San Miguel de Allende has been named the world’s top destination for 2017 by Travel + Leisure Magazine, a publication upscale enough so that even the website feels glossy.
The small city lies in the geographical heart of Mexico, a ten-hour drive from the U.S. border and four hours northwest of Mexico City. Its head count currently teases the 140,000 mark, a population which is on the young side; 40 percent is under 15 years of age, with 54 percent between 15 and 64.
Another notable demographic feature of San Miguel de Allende is a constantly metastasizing community of expats hailing mainly from the United States, Canada and Europe. Mainly on the wrong side of 60, they’re attracted by the city’s mild, warm climate, low crime rates, multi-colored colonial architecture and good food.
Of course, before you dial up your real estate broker for advice on snapping up a charming pile of stucco and peeling paint, it might behoove you to remind yourself that this is the opinion of Travel + Leisure, just one publication of its ilk among many.
A second, more nuanced opinion you may choose to consult is expressed in this quote from Lonely Planet’s website: “Many people say that San Miguel de Allende is a bit like a Mexican Disneyland for foreign (mainly American) retirees and visiting chilangos (residents of Mexico City) … It is, nevertheless, a beautiful city, with cobblestone streets and striking light.”