Sunday, July 16, 2017

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - Voted #1 in the WORLD by Travel & Leisure Magazine

                                          Photo taken on the Eve of Dia de los Muertos in jardin
                                                 in San Miguel several years ago.

It has happened again!  A national publication's readers have voted San Miguel de Allende the #1 place to visit in the WORLD.  It is totally astonishing to those of us who live here.  We do shake our heads in wonderment that our little village of about 67,000 people is recognized world over.

After all, we're not Paris or Florence or NYC, we are San Miguel, a little village that you can walk from one side to the other in 45 minutes or less. 

It is quite a feat to be in this place at this time.  We are honored and proud along with being a little concerned about the ramifications of more people knowing about this place that has three or four narrow roads into it. 

In 2008, UNESCO named the church at Atotonilco a World Heritage site.  At the same time, San Miguel due to its architecture and all the other wonderful things, was included in that designation.

It did impact the number of world travelers who have arrived.  It also has increased greatly the number of Mexican nationals who now travel from all over the country of Mexico to San Miguel.
I hate to confess, but on the weekends the traffic is a gridlock.  I see car licenses even from Baja.
Once they get to the town, the very few parking lots have little signs and no one knows where to go.
Most of the streets are one way because they were built for carriages, not cars!  It is a pedestrian
place not really set up for cars. 

Other then that, it is quite an amazing place to visit as well as to live.  As you know, I've been here seventeen years.  Every now and then I get the itch to move somewhere else in Mexico, but to tell
you the truth,  I can't think of where that would be.  It truly captures your heart.

Over the years the amount of high quality restaurants have opened.  Having formerly been a big "foodie", it certainly is a treat......for those who can afford the fancy schmancy places.  They are not the rule though, but the exception.  One can still have a magnificent breakfast for well under $5USD and a lunch for well under $10USD.  And, if eating on the streets, at the little stalls, anytime is usually under $5USD for delicious food.  Think carnitas, tacos al pastor, soups.  It is all here. Oh, and our bakeries.  Oh my.

It also is the norm for people to come here to visit, become so charmed that within a week, they buy a house and go back to sell off everything and move here.  I'm not kidding.  It is astonishing!

Usually when Travel and Leisure or Conde Nast, who also named San Miguel #1 in the world a few years ago, send writers here to write an article, they get their info from some uninformed sources. 

One article I just read said there are 20,000 expats here.  That is nonsense.  It is more like, maybe 7,500, if that many - full time.  The realtors want people to think the larger number, but it is not true.  I've checked this fact with the Immigration office here where people get visas. 

San Miguel is not only known for its visual beauty but for its festivals.  We locals feel like there is one almost every week accompanied by church bells and fireworks.  Some complain but I find it endearing to hear fireworks at dawn and sunset..........and sometimes earlier then dawn.  Most of us who have been here a long time, just turn over and go back to sleep at dawn.  Tee hee.

The festivals include, to name just a very few, a Jazz Festival, an International Music Festival, Independence Day in September, the Alborada the end of September when many indigenous tribes come and parade and dance in the jardin in full regalia.  It is spectacular.  December is a quiet time until the posadas start in mid month when people dressed as Mary and Joseph with burros and others walk the streets of San Miguel looking for lodging in a replay of the Birth of Christ. Christmas here is all about that, not presents.  Presents come in January on Three King's Day.  Then in February we have a magnificent flower market with growers from all over Mexico.  Our winter is ending and we all go gleefully to buy more plants. 

I could go on and on.  With all the saints and trades here that are honored, truly, there is almost something going on every day.  Life is never dull.

Can you tell that I love this village?  You would too, if you came to visit.  World travelers come here not expecting much and by the time they leave, they are planning a return.  It does grab your heart.

Let me know when you're coming to check it out for yourself.  I'd love to meet you in the jardin for a cappuccino or conversation........or both!

Viva Mexico!


Retired Teacher said...

Unfortunately, being a popular tourist destination is a two-edged sword. San Miguel might eventually find it necessary to restrict automobile traffic within the "centro historico". I have read that there are some popular towns in Europe that require tourists to park in designated lots on the edge of town.

Babs said...

Definitely a two edged sword. It is past time for the city government to restrict automobile traffic in the village. I have been to Antigua Guatemala that has out of town parking lots and using tuk tuks to transport people. So does Tequisquiapan and many places in Chiapas. Surely we can do the same. The quality of life needs to be
maintained for everyone.........