Nothing makes me prouder than writing about my country. So let me tell you about a charming town called San Miguel de Allende.
As a Mexican mom living in the U.S., it’s important to me that my kids are not only bilingual, but also fully bicultural. After several years, I’ve proven that there’s no book or website that can really substitute what traveling to Mexico teaches them. So my best advice is to take them there as much as possible.
San Miguel de Allende, in the state of Guanajuato, is just one of the places in Mexico that the UNESCO considers a “World Heritage Site” for all its artistic, architectonic and cultural contribution to the world.
Its magical narrow streets have attracted a vast number of writers, painters and chefs to fulfill and elevate their talents thanks to the huge inspiration this wonderful place has.
I could describe walking through San Miguel as a cobblestone adventure surrounded by Colonial and a bit of Gothic architecture. The city is filled with art galleries, shops where you can find clothing, home décor and unique arts and crafts; as well as museums churches and unparalleled gastronomic experiences.
Here are the experiences I loved the most:
The first one was my visit to the Casa Dragones Tequila headquarters, located in the heart of San Miguel. There, Jorge Seimandi gave us a wonderful tour of the property and explained to us that in the XVII Century, this place was used as a stable that served as the military headquarter for the Dragons, a battalion that was key during the Mexican Independence.
Today, this place serves as the spiritual house for Casa Dragones Tequila since it was the place where the idea to create this exclusive and unparalleled tequila manufactured in the state of Jalisco took place and is the perfect setting to offer tastings and wonderful gastronomic experiences.
Jorge delighted us with the exceptional “Young” Casa Dragones Tequila and offered us several dishes created by Chef Donnie Masterton, owner of one of the most renowned restaurants in San Miguel called “The Restaurant.” Donnie is a clear example of how artists arrive at San Miguel as tourists, and then stay there as they fall in love with the place. We spent the day drinking tequila while listening to a live Mariachi band, there’s no better combination.
That weekend, besides drinking tequila, I had the chance to taste some wonderful wine. In Guanajuato, wine is also booming and you can enjoy it by touring the vineyards of the region through the Wine Circuit. We had the opportunity of visiting the Cuna de Tierra Winery. A place that makes many of the most awarded Mexican wines. Mike Taylor, the Sommelier for the winery, guided us through their vineyards and explained in detail the process of making wines like Pago de Vega and Torre de Tierra, as well as showing us the place where the wines mature in their barrels. We ended this visit by enjoying an amazing menu created by Chef Ricardo Rafael in an outdoor lunch surrounded by this wonderful place.
What I liked the most, besides the wine obviously, was the synergy between the architecture of the place and its surroundings. At the end of the day, I strolled along the vineyard in bikes along with my kids and we’ll never forget that fun experience.
The next day we had a chance to ride in a hot air balloon, which was unforgettable and very unique experience for my family. Waking up at 5 a.m. was totally worth it after seeing one of the most beautiful and quietest sunrises of San Miguel inside this wicker basket. These pictures tell the whole story.
To end the trip on a high note, we visited Mineral de Pozos, an abandoned miner town. When I told my kids that we were going to be inside a real gold and silver mine, they couldn’t believe it.
After putting on the dirtiest jeans I had in my suitcase, wearing tennis shoes (don’t even think of trying to do this wearing flats) and my adventure hat, which I had deep down in my purse (my readers will understand), we were ready to go through the mine.
On top of these mines, you can find the remains of what were beautiful Haciendas that were sacked after they were abandoned after a flood destroyed most of the mines. This gives the place an unbelievable landscape of ruins and semi dessert hills.
Once we finished the 20-minute walk, we arrived at the dusty and steep mine entrance. After sliding down the path in a not so cool way and after me yelling at my kids “to be careful” and “give me your hand” we started our journey. The adventure inside that dark hole had everything you can imagine. After a bat flew too close for comfort next to my daughters face we had the amazing view from a mine ventilator, which was several feet deep. We then had to cross several passageways crawling like marines and crossed some not-so-stable wooden bridges, but at the end we finally saw the light outside the tunnel, literally. We got back to the hotel, dirty, hungry and happy.
I’m sure my kids came back to Houston with tons of anecdotes, stories, memories and life lessons that no classroom could ever teach them.
So if you want to do a different trip filled with fun activities for kids and grown ups, go to San Miguel! Yo Mariana recommends it immensely.
From Houston, there are flights of less than two hours to Queretaro or Leon and San Miguel is just an hour and a half drive away.
If you know of another place I must visit, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to hear from you guys.
Let’s share experiences on social media, you can find me as @yomarianablog