The British Columbia based newspaper, The Vancouver Sun published an extensive article on Canadians living in San Miguel, check it out:
If you have friends who’ve relocated to San Miguel de Allende (and if you don’t, you almost certainly will one day), it won’t take long before they’ve convinced you to visit. And soon after you’ve arrived, they’ll fix you with a steely gaze and say: “So. Have you thought about buying real estate here?”
Chances are good that your answer will be yes.
SMA, as the locals call it, is an utterly charming city that, for the last two years, has been voted the best in the world by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. “Those who have visited describe San Miguel de Allende as an enchanting city, one with remarkable architecture,” the magazine reported.
In fact, the entire 64-block historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cobblestoned streets wind past colourful Spanish-colonial buildings, lush gardens and lively plazas. It’s easy to while away the hours meandering through busy street markets, world-class restaurants, art-filled shops and baroque churches, including the stunning Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, whose dramatic pink towers rise above the main plaza, El Jardín.
There are no beaches here or, thankfully, bars filled with pasty tourists doing body shots of tequila. The city is located inland, about 274 kilometres north of Mexico City, in the eastern part of the state of Guanajuato. It is named for two historic personalities: Juan de San Miguel, the 16th century friar who founded it, and Ignacio Allende, a hero of the fight for Mexican independence, who was born here. In fact, the nearby town of Dolores Hidalgo is considered the birthplace of Mexican independence and is worth a day trip, as is the remarkable Sanctuary of Atotonilco, a World Heritage Site that’s known as the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico” for its walls covered in elaborate 18th century religious murals.
For many years, San Miguel was an important market centre along the silver trail to Zacatecas. But, for various reasons, by the early 20th century SMA was largely abandoned, surrounded by farms and ranches and little else.
Then, starting in the 1930s, ex-pat artists discovered it, drawn by the beautiful architecture, sunny weather and low cost of living. They opened cultural centres such as the Instituto Allende and Escuela de Bellas Artes, which in turn drew art students and more artists. Today, the town attracts foreign retirees and creative professionals—there are more than 17,000 expatriates in a city of 140,000—as well as a growing number of Mexican middle-class tourists.
It’s a beautiful place to gaze at art and explore a fascinating history, to visit the botanical garden with city views or browse through the lively Tuesday market for crafts and local produce. Then again, you might just want to find a cool drink, a real-estate brochure and a shady courtyard where you can dream away the hours in this loveliest of Mexican cities.