Why Live in San Miguel de Allende?

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is considered the jewel of colonial Mexico. Many homes from that period line the narrow, cobbled streets. The facades of these elegant buildings are painted in an array of colors from a crayon box. There are myriad churches their cupolas and spires punctuating the vistas whichever way you turn — most dating from the colonial period of the mid-16th Century through the independence from Spain in 1821.

San Miguel de Allende Cost of Living
San Miguel Allende – Photo Jiuguang Wang CC

This beautiful city is flooded with North Americans some stay all year and often own homes here. Others, like me, come for a month or longer escaping the harsher winters of their home towns in Canada and the U.S. The population of San Miguel is about 60,000 people.

How Do You Get To San Miguel de Allende?

You can fly into Queretaro, or Leon or, as I did, Mexico City where I visited for two weeks. Then I took a bus from the Central North station on an ETN coach with an assigned seat for $25 about 396 pesos. I will be paying about $250 to return from SMDA to Juarez International Airport in Mexico City in a private car for $250.

Street Scene in San Miguel de Allende Apartments
San Miguel de Allende Street Scene – Photo CC – Cezzie

What Does Housing Cost in San Miguel de Allende?

I am paying $700 for a month’s stay in a charming home with a private bedroom and bath and co-use of a kitchen. There are two guest rooms available, and since I’m the only guest here for the moment, the kitchen is all mine. There is also a private patio for my use. My home is owned by friends who moved from Seattle to SMDA a few years ago. They purchased an old house in Colonia Allende neighborhood and completely remodeled and updated the systems. However, they retained the charm of the original older classic Mexican home.

Street Scene in San Miguel de Allende Cost of Living
San Miguel de Allende Street Scene – Photo CC – Carl Campbell

I am told by other Anglos that I have interviewed that rental houses and apartments can run from $1,000 -$2500 per month. It’s important if you rent something you like and plan to return, to book it before you leave. If you don’t, you may lose it, and prices are going up.

See also:

I spoke with a woman who had lived here for 15 years with her husband. They sold their home here and left a year ago moving to Ft. Collins, CO.
“Why did you leave,” I asked?

“Too crowded with rich Americans, the uneven streets are too treacherous as we have aged, the city is losing it’s identity to the whites.” She is white, an American, but shared her strong feelings openly.

Do You Need a Car in San Miguel de Allende

I don’t have a car and wouldn’t want one. Within SMDA proper, a taxi costs 50 pesos. The dollar is strong against the peso now—18.25 USD to 1 peso. So that 50 peso taxi ride is about $3. If you roam farther afield such as a visit to the Aurora community where the Fabrica is a huge draw, full of artists and artisans, it costs about 70 pesos. Last week I went to the Botanical Garden and Refuge. Round trip, it cost me 220 pesos which always includes a tip.

Mexico is a tip (propina) economy. Hourly wages are low, so tips really make a huge difference. I’m a generous tipper. I was once a cocktail waitress and still remember how hard you work in the service industry and how important tips are.

What Does It Cost To Eat Out in San Miguel de Allende

Food Markets in San Miguel de Allende are a good value
Market In San Miguel de Allende – Photo – CC Carl Campbell

Prices for dining out for breakfast or lunch can run, with an entré, and a drink (non-alcoholic) costs about 300 pesos or less. I don’t eat street food, my gut just isn’t up to it, but it’s pennies. Price for a pound of just made tortillas for about $3.00 and they are delicious. There is an organic market where I tend to buy my groceries. It’s fresh and tasty. I recently brought home five bananas, a bag of mixed veggies, a Greek salad, two lemons, and six eggs. They cost me 158 pesos or about $8.00. There are several excellent bakeries which are as good as any bakery anywhere. One excels at French pastries and croissant.

What About Entertainment in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Day of the Dead in San Miguel de Allende
Day Of The Dead Celebration in San Miguel de Allende – Photo CC – Christopher Michel

SMDA is famous for its cultural events—I just attended the 14th Annual Writers Conference which was superb. There are film festivals, lectures, and tours on just about any topic. The expat community is front and center on most of these events. They also fund numerous non-profit entities which support the local and indigenes communities. There is more to do here that you can possibly manage. Most entrance fees are a modest 50 pesos; some events such as the film festival which includes lectures before viewing the film and a spread and cocktails after the film costs 250 pesos.

What Is The Downside Of Living in San Miguel de Allende

I think the only bad thing I have to say— rather a cautionary note—if you have balance problems or any difficulty managing uneven terrain, the sidewalks and streets are nothing but difficult. There is a dearth of sidewalks, so you are often walking in the street on deep cobbles. If you’re willing to take taxis everywhere, then no problem.

What Is The Medical Care Like In San Miguel de Allende

There is good medical care; I’ve heard nothing but praise, and it’s astonishingly inexpensive. A house call in my neighborhood is $50. Pharmaceuticals are very cheap too but must be prescribed by an M.D.
I have traveled a lot in my life. San Miguel rivals Positano for scenic beauty but excels in historic splendor and, of course, the kind and generous Mexican people.

Pin It For Later

This post is by Alberta Weinberg a blogger and writer living in Seattle.  She love to travel! You can follow her adventures at Alberta Weinberg’s Blog or on Instagram.

Subscribe To LifePart2

Subscribe To LifePart2

Please don't leave so soon! Join the LifePart2 community and get updates, the occasional special offer and more. We hate spam too! Don't worry, we will never sell your information to 3rd parties.

Please Check Your Email!

Pin It on Pinterest