Atotonilco - Just seven miles outside of town on the way to Dolores Hidalgo, you’ll find the small town of Atotonilco, home of Mexico’s “Sistine Chapel,” the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, built in 1740. This church is an important Mexican shrine and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its fully restored walls and ceilings are adorned with intricate frescoes and folk murals.
Audubon Bird Watching Tours - Audubon conducts a birdwalk on the third Sunday of every month. Non-members are welcome with a donation of 100 pesos. The two principal sites visited are the Charco del Ingenio and a bridge over the Río Laja in Montecillo de Nieto. The walks originate at 8:00 a.m. Participants should meet at the entrance to the Instituto Allende.
Botanical Garden Tour – Visit the Charco del Ingenio year-round to learn about the local natural heritage. During the months of January, February and March, the park offers two tours a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10AM -12:30PM. Be sure to bring a hat, water and good walking shoes. Tickets are 50 pesos for members and 80 pesos for non-members. Private tours are also available for 150 pesos per person (minimum 5 persons). Reservations are not necessary.
Dolores Hidalgo - Approximately 30 miles from San Miguel, the town of Dolores Hidalgo is where the War for Independence began in 1910, when Father Miguel Hidalgo delivered the famous “El Grito de Dolores,” battle cry. Today, the historic city center and main square are beautifully preserved. The town is also known for its talavera tile factories and street vendors selling homemade ice cream. A visit to Dolores can be combined with Guanajuato and Atotonilco. We will be happy to arrange a driver for you.
Guanajuato – Approximately 60 miles from San Miguel is the capital of the state of Guanajuato, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the area. Guanajuato has a distinctly European feel with its many parks, outdoor cafes and pedestrian streets (thanks to a web of underground tunnels) and historical buildings. Be sure to visit the Teatro Juarez and the home of Diego Rivera. In October the city hosts a three-week Cervantino Festival, a festival of performing arts and culture featuring music, dance, opera, theater, visual arts and cinema. A visit to Guanajuato can be combined with Dolores Hidalgo and Atotonilco. We will be happy to arrange a driver for you.
Hot Springs – A few miles from San Miguel de Allende on the road to Dolores is a series of “balnearios,” or thermal baths. Among them are El Escondido, with a series of interconnecting indoor pools, one hotter than the next, La Gruta, a spa with several pools, a cave and a restaurant or you can choose from several others nearby. For those of you with children, BalnearioXote, with several water slides and fountains, is the one for you.
House and Garden Tour – Take a peek inside some of San Miguel de Allende’s most interesting homes. Tours depart from the Biblioteca Publica on Insurgentes #25 every Sunday at 12 noon sharp. Doors open at 11 AM and tickets are $15 USD or $150 Pesos, cash only, to benefit the public library.
Pozos – Officiallyknown as Mineral de Pozos, this former mining boom town is less than 45 minutes from San Miguel. At its peak the population was approximately 70,000 residents. The mines produced an assortment of minerals, from silver to mercury but when the mines shut down in the early 1900’s, so did the town. By 1950 it is estimated that only about 200 people remained. Over the past dozen or so years, newcomers have begun renovating the old buildings, turning them into homes, restaurants and art galleries. Locals say Pozos reminds them of San Miguel of 40 years ago. It’s a nice lunchtime outing.
Querétaro – About 40 minutes from San Miguel,you’ll find yourself in Santiago de Querétaro, the capital of the state of Querétaro. Querétaro’s well preserved historical center is a Unesco World Heritage site, with some of the country’s finest historical architecture. Its most famous landmark is the 74-arched aqueduct built in the 1730’s. Be sure to include in your itinerary visits to the Plaza de la Constitucion, the Church of San Francisco and the Museo Regional.
Walking Tours of Historic Center – English speaking two hour walking tours of the historic center meet at the Pararoquia at 9:45 AM every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The tours, which leave at 10 AM, donate all proceeds to the Patronato Pro Niños children’s charity.