Differences between Guanajuato and San Miguel?
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Mar 25, 2013 2:06 PM Last Post By: Aloysius
Nov 11, 2012 10:35 AM
Differences between Guanajuato and San Miguel?Hello
We are planning to head to the Guanajuato region for just a week during the Christmas holiday this year. We havent been to the area before- so its a first trip.
I've researched and read all the threads talking about both San MIguel and Guanajuato including this one:
Guanajuato-The New San Miguel?
It seems as though SMA is more Mexican Disneyland (Lonely Planet's description not mine) and Guanajuato is more interesting.
For a first trip, I'd be curious to hear which town readers would recommend for an active couple (mid 40s) who enjoys architecture, good food, and sights and exploring.
Nov 11, 2012 11:48 AM
1Have spent a couple of weeks in each town. I recommend Guanajuato. You can visit San Miguel on an easy bus ride day trip.
Nov 11, 2012 3:21 PM
2I agree with your assessment. Guanajuato hands down, but visit SM
Nov 11, 2012 3:42 PM
3Like Aloysiuis, I too have been to both. The desriptions of Guanajuato as "the new San Miguel" and San Miguel as "Mexican Disneyland" are both hyperbole.
Yes, San Miguel has a large expat-community and there are lots of gringos living there (and other foreigners), but "Disneyland"? come on. There's a distinct and prominent gringo influence there, but plenty of traditional Mexican culture alongside it and San Miguel is a historically important place figuring prominently in Mexico's war of independence from Spain.
Guanajuato: Yes, more and more gringo's (and Canadians and other foreigners) are moving into town, but it too holds a special place in Mexican history during the war of independence and it retains its distinctly Mexican flavor despite it all.
I wouldn't avoid either one, but Guanajuato is my hands-down favorite with its large university student population bringing a young energetic vibe, historical sites, lively nightlife, and extensive colonial archetecture. Sure wouldn't want to drive inside the city though - take a bus.
Nov 11, 2012 3:42 PM
4Food- hands down, San Miguel with a much better variety of restaurants.
Architecture- both cities have amazing, colonial downtown areas.
Activities- Guanajuato has a great symphonic orchestra, however, they are off during the Christmas period. But there is a higher chance of some other concerts going on in either, the Teatro Juarez or Teatro Principal.
In a nutshell, if you are more interested in exploring "real" (whatever that means for you) Mexican life, Guanajuato is a bigger city and with its government branches, university, etc. likely to offer that to you. If you want to relax and splurge on nicer hotels and food, San MIguel is the place to go... But as a compromise, why don't you spend some days in each city? The day trip (which is really easy as the cities are just one hour driving apart) doesn't do justice to either city...
Nov 11, 2012 4:09 PM
5We got a super deal a few years back and stayed at Qinta de las Acacias for next to nothing in Guanajuato. It was really fabulous. We spent a lot of time in Guanajuato and SMA- at least for me Guanajuato was the way to go. SMA really seemed overcome by American influcence, but that's my opinon only. They are close enough together that you can enjoy both. For my money I would stay in Guanajuato. FYI could be quite chilly at Christmas time so go prepared.
Nov 11, 2012 6:42 PM
6I've been to both, many times. Which works best for someone is a very personal choice/decision. Just because one of us likes one over the other ... should be taken with a grain of salt. So, my grain of salt? San Miguel de Allende. Hands-down.
Nov 11, 2012 7:53 PM
7For me Guanajuto is larger has more traffic and aside from the mummy museum is not that rich in tourist sites. I prefer SMA and stay at the Posada de San Sebastian in the central and w/parking for 400p double. If you are into good food and art then SMA wins hands down. Plus I would recommend a day trip to Delores Hidalgo if you like majolica pottery.
Nov 12, 2012 3:07 PM
8Lots to see & do in Guanajuato. I guess we each have our preferences but The Mummies are the least interesting thing IMO in town. Diego Rivera's boyhood home/museo is first, than the many other Museums including the Cervantes one, the 3 magnificent theaters, the University, The Many, Many plazas, the Mercado, the incredibly clean streets, The Mines, the Tram, wonderful Mexican cafés at low prices, friendly Mexican people including the college students & the daily events on The Jardin.
Nov 14, 2012 1:52 PM
9I much prefer Guanajuato. For me its just a little depressing seeing lots of old white retirees in SMA. (Not super young myself but I like the atmosphere of tons of U kids in the state capital cities, the arts feel more active, less contrived). But I do agree, the food is much better in San Miguel.
Nov 14, 2012 2:37 PM
10Thank you, Stewbear. I am returning to Guanajuato every year for few days to enjoy its beauty and walk its widing streets but never found time for the Mummies museum - why bother with a cheap variation on a Madame Tussauds tourist trap?
OP - I think Stewbear covred Guanajuato attractions and I can just add that walking hillside streets, and finding gorgeous vistats is a time very well spent for an active couple ;)
I dislike SMA as a place where I cannot practice my bad Spanish and when my back hurts, I am offered a $45US walking stick for a Dominican Republic made cheapio that costs $10 in NY. It si pretty, though. And my thinking is that in a week, you can visit and spend few days both.
If you are really into walking and hiking, consider also - though, this would stretch your time - visiting Mineral de Pozos for some very different sceneary and carefful abandand mines exploration.
Have a blast (and pardon my spelling - can´t spell myself and having no spellchecker here does not help ;)
Nov 15, 2012 6:46 AM
11"I dislike SMA as a place where I cannot practice my bad Spanish and when my back hurts, I am offered a $45US walking stick for a Dominican Republic made cheapio that costs $10 in NY."
It seems to me that if these experiences you relate about SMA speak volumes about your travel style ... and that you might want to stay away from the most expat-centric, heavily-touristed parts of cities you visit ... unless that's what you're looking for. ;-)
Dec 11, 2012 6:31 AM
Dec 11, 2012 7:08 AM
13A person or three offering overpriced goods to a probable well-off person is not indicative of an entire area. Sounds like you need either an authentically third-world shopping experience with a western comfort lodging and medical nearby. I really don't think your "review" was of value to readers. (Sorry)
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