Other Locations in Mexico

San Miguel de Allende: A Wellness Paradise Part 1

Travel with Sara as she explores the cobblestone streets, vineyards, hot springs, and more in this unique Mexican city and UNESCO World Heritage Site

datoIt was my first time traveling to the reportedly magical San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato, and I was charmed by the cobblestone streets and the warm colors of terracotta, pink, yellow, orange, gold and bronze that adorned the side of every building and house in view. The city of San Miguel de Allende was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2008. It was chosen for its exquisite Baroque Colonial architecture – much of which remains in excellent condition – and for its role in the Mexican War of Independence.

Enforcing strict regulations on construction, signage and colors, the colonial center has changed very little over the last 250 years. The cobblestone streets of the historic center are tightly lined with colonial era homes, small stores and frequent churches adorned with vibrantly colored bougainvillea. At the center of San Miguel de Allende stands the picturesque pink Parroquia, the Neo-Gothic parish church of San Miguel.


San Miguel de Allende offers everything from traditional Mexican dishes to modern fusion cuisine. One of my first stops was the small restaurant and boutique store, Via Organica. A non-profit organization, Via Organica promotes healthy eating and sustainability through the promotion of organic agriculture and fair trade. Offering daily fresh produce, local artisan food products, baked goods and homemade sauces, the menu features a variety of Mexican and International specialties, with ingredients sourced locally as much as possible. At Aperi, the restaurant at Dos Casas Hotel, run by Chef Mateo Salas, a 4-course meal comprising flavorful dishes created using modern techniques was a treat for the taste buds, served in the intimate courtyard of this stylish boutique hotel. One of the best breakfast dishes I have experienced in Mexico, the restaurant El Pegaso, perfectly cooks poached eggs with fantastically flavorful salsa verde and salsa roja. Another excellent gastronomic experience took place at the restaurant Cumpanio. Wild rice, nuts and sun dried fruits formed an exquisite Mediterranean salad, followed by ratatouille ravioli with basil pomodoro sauce. It made a perfect late afternoon lunch.


Art features heavily in the city throughout the year. However, during my trip, I was lucky enough to be invited to some of the events of the annual San Miguel Art & Design Festival (SMART). With artist’s installations featured in Dos Casas Boutique Hotel, L’Otel, Hotel Matilda and various other locations, the city was abuzz with activity and culture.

La Lonja, a modern take on the traditional markets, was an enchanting experience. Local artisans and culinary specialists were afforded the opportunity to showcase their products, such as handmade soaps, flavored salts, spices, authentic honey, paintings, sculptures, hammocks, home wares, clothes, food and drinks.

Fábrica La Aurora is a converted textile factory that is now home to a center of art and design. Muse around the 50-plus galleries, antique shops and furniture stores, and don’t miss the enormous loom that was part of the original textile factory.

Hot Springs

In the area surrounding San Miguel de Allende there are several hot springs establishments to choose from – luxury facilities such as The Mayan Baths, Gruta and Escondido Place.

The Mayan Baths sit atop a hill on the outskirts of the city overlooking the Laja Valley, the perfect location to witness a spectacular sunset. With Maya symbology found throughout the crystal/quartz lined tunnels of the underground baths, The baths were aligned to allow bathers to observe the sun as it sets directly in the center of the tunnel leading out to the open air baths on the day of the winter solstice.

La Gruta offers vast pools of varying temperatures all supplied by the natural thermal mineral waters with temperatures ranging from 80–104°F or 25–40°C. The hottest of the pools is an underground bathing area with a domed stone cave-like roof, accessed by a stone tunnel passageway.

A few kilometers from the city, Escondido Place is a beautiful thermal bath ‘park’ set amid plentiful trees, grass lawns and a central lake picturesquely covered in water lilies and lily pads. Featuring 10 enclosed and open-air thermal baths lined with stone walls, guests can enjoy the benefits of the mineral-rich thermal waters in addition to the picnic areas, restaurants and ‘al fresco’ massage services.

Sara Jones is a Spa, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert and Founder of Spa Professional Mexico magazine www.spaprofessionalmexico.com

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