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Best neighborhoods to buy a retirement home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

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The demographics of the U.S. and other developed countries has entered an interesting stage, one never seen before in recorded history. The greatest number of people are entering or will soon enter retirement. That’s millions of people working out where and how they want to live after a lifetime spent working and raising children.

Many have harborbed thoughts about relocating to somewhere much different from where they are, perhaps someplace sunny, someplace exotic, but the thought of moving far from the U.S. would mean being too distanced from family or friends. However, there is a place that’s close to the U.S., where retirees can live a life of interest, excitement, and fun. A place friendly to U.S. citizens not only because of the warmth of the people, but where their U.S. dollars can be taken full advantage of when it comes to the cost of living.

San Miguel de Allende, is an in-demand Mexican city noted for its beautiful cobblestone streets, amazing architecture, rich culture, and stellar quality of life. It has become a haven for retirees from all over the world, particularly U.S. residents, looking for a better place to spend their retirement.

Here, we’ll take you through some of the best places to retire in San Miguel de Allende, as well as give you some of the main reasons why this is such a good place for retirees.

San Miguel de Allende, a brief overview

Nestled in the central highlands of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende’s rich history dates back to the pre-Columbian era when it served as a home for the semi-nomadic indigenous. Chichimeca people. This, however, changed in 1542, with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors when a local Friar chose to name the outpost for the archangel Saint Michael and the town was named San Miguel el Grande.

During the colonial period, San Miguel de Allende played an important role in the region’s economy, due to its location on important trade routes. The city also became an important center of religious activity, with several magnificent churches and monasteries being built during this time.

In the early 20th century, San Miguel de Allende underwent a period of decline, which thankfully preserved the Spanish Colonial architecture of the city. Starting with the arrival of Chicagoan Stirling Dickinson in 1937—widely consider to be the main influence for introducing San Miguel de Allende to an American audience—artists, writers, and intellectuals from around the world made their way to the city, all drawn in by its rich cultural legacy and stunning colonial architecture. In fact, Life Magazine printed San Miguel on the cover of their magazine in 1948. This influx of intellectuals ultimately resulted in an era of renewed growth and prosperity for San Miguel de Allende, which is still felt strongly in the city today.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 in recognition of its well-preserved colonial-era buildings and unique cultural heritage, San Miguel de Allende is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful colonial architecture, vibrant arts scene, and rich history.

Now home to 150,000 people, San Miguel de Allende has gained prominence as a popular destination for expatriates and retirees.

What are the best retirement communities in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico?

Here are some of our top picks for retirement communities in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico:

Centro Historico. Home to some of the city’s most important landmarks, the UNESCO-designated Centro Historico neighborhood features well-preserved historic structures, cobblestone streets, and colorful Colonial-style buildings. There’s a sense of history and romance in the air, and those who retire here can begin a wonderful adventure in one of Mexico’s most famous locations.

Residential properties in Centro Historico typically range from small, cozy apartments to large, luxurious homes, a good portion of which have been beautifully restored to maintain their original charm. The majority of homes in the area feature traditional Mexican and Colonial era elements such as high ceilings, wooden beams, and clay-tiled roofs.

Guadiana. San Miguel de Allende’s Guadiana neighborhood is a picturesque and affluent area and is considered one of the most sought-after residential districts in the region. Guadiana is where you’ll find a variety of upscale residences, including opulent villas and elegant These homes typically feature elements associated with traditional Mexican architecture such as intricate tilework, colorful frescoes, and ornate ironwork.

San Antonio. The largest neighborhood in San Miguel de Allende, San Antonio is situated in the western part of the city and is well-liked by individuals who like to live where small shops and restaurants dot the neighborhood. In fact, the Stirling Dickinson district is now considered the SoHo of San Miguel with its plethora of bakeries, cafes and small vendors. Traditional Mexican homes make up the bulk of the area’s real estate listings, and often feature original details like high ceilings, hand-carved wooden doors, and tiled floors.

Ojo de Agua. One of the most popular neighborhoods in San Miguel de Allende, Ojo de Agua is most famous for its selection of hillside homes—earning it the nickname “Beverly Hills of San Miguel.”  Given their location, homes in Ojo de Agua provide residents with stunning city-wide views and often boast larger gardens and swimming pools not supported in the more dense city center where lot sizes generally run smaller.

Balcones. Perched high above San Miguel de Allende is the Balcones neighborhood where—as the name indicates—many homes boast balcony-like views. One of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city, Balcones offers a variety of properties to its residents such as charming colonial-style homes and contemporary villas, almost all of which provide their residents with breathtaking views of the city.

