San Miguel de Allende is a hill-town. The streets are very narrow and made of rock or stone. It amazes me how the local women still wear super-high heels. I highly recommend lower heels and or good walking shoes. The city is very walk-able, but you'll appreciate shoes with good support. Taxis are everywhere. If you find yourself loaded down with purchases and not wanting to walk back up-hill; just stick your arm out when you see an empty cab. Daytime fare is 35 pesos and 40 after dark (around US $2). You can take the bus from one end of the city to the other for 6 pesos (about 30 cents).
The lifestyle here is anything you want it to be. Tennis, golf, horseback riding, swimming; it's all here. This is a great place for learning something new. There are plenty of language schools; art classes; musical instrument and vocal training. You'll keep fit by walking, but you can also join a gym, practice yoga, Tai Chi and QiGong, and Pilates. For spiritual up-liftment there are church services in English, a Universalist Church (known as the “You, You's” is popular) and many meditation groups throughout the week. If you need a vibrant nightlife, you will find that here, too. Music is everywhere and so is dancing. There is an Arthur Murray Dance Studio to learn many styles, but there are also places where the lessons are free. Argentine tango is on my bucket list; I just need to make it a priority. Concerts, plays, open-mic nights with poetry reading; all here. There is also a charming little used bookstore that has mostly English titles and has just about every category of book you can think of. Bring back the books when you've finished and you get credit towards your next purchase.
Lately, I have enjoyed a bit of pampering. At “The Spa” hotel on Mesones, I get a 90-minute massage for about $35 US and mani/pedi combo for $19. Acrylic nails? Why not! About $19 for the initial and $14 for fills. A girl can get used to this!
Be prepared if you are moving here for loud cars through the neighborhoods, barking dogs, roosters, loud parties with music, church bells, and oh yes, firecrackers. Parties and firecrackers are mostly on the weekends, but they can happen during the week. Really it depends on the neighborhood you live in. If you are sensitive to these things, check out the neighborhood before you move in or you could find yourself living next to a bunch of dogs that bark all the time or neighbors who love to party all night with the volume cranked up.
What you will enjoy is the beautiful views that can be seen here, especially if you find a home with a rooftop patio. The full moons and pink and orange sunsets, the fragrant flowing trees and plants, the occasional colorful hot-air balloon floating in a blue sky, the amazing array of bird-song in the mornings and the firecrackers too are all pretty cool!
(Garrison and Garrison bookstore, San Miguel Allende, Mexico, pictured.)