I’m really excited to interview Vanessa Famighetti of Beyond The Nest about San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Vanessa’s tips for the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende are awesome because Vanessa and her business partner sponsor luxury growth and wellness retreats around the world for travelers and they’re hosting one here this summer. San Miguel is such a magical place that many first-time visitors fall in love and buy a house during their trip.

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Best things to do in San Miguel de Allende Mexico - Hacienda del Cielo pool
The pool at the Hacienda del Cielo

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende is a magic city in Mexico that is so enchanting that it’s quite common for first-time visitors to leave with a deposit down on a house. The city is located in central Mexico about an hour north of Queretaro and 3.5 hours northwest of Mexico City. It is a colonial-era city that’s known for its baroque Spanish architecture, art scene, and numerous cultural festivals. The city has cobblestone-lined streets that lead up to the neo-Gothic church Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, which is famous for its dramatic pink towers.

Vanessa says that the city is known as the “town of perpetual spring” due to its temperate weather. Most homes do not have AC and save on money by cooling the house with inner courtyards accessible by the home’s bedrooms. July is the prime season for visiting San Miguel. For example, the 3rd Sunday in July is the Feast of Atotonilco. People make pilgrimages from all over Mexico to the 18th-century Sanctuary of Atotonilco church, which is known Sistine Chapel of Mexico and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Musicians, food vendors, and dancers wearing enormous & colorful paper-mache heads move throughout the city streets during this festival

Most attractions are free in San Miguel. During your visit, stop by Fabrica Aurora, which is the cultural center for art and design. The Art District is a local artisan market where you can find handcrafted souvenirs. Then hike up to El Mirador for some of the best views of the city. After you’ve worked up a sweat, relax at the hot springs of nearby Atotonilco.

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visit San Miguel, the local visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in San Miguel de Allende Mexico - beautiful artwork inside the church
Beautiful artwork inside the church

Getting around San Miguel de Allende

The local airport is Guanajuato International Airport (BJX), which is a 75-minute drive to the city. You can also fly into Querétaro Intercontinental Airport (QRO), which is also a 75-minute drive to San Miguel de Allende. If you’re flying into either airport, take a listen to our Guanajuato or Querétaro podcast interviews so you can learn about those cities.

Vanessa says that there’s no need to rent a car. Vanessa recommends booking an airport shuttle with BajiaGo. This will save you money and the hassle of driving in an unfamiliar country. If you must rent a car, click here for the best offers from Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

Uber and local taxis are also excellent ways to get around.

Best things to do in San Miguel de Allende Mexico - Atotonilco hot spring
Atotonilco hot spring

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Vanessa Famighetti about San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  • Green dots = best things to do in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Who is Vanessa Famighetti?

Vanessa is passionate about helping others use travel as a tool to heal, dream, grow, meditate, and regain their joie de vivre. Vanessa has worked in all facets of the travel industry; from guiding overland adventures- yes, driving a bus across America for GAdventures, to winning #1 Tour Provider in the World in 2019 from Travel + Leisure alongside her colleagues at Classic Journeys.

While majoring in Media and German at UC Berkeley, Vanessa was diagnosed with stage two tongue cancer. Though surgeries and treatment lasted her entire last semester, Vanessa graduated on time as a Dean’s List recipient. However, something had permanently changed in her. Having regained her speech and overcome cancer, she felt she owed it to herself to lead a life that she was excited to wake up to each morning.

Vanessa developed a diverse career in the travel industry. She has been invited to speak about the Future of Remote Work & Travel everywhere from South Korea to South Africa. Throughout 2019 and until Covid closures forced people to return home, Vanessa led a group of 20+ digital nomads on trips around the world. In this position, she realized that her deepest passion was in having breakthrough experiences and intimate conversations with the people she was leading. She loves connecting with the people she travels with. She believes in the bonding power of experiential travel, is an expert at small group leadership and mentorship, and has a wealth of passion and experience to lend to those lucky enough to travel with her.

Best things to do in San Miguel de Allende Mexico - Vanessa Famighetti with business partner Mary
Vanessa with her business partner Mary

Check out some of the articles and videos below that feature her company:

You can connect with Vanessa on her website and on Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about the San Miguel de Allende retreat.

Best things to do in San Miguel de Allende Mexico - sushi and cocktails at the Quince rooftop above The Restaurant
Enjoying sushi and cocktails at the Quince rooftop above The Restaurant

Big thanks to today’s affiliate partner – CLEAR

Don’t you just hate waiting in line for security at the airport? Me too! Even the PreCheck lines are slammed most of the time.

That’s why I use CLEAR to skip the lines and get to my flight quicker.

For my listeners, I’ve worked out a special deal where you can try CLEAR free for 2 months. This is a limited-time offer, so go to WeTravelThere.com/clear to sign up today.

Best things to do in San Miguel de Allende Mexico - Arc Angel church
Arc Angel church

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best-things-to-do-in-Park-City-Utah-Lydia-Kluge-photo-credit-Propst-147
Photo courtesy of Propst 147

Listen to the next episode when Lydia Kluge, Google Local Guide, shares the best things to do in Park City, Utah. In this episode, Lydia and I talk about skiing at Deer Valley and Park City, the Utah Olympic Park, and hiking the Wasatch Mountains. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of San Miguel de Allende? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Related episodes

While you’re visiting this part of Mexico, spend a couple of days visiting other intriguing cities that are nearby: