Nestled in the colonial highlands of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is renowned for its culture, climate, low cost of living, cuisine and camaraderie. With numerous accolades bestowed upon the city, SMA continues to dazzle, amaze, and entice travelers from across the globe. Voted “The Best City in the World” by Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2017 and 2018, this “Heart of Mexico” pueblo offers an amazing lifestyle to those willing to invest time and capital.
The cultural environment of SMA is as rich as it is diverse. During any given week, a variety of cultural events will be offered: art gallery showings, live theater performances, native dance presentations, music concerts featuring all types of music, poetry readings, and arts and crafts fairs. Language schools offer a variety of classes for those wishing to gain some fluency in Spanish. Extensive parades and festivals occur throughout the year, so the fiesta vibe is always happening! Just walking the cobblestone streets and seeing the colonial architecture dating from the 16th and 17th centuries is an artistic experience!
Located in the Los Picachos mountains of central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende rests at 6200 ft. above sea level. Given this elevation and its dry, desert climate, the weather is pleasant year-round. One wise tourist once proclaimed he could experience four seasons in one day in SMA: spring in the early morning, summer during the day, fall in the late afternoon, and winter in the evening. Generally, a light jacket feels great in the mornings and in the evenings. The humidity is usually below 30%.
The cost of living in San Miguel de Allende is generally about half of what it costs to live in the United States. Entertainment expenses (eating dinner out with drinks, concert tickets, attending plays) are frequently less than $20 per person. Medical and dental expenses are significantly less in SMA than in the US: a CT scan with a full panel of bloodwork read by an internist costs less than $400 US, and a new crown from a dentist will cost approximately $450. Two bedroom/two bath homes or condos can be rented for under $1000 a month. Activities at the parks and sport complexes are free to the public.
With over 350 restaurants, small family-style eateries, food trucks and sidewalk food carts, a wealth of culinary delights tempts natives and visitors. Every type of cuisine is available, and many caterers offer delicious meals for entertaining at home. Organic markets sell beautiful fresh produce for those wishing to cook for themselves. Cooking classes in Mexican cuisine further entice those wishing to delve deeper into traditional methods in their cocinas. A beloved after-dinner treat is homemade Mexican ice cream easily purchased from food carts around the city.
The camaraderie found in San Miguel de Allende is very unique as it is such a global community. The Mexican people are very gracious in their hospitality and most will attempt to speak a bit of English when encountering a “gringo” with less-than-adequate Spanish skills. A friendly “Buenos días!” is spoken by strangers passing on sidewalks and common courtesy prevails in public spaces. The expat community, approximately 15,000 people from across the globe, enjoys positive relations with the Mexican community and is very involved in various charities and activities. With so many English-speaking expats in SMA (largely from the USA, Canada, England, and Australia), friends are easily made and clubs readily joined. Throughout the week, activities in book clubs, bridge clubs, wine clubs, cigar clubs, golf clubs, churches and charities offer expats opportunities to connect and make new friends.