I always knew I wanted to visit San Miguel De Allende. I love Mexico and any place from that country would be beautiful but this particular city had had my attention for a long time, as I had seen so many stunning photos of it online.
Beautiful bright colonial architecture, vibrant art scene and of course food!
So I was super excited because I was able to go to this city with my husband to celebrate our anniversary, the perfect romantic place.
Here is a long Travel Diary with all the details of my first but certainly not the last trip to San Miguel De Allende
We landed in Leon, a town an hour west of San Miguel de Allende. We had booked a shuttle ahead of time to ensure that we don’t have to wait for a taxi. If you don’t plan to travel outside SMA you don’t need a car, the shuttle works great. You can pretty much walk everywhere in the town, and if you get tired of walking you can get taxis for about 50-70 pesos one way (about $2-4.)
It took us about an hour and a half to reach San Miguel de Allende, the ride was smooth. The terrain is not picturesque but it made for a beautiful sunrise. Vivid colors in the sky looked absolutely stunning against the arid landscape of mesquite and Nopales or Cactus.
We stayed at a Airbnb a little away from the downtown or Centro area. My hubby prefers a quieter place and hence we picked this and we were so glad we did. This cute little place we had the whole apartment and it also had another terrace with a beautiful view of the cathedral. The host Wanda had taken care of every little detail and made us feel at home.
We had landed very early in the day so we decided to explore the town and have some breakfast while our room was getting ready. Although the walk to the Centro is only 15-20 mins, we decided to hop on a city bus that took us close to the cathedral, and it costed $7 pesos per person. We love taking public transportation because it allows you to connect with the locals.
The bus dropped us near the cathedral but seemed like the town was still asleep. We walked around and came to this market ‘Ignacio Ramirez’ and there was some sign of life. We decided to grab a quick bite before heading back. The market does not seem like much from outside but there is a big treasure waiting for you to explore if you are willing. We walked around a bit and decided to head out. We did come back to this market later on our trip and explored more, because it was full of great finds.
Any new place I visit, I always do two things: visit the local markets and talk to the locals. I feel that through this I learn the most about the place, culture and people.
TOSMA or Mercado Sano
When I shared that I was going to San Miguel de Allende, my friend Susie told me about this organic market that’s held every Saturday, so the first thing on the agenda was just that.
We decided to walk to that Mercado. San Miguel de Allende is full of colorful shops along the city streets, beautiful homes that have some great doors that open into these cute little courtyards that are fascinating. It seems like each of these courtyard have something interesting to share. Some have cafes like Lavanda, orvegan cafes like Nectar, some have fancy restaurants like Aperi; and others have artisanal craft stores and a lot of them are actually art galleries. In fact I feel like San Miguel de Allende is an artists heaven.
We walked towards Mercado de Sana and found this bazar that was just amazing. Local food, drinks, art and even some incredible products. People have this notion that Mexican food is mainly meat focused, but when you come to places like this is when you see all seasonal local ingredients showcased beautifully.
Read my detailed post about TOSMA/Mercado Sano below:
The afternoons were fairly warm, so after exploring until lunch, we decided to head back to the AirBnB for some siesta.
The place where we stayed was very close to the Fabrica La Aurora that David had told us about, so we decide to go and explore. We were so glad we did, there was live music, some wine tasting and beautiful art work. Its always fascinating to see how the artists see and interpret the world.
We headed back to the town after the visit. The town comes alive at night. The street were full of people, local and tourists alike. There were taco stall, churros, corn and more street food. There was music and everyone seemed to be enjoying the cooled down evening temperature . It seemed like everything was happening around the cathedral. In the warm night, the cathedral looked beautifully lit.
We had made a reservation at a roof top restaurant, La Posadita. We enjoyed the outdoor eating with the Cathedral view. The food was not the greatest but interesting things like Escamoles, or ant eggs were on the menu. The guac was very well done and the Oxacan bean soup I ordered tasted so much like the Indian Black lentils, I feel if you observe there are many similarities across various cuisines.
We were ready to explore more after a good night sleep and we both love a good breakfast. So the first order of the day was looking for place with good coffee and some chilaquiles.
Our first stop was this cafe Lavanda that’s very highly rated. We had to wait quite a bit as the restaurant has a few tables in this small beautiful courtyard, the wait was definitely worth it.
After the breakfast we decided to go back to Mercado Ignacio Ramirez. Ignacio Ramirez was a famous poet from Mexico and this market is named after him. When you walk past the cathedral and the gardens, navigate through some busy areas, you come to this market. There were some celebrations happening at the cathedral so I decided to not go inside. There were some vendors selling small craft items, young kids were also helping their parents, but I decided to keep focus on the market 🙂 , I get distracted very easily.
Ignacio Ramirez was a famous poet from Mexico and this market is named after him. It is one of the more popular market amongst the locals.
