Is San Miguel de Allende safe? The #1 question I've been asked since visiting this charming city. Learn the answer from my first-hand experience!
San Miguel de Allende had been on my radar of places to visit since it was ranked the #1 city in the world by Travel and Leisure in 2017. It wasn’t until March 2021 that I was finally able to go. The city absolutely exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to go back.
I won’t spend time going into all the reasons why I loved San Miguel since you can read about that in my San Miguel de Allende travel guide. This post is focused on San Miguel de Allende safety.
I wasn’t surprised when I returned from San Miguel that the first thing people asked was “is San Miguel de Allende safe”. A topic I myself was questioning before visiting this city for the first time. I didn’t know many people who had visited San Miguel, so first-hand accounts were minimal.
I started planning the trip a tad wary, to say the least.
In the end, my hesitations were completely unwarranted. Jake and I spent an entire week in the city and felt 100% safe the entire time. Jake had to work quite a bit, so I was basically a solo female traveler for a majority of the trip.
I would walk around the city during the afternoon, go on morning jogs, visit the shops in the early evening, etc., all on my own. Because of this, I can give an account of what it would have been like had I traveled to San Miguel as a solo female traveler, which to me is the ultimate safety test.
If I feel comfortable as a solo female traveler, then the city is pretty darn safe.
Before we get started on San Miguel de Allende Safety...
Before I go into the details, I am not a safety expert with a background in policing or world safety statistics. Obviously. This post is purely from an ordinary traveler's perspective. I’m writing this post as if you asked me “is San Miguel de Allende safe” over coffee and I’m sharing my personal experience.
I will also note, we stayed within the city center during the trip (outside of our horseback riding tour). We did not venture past the "tourist zone".
If you're planning on staying outside the city center or exploring past the historic core, I would recommend you do some additional research.
So, here’s my experience and what I learned from talking with locals, fellow tourists, and other solo female travelers who have visited.
The ex-pat population plays a big role in the safety of San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is known for its ex-pat community, primarily from the US, Canada, and Europe. This is a considerable income source for San Miguel de Allende. The city is smart. If ex-pats don’t feel safe living here, they won’t come, buy property, and spend money. If the city wants to protect one of its biggest income sources, it must make it a safe place for people to live.
During my morning jogs, I would often see older ladies (in their 70’s and 80’s) walking around by themselves. I will often study who is out walking alone to get a feel for overall safety. When you see little grandmas on a morning or evening stroll, solo, you know the area is pretty safe.
One of the tours Jake and I did was a horseback tour. Our guide was an ex-pat from NYC who's lived in the city for the past 11 years. She actually laughed when we asked about the safety in San Miguel de Allende.
She explained what you just read above about the ex-pat population and how important it is for the city to protect that. She also said a lot of families with young children are moving to San Miguel. Another sign that the city is pretty darn safe. Ex-pat families wouldn’t uproot their children and send them to school if they didn’t think it was safe.
She was also very adamant that San Miguel de Allende is without a doubt safer than most cities in the US, which I agreed with after spending time there.
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Solo Female Travel in San Miguel de Allende
Jake and I went to San Miguel de Allende together, but for much of the trip, I was exploring the city on my own. He was working in the hotel for the majority of the time. I would go on morning jogs alone, browse the shops and galleries in the afternoons and early evenings, and just wander.
In the entire week I was there I never had one moment where I felt unsafe. Let’s just say, if I spent a week walking all over Dallas (where I’m from) on my own, I would encounter more moments of uneasiness than I could count. Not so in San Miguel.
I will also note that I noticed other women on their own and learned from our hotel that solo female travelers are not uncommon in San Miguel de Allende.
You are constantly surrounded by ex-pats (mostly Americans), so you never really feel like you’re a standout American in another country. There are also a lot of police officers keeping an eye on things. The locals are very friendly, and most hotel, shop, and restaurant staff speak English, so if you need help and don't know Spanish, you'll easily find assistance.
After spending a week in San Miguel, the overall vibe I got was that it's a very relaxed community focused on living the good life. Enjoying prolonged dinners, morning walks, coffee with friends, and evening strolls. It actually felt like a Mexican version of La Dolce Vita, the famous Italian saying for “the sweet life” focused on enjoying the little things.
