At 500 years old, San Miguel de Allende looks really good for its age. The entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and succeeds very well in both keeping its colonial charm and authenticity while staying fresh, modern and very vibrant. San Miguel enjoys a deserved reputation as an artistic community, with its winding cobblestone lanes full of galleries, studios, artisan and antique shops as well as restaurants, and draws many North American visitors and expats.
Besides the wonderful art galleries, boutiques and architecture of the historic town, there are also many great eco-adventures to be had in the surrounding area. Here we introduce you to the greener side of San Miguel de Allende.
Exploring Pyramids and Canyons
The area of Mexico around San Miguel de Allende comprises the northernmost part of Meso America, whose borders were moved north due to the discovery in recent years of pyramids buried beneath the hills in this region that was not previously thought to be settled by ancient pyramid-builders. Less than an hour from town, you can visit the Cañada de la Virgen archeological site (540-1050 AD) that has recently been excavated. Exactly who built these pyramids complete with burial grounds and royal quarters is unknown, but most experts attribute it to pre-Toltec empires.
Visit the pyramids with Coyote Canyon Adventures, which also offer tours to other eco-adventures including horseback riding in the canyons, cooking lessons at a locally owned ranch and other cultural and archaeological excursions.
Relaxing in Natural Hot Springs
San Miguel is surrounded by natural thermal springs that make for a great day of relaxation. For only a hundred pesos (about $8 USD currently) you can spend the day soaking in the numerous outdoor pools of varying temperatures at Escondido Place, as well as the gorgeous little techados, bathing houses built with colorful tile mosaics and waterfalls. There is also a small bar and grill at a nice outdoor patio, and the walkways between the pools meander between lotus ponds and lush gardens with native flowers.
It’s hard to spend much time in San Miguel without hearing about Vía Orgánica, a nonprofit organic farm and education center that operates a store and café which sells not only healthy foods, but also alternative medicines, body care products, plants and nontoxic cleaning products. Vía Orgánica is also a vital part of the tight local community, offering gardening and food workshops as well as events such as movie nights.
Eating Sustainably and Stylishly
One of the newest restaurants to hit the scene is De Temporada, a farm-to-table dining experience located actually on the farm and run by American and Mexican couple, James Walls and Iliana Lanuza. Just outside San Miguel, the family-owned farm Rancho la Trinidad is home to De Temporada, which offers innovative seasonal cuisine created from its organic produce.