’s skyline. The pink pinnacles of this century-old church seem to change colors as the sun crosses the sky. And it’s a sight as beautiful in the day as it is at night. The colonial facades and winding streets of San Miguel are this town’s most prominent attractions by far.
It’s Cheap and Easy to Go
Buses commonly go from Mexico City to San Miguel, and the trip is luxurious by American bus standards. For the price of a ticket (around $30 USD) you’ll get TV, comfortable seats, plenty of leg room – and even lunch. The three or four-hour ride out of CDMX is a great way to see what Mexico is like outside of the city, so I recommend it.
It’s also impractical, but possible to fly from Mexico City to San Miguel’s nearest airport, Del Bajio International. From there, you’ll need to rent a car or ride a bus for the 90-minute journey into town.
Why You Shouldn’t Go
Getting Around is a Hassle
San Miguel is uncomfortable, especially on weekends. Just walking is a struggle as cars bump along the cobblestone streets and tourists swamp the narrow sidewalks. The town is walkable, but for better and for worse, Ubers are everywhere. Just trying to get around the city is the worst part of visiting San Miguel de Allende.
It’s Marketed at Tourists
Foreign residents are a small percentage of the population but have an outsized impact on the culture. Art galleries, bars, and scenic restaurants are normal, but prices will be higher than Mexico City. If you’re trying to get a real view of what Mexico is like, then San Miguel isn’t it – other than the architecture of course. And unless you’re buying art, most of the trinkets for sale here are readily available elsewhere.
If it’s your second or third trip to Mexico City, San Miguel might be worth a visit. The buses are far more comfortable than anything I’ve seen in the U.S., so a few hours in a stagecoach shouldn’t scare you away. Personally, I didn’t see anything in San Miguel that wasn’t available in CDMX. We had planned a two-day trip but left early to have an extra day back in the capital city.
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