Nestled in central Mexico’s mountainous state of Guanajuato lies the charming city of San Miguel de Allende. Long a favourite of expats, it has recently sprung onto the travel scene for its colourful colonial architecture, fresh and inventive local cuisine, and bevy of things to do and see. San Miguel de Allende provides the perfect scenic backdrop for a trip of recouping and recharging—here’s how to make the most of it.
The lovely botanical gardens pack a one-two wellness punch. Not only are there numerous walking paths within the 170-acre preserve, but the walk from the city centre offers a 40-minute mostly uphill climb. Start your trip off right with this calorie-burning trek. Another great option for enjoying the outdoors is the Rancho Xotolar. Here, visitors can horseback ride and explore the hilly beauty of the region just outside the city.
Food and drink
With an internationally-renowned foodie scene, San Miguel has so much to choose from when prioritizing fresh, healthy ingredients.
Breakfast: There’s no better way to start the day than with artisanal coffee. The folks at Lavanda Café step it up a notch with their lavender-infused brew, which is said to promote relaxation, lessen anxiety and depression, and even potentially act as a natural headache remedy. Travellers can also enjoy a light bite like yogurt with homemade granola and fruit, oatmeal, or toast with jam.
Lunch: The best lunch spot in San Miguel de Allende is not even a restaurant—it’s a lovely market full of fresh, local goodness. Consider walking around the Mercado Sano and sampling some bites for the ultimate meal on the go. Winners include aguamiel (the sweet water from agave), charred corn elotes, jicama with spicy dried chili dust, and tuna (the bright pink fruit from the prickly pear cactus). If you’re extra lucky and it’s available, be sure to try the fermented aguamiel, known as pulque. It’s like amazing Mexican kombucha.
Happy hour: Enjoy a swig of natural vino from the hidden gem El Garambullo Cava. These wines are lovingly made using only natural fermentation processes and are sure to please even the pickiest of palates.
Snack: San Miguel’s most famous rooftop, Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar, sits atop the luxe Rosewood hotel in the historic city centre. The small tapas bites make the perfect afternoon snack; some great choices are the marinated tomatoes, mushroom risotto, and house-made guacamole.
Dinner: Antonia Bistro is the perfect spot in which to enjoy a sunset dinner in San Miguel. This rooftop, popular with locals and travellers alike, offers exemplary service alongside an innovative menu and breathtaking city views. Don’t miss the Maya ceviche, market salad, or catch of the day.
Get a dose of culture with a walking tour of San Miguel’s famous arts district, the Colonia Guadalupe. Just a quick 10-minute jaunt from La Parroquia, the “white walls” mural project has transformed this formerly shabby neighbourhood into an internationally-known outdoor museum for urban muralism. The coolest part of the effort? The walls and artworks are always evolving.
Spa should really be spelled “spaaaahhhhh” for all that it does for overall wellness and satisfaction. When in San Miguel, visitors should embrace the traditional temazcal steam bath treatment at the upscale Laja Spa. This escape, beautifully ensconced within the restored Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, also offers a slew of other holistic remedies as well as yoga and meditation classes—meaning you can float back onto the plane in a state of utter bliss.