THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE REAL ESTATE
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Located in el Centro, the heart of San Miguel de Allende. This colonial-era city in Mexico’s central highlands is known for its baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene and cultural festivals. Continually rated as one of the top destinations in the world, San Miguel de Allende is a striking example of colonial Mexico. The city was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in July 2008 in recognition of its architecture as well as its historical importance as one of the ‘birth cities’ of Mexican independence. This city offers a range of benefits from a pleasant temperate climate, low cost of living, charming cultural traditions and welcoming locals. Here you will find old-world charm with modern-day cosmopolitan lifestyles and amenities. Behind the colorful walls of San Miguel are some of the most beautiful homes anywhere in the world and we have access to hundreds of listings in the San Miguel area with colonial or modern style. Whether you’re coming to San Miguel for the first time or are a resident, trust our experienced multi-lingual agents to assist you. At Agave Sotheby’s International Realty, our focus is on providing advice and guidance for all of your real estate needs and we are proud to extend extraordinary professional service to clients who are selling or buying a home in this amazing community. We cover every area of real estate, from retirement, vacation homes and ranches, to residential and commercial Investments and will guide you through every step of the process of buying or selling in Mexico.
Historic Centro, downtown, San Miguel de Allende.
HOME BUYING IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
• Initial Consultation with Agent/Broker
• Review of Budget and Wish List
• Research Properties Online
• Tour Properties in person or virtually
• Make a non-binding Letter of Intent, Proposal to Purchase
• Enter into binding Contract for Purchase
• Open Escrow and deposit earnest money of 10% of sales price
• Home inspection and negotiate repairs
• Secure permits of purchase from Secretary of Foreign Affairs
• Schedule closing with Notario
• Transfer of utilities and services
Centro is a larger central section of town that includes and surrounds Centro Historico. It encompasses parts of the hillsides above and below the historic zone, as well as the southern area leading to Juarez Park and the northern area behind the Ignacio Ramirez Market. In addition to the historic zone, Centro features peaceful pockets, hillside locations with spectacular views, hushed thoroughfares and Juarez Park, where you’ll find some of the most luxurious (and expensive) homes in San Miguel de Allende. Wander around the quaint cobblestone streets of this friendly city and discover unique markets and distinguished art galleries. Browse an array of shops for artisanal crafts and indulge in the world-class culinary delights throughout the city and burgeoning wine scene in the countryside. Some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings are intertwined with the real estate in the Centro. This highly desirable residential area in San Miguel is popular with owners and renters since you can enjoy the activities of town without needing a car and soak up a relaxed pace of life. It might be tough to drive a car here, but it’s certainly a charming place to stroll and explore the architectural splendor, baroque churches with carved archways depicting religious scenes, grand homes with wrought iron bars and imposing wooden doors. As you turn a corner, you’ll more often than not come into plazas and parks filled with shady trees and benches. These are hives of activity with food vendors, couples strolling hand in hand, playing children, and chatting retirees. Centro is the most prestigious neighborhood for luxury homes in San Miguel de Allende and attracts wealthy foreigners, as well as Mexicans from the country’s big cities. The year-round festivals, cultural programs, art events, diverse population and consistent spring-like weather make San Miguel a great place to visit and an even better place to live. For those looking to retire, or simply looking for a good real estate investment opportunity, Centro is the perfect location for you.
Centro Historico is the heart of old San Miguel. Many of the buildings in this part of town date back to the 16th and 17th Century with thick walls, rustic courtyards, and fountains. Living in historic Centro offers a wonderful lifestyle, you can walk to the squares and markets, and amble through the traditional shops, galleries and restaurants located in this zone. As historic Centro is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the antique buildings are protected so it is mandated that homes, churches, civic structures, businesses and just about every original structure retain its historic, original appearance. Narrow cobblestone streets are lined with homes in shades of red, orange, yellow and brown terracotta still capturing the historical essence of Mexico’s most beloved city. The center of this neighborhood is home to San Miguel’s most well-known and important landmarks such as The Parroquia, the famous grand, neo-gothic 17th-century church which has dramatic pink towers that rise above the main plaza, El Jardín. This is the main plaza and park for fiestas, live music and is a popular meeting place day and night for residents and visitors alike. Countless Mexican festivities take place here throughout the year, making it one of the best places to experience the true Mexican Lifestyle.
