Living in San Miguel de Allende
Recognized by many as “The prettiest city in Mexico”, San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful landmark itself, which for the last decades has gained a reputation of being expat-friendly. In 2008 the city was designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
San Miguel de Allende was founded on the 2nd October 1542 under the name of San Miguel el Grande, by Friar Juan de San Miguel, altogether with Otomi and Purepechan Indians. The city is also renowned due to its importance in the planning and execution of the Independence movement from Spain.
A beautiful retreat from the noisy business and manufacturing world, and yet, close enough.
San Miguel Allende is a small town of 171,857 inhabitants. It is located in the center of Mexico, in the State of Guanajuato. It is 3:00 hours by highway to Mexico City, 9:16 hrs to Brownsville, Tx., and 1:44 hrs to the modern city of León, Guanajuato.
The city holds many colorful, traditional and cultural festivities throughout the year. This attracts both the locals and visitors in a magical gathering of cultures and flavours. Some of these festivities:
The holy week begins with an exhibition of altars dedicated to the Virgin of Sorrows and end with the Procession of Silence. Prior to the Procession of Silence, there is a reenactment of the judgment of Jesus by Pontius Pilate, on one side of the San Miguel Parish. Then the procession begins, which represents the fourteen scenes of the Passion before his crucifixion. Many of the townspeople participate in the event, with children dressed as angels and adults in period clothing carrying statues of Jesus.
Chamber Music Annual Festival (August)
This festival occurs each year in August in the city's historic center. One of the purposes of the event is to bring this type of music to streets and other public venues as well as traditional concert halls such as the event's home, the Angela Peralta Theater.
San Antonio de Padua Celebration (June)
Traditional and popular parade of “Los Locos” (The Crazy Ones), where people parade in customs and masks on the main streets of the city. A parade with floats, musical bands and full of joy !
International Film Festival, Guanajuato (July)
This is one of the three most important film festivals in Mexico. It is divided between the cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato and receives more than 100,000 visitors. Films from more than 100 competing countries are shown. There is one invited country every year and reviews on social topics through the cinema. Various shops and conferences take place.
International Jazz Festival (November)
A week devoted to the presentation of Jazz soloists and bands, both national and International
Christmas Celebration ( December)
It starts on the 16th, with the traditional public posadas, which are popular reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s struggle asking for an inn for baby Jesus to be born. This is reenacted by chants both from those asking for an inn and those in the houses rejecting it. People wear costumes, traditional chants go with this, and everyone gets to participate !
Recommended links for sightseeing in San Miguel de Allende
» Visit San Miguel de Allende
» Discover Neo-Gothic San Miguel
» Enjoy the therapeutic activities in San Miguel de Allende
» Pyramids Cañada de la Virgen
How is it to live in San Miguel Allende?
As an introduction, it is important to note the Demographics of the city:
Despite being less than 5% of the total municipal population, foreign residents have considerable cultural and economic impact. Most foreign residents are retirees from the United States, Canada, and Europe attracted by the mild climate, cultural opportunities, and low crime. It is only a ten-hour drive from the U.S. border. Many of the home buyers are from this segment of the population as well.
Estimates of foreign residents range from 20,000 to 25,000, with at least half of these from the United States. The large foreign presence has established a number of institutions here, most notably the Biblioteca Pública in the former convent of Santa Ana, which has the second-largest English-language book collection in Mexico and serves as a community center for foreigners. There is also a chapter of the Lion's Club (est. 1987). A post of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars is located there, as well as Mexico's only Audubon Society chapter
San Miguel de Allende is a welcoming community for foreigners. It is like becoming ageless, with no background on social or economical level, or religious, political beliefs, family relations or else. Many foreigners have found it very fulfilling in living in a tranquille city where making new and diverse friends is easy, and where common ground can be found in cultural activities, culinary, theater, charity work, arts and joy. Social activities among the expatriates communities are fulfilling and different than doing so back at home. San Miguel de Allende has this certain magic that has been so very well welcomed and cultivated by the foreigners coming and settling here. Different cultures just flow amongst themselves and this adds up to the well-being of the community, and specially for retirees.
There are options for every budget, from affordable services, international cuisine, organic products, supermarkets, etc. These can range from low reasonable prices to high-end options for every taste. Domestic service is available and at very low costs.
Living close to downtown is expensive. However, going a little farther from downtown will clearly show more affordable housing prices. Alternatives are varied, from antique houses to modern neighborhoods and residential developments offering a wide range of services, controlled gate access and shuttle services amongst others.
The city of San Miguel de Allende has a mild semi-dry climate and mild semi-humid. The average temperature for the year is 66°F (19 °C). December and January are the coldest months at 58 °F (15°C), and the warmest May and June at (71 °F ) 22 °C. Through May to September heavy rains occur, mostly in July and August.