Atascadero. Originally developed in the 1960s, Atascadero is a peaceful neighborhood which provides the utmost privacy to its residents. Atascadero offers a good selection of properties ranging from well-appointed apartments to million-dollar villas, making it ideal for expatriates looking for a peaceful and luxurious refuge in the city.

Why should you retire in San Miguel de Allende?

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As mentioned earlier, more and more retirees are choosing to move to retirement communities in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Some of the factors behind this are:

The cost of living. San Miguel de Allende’s cost of living is significantly cheaper compared to other cities in the U.S. where an older demographic typically considers. This makes it an ideal place for those who want to make the most of their savings. This is particularly true when it comes to buying some of city’s beautifully-appointed luxury homes, which are priced at a fraction of what they would typically cost in coastal U.S.  cities. Not only that, but groceries, utilities, and transportation costs are also lower than many popular retirement locations in the United States.

The climate. San Miguel de Allende has a semi-arid subtropical highland climate, which is perfect for those who love  year-round temperate weather where the daytime high can reach the upper 70’s all year, even in winter.  Summer days can bring a 25-degree diurnal swing in temperatures—meaning it still cools nicely at night—while winter days can see a 40-degree diurnal swing, meaning even when the nights are quite cool, the daytime temps are still spring-like. With an elevation just above 6,000 feet, the city never suffers from the same excess humidity problems as coastal cities in Mexico.

The lifestyle and atmosphere. San Miguel de Allende has a very relaxed atmosphere, with the city celebrating countless festivals, fairs, and events that showcase the best of Mexican culture throughout the year.

The retirement communities in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico have a large and active expatriate population, making it easy to establish new networks, make friends, and feel at home once you relocate here. In addition, the city’s locals are also very welcoming and friendly, which can make your transition to your new neighborhood a much easier and smoother affair.

The natural surroundings. Another key factor behind the appeal of retirement communities in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to tourists and expatriates alike is its sheer abundance of breathtaking natural sights, such as green hills, rugged mountains, and picturesque valleys. This abundance of open spaces make San Miguel de Allende the perfect place for outdoor activities.

Some of the beautiful landmarks

San Miguel de Allende is home to a number of well-preserved and beautifully-restored cultural and historic landmarks:

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  • Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel – One of the most important landmarks in San Miguel de Allende is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. Located in the center of the city, this Neo-Gothic church dates back to the 17th century and is thought to be a symbol of the city itself, the Eiffel Tower-like icon of San Miguel.
  • Templo de San Francisco – One of the oldest churches in San Miguel de Allende, Templo de San Francisco dates back to the 18th Century. The neoclassical interior of the church, built in 1799 by architect Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras, has paintings representing the passing of St. Francis.
  • Museo Histórico Casa de Allende – Located jU.S.t steps away from San Miguel’s main plaza is the former home of Mexican revolutionary hero Ignacio Allende. The building, which dates back to the 18th Century, was restored by the country’s National Institute of History and Anthropology in 1990, and now serves as the city’s premier museum.

    The museum currently houses exhibits showcasing artifacts from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, all of which give visitors a glimpse into the history of San Miguel de Allende.

  • Biblioteca Pública – Currently housed in an 18th-century building, the library has over 50,000 volumes in its collection—one of the largest in Mexico. The library has three reading rooms, as well as other facilities such as a cafe, a courtyard, and even a theater, which hosts screenings of movies and live music performances by local artists.
  • Jardín Botánico El Charco del Ingenio – Located just a mile northeast of central San Miguel is Jardín Botánico El Charco del Ingenio. Spanning a total of over 200 acres, Jardín Botánico El Charco del Ingenio boasts an extensive collection of plant and animal species from the arid and semi-arid zones of Mexico, many of them rare, threatened, or in danger of total extinction. Supported by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), the garden hosts an assortment of tours each month.