There are other historical churches in Centro Historico, including Las Monjas with its golden dome and San Francisco Church with its Churrigueresque facade and tiled dome. The cosmopolitan mix of Mexican nationals and expatriates has created a vibrant and unique culture rich in art, community and delicious culinary delights. Centro Historico is a hub of activity and in walking distance to everything. To live in Centro Historico, you must embrace the street noise, traffic, church bells, and fireworks.
San Antonio is a very popular neighborhood and one of the largest in San Miguel. It adjoins Centro on its east and north sides with the areas closest to Centro being the most sought after. Home to a mix of local families and also attracting many expatriates, San Antonio is both authentic and vibrant. House prices have increased due to dream properties of eclectic design rising among San Antonio’s vine-covered stone walls and storefront tortilla factories. Up-and-coming San Antonio is a quiet residential district. Older expats enjoy it because in a town of steep hills, it’s mostly flat. It also offers easy access to a main thoroughfare Ancha de San Antonio, where you can find rustic restaurants and cafes, gourmet organic markets, local art galleries and more.
At the core of San Antonio you will find the Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua and a central square with a fountain. A short walk to San Miguel’s central plaza El Jard.n, It is also in this colonia where you will also find fun athletic activities such as tennis courts, dance and yoga studios. There is an amazing artsy scene and vibe in the South of San Antonio and it is home to many artists who live and have studios with more than 40 who participate in the annual San Miguel Open Studios/ Art walk. Soak up culture while you stroll around San Antonio and stop by the “art walk,” in which you can visit the studios and homes of the artists in the area. San Antonio is popular with renters, especially those who want to have an authentic experience of living among the locals. This area has a great cultural mix and is appreciated by its residents. Like Centro, San Antonio has a lot of activity and its own set of noises, from church bells to roosters. Colonial homes are historic inside and out, with intricate decorative tile work, vaulted ceilings and the original timbers… it is like going back in time!
Guadiana is a tranquil neighborhood very close to Centro and to San Antonio. There is a central park beautifully landscaped, and the homes in this suburb are all well-maintained. Guadiana is a favorite because it’s a flat walk to Centro, close to amenities and yet sedate. One of the most desirable and sought-after areas of San Miguel, Guadiana is in close proximity to everything, a 5-minute flat walk to Juarez Park and Instituto Allende and a 5-10-minute stroll to Centro. Unlike San Antonio, there are no workshops or local markets, so residents enjoy peaceful surroundings close to the activities of town. Mexican nationals and the foreign residents live peacefully in this very safe community with little traffic. Perhaps this is the neighborhood with the most value in San Miguel de Allende Real Estate. It is almost completely residential and still keeps its original charm as some of the houses are as old as the town itself and still maintain their historic value. There are also very beautiful homes that have been built in Guadiana with beautiful public parks and gardens, which can be attributed to projects that have been developed and supported by both the Mexican and foreign communities. The project organizers often have activities in which they host music and food events and use activities as a way to raise funds for the parks that are not maintained by the local government. Guadiana features wide streets, sidewalks and underground facilities. Surrounding the central park, you will find quaint charming shops, galleries and bakeries with easy access to restaurants and shopping along the Ancha de San Antonio where you can indulge in the organic market. If you are looking for luxury homes in San Miguel de Allende for your second home getaway or to relax and retire, Guadiana is the neighborhood for you.
Balcones is an affluent residential neighborhood with lined cobbled streets and bougainvillea-covered buildings. East of Centro, it’s known for its breath-taking panoramic views of the countryside, mountains and the city of San Miguel. This upscale area offers many sought-after homes as it resides near to Charco el Ingenio Botanical Garden and nature reserve which features a large collection of rare wildlife, cacti and succulents. Hiking trails run from the gardens to a ravine and forest reserve. One of the best aspects of living in San Miguel de Allende is the sunsets, and the perfect place in town to appreciate them could arguably be “Balcones” as it is so high up in San Miguel. Luxury homes on the hillside can enjoy some of the most dramatic views in all of San Miguel, with easy access and around a 15-minute walk to the center of the city. Enjoy all SMA has to offer but leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and retire to the peaceful area of Los Balcones. It tends to be quieter here and homes have more land as they are up above the town itself. This area is exclusively residential with private access featuring beautiful Mexican properties with colonial touches.
