This beautiful colonial town in Mexico is becoming more popular day by day

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Mexico may be popular for its pristine beaches and Mayan heritage, but in truth, it’s an incredibly various country whose cultural offer extends far beyond the usual tourist hotspots of the Mexican Caribbean. It is home to a plethora of historic towns few Americans dare to explore, and it had been largely overlooked for decades – until now.

After hearing about this gorgeous colonial gem nestled in the heart of the state of Guanajuato that seems straight out of a fairy tale, you might even feel inclined to miss Tulum this fall.

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, Latin America

Mexico’s colonial-era settlements are becoming more popular by the day, appearing on many online travel lists and going viral on video-sharing apps such as Instagram and TikTok. Yes, the Riviera Maya remains the top attraction south of the border, gearing up to welcome over 9 million tourists this winter alone, but other relatively smaller destinations have also seen a revival of late.

That said, it really comes as no surprise that one of Mexico’s Best Kept Secrets is now in the open:

Female tourist wandering the colorful streets of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, Guanajuato State, Latin America

This is where you should go in Mexico next

San Miguel de Allende is a city that is part of the state of Guanajuato, located 170 northeast of Mexico City and just 60 miles from the city of Guanajuato, the state capital. In 2018, he was crowned the most Best small town at the World Travel Awards, proving that he followed a successful path long before the revival of tourism in Mexico*.

*What we’re dubbing the North American giant’s record-breaking return to the top of the tourism charts in a post-Covid scene.

Colorful house in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

As claimed by CEIC, a data provider that tracks the growth of tourism in specific destinations, the state of Guanajuato, of which San Miguel de Allende is part, has seen a steady increase in the number of arrivals during the first quarter of the 21st century, growing from just over 400,000 annual visitors in 2007 to nearly one million, or 956,465 in 2018.

Although official figures for this year are not available at the time of writing, the state has already been declared The fifth most important tourist center in Mexico in 2022 — after all, turquoise-water beaches and luxury resorts are only part of Mexico’s much larger allure. Increasingly, visitors are drawn to its historical relevance and vast cultural wealth.

Mexico is a cultural center like no other

San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, Latin America

Arriving in San Miguel, tourists who have already been to Europe, or more precisely to the Iberian Peninsula, will feel like brought back to Spain or even to Portugal: the old historic center is an incoherent maze of 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings that could easily pass for one of the traditional old Spanish towns, showcasing the old empire’s iconic skyline tinged with ocher and brightly colored houses.

Of course, dominating the picturesque streets below, stands a majestic monument evoking neo-Gothic architecture, and the main tourist attraction of the city, the Juan de San Miguel brother – a quintessential Latin American postcard.

San Francisco Church in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

These monuments have been recognized not only by UNESCO, which has declared the “protective city” of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno of Atotonilco World Heritage Sitesbut also by the visitors who in recent years have flocked to the Mexican gem to bask in its splendor.

Some of the highlights of San Miguel are:

  • Although it is not a small city, being a strong city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, it’s much smaller and much more scenic than the overly chaotic megalopolises of Mexico
  • It’s not yet tarnished by overdevelopment, as evidenced by more traditional destinations like Cancun
  • The prices are relatively lower than in other larger and more popular cities, especially accommodation prices and tourist attractions
  • He is easy accesswith many bus companies serving the city from Guanajuato, Mexico City or other major departure points

San Miguel finally finds social media fame

Tourist bus in historic downtown San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

lifestyle blogger Aline Tamirwhich is approaching its historic 100th country and has amassed over 335,000 followers on Instagram while encouraging women to travel, recently visited San Miguel de Allende and spoke to Traveling out of the way on his experience. According to Alyne, it is one of the most “photogenic and instagrammable” cities she has already visited:

That’s not to say that Alyne thinks San Miguel is Instagrammable in the “boring, generic way”: it’s full of “Old World Charm”of a beauty that does not seem artificial – it has been maturing and refining for five centuries.

San Miguel de Allende Botanical Gardens, Guanajuato, Mexico

Additionally, Alyne highlights San Miguel’s rising art scene and the weekly exhibits that take place in local parks every Sunday, where tourists can purchase paintings and other unique handmade souvenirs.

Kashlee Kucheranfounder of Traveling out of the way (TOP), is another of the thousands of North American explorers to have been drawn to the mysticism of San Miguel. Despite the city’s approval is beautiful, she adds ‘it’s not very affordable‘ compared to others budget colonial-era destinations, such as Guadalupe (Zacatecas) or Valladolid (Yucatan).

Calle Empedrada in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Even then, Kashlee believes tourists can “for sure” get good value for money compared to the rates of hotels in the Riviera Maya or even in the capital. For the travel expert, one of the benefits associated with San Miguel’s growing popularity is the obvious “change in infrastructure.”

New boutique hotels, modern spa facilities, art galleries and leisure centers “that wouldn’t have existed 15 years ago” are now an integral part of the tourist offer – not to mention better food availability.

Kashlee concludes that San Miguel is a ‘very good‘ city where Americans can find the best of both worlds. Namely, it is both a wellness destination and a place where history is found in every corner, courtyard and intricately built churches:’This is become high-endso it’s ideal for an upscale traveler who still wants a taste of culture‘.

Top sights in San Miguel de Allende

Interior garden of a building in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Some of San Miguel de Allende’s must-sees include:

  • The cobbled streets of the old town lined with traditional houses from the Spanish era
  • Las Monjas, officially the Church of the Immaculate Conception, one of the oldest religious buildings in the city
  • The breathtaking frescoes of the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, commonly called The Sistine Chapel of Mexico
  • The El Tiangues de los Martesa giant street market held on Tuesdays on the outskirts of town where you can find traditional Mexican food at affordable prices
  • Benito Juarez Park, a relaxing walk in nature flanked on all sides by elaborate fountains and lush gardens
  • Iglesia de San Francisco, an 18th-century church that owes its fame to a solitary tower of high standing and brightly colored decor Baroque facade

How to get there

Air travelers wearing face masks while transiting through an airport, air travel concept

Queretaro International, serving the city of Queretaro, is the nearest airport to San Miguel de Allendeabout an hour drive.

Alternatively, tourists can arrive via Del Bajio International in Guanajato, an hour and a half from the city, or by car from other entry points further afield, such as Mexico City (4 hours).

Read more:

Travel insurance that covers Covid-19 for 2022

Travel Mexico Like A Local, These Are The 9 Best Mexico Vacation Destinations

These are the 5 most visited destinations in Mexico by Americans

Research shows that Los Cabos is one of the safest destinations in Mexico

7 tips for stress-free travel during your fall trip to Mexico

This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your upcoming trip, please visit:

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