Where to eat out

San Miguel de Allende has a fabulous food scene with restaurants in the city serving everything from traditional Mexican dishes to more global fare. Here are some favorites:

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  • The RestaurantEnjoy fine dining quality food set in a beautiful and relaxed Moroccan courtyard. The menu displays cuisines from all over the world with classic French dishes sitting side by side with American burgers and the best Mexican fare. What’s certain is that whatever you order it will look amazing and taste as good as it looks.
  • Quince – This rooftop restaurant offers consistently high quality dishes whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. It wouldn’t be surprising to eat here in the morning then head back later for dinner. The menu caters to those who are on a no gluten or Keto diet. There’s also a very good wine menu and selection of refreshing cocktails. Quince is a solid choice, whatever you’re in the mood for at any time of the day.
  • Atrio – This place is highly recommended in almost all reviews you can find. People love the dishes, they are wonderfully presented and taste great, that is expected the minimum. However, a lot of praise is given to the service of the staff who are knowledgable, professional and very attentive. Add to this, the establishment is very reasonably priced, making it a great place to make a regular spot for lunch or dinner.
  • FatimaThis restaurant stands out for it’s amazing views it provides, even in a city like San Miguel de Allende, where there are so many great dining spots. The menu is decidedly upmarket and dishes are beautifully presented. The items from the Oven and Grill section include barbecue Octopus, but if you’re not quite ready for that, go for the chicken breast or Tomahawk.
  • Bulla – Set in a beautiful courtyard that’s rustic and chic, Bulla serves simple meals of the highest quality, all of which are perfectly presented. Light tapas offerings and salads are perfectly complemented by heartier mains and stews. So, whether you’d like to pick slowly from a selection of dishes or go for a full dinner meal, Bulla delivers.
  • Casa NostraThis restaurant elevates the concept of dining out, providing not only an exceptional culinary option, but also a memorable overall experience. It’s a place where you can enjoy the finest food set in an immaculately designed home setting. The menu includes delights such as the Ossobucco and Yellow Tail Tuna with Pistachio. The wine and cocktail list is extensive and the staff are there to help you make great pairings. Casa Nostra is refined, relaxed, and eye opening.
  • Áperi – For a more innovative and contemporary take on traditional Mexican cuisine, visit Áperi. Led by chef Olivier Deboise, Áperi prides itself on its commitment to only locally sourced ingredients in its menu, including fresh seafood, meats, and produce. Áperi also boasts an impressive wine and spirits list, with Mexican favorites forming the bulk of their selections.
  • Panio – Artisanal baked goods are what await patrons of Panio, a charming bakery that’s now active in three locations throughout the city. Panio has a wide-ranging menu containing everything from traditional Mexican favorites like conchas and garibaldis, and classics such as croissants and eclairs—a must visit for anyone looking for top-tier pastries.
  • Ki’bok Coffee SMA If you’re in the mood to enjoy a good cup of coffee in the middle of the city, try Ki’bok Coffee SMA, a coffee shop that offers everything from handcrafted lattes and cappuccinos to Americanos. Ki’bok Coffee SMA only uses locally-sourced beans which they roast in-house to ensure consistently fresh and flavorful cups for their customers.
  • Marsala, Cocina con Acentos – A must-visit restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, Marsala, Cocina con Acentos has a cozy and intimate atmosphere, with a rustic charm that makes diners feel right at home. The menu features a mix of Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine, with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. The dishes are expertly prepared and beautifully presented, making for a truly memorable dining experience.

Shopping in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is a shopper’s paradise offering everything from traditional Mexican crafts to luxury designer brands. Here are some of the best shopping destinations in the city:

  • El Jardin Principal – Located in the heart of the city, El Jardin Principal is a beautiful central square surrounded by shops and vendors selling everything from traditional Mexican crafts to jewelry and clothing. You’ll find a variety of textiles, pottery, and ceramics, as well as artisanal candles and soaps.
  • Mercado de Artesanías – An indoor market located 10 minutes away from the city center, Mercado de Artesanías stretches for over two blocks and is a great place to find native handicrafts. Some of the items you can find in this market include hand-painted Talavera pottery, hand-woven Oaxacan textiles, and jewelry.
  • Fabrica La Aurora – A converted textile factory, Fabrica La Aurora is home to a variety of shops and galleries selling everything from high-end fashion to handmade crafts. You’ll find a mix of local and international designers, as well as an art gallery and a café.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes San Miguel

When it comes to the luxury real estate scene, work with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes San Miguel.

Led by local Mexican real estate veteran Alma Cecilia Ramirez and top-producing broker Greg Gunter, the team is the only direct U.S. franchise in San Miguel of the highly esteemed brokerage Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. They specialize in top real estate properties in San Miguel de Allende including condos, single-family homes, and luxury estates, among others.

Whether you are looking to expand your real estate portfolio, are in the market for a vacation home, or looking for a retirement location, the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services team will be there to guide and help you every step of the way.

Ready to explore retirement communities in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico? Call our international toll-free number 877.217.5959 or send an email here. You can also reach out to Greg Gunter here or Alma Cecilia Ramirez here to schedule a consultation.