More than anything, I have loved the colors and flowers of San Miguel de Allende. It’s a feast for the eyes and senses every time we go out.
San Miguel de Allende was a shock to our systems after Hawaii. The heat, the altitude, and the dryness initially knocked the winds out of our sails and it took a few weeks to start feeling like ourselves and appreciating where we were. There have been plusses and minuses throughout our stay, but overall it’s been a positive one. Below are some of my thoughts on our time here:
- Our apartment has been a nice place to stay, with our friendly neighbors an added bonus, but we eventually realized this was not how or where we would want to live if we were to move here. The hill we have to walk up to get to our apartment is a killer. Having a car here would expand the areas in the city we could live and we also figured out we’d prefer a house to an apartment, and we could afford that here.
Two big entrees and two drinks for $20 has been the norm here, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. The quality of the food has always been outstanding.
- The restaurant scene in San Miguel de Allende has been the highlight of our stay, and being able to eat out twice a week without breaking our budget has been a lot of fun and a big positive. There’s an amazing variety of restaurants in the city, all of them extremely affordable for what you get, and we have yet to not enjoy a delicious meal and great service at any one of them.
- The number of expats we’ve encountered in the city has taken some getting used to. We’ve gone to restaurants where the entire clientele is expat, or walked down streets in Centro and seen and heard nothing but English. We pretty much hear nothing but English in the condo complex where we’re staying as well. After living and traveling overseas, the number of non-locals in the area has frankly been a bit hard to take at times and disconcerting as well, but full-time expats have offered lots of good advice and information, so there has been that side of it as well.
- The cobblestones have driven me nuts and have kept both of us from walking as much as we had hoped. The stone roads can be beautiful and charming to look at, but an absolute terror to walk on or across and very uncomfortable. The cobblestones are in many places just rounded stones set into the roadbed with space between them – often it’s like walking on small rocks to cross a river bed. Some streets are worse than others but all have been difficult for me as I’m constantly afraid the next step I take is the one that’s going to send me tumbling. Thankfully there are sidewalks to use much of the time, but there’s no escaping the stones.
- The cost of living has been the biggest draw for us and what would bring us back to live here. We knew things would cost less, but after living with Hawaii’s high prices for a few years the prices in San Miguel de Allende (one of the more expensive places in Mexico!) have been nothing less than a dream. The availability of goods, both food and otherwise, has also been a wonderful surprise. Anything we need or want can be found here and at low prices. Shops filled with affordable handmade Mexican goods have also been a delight and it’s been hard not to buy everything.
- We never really gave SMA’s cultural offerings or expat activities a chance. We knew there were many things we could have attended or gotten involved with, but we just were not motivated to mingle with other expats, at least not on this visit.
All in all, we’ve enjoyed our time in San Miguel de Allende, and are glad we came. We were able to save quite a bit of money during our stay which will make a difference going forward and we’ve enjoyed the apartment we rented except for its lack of water pressure – taking a shower or washing dishes has been difficult and time consuming at times. The Mexican people we have interacted with have all been friendly, helpful, and kind, and I’m thankful for their efforts to understand my horrible Spanish and correct me when necessary. Our takeaway is that while we haven’t fallen in love with San Miguel de Allende we have fallen in love with Mexico and could see ourselves potentially living somewhere else here. Life in Mexico might require a bit more effort, whether that’s walking over cobblestones or up hills, remembering to wash and disinfect fruits and vegetables before eating, making sure there’s bottled water available for drinking and teeth brushing, etc. but overall the quality of life is very good. I’m pretty sure we’ll be back, even if just to visit again.