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.
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.