RINCONADA DE LOS BALCONES
Further back from Balcones is a newer residential area called Rinconada de los Balcones. Wide streets and sunset views, as well as access to the botanical gardens have made this an appealing area for second homeowners and renters. The property’s in Rinconada de los Balcones are generally modern new builds of a considerable size with bold architectural design surrounded by large stunning grounds.
OJO DE AGUA
Ojo de Agua neighborhood was named for the ancient church and spring located in the area and is home to mostly upscale, new build properties and away from the noise and congestion found in the center. High above the town, with panoramic views of the downtown and a 15-minute walk to some of the most picturesque streets in San Miguel, discover luxury homes mixed with a peaceful local community. Located behind Juarez Park and up the hillside, this prestigious residential address boasts spectacular views over the Park to the Parroquia and Centro. This is a newer neighborhood in San Miguel de Allende, and the real estate can come at a premium. Homes are consistently finished to a high standard and there are beautiful gardens and roof terraces from which to enjoy the views. For homes higher on the hillside, returning from Centro can be challenging on foot, further down the hill the properties enjoy a gentle slope walk to and from town. Ojo de Agua has easy access to Calle Cinco de Mayo, a street of cute commercial offerings as well as many fabulous diverse restaurants. This is one of the prime locations in town to own luxury homes in San Miguel de Allende.
To the north of Centro is the charming and colorful Guadalupe, located only a few minutes away from downtown. Here you will find a great range of restaurants, quirky shopping and local art galleries. A firm favorite is the Via Orgánica, ‘the hub’ of organic fruits and vegetables offering a delicious restaurant and cafe. It is also in this Colonia where you will find the Fábrica La Aurora Art & Design Center. – One of the main attractions of San Miguel de Allende that houses modern art galleries, designer furniture and interior design stores, along with antiques, jewelry, embroidery, restaurants, and the
Workshop-Galleries. The Colonia Guadalupe Arts District has become a home for many of the artistically inclined. The walls of this colonia are decorated with over 100 elaborate graffiti murals. Many of them feature Mexican themes such as Huichol mythology (exemplified by the mythical Blue Deer), while some reveal the multicultural origins of San Miguel de Allende’s population with more abstract pieces. Sometimes referred to as the Soho of San Miguel de Allende, Guadalupe has a strong artistic community and is very popular with creatives and designers who often organize regular events for the public to enjoy. It was recently designated the first art district in this UNESCO World Heritage city. This typical small Mexican neighborhood has a nice cultural blending of Mexican and non-Mexican households and is a great place to have a second home or retire. With quiet streets and colorful houses this area is a stroll away from the hustle and bustle of Centro. If you are a lover of street art, don’t miss Guadalupe.
Finding your way to San Miguel can be simple, despite its remote location about 170 miles northwest of Mexico City’s Benito Ju.rez International Airport (MEX). Queretaro Airport (QRO) sits nearly 55 miles southeast of San Miguel, while Leon/Guanajuato Airport (BJX) can be found approximately 60 miles (or about a 90-minute drive) west of the city. Leon/Guanajuato is a bit further away, however it’s the most popular airport for international travel because it operates direct flights to and from several major U.S. cities daily. San Miguel de Allende Airport is a private airport in Guanajuato. The airport serves as a private facility for luxury clients and the landing of government aircraft. These ancient cobblestone streets were never designed for modern traffic, so driving around San Miguel can be a challenge. Most people walk or take a cheap cab ride anywhere downtown. The best way to get around San Miguel de Allende is on foot. Some of the most exciting discoveries in the mountain town can be found along its winding walkways. Just be sure to pack comfortable sneakers as most streets are narrow and cobbled . While a car won’t be convenient for navigating the “ins and outs” of San Miguel, it will be useful if you choose to take day trips. You can also access all corners of San Miguel by taxi and if you’re up to it, you can try biking through San Miguel’s streets. Just note that the hilly terrain can be a challenge. From airport to home, to a day seeing the sights, or checking out the local restaurants with hourly service available for any event, you can put your feet up in a luxury private car. Streamline your travel with a personal chauffeur on standby to transport you discreetly, in comfort and with excellent local knowledge, ensuring you get to your destination in style.