Now, would I stay out all hours of the night and walk home alone? No! I wouldn’t do that in any city as a solo female traveler. San Miguel does have a late-night scene. The city is known for its rooftop bars and excellent cocktail scene.
As a solo female traveler, you might have to deal with unwanted attention if you decide to stay out late. But that’s the case in almost any big city. I would feel completely comfortable enjoying dinner on my own, but I wouldn’t stay out much past that.
Traveling to San Miguel de Allende Safety
The one thing I would be mindful of is how you get to San Miguel de Allende. There isn’t an airport located near the city. The two most popular airports to fly into are the Leon Airport, BJX, and Queretaro Airport, QRO.
Both are a 1.5 hour drive from San Miguel de Allende. I highly recommend booking a car service or shuttle.
Having a driver is not only safe but more enjoyable. You won’t have to hassle at the rental car counter, worry about getting lost, and can enjoy the views on your way to the city. Plus, you really don't need a car once in the city. Parking can also be a huge headache.
I used Bajiogo shuttle and highly recommend it. BJX to San Miguel de Allende was $25 per person ($50 roundtrip). Private and shared shuttles are available to and from both airports.
The driver waited for Jake and me in arrivals and dropped us off right by the hotel. We were the only passengers on the ride from BJX to San Miguel de Allende. On the way back there was one other couple. The ride was smooth, comfortable, safe, and on time. I would use this company again in a heartbeat.
I would have been a bit nervous if Jake and I had driven ourselves. I've heard stories of people loosing cell service (and Google maps directions with it) while making the drive. I personally would not have felt comfortable getting lost on my first trip here and given how easy the shuttle was, I will always take that option.
If it’s your first time in San Miguel I would absolutely go with a private car or shuttle and then you can decide next time if you would be comfortable driving yourself.
A few things to note...
Taxis in San Miguel de Allende
Jake and I used private shuttles, Ubers, and our own two feet the entire time we were in the city. We did not use taxis. I've read that the taxis are safe as long as you don't use them late at night.
It was also noted not to flag taxis off the street and to instead book from an app or through the company directly. Because of what I've read and from personal messages I've received from people who live in the city, I personally will stay away from Taxis and stick with Uber and private car/shuttle services.
Use Common Sense
This is a tourist city and with tourist cities you must use common sense. The below points are things I keep in mind in any major/tourist city.
Pickpocketing happens and tourists are often targeted. Keep your valuables safe and always be aware of your surroundings. It's unwise to flaunt your wealth which includes wearing expensive jewelry, flying your $1,000 drone, etc. If you have an expensive looking camera, store it in your backpack when you're not taking photos.
While the city may feel safe enough during the day as a solo female traveler, I wouldn't be wandering around at night on my own. If I'm going to dine solo at dinner time, you can guarantee I'm sticking close to my hotel and to an area filled with tourists (i.e. not the time to be finding spots off the beaten path).
I do this whenever I travel solo because I don't think it's safe to be taking a taxi alone at night, public transportation, or walking far.
So, is San Miguel de Allende safe? From a tourists' perspective sticking to the city center, I would absolutely say it is. I never once felt uncomfortable, even when I was wandering by myself. There are plenty of police keeping an eye on things and the population is largely older ex-pats, families, and tourists.
I would feel 100% confident recommending this place for almost anyone to visit! Solo female travelers, families, couples, girl's trips, etc.
In fact, I even know a young woman who worked remotely from San Miguel de Allende for two months during the pandemic. Her views on the safety of San Miguel de Allende mirror everything I said above.
If you’re considering visiting San Miguel, please don’t let the question “is San Miguel de Allende safe” stop you from going. You’ll probably be like me and feel silly that you were nervous about the safety in San Miguel de Allende once you arrive and see how safe and charming it actually is.
