Monday morning came around, we checked out of the Airbnb at 11 and got on the road to San Miguel de Allende. It was a quick 2.5 hour drive from San Luis Potosi.
We took the scenic route through some mountains along the Mexican toll roads which are incredibly pleasant to drive on. They’re really well maintained and guarded by police so you feel super safe on them.
Driving in Mexico is fun. It’s different than in the U.S. because there are different rules of the road, but traffic moves seamlessly and everyone seems to be working collectively to get to where they’re going without any mishaps. The toll highways in Mexico are usually two lanes in either direction and the speed limits are between 60 and 110 kilometers. People there don’t really try to speed to get ahead, but you are allowed to pass cars. And we realized a lot of the time the speed limit was really just a suggestion.
Mexican toll roads are made with the idea of passing cars in mind. The shoulders are really wide and you can drive in them. So if a truck or car is driving slowly in front of you for whatever reason they’ll put on their left blinker. The left blinker indicates that you’re able to pass them. Cars/Trucks will get in the shoulder and let you go around them. It’s pretty nice. Another rule of the road we picked up on is that when traffic is stopped bumper to bumper, cars put on their hazards so that the driver behind them knows to come to a complete stop. It’s a very courteous system.
OkAiii so enough about the way of the road. Let me tell you about a beautiful place.
San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It sits at 1,900 meters or 6,233 feet elevation. It is a very hilly city with tiny windy roads that we weren’t sure our Crosstrek would fit through a lot of the time. Luckily our Suba is a badass and had no problems getting herself up steep hills and tight squeezes.
Before this trip I hadn’t realized how mountainous the center of Mexico is. We had been at high elevations since we arrived. Monterrey, Saltillo and San Luis Potosi were relatively flat, so the elevation didn’t really get to us when walking around, but San Miguel de Allende was not. We’re both in decent shape, but we felt winded every time we went for a walk going up and down steep hills.
We stayed at a really beautiful stone hotel that looked like a castle called Hotel Casa Liza. It cost $49/night with taxes and fees included. It was right in the center of town, which I was very grateful for because we didn’t have to walk far to go anywhere.
San Miguel De Allende was the first city in Mexico to gain its independence from Spain in 1810. The city is originally home to the Chichimeca Jonaz People. Today the city is filled with Baroque architecture, museums, artsy ex pats, galleries, restaurants and culture. My favorite part of the city were the many colorful doors and stone facades. It felt like you were on the set of a movie where everything was picture perfect waiting for you to photograph it. So I did.
We were so hungry when we got to San Miguel de Allende that we decided we would eat out for the first time since arriving in Mexico. We were a little hesitant at first because of COVID, but a lot of the buildings and restaurants in Mexico are colonial builds, so they have open air courtyards in the middle and if an area is indoors the windows are open, tables far apart and ventilation is so good that it’s more outdoors than outdoor dining in NYC is. It did not disappoint. We found a vegan restaurant called Don Taco Tequila and ordered everything we could. Esquite, Sopa Azteca, Baja Colifornia tacos (In Spanish the word for cauliflower is coliflor, so it was a cute little play on words), more tacos and a bunch of other things. It was so good. After we ate we walked off the food, visited the Parroquia De San Miguel Arcangel, checked out a few stores, took pictures of doors and went back to the hotel to call it a night.
The next day we got up, walked around, picked up breakfast and visited El Charco Del Ingenio, the botanical garden in San Miguel de Allende. Normally when I think of a Botanical Garden I think of greenhouses and lots of flowers in the middle of a city, but this one was totally different. It was a walk/mini hike through the desert on preserved land. I loved it. The walk was filled with different kinds of cacti, agave, a sculpture garden, mountains, a dam, lots of dirt and a beautiful view from above of San Miguel De Allende. I appreciated that the land truly felt taken care of and respected. Everything you saw was indigenous to the area and served a purpose in the ecosystem.
We spent between two and three hours at the garden and went back to the hotel. Dinner time came around and we decided to go back to Don Taco Tequila. It was that good. We ordered more tacos, tortas and a few other things we hadn’t tried the first time around. I highly recommend this restaurant vegan or not. Keith isn’t vegan, but he liked it enough the first time around that he was more than happy to go back and try out the rest of the menu.
San Miguel de Allende is the type of city that pictures don’t do justice to. I took sooo many pictures of beautiful doors, but there were so many more. I didn’t walk around and choose the best ones to get shots of, they were all the best ones, but if I had stopped to take more pictures we would have never eaten a single meal again and Keith probably would have killed me.
Miles Driven: 2,651
Days On The Road: 13