DRIVING IN MEXICO
How tourists and expats can get a Mexican driver’s license It is not commonly known that an expat can get a driver’s license in Mexico with only a tourist visa. However, it should be mentioned that few states do this – one of them being Guanajuato. Therefore, if you are a tourist or an expat trying to get a driver’s license in San Miguel de Allende – or anywhere in Mexico – you can get one in Guanajuato. Reasons for getting a Mexican driver’s license:
- Though you are perfectly legal to drive for the duration of your tourist visa with an American driver’s license, if you are from a different country, it may be beneficial to get a Mexican driver’s license.
- If you are pulled over for an offense and you are possibly going to get your driver’s license taken away, it is best to have a Mexican driver’s license to give to a police officer instead of one from your home country.
- Having a Mexican driver’s license ensures that you have learned the laws for driving in Mexico, which can only benefit your safety and the safety of your passengers.
- Lastly, a Mexican driver’s license has the most longevity to drive legally in Mexico.
Visa requirements for an expat to get a driver’s license in Mexico:
Expats can get a driver’s license in Mexico with any one of the following visas
- An FMM Tourist Visa
- Pre-approved Visa from a Mexican consulate – (stamp on your passport)
- Temporary Resident Card
- Permanent Resident Card
In addition to the visa you will also need:
- A Birth Certificate
- Valid Passport
- Proof of Address – Water bill, electricity bill, phone bill, property tax (predial), bank statement—none of these can be older than 90 days.
The overall feel of San Miguel remains colonial and bohemian with a thriving arts and entertainment scene. Experience the local culture with live music, art galleries in abundance, movie theaters, festivals and regular events. The town is alive with activity and growth which continues to make this one of the most desired places for living, working and retirement for foreign expatriates.
La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
Overlooking El Jardín, San Miguel’s most famous sight is its parish church La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel characterized by its intricate pink pinnacles that soar above the town. This architectural masterpiece dates from the late 17th century and was built by the self-taught Zeferino Guti.rrez who is believed to have used postcards of European churches for inspiration. While the towering neo-Gothic facade is absolutely breath-taking, inside the chapel you’ll be able to see the revered image of Cristo de la Conquista (Christ of the Conquest) as well as a beautiful painting depicting the founding of the town. Visitors often use the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel as a point of reference when navigating the city’s winding streets.
If you want to feel the true pulse of San Miguel de Allende head to El Jardín, San Miguel de Allende’s vibrant heart. This tree-lined plaza is surrounded by gorgeous historical buildings alongside tourist shops, restaurants, cafés, markets and galleries. The locals use the Jardín as a sort of communal backyard especially in the early evenings and weekends when you can really
feel the Mexican vibe of San Miguel. There’s always something happening at the El Jardín. You’ll hear mariachi bands, see dance performances, find arts and artisans, fireworks and religious ceremonies. Hanging out here easily tops the list of things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
Fábrica La Aurora
Once a textile mill from 1902 to 1991, Fábrica la Aurora has since become an artlover’s paradise and is home to the best art in San Miguel. This Cultural Center of Art and Design has been unveiled as one of the main attractions of San Miguel de Allende and today houses canvases, sculptures, paintings and artisan products of great artists who live in San Miguel. Just a short walk north from El Jardín, the remodeled factory still reveals the site’s history of oil-stained floors and traces of cotton tucked into crevices. Indulge in the diverse selection of furniture, jewelry and art galleries or enjoy a nice cup of coffee and some light lunch in a creative ambience. This fascinating creative space also hosts regular exhibitions, events and art-related workshops and is the first place to look at if you are interested in art.