Jeff Arnold says
My wife and I moved to San Miguel de Allende in September of 2019. We had only visited once prior, in the previous May, and bought a home 3 days later. We live outside the city in Colonia Los Frailes. Our experience in our own neighborhood as well as San Miguel proper matches yours. It is an extremely safe city. We have had our fair amount of late night walks through the city to either get to our own vehicle or catch a taxi and never felt threatened once. It is so much safer than our home city of Houston. Thank you for your words of encouragement. The fine people here really do depend not only upon the Expats, but, also the tourists.
Ashley Friemel says
Thank you for the comment Jeff! I’ve heard your story so many times. Visited San Miguel…loved it so much…bought a home several days later. My husband and I actually considered it for a hot minute as well. We can’t wait to go back. Enjoy your home in San Miguel 🙂
Hoping someone has an update…
I’m planning on going to Sam Muguel with my travel posse for a week. I’ve been there several times and am familiar with the city and love it.
This trip,however, has the added consideration of COVID. Does anyone know of a blog, publication,on- line newspaper or a SM resident that could shine some light on the “real time” situation down there?
All of us are fully vaccinated we are stay at a premiere hotel 2 blocks from the city square. We are using a private driver from the airport and only hotel recommended taxi services.
We have canceled any plans to leave the city for day trips. Rather, we will be checking out all the wonderful things todo and see within the city limits. We understand we will need to wear our masks when we are in popular outdoor spaces and shops. Can we assume the restaurants will all be open? I know there are countless. Outdoor dining options…
Any advice, contacts, on- ground resources would be greatly appreciated,
Ashley Friemel says
I can tell you of my experience in late March/early April this year. I’m hoping someone else can comment on the current situation. San Miguel took COVID pretty seriously. Restaurants and shops required masks. Most establishments also had a mat soaked in alcohol that you had to walk through before entering. There were also inflatable misters spraying some sort of disinfectant at all entrances to the heart of the city center (I have some of this on my Instagram stories – San Miguel story highlights). No one was quite sure what it was, but some locals said they thought it was a mixture of grapeseed and water. The hotels we stayed at were very mindful of masks and social distancing in common areas (like the gym). The only thing I will say is that social distancing was hit and miss at restaurants. You can get around that by eating early when the restaurants are empty. There are also plenty of rooftops if you prefer to eat outdoors. Hope that helps give you an idea of how San Miguel is handling the COVID situation.
Joan Leago says
We just came back yesterday. We did not find safety an issue. We stayed at an Air bnb. Not advisable as it is too difficult to get around. The city is beautiful, food was great, very few English speaking people. Although the cobblestone and slate sidewalks are quaint, walking is difficult for us seniors. The roads are pitted and riding around, plus to and from the airport is jarring to say the least. I think it would have been easier if we knew the language I personally don’t understand the hype. It’s pretty. clean and had great Covid restrictions. Glad I went, but won’t be going back.
Ashley Friemel says
Sorry to hear you didn’t love it as much as we did. Staying in the city center and at some special resorts (Rosewood and Casa 1810) also left us with a wonderful impression and experience.
Hey Ashley, I wanted to THANK you for your blog post on San Miguel de Allende. My fiance and I just returned from our first trip there and we had a phenomenal time! He is the one that discovered the city first, and even though it looked beautiful, I will admit I was hesitant to go with it being a smaller city in Central Mexico (not too far from some known rougher parts of the state/country). However, after reading your posts on SM and doing some of my own research, I agreed to go.
I absolutely second everything you said about feeing silly about safety concerns- I 1000% felt more safe in San Miguel at all times than even when I lived for several years in Chicago! The locals were incredibly warm and welcoming (and tolerant of our below average Spanish speaking abilities). I loved the mix of local culture (eating “comida” at the “fondas”, getting street tacos, shopping at the mercado) and higher-end shopping and dining. We found it to be a hidden gem and SUCH a charming city. I would agree that a long weekend is about all the time you need there to really see the city. If we had longer, we probably would have done day trips to Guanajuato or archeological sites.
Finally, would also recommend the Bajiogo shuttle to and from the airport- those roads can be a bit treacherous and you want an expert who drives them everyday, both our drivers were extremely professional and timely! This service is a no-brainer in my opinion.
Ashley Friemel says
I LOVE that you had such a great trip and that my blog post helped ease your concerns! I get it…I was in the same boat before we actually visited.