Good morning to you wherever this finds you. We are in full holiday mode in Mexico now. One week from Christmas. The town is full of tourists from all over the world. Fun fact: 75% of our visitors in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) are Mexican nationals not foreigners. US tourists are often surprised to hear this. Coastal markets tend to be, generally speaking, driven by foreign tourist business… primarily folks from the US and Canada. But SMA, nestled high in the mountains of Central Mexico nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, is a very different story. This is the Corazón de México (The Heart of Mexico) and as such, is very popular with Mexican Nationals.
Our town was most recently voted friendliest city in the world, here’s the article if you’re interested: https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/2015-08-14the-2015-friendliest-and-unfriendliest-cities-in-the-world/amp. It’s hard to imagine what this friendliness looks like unless you’ve been here and experienced this firsthand. Let me give you an example: when I first moved here nearly 10 years ago, I used to go and have breakfast at a place called Lavender’s in town. One of the best breakfasts at SMA! (Website: https://www.lavandacafe.com). I was new to town, didn’t know anybody. Moved from Texas. On Saturday morning I would go down and stand in line with people to have breakfast. Usually had to wait 20 or 30 minutes. But, as you read in local restaurant reviews, it was always worth the wait. Every time I went down there, I ended up having breakfast with whomever I was standing in line with! Another words, we started chatting and became friends. I met people from all over the world my first few years here.
When was the last time you were standing in a line to go into a restaurant and you struck up a friendly conversation with people that you didn’t know and then had a delightful meal with them? Here, my first few years, I met everybody, and it connected me profoundly to our beautiful little 16th Century Colonial town.
One of the curious things we noticed a couple years ago in the middle of Covid here in SMA was that we began seeing people coming from all over the world but from a younger demographic. Specifically, we began seeing families with small children here. Young parents with their children — these are parents mostly in their 30s and 40s with kids 3-10 years old. Not only do you see these folks coming from North (US and Canada) but we also see families coming from Monterrey and Mexico City…. People are making profound changes in their lives. The folks that we talk to across the board tell us they are worried about food costs, overreaching government, restrictions on freedom, concerns about the economy, the ability to travel, and the market. It’s endless… As we all know.
Food and Water Baby!
When I’m talking to folks that are here for the first time, I remind them that we’re surrounded with ranches and farms in all directions here. In the morning in SMA, 7 days a week food comes streaming in from all directions. This is food that’s raised on the farms and ranches in the surrounding communities. Much of this food is shipped to the United States and overseas. But it’s grown here and we see a fair amount come through SMA. We have 4 full aquifers and plenty of land in all directions. Indeed, Mexico is open for business! And despite what you hear, Mexico is safe. I know that from my experience.
In a perfect world, the US tourists sell their house, decide they’ve had enough, and begin looking for alternatives. They’ve heard from their friends that Mexico’s got an intriguing value proposition. For one thing, the cost of living is about half of what it is in the United States. This is across the board. General shopping, food, utilities, etc. are MUCH more affordable in Mexico than in the US. This is one of the big draws of Mexico. Things are NOT free or “super cheap” in Mexico as a general rule. Rather, things are refreshingly affordable.
Why is Life in San Miguel de Allende So Great?
Life is simpler, somewhat slower, and more soulful because there’s more room and time to get to know people, to reflect, and be grounded. When I first came to live in Mexico, I was going to Mexico City one day riding on the first class bus ETN, having the time of my life! Worth doing: https://etn.com.mx/.
On the bus, sitting next to me is a young couple, he’s half Mexican and half American. At some point I asked him why he chose to live in Mexico instead of the United States… He did, after all, have two passports reflective of dual citizenship. He smiled and looked at me and said: “Oh that’s easy, in the United States everybody works. And politics…. Yuck! That’s all you do. It’s not like that here.” A great description of two of the differences between the cultures. Mexico is much more focused on quality of life. And one thing we’ve learned over the last three years of worldwide restrictions—quality of life, food, water, friends, family… now, more than ever are all of paramount importance.
This is an old Mexican town. And because there’s so much culture here, so much observance of Mexican traditions and holidays, many of the old school business practices are still in effect in San Miguel. One such example is the afternoon siesta. Here in SMA, unlike large cities in Mexico, the professional offices are closed from 2 to 4 pm. People go home, have lunch with their families, take a nap, have a coffee and return to work. These offices often stay open until 8 or 9 at night. Another thing unique here is that people work 6 days a week. This is a hard-working culture but make no mistake about it… Sunday is very much a day of rest. Things are relaxed here, as you can see.
Things are different in a small town especially in Mexico! The American dream is alive and well in Mexico these days. Our new residences, like me, found two very special things by living in our community: affordability which takes all the pressure off. The other benefit of Mexico, quality of life. People enjoy their lives here. It’s not all about work and making money.
What is the American dream in Mexico? In two words: affordability and lifestyle.
Our cultures have a lot to teach each other. The United States is very time conscious, very focused on money and business. We are a serious culture that prioritizes work above all things. That was my experience in the US. Conversely, Mexico is focused on quality of life specifically, family and enjoyment. This is a very big deal in Mexico…. We see this most emblematically with the observance of Sunday. Just like in the U.S. back in the 1940’s-1950’s, Sunday was a day for family. Stores were closed and people were at home enjoying meals and time with family. Sunday’s a big deal in Mexico!
It’s a great life, and it’s here and it’s waiting for you. We’re living our dream every day and we look forward to welcoming you to our amazing town!
Call us or write us and please remember, helping you is what we do!
Thó Waring, Licensed Real Estate Agent, San Miguel de Allende, GTO Mexico
RE/MAX Colonial: https://realestateinsanmiguel.com