El Charco del Ingenio Jardín Botánico
This ecological preserve and botanical garden—the largest of its kind in Mexico, is home to an extensive collection of cacti and other native succulent plants, many of them are rare, threatened or endangered. The botanical garden is also a wildlife and bird sanctuary that leads to a deep canyon at the bottom boasting the eponymous freshwater spring. With over 70 hectares, you’ll have the chance to spot wildlife, bird watch, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the many trails and learn about various species of local cacti. The San Miguel community often gathers here to watch performances, partake in ceremonies and attend environmental education programs with regular courses, workshops, guided tours, meetings and astronomical observations held here. Take a picnic alongside the waterfalls, enjoy a hike through the park or spend an evening at a concert in the outdoor amphitheatre.
Parque Benito Juarez
Established in 1904 along the banks of the Laja River, enjoy the great outdoors at Juarez Park, featuring french-style gardens, water fountains, sculptures, monuments and sports facilities. Beautiful lush gardens make this tranquil space a wonderful place to relax or work out away from the crowds. Parque Benito Juarez features a children’s playground with climbing structures, swings and slides. Stroll or jog along winding paths and lush vegetation native to the region and then relax on a shaded bench under the trees.
El Santuario de Atotonilco
Known as Mexico’s Sistine Chapel and one of the holiest shrines in Mexico, El Santuario de Atotonilco was founded by Jesuits in 1740 and built with towering walls, giving it the appearance of a fortress. El Santuario de Atotonilco is a place of pilgrimage and penitence. People travel from all over the country to pray and meditate behind these walls. During the Mexican War of Independence Miguel Hidalgo took a banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe from this church, which became the banner of the insurgent forces. The church is essential for the murals and oil paintings adorning its interior and regarded as one of the high points of New Spanish Baroque art.
Cañada de la Virgen
Discovered in the middle of a privatelyowned hacienda in 1998 and comprising of 16 hectares, this fascinating archaeological site occupied between 540 and 1050 a.d provides valuable information about how the Otomi people lived in the area during the pre-Hispanic era. Perched upon a small mesa surrounded by canyons and made up of four patio/pyramid complexes, is an ancient artificial pond and a ceremonial causeway.
Casa de Ignacio Allende
This museum is the family home and birthplace of Ignacio Allende, a captain in the Spanish army who came to fight alongside the independence leader Miguel Hidalgo in the 18th century. Dedicated to this national hero the museum maps out these events presenting a biography of Ignacio Allende, together with a broader history of the town in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Especially interesting are the details of the area’s historic gold and silver deposits, a major source of Spain’s colonial income.
While strolling around Centro you will sample an amazing variety of delicious bites in multiple food tasting locations carefully chosen to highlight the best regional flavors San Miguel has to offer. You will explore the stunning architecture and learn about Mexican culture on a local guided food tour.
The Club de Golf Malanquín Featuring a heated Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, steam baths, soccer pitch, fitness center (with Pilates and other classes), and 18 holes of golf, all of which are open to the public. Ventanas de San Miguel Golf Resort An 18-hole course designed by Nick Faldo, one of the most successful players in the history of golf. At par 70, the course has a challenging degree of difficulty, thanks to its exceptionally complicated elevation changes.
Esencia Yoga Spa
San Miguel de Allende’s premier yoga and spa center is an oasis for relaxation and rejuvenation. With regular yoga classes for men and women, private classes including rehabilitative and therapeutic sessions and a range of treatments including facials and massages.
La Gruta Spa
The spa offers a purifying body and spiritual experience of the hot springs. Aside from a spa, La Gruta has a restaurant, bar, cafeteria and boutique to provide visitors with everything they need during their comforting encounter with the hot springs and nature.
San Miguel’s exclusive hot springs baths is a sanctuary of natural thermal mineral waters. Swim underground through candlelit quartz and crystal grottos illuminated with natural candles and dim light to outside pools. Located high on a hill gaze at the majestic sierra Madre Mountains and the brilliant sweep of the Milky Way.