Mercado Ignacio Ramirez
There is so much to share and see in this market, that I have written a detailed post on it. You can read that here
Come along with me on the market tour here
It seemed like that the Ignacio Ramirez market was never ending. As we made our way through the area where they were selling these vegetables, we could see some stores selling jewelry but also some clay pots and other crafts items. As we made our way towards those shops we saw a banner that said ‘Welcome to the Artisan Market’, there was a huge unending lane full of all kinds of artisanal things in Mercado Artesanias
There was a pathway with cobbled stones that was leading down from Ignacio Ramirez, both sides were lined with tiny shops that were filled with so many intricate, colorful interesting things. I will write in detail about this market soon.
We were ready for our lunch and decided to check out another market that we had heard about. This market takes place only on Sundays and I was excited to be there.
This is a market surrounding an Organic restaurant, Via Organica. A small cobblestone lined street was full of stalls with merchants selling some amazing organic products. I loved the vibe in that place, there was something very peaceful.
I had an opportunity to taste Mezcals that were aged differently. Different cheeses, got to learn about various different corns, tasted some aguamiel or honey water, this is the same from which Agave Syrup is made.
I also got to taste some Microgreens, try all kinds of Agua fresca and so much more. This once again made me realize that I have so much to learn about Mexican food. In fact it seems like just like India, it changes drastically from place to place.
The afternoons were fairly warm and we preferred going back to the Airbnb for a siesta
As the sun set we came back to the Centro, the central area near and around the Cathedral where all the action is happening. Its vibrant, its lively and I loved it.
We were celebrating our anniversary and my husband had made reservations in a nice restaurant ,’ Apari’. Located a few blocks away from the Cathedral, its an eclectic restaurant that served some delicious food. We were seated in a courtyard which was decorated very tastefully.
After dinner we walked around the square, enjoyed some live music. As we were walking back to grab a taxi we realized that we were a little hungry again( what can we say, we love food), so decided to make a quick stop at the Taco stand, it was crowded and it was popular.
We love food so much that we made another stop at the Churro stall. It was a tiny little window through which you could place an order. I ordered churro filled with Dulce de Leche, OMG it tasted so good.
It was Cinco de Mayo and we could see fireworks in the sky as we walked back home. It was a beautiful night.
Next morning we decided to make a trip to famous bakery that locals seem to hang out at. It seemed like people were spending hours chatting with friends enjoying the breakfast, its a rare site in the USA especially on a working day.
We walked around the square, each shop has something interesting an artistic. I loved how there was a great combination of traditional and modern craft store, furniture stores etc.
After a good walk, we were ready for our lunch, se I told you we eat a lot. We decided to try this vegan cafe that we had read good stuff about.
I liked some things but I would that make a special trip to this place. The ambience is nice, a small courtyard with bunch of paper flowers, small little glass cups made with handblown glass to hold some nectar for the Calibrí or hummingbirds. The coffee was good, both the hot coffee and the Vietnamese cold coffee were good.
We walked back to the our AirBnb which was not too far from Via Organica
After our nap we were discussing about where to go for dinner, I know what you must be thinking but what can we do, we live for food. When we were at Via Organica, we had met someone who had talked some Mezcaleria, and we thought it was a great idea. But as we were researching we came across this Oxacan place and decided to give it a try.
The address was near the cathedral, near the library. We got there but could not spot it anywhere, and then we saw this unassuming small eatery. I actually was not sure how the food would be but boy we were surprised.
It a cute little place that one must visit when in SMA. Non pretentious, a small but great menu and stunning view is what brought us in. The owner Mario is amazing, he not only spent time explaining details on Mezcal but also shared some amazing stories about Oxacan food. The tllyauda was just amazing and so was the guac. I cant wait to go back when I back in SMA.
We were leaving later that day so decided to take it easy and have a chill breakfast. Our host had some cereal and milk and we had that for breakfast while we finished packing. We were ready to have our lunch before we said goodbye for now to SMA.
We had read about this place called Taco Don Felix, it seemed like it was in the no where area. Not close to the Centro or anything but it was rated super well and so we decided to go. Its in a residential area but difficult to find, our cab driver knew about it.
Everything, absolutely everything was amazing. We were greeted with a small tostada to start with. My husband got the pork one and I got the vegetarian one which had the famous Huitlacoche. If you guys don’t know what Huitlacoche is, its a corn mushroom. When it rains while the corn is still tender inside the cob, a mushroom forms inside the corn. It is enjoyed as a delicacy across latin America. It has a very unique almost truffle like taste, and I absolutely love it .
The tacos were fantastic and each of the salsa served as an accompaniment was tasty. I got the Guava Margarita and it was delish. Another place that I will certainly visit on my next trip to SMA.
We took a taxi back to our AirBnB, picked up our bags and headed to the airport.
I fell in love with San Miguel de Allende, and I know I will certainly come back. Perhaps I will explore some areas around SMA, learn some Oxacan cooking, Practice my Spanish and chill.
I hope you enjoyed reading my looooong Travel diary, would love to know your comments/feedbacks.