Charming. Friendly. Older demographic of foreigners and younger demographic of locals. Cold enough to enjoy the fire place (January is when I visited 29-70). Abundance of churches for saints. What I find attractive about them is their bell towers. Ringing of the bells is inherent in the culture, it is a celebration, it is getting the almighty’s attention.
The artists community thrives as evident by their presence at every corner. As do cafes and boutiques. In the heart of the city - the square - it is foot traffic only. I estimate that the central part of #sanmigueldeallende to be about two square miles. Correct, not much to walk but, plenty of inclined streets to give you a modest heart rate boost that is sure to delight your fitness trackers.
The architecture at initial glance appears similar in style. I need to study it a bit more to figure out the nuances.
The foreigners, mostly Americans in my encounters, are folks who are retired here. They are folks who are more friendly than our regular folks in the US, guess the local water has done its deed on them.
Today, I rode the local bus and it took me through the real SMA, akin to other places I have visited in Mexico (and India) - a totally unplanned and ‘plan as you go’ layout with an abundance of life and creativity complimented by entrepreneurship.
This brings me to the one downside of SMA - if you don’t have wheels, you are pretty much stuck exploring the tourist spots. Yes, cabs are inexpensive - fixed 50-60 pesos anywhere in the downtown area, 100 pesos per hour if you get them by the hour. No bus maps or schedules available. Few locals that speak English couldn’t tell me about the bus network as they don’t take the bus. Bus rides are 7 pesos, perfect within my budget range.
No one rents out scooters because they wouldn’t do well on cobblestone streets. So, they rent out ATVs, yes, off road kind at 450 pesos per hour or 2,200 per 24 hour or 5,000 pesos for 3 days or 7,500 pesos for 5 days...well out of my budget range. The best price I was able to get quoted was 1,150 pesos for 4 hours. You have to leave your credit card, show a valid driver’s license and leave another kind of photo ID (don’t leave your passport).
There are many tourist excursions available for in/out of town depending on what you want to spend.
if you are a vegetarian, you will have to dig deep to find places that don’t consider lard to be vegetarian.
That’s it for now for my initial impressions, more to come...