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Getting to San Miguel de Allende

by sanmigueltimes
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One of the most difficult aspects of visiting San Miguel de Allende is actually getting there. Its remoteness is definitely part of the charm of the city – your afternoon nap will never be disturbed by the sound of an overhead plane or a train pulling in.

The city with a regular International commercial airport nearest to San Miguel de Allende is Leon. Commercial flights arrive at Leon International Airport airport daily. Rental car agencies are in the airport. Driving time from Leon to San Miguel is approximately 1 1/2 hours. A direct first class bus from the airport to SMA takes between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.

To fly (international airports), you will need a valid passport or your original birth certificate (US and Canada). It must be presented at the airline check-in. Once on the plane you will be given a form to fill out – for customs. There are restrictions as to what you can bring to Mexico……Some of these restrictions are limits for “duty free” and some are absolute, such as firearms without a permit (not to mention drugs).

Most commonly encountered restrictions are:

  • Most food items – especially plants, fruits and seeds.
  • Cigars and cigarettes – over 20 packs per person may be subject to duty.
  • Liquor and wine – over 2 bottles per person may be subject to duty.
  • Controlled substances and drugs – a no no!
  • Firearms – only for hunting and a permit must be obtained from the Mexican Consulate in advance.

The Immigration counter is your first stop after you disembark the plane. Here you will have to present your passport (or birth certificate). Your passport will be stamped to make your arrival official. (You will need to keep your passport with you at all times while in Mexico) Next you’ll proceed to the baggage claim area for your luggage.

Customs is the last step, here you will need to have your Customs Declaration Form handy (the form you were given on the plane). Recently Mexico adopted a “Red Light – Green Light” system for customs. If you have put “Nothing to declare” on this form, you will be asked to push a button……. If the light is green you can exit without inspection; if the light is red you will be subject to inspection. This is a random system, and therefore there is no way to know whether you will get a green or red light. Consequently you need to be honest on your Customs Declaration and declare anything over and above what is allowed, paying all applicable duties. If you do not, and are caught by a red light, the fines may be very steep.


San Miguel de Allende (photo: google)

By Land

Some visitors choose to drive form the U.S. or other areas of the country, or even the airport. Mexico City is 3 to 4 hours away, Leon 1 1/2 hours away. You can take Hwy. 57 and Hwy. 49 (which turns in Hwy. 45 at Zacatecas) from the U.S. border. Please make sure you use caution, abide by all laws, and have Mexican insurance.

Buses are also available from the Leon Airport, the Mexico City airport, and just about anywhere else in Mexico to San Miguel de Allende. From Mexico City airport you can take the Aeroplus to Queretaro (3 hours non stop), then take another bus to San Miguel (1 hour). The last bus leaves the airport at 8:30 pm. You can also go to the Central del Norte bus station in Mexico City and catch a bus straight to San Miguel. The city’s main station or Central de Autobuses is located at Calzada de la Estacion about six blocks west of Jardin Allende. The number at the terminal is (4) 152-2206.

Source: PremierSanMiguel

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