The Perfectly Picturesque Town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

by Stephanie Walsh · 11 comments

in Mexico, North America, Photography

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

With the drama of losing both our passports at the same time, only to have them turn up two weeks later in San Miguel de Allende, we’ve been extremely distracted since returning from an amazing weekend in this beautiful Mexican city. Now that our travel equilibrium has been restored, I have finally had a chance to look at my photos from San Miguel for the first time, which have reminded me just how beautiful it was.

View of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

View of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Our friend Ana was kind enough to invite us to stay at her cousins’ house for a weekend in one of Mexico’s most beautiful small towns. As well as being very generous people, they are also the nicest and funniest people and made sure we had an amazing weekend, seeing and experiencing more than we ever could of hoped to on our own.

Andres on top of a canyon cliff in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Andres on top of a canyon cliff in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Paola, Ana’s cousin moved to San Miguel with her husband to start a family and soon afterwards her sister was joining her, packing up from Mexico DF and relocating to San Miguel too…and I can understand why! The town is simply charming with old colonial buildings giving the town an ancient and timeless feel as well as an extremely colorful palette. I nicknamed San Miguel the ‘Red and Yellow City’ as almost all of the buildings are rich shades of red and yellow, despite the crumbling and decay of the paint, which the slow passing of time has caused.

Colourful streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Colourful Streets of San Miguel

Streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Old red crumbling building in San Miguel de Allende

As I love photographing all things rusty/decaying/crumbling in general, San Miguel left me clicking my cameras’ shutter every few seconds. Everywhere and everything was a picturesque scene full of colours, texture and history ready to be captured on camera.

Colorful Streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

This woman seemed to be as fascinated with the old crumbling buildings as me!

As well as having plenty to see in the town, San Miguel also has an amazing botanical garden and walking trail, situated on the cliff of a steep canyon just on the border of the town. The canyon is complete with waterfalls, unusual plants, a dam and a bird’s-eye view of the whole town, making it the perfect place to kill a few hours.

Walking trail in the canyon of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Walking trail in the canyon of San Miguel

Yellow rescued plants in canyon of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Unusual yellow rescued plants in canyon of San Miguel

On Saturday we had the opportunity to attend the annual party of a family who moved to San Miguel and have been living in there for years (like so many others…and again, I can see why!). The party was hosted on their beautiful organic corn farm and the food was just mouth watering! There were more than 50 people to be fed but there was no shortage of tacos, freshly boiled organic corn from their farm, hotdogs, salad, a huge amount of desserts and of course alcohol, alcohol, alcohol!

Organic Elote Farm, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Guests enjoy a feast at the organic 'elote' farm

After stuffing our faces we walked around the farm, taking our time to explore everything from the hens and horses to the sunflowers and cactus plantations. Rare travel experiences like this are the ones that stick out the most when you recount your travels so we were delighted to have been invited to such a great local event. Luckily we also happened to pick the one weekend of the year to travel to San Miguel when the party is hosted.

Organic Corn Farm, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Organic Corn Farm, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

So what was it about San Miguel de Allende that lures so many Mexican and foreign people to move there?

Organic Elote Farm, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Fun on the Farm with Ana and her adorable dog Flor

The perfect year-round weather, not too hot, not too cold?

The peaceful, safe, inexpensive and simple lifestyle that this town offers?

It’s convenient location in central Mexico, only 3.5 hours from Mexico DF?

It’s beautiful old buildings and even more beautiful new ones?

Streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

'The Red and Yellow Town' - Streets of San Miguel de Allende

Streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Streets of San Miguel with church appearing over the steep hill

All of the above, of course! San Miguel de Allende is only 3 and a half hours from Mexico DF and is definitely worth a weekend trip or more if you have the time. Like most tourist towns there are plenty of boutique stores, good restaurants and bars, but the best way to enjoy the town is to just walk around the hilly and narrow streets, explore and get lost.

Does San Miguel de Allende look like the kind of place you could see yourself living in? What makes these traditional small towns so appealing for people, both young and old?

Leave your comments in the box below and if you enjoyed this post, please share! 🙂

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris August 11, 2012 at 12:56 am

Gorgeous photos! Everything’s so bright and vivid. Looking forward to hearing the “tale of the missing passports…” Glad everything worked out!
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2 Steph August 11, 2012 at 2:19 am

Thanks Chris! 🙂 Yeah I’m glad too! Dealing with passport issues is not the most fun past-time! It’s kind of a ridiculous story, I’ll have to write about it soon! 🙂


3 Hannah August 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm

What a beautiful little town – your photos are amazing as always 🙂
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4 Stephanie Walsh August 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Thank you Hannah! 🙂 It’s one of my favourite towns now, even though Latin America does pose a lot of tough competition!


5 Marlyse Lafleur October 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos, you are very talented. I am Canadian but live in Puerto Vallarta and love San Miguel. Your photos brought back such great memories. If you are ever in my neck of the woods, please email me as I would love to have you come and stay and take some great photos of my beautiful adopted city to share with the world. Mil abrazos.


6 Stephanie Walsh October 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Thank you very much Marlyse! Thats very kind of you! We were actually in Puerto Vallarta for about 2 days at the start of the summer, so I have a few pics but not enough! We spent 1 month learning to surf in Sayulita, and I took plenty of photos and video there which I’ll get around to uploading some day! 🙂 I’ll keep you in mind if we ever return! Saludos!


7 Penny January 10, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Very good coverage of San Miguel and nice photos.


8 Stephanie Walsh January 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Thanks Penny! We loved it there, such a beautiful city!


9 Frank July 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Great photos! I love the last one. I went a few months ago and was also impressed by the beauty – my only complaint about the place is that it’s been overly-gringorized and is a bit boring by Mexican standards:
One thing I would recommend to anyone going to San Miguel is to visit the nearby town of Guanajuato which is gorgeous:
Great job with this blog Stephanie!
Frank (bbqboy)
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10 Alyona (@alyonatravels) October 18, 2013 at 6:10 am

Great post and amazing photos! We are heading to Mexico in 1 month and are very excited about our trip! Not sure if we manage to visit this place though, since it’s a bit far from the town where we are planning to stay. But if we have a chance, we will definitely visit San Miguel!
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11 Stephanie Walsh November 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Hey Alyona! Thank you for your kind words. Oh, you should definitely try to visit San Miguel. I know, Mexico is huge but San Miguel is a great place to go for the weekend if you have time. Cant wait to see your posts from Mexico!