Mexico is full of lovely surprises. While the attention of most travelers continues to be directed towards the country’s world-renowned beaches and mega-cities, there are those special few that have caught on to the recent trend of visiting the country’s more quaint, centrally located towns – many of which are deemed ‘Pueblos Magicos’ or ‘Magical Towns’.
These Magical Towns are a part of larger initiative led by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism to promote a series of smaller cities and towns around the country that offer visitors a ‘magical’ experience by reason of their cultural richness, traditions, folklore, historical relevance, cuisine, arts and crafts, exquisite hospitality, and of course – their natural beauty. One such town that has been catching the attention of foreigners for years is that of San Miguel de Allende in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.
Ever since American Stirling Dickinson arrived here in 1937, this majestic Mexican town has been a magnet for international artists and U.S. expatriates. Once an old silver mining town located in the arid, Guanajuato mountains, San Miguel de Allende has transformed into one of Latin America’s most magnetic destinations, attracting visitors who are looking to experience something fresh.
Now home to at least 8,000 Americas (1 out of every 10 residents), over 100 non-for-profit organizations, upscale shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, bars, and boutique hotels, San Miguel de Allende has proven not only to be one the most stunning Magical Towns in Mexico, but to be the heart of Mexico itself. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and voted the World’s Best City in both 2017 and 2018 by Travel and Leisure Magazine, this remarkable Mexican destination is one that you do not want to pass up. In addition to its natural charm, there are numerous wildlife tours and ancient ruins near San Miguel de Allende. That said, when visiting, don’t forget to experience at least one of the San Miguel de Allende excursionsr – whether through town, ancient archeological sites, or nearby nature parks.
If you look to enjoy the country’s most picturesque architecture, cobblestone streets, art venues, and craft shops, or to explore the town’s many outdoor parks, flourishing gardens, and wildlife, San Miguel de Allende has something to offer all of its guests. Two of the most beloved treasures this town has to offer nature lovers are the Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden) and hiking excursions through the vast Coyote Canyon – home to some of the best hiking in Mexico.
Showcasing the botanical diversity of Guanajuato’s high desert ecosystem and an impressive collection of Mexican succulents, the San Miguel Botanical Garden consists of 6 miles (10 kilometers) of cactus-lined paths, offering guests impeccable views of multiple species of endemic cacti, fauna, and of course – the mighty canyon below. As part of a larger nature preserve, the site hosts a number of educational events, including bird watching tours, hiking activities, youth workshops, traditional sweat lodges, and a monthly full moon ceremony.
For those looking to capture a closer look at the region’s endemic fauna, Coyote Canyon is the place to be. Home to at least 156 species of migratory and resident birds, 32 species of mammals, 18 species of reptiles and amphibians, 110 species of butterflies, and 11 species of dragonflies and damselflies, this is every nature lover’s paradise.
Cut through trails in narrow gorges, oak forests, high passes, and wide open prairies. Enjoy the freshwater rivers and unparalleled canyon views. During your excursion (which offers some of the best horseback riding in San Miguel de Allende) you are sure to witness some of the region’s most beloved wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled and look out for regional sky-dwellers such as the Green-Winged Teal, Red-Tailed Hawk, and the White-Throated Swift. When on the march, you are sure to come across a Ring-Tailed Cat, Gray Fox, or a White-Sided Jackrabbit. The Canyon Tree Frog and the Green Mesquite Lizard are sure to say hello. Simply put – you will be a guest in mother nature’s very own backyard.
Don’t wait any longer – come experience one of Mexico’s most spectacular ‘hidden’ treasures. Whether you walk its gorgeous streets, enjoy its savory cuisine, or explore its vibrant nature, we hope that this acts as a helpful starting point and a useful, yet brief, San Miguel de Allende travel guide.