If you fancy taking a little break from riding at the Rancho, what better way to do it than in the cultural oasis of the quaint city of San Miguel.
The cobbled streets, the Colonial and Spanish architecture and the cosmopolitan culture beckons you to wander around the streets for hours in the same laid-back holiday vibe you’ve become accustomed to at the Rancho.
You need not plan too much what you’re going to do in San Miguel. All you need to do is wander a little and everything soon presents itself to you.
The beautiful square El Jardin in the centre of the town is home to the highest building in the city: Parroquia de San Miguel Archángel. Inspired by the Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, it is said to be built from looking at a simple picture postcard.
There are many ways to enjoy the Parroquia both inside and out: take a walk around the impressive architecture itself; perhaps engage in the café culture in the square while doing a spot of people watching and listening to the mariachis and music groups; or enjoy its colors at sunset from one of the fabulous roof top bars.
If you’ve had your fill of taking in the sumptuous architecture and churches for that day, perhaps it’s time to explore the thriving arts and crafts scene that has made a home in San Miguel. The city’s history dates back to 1542 when it played an important role as a hub in the silver trade. Craftsmen and women made their homes there and after World War II, many soldiers took advantage of the GI bill and enrolled in art schools in San Miguel.
Consequently today the streets are filled with shops selling an array of interesting crafts. You can’t help but stumble upon artists and artisan galleries and workshops. And the Fabrica La Aurora is definitely worth a visit – an art and design centre housed in an old textile factory.
There are many other culture sites of interest in San Miguel. Perhaps you fancy visiting craft museums like the Galeria Atotonilco or the local Historical Museum.
If you prefer to stretch your legs a little further, take a trip to the Botanical Gardens El Charo del Ingenio, set in 170 acres of nature preserve. The botanical gardens are home to some incredible flora and fauna which you can arrange to have a guided tour around. They organize monthly events including bird watching, full moon ceremonies and temazcals: an aromatic herb and steam ceremony that takes part in a sweat lodge.
Continuing with traditions, the ruins of Cañada de la Virgen are also worth a visit. These ruins were only first discovered in 1998 and public access first allowed in 2011. So it feels rather special to visit such a beautiful and important site that few others these days have set foot upon.
As dusk begins to set, back in the heart of San Miguel things really start to come alive. The thriving bar and café culture allows you to sit outside and take it all in. Enjoy people watching and the wandering mariachis with their different styles of music in the square and cobbled streets. Take to a rooftop bar like La Luna at Rosewood or La Azotea and enjoy the wonderful sunset and the breath taking views. Try some Mezcal at a local cantina like Jack Kerouac and the rest of the beat poets used to do. La Cucaracha, El Gato Negro and Cantina La Colonia are all old haunts of theirs and can prove quite an experience.
If you’re looking for sophisticated bars and exquisite dining you don’t need to wander far in San Miguel to find it. Fast becoming one of the gourmet food capitals of Mexico, the cuisine you can experience here is worth making the trip for alone. Seek out Cumpanio, Aperi and La Mezcaleria while you are there.
But with all there is to do in San Miguel you might ask “How long do I stay?” Well the beauty of San Miguel is that you can dip in and out of it as much as you like. Wander the streets for a day, wander the streets for a week. Some fall in love with its beauty, move there and wander the streets for a lifetime.
The only thing San Miguel requires is a curious mind and a readiness to kick back and absorb its beauty.
Rancho Las Cascadas offers day trips to San Miguel so you can explore the city and everything it has to offer. We’ll also make all of the arrangements for Rancho guests who prefer to stay in the city for a longer period of time. Mansion San Miguel, the Rancho’s sister-hotel (mansionsanmiguel.com), awaits!