It took seeing just one photo of San Miguel de Allende for me to agree on a vacation there. The city’s warm, colorful buildings surrounding the almost cartoon-like cathedral made a postcard-perfect image, and I fell in love. Just like that, I’d agreed to a vacation in Mexico’s artists’ commune.

IMG_0656

It took about two minutes of walking around San Miguel for me to solidify that my decision had been the right one. For all we Americans hear about crime in Mexico, San Miguel remains a safe haven. Ten percent of the population is expats (typically retired Americans) and the other ninety are locals. The expats and the locals don’t just live together: there seemed to me to be a true integration of expats and locals, which I haven’t seen in many of the places I have traveled. Why this is, I couldn’t say . . . but I do have several guesses. Many of the expats have taken on passion projects that give back to the community: our host has a thriving art program for local children, the local library is run by the expats, and an organic market/restaurant staffed by locals has “Berkeley native” stamped all over it. 🙂 Whatever the reason, it seems to me that San Miguel is the best examples of locals and expats living in harmony that I have ever seen.

IMG_0655

IMG_0656

IMG_0670

IMG_0691

IMG_0694IMG_0698IMG_0769IMG_0776IMG_0783IMG_0785IMG_0789IMG_0800IMG_0801IMG_0811IMG_0812IMG_0816IMG_0839IMG_0852IMG_0855IMG_0863IMG_0875IMG_0878IMG_0890IMG_0891IMG_0904IMG_0913IMG_0916IMG_0925IMG_0929IMG_0951IMG_0956IMG_0977IMG_0994IMG_0998IMG_1001
IMG_0769

IMG_0891