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SONIA DIAZ of Sonia Diaz – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Aerial view of parroquia and gardens in San Miguel de Allende – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are about 9,000 expats living full-time in San Miguel de Allende, out of 190,000 total population.

The population of expats tends to fluctuate. Many Canadians, for example, spend half a year here. They come in late October and stay till April or May.  These people are called “snowbirds.”

On the other hand, there are also people who come to San Miguel to escape the heat.  For example, people from Texas start to come in May and stay for as long as their tourist visa is valid, which is 180 days.

There are about the same quantity of expats who come temporarily for the summer as come temporarily for the winter, which keeps the total expat population relatively constant.

San Miguel’s elevation is about 6,000 feet, so the summers are very pleasant; not hot at all. Rainy season starts in late June and a favorite time for many. The hottest and driest time is from mid-April until the rains arrive but nights are cool.
 
(Pictured: Aerial view of parroquia and gardens in San Miguel de Allende.)
Jim Castro of Agave Rentals – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Country home with horse stalls near equestrian trails, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingExpats started coming to San Miguel de Allende after World War II under the G.I. Bill. Since the mid-40s, Mexicans have been open to the expats. The people who came here really contributed to the community and really made an impact, not only in what was happening in San Miguel de Allende but on the lives of people who lived here. They were very generous and they always gave back so the Mexican community so the local residents of San Miguel de Allende are very open to Americans. They are patient and they listen to our horrible Spanish.
 
If I go to Mexico City and have a dinner and try to communicate with the waiter in the way that I speak Spanish, which I think is pretty good, they may look at me like I have two heads because I’m not speaking fast enough so they don’t get it. In San Miguel, they’re more patient, more open, and they listen more carefully so that they will understand. They love the American and Canadian community and people from different places.
 
There is a little bit of resentment because of the wide income disparity between some of the locals and the expats in San Miguel. If I go into a store somewhere in the outskirts of San Miguel, such as a cellphone store, for example, I might be given a little attitude because I am American or I am a gringo. If there is somebody who is in front of me who is Mexican, they will help him first because he is a local. So yes, there is still some resentment but it is not malicious. There is great income disparity but most of the Americans who are here, have been here give back, so the community understands and respects that.  
 
(Country home with horse stalls near equestrian trails, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Ian T. Clement of Clement and Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Meal in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are about 10,000 expats in San Miguel de Allende. This figure includes both full time and expats who come seasonally. I certainly see more foreign faces when it’s wintertime, and I would say that when it comes to my office, the month of May is always slow. There certainly are times in the year where many or fewer people from abroad are in San Miguel de Allende, but it’s not like a beach town where you’ll have a completely dead 6 months, and then a completely alive 6 months. 
 
It’s a big county. I think that the city of San Miguel de Allende proper has 80,000 – 100,000 people now. That would mean 10% are expats or foreigners.  
 
(Meal in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Gilles Vachon of Mon Bistro Canadien Cuisine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Johnny Depp, far left, in the movieOnce Upon a Time in Mexico, shot in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingProbably 40% of the population of San Miguel de Allende are expats. When we first got here, we had the window of our car rolled down and we noticed that people were talking in English. We went down a little further and there were some more people speaking in English.
 
95% of the people who come to my restaurant here in San Miguel are either Americans or Canadians who live here. There are also Europeans, Chinese, and a whole bunch of other nationalities.
 
I was building the restaurant and some guy walked in and said, “I can’t wait for you to open it because I’ll be one of your clients. Now I am retired.” 
 
I asked him what he used to do.  “I was the one who set up the bands for the Rolling Stones.”
 
You will never know who comes here. Johnny Depp pops in here. He has houses here, too. There is even a well known US government official who lives here.  There was a woman at my restaurant recently who used to sing on Broadway for 25 years.
 
San Miguel is an interesting place to be. If you’re visiting, you’ll never know what is behind a door, and if you own a business, you’ll never know who’s going to come in your door.
 
We were sitting on the terrace recently having coffee and somebody said, “Hey look at this guy. He was in the band Santana.” Also just recently, the producer of Santana came to my restaurant to check it out. There is a lot of big names that come to San Miguel.
 
(Johnny Depp [on the far left] in the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico shot in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)

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