It’s been a bit since I’ve posted! The end of the school year surprised me (as it always does) with the number of research papers, tests, and social events packed into the last few weeks before summer, leaving me little time to write. I’ll probably do one more post on Barcelona, but for now it’s back to Mexico!
My last trip out of Querétaro during my time in Mexico was a day trip to San Miguel Allende. A popular site with expats and tourists, it’s about 45 minutes from Querétaro. Given its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the colorful streets and unique pink steeple, it’s easy to see why so many are drawn to it.
San Miguel is definitely a tourist town with both Mexican and international tourists. This means you’re much more likely to find people who speak English than you are in Querétaro. It also means prices are higher, although for Americans it’s still likely not too expensive. However, after spending almost four months in Querétaro, it was noticeably more expensive to me and my friends! I can’t speak to lodging, but food is where this is likely to be most evident. You can find good food at all price points, but depending on how tight your budget is, you may have to look a little further to find the price point you want than in other cities.
My friends and I spent most of our day there just wandering through the colorful streets. It’s really easy to take a picture that looks like it could be a postcard in San Miguel. We made our way down to the Parque Benito Juárez (Benito Juárez Park). It’s not too far outside the main center, but it’s fairly large, shady, and had much fewer people there. It’s a good place if you need a bit of a break from the sun and people.
Two unique souvenirs you can find easily in San Miguel are little wooden burros and flower crowns (both plastic and real dried flowers). Both are available from a variety of vendors on the streets. I think both were around 40-60 pesos, if I remember right, which is about $2-3 USD. I didn’t get a flower crown since I didn’t know when else I’d wear it or how I’d get it home, but I did get a little burro. It proved challenging to pack, but I’m glad I got it. He looked very cute on my coffee table this year 🙂
The wooden burros are modeled after real burros with baskets of flowers that comprise part of traditional wedding processions. The bride, groom, wedding party, and friends parade through the streets with burros like this and huge paper mache models of the bride and groom. I think we saw two of these processions, but I don’t have any pictures. If I remember right, we were really close to them, and I didn’t want to invade their privacy by being an obnoxious foreign tourist taking photos of everything! If you visit on a Saturday like we did, your chances of seeing a wedding procession are pretty high.
For me and my friends, the better part of a day was a good amount of time to spend in San Miguel. It was hot (mid-April), and I remember peeling my dark wash jeans off my legs after walking 30 minutes in the sun back to my house in Querétaro. Even when the air temperature is not that hot, the sun is intense! We did not try to do anything outside the city center or that required an entrance fee. If you want to do more than just explore the streets or want a nice place to relax, you could definitely spend a few days there, but we felt like we got a good sense of the city in a day.
It’s not hard to get a bus to San Miguel from Mexico City or from Querétaro. A bus from the latter will cost less than $5 USD.