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Why This Gorgeous Small City In Mexico Is Surging In Popularity Right Now

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Mexico is the most popular international destination this winter.

With its balmy weather, unmatched hospitality, and proximity to the United States, it is a no-brainer for American vacationers looking to unwind and immerse themselves in a foreign culture.

Drawn to the paradisaical beaches and world-class luxurious resorts, a majority of them will be flocking into Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and the like, but a lesser-known, gorgeous small city is also expecting a surge in visitors come December.

Aerial View Of San Miguel de Allende, A Colonial Era City In Mexico, Latin America

An unsung hero of Mexico's post-crisis Tourism Reinassance, San Miguel de Allende has seen a 400% uptick in hotel reservations, and it looks set for further growth in 2024:

Why Is San Miguel Becoming So Popular?

One of Mexico's oldest, most traditional, and arguably prettiest small cities, San Miguel de Allende is located in the Mexican hinterland, in the eastern part of the state of Guanajuato, exactly 60 miles from the state capital of the same name, and 170 miles from Mexico City.

Founded in the mid 16th century, it is recognized across Mexico for having a well-preserved colonial core and a high concentration of tourist landmarks within walking distance of each other, comprising a UNESCO-protected city center.

Colonial Street Lined By Colorful Buildings In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Latin America

Unlike other larger cities in Mexico, when strolling the streets of San Miguel, you are unlikely to feel overwhelmed by chaotic traffic, nor have the historical charm essentially engulfed by excessive urban pollution:

It's almost as if time stood perfectly still.

One Of Mexico's Most Picturesque Small Cities

Much of the Centro Historico remains as it was 250 or more years ago, following the strict grid-like urban layout imposed by the Spaniards upon their colonization of the area, making it one of the best-planned urban centers anywhere in Mexico.

Mexican Women Riding Donkeys Through The Streets Of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Latin America

San Miguel is known for its numerous narrow cobblestone lanes, Iberian-style Catholic churches, and lavish colonial mansions, which have been preserved for posteriority through a series of revitalization projects.

Some of the most striking structures in the Old Town include:

  • The cathedral, or Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a Neo-Gothic effort whose construction began as early as 1709
  • The Immaculada Concepcion Temple, with a Les Invalides-inspired dome
  • The Casa Allende, a museum housed in the former home of Ignacio Allende, an important historical character in the Mexican War of Independence
  • The palatial Casa del Mayorazgo de la Canal, the former seat of the De la Canal family, one of the wealthiest in Spanish Mexico
  • The San Francisco Church, a mish-mash of different architectural styles built over two centuries, including a Churrigueresque facade and a fine Neoclassical bell tower
  • Parque Juarez, a green oasis in the heart of town laid out in the early 20th century, and modeled after Parisian parks, with the same wrought-iron benches and ornate fountains
Ornate Fountain In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Latin America

These are only a few of San Miguel's wide array of cultural sites, and if you are visiting, we strongly suggest you take your time in exploring the colonial center.

The Hernandez Macias Street is a good place to start, as it is a picturesque footpath lined by vibrant-colored buildings and colonial-era homes, but trust us when we say you have no shortage of hidden courtyards and richly-decorated historical palaces to discover.

A Rising Wellness Hub

Woman getting a relaxing massage at a spa

Other than being one of Mexico's strongest ‘colonial' offers, San Miguel is rising in popularity as a wellness hub due to the growing presence of spa facilities in the historic center and the transformation of more colonial houses into tourist-friendly hotels.

As our CEO Kashlee Kucheran, who has been to San Miguel de Allende herself, has stated, it is both a wellness destination and somewhere visitors can find History in every corner, and an up-and-coming upscale option for those who want to ‘sample some culture‘.

A Charming Street Lined With Colorful Buildings In San Miguel de Allende, State Of Guanajuato, Mexico

Some of the most luxurious hotels in San Miguel with overnight rates of $210 and under this winter are the centrally-located Hotel del Portal, with sweeping views of the cathedral and winding streets, the charming, pink-colored adults-only Casa Rosada, and the cozy, five-star boutique Hotel Madi.

400% Increase In Bookings

This year, San Miguel de Allende has seen a 400% increase in hotel bookings against 2019, the last ‘normal', pre-pandemic reference year, placing it among 5 cities in Mexico with the highest occupancy rate in 2023.

Craft Street In San Miguel de Allende, A Colonial Era City In Mexico, Latin America

Additionally, the municipality was included in the renowned American publication Condé Nast Traveler's Top 3 Best Small Cities in the World list in recognition of its cultural value and the local tourism industry's high quality of services.

The nearest major airports to San Miguel de Allende are Guanajuato International Airport (BJX), and Queretaro Intercontinental (QRO).

They are roughly 1.5 hours driving from San Miguel, and host nonstop flights from a number of U.S. cities, mainly in Texas, such as Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 27th of November 2023

San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful city but I wouldn't say it's "one of the best-planned urban centers". The sewer system a mess! The city stinks in some area due to poor quality sewer system.