Our 3 months in San Miguel recently came to an end.
You can spend time just walking San Miguel’s beautiful streets
Of course we’re not leaving Mexico, well not just yet anyway. We’ve just started our 6 week beautiful house sit here in Patzcuaro.
Exploring the world slowly. What does it involve?
Often we get asked what we do with our time whilst travelling. I think I may disappoint a few people as I struggle to find an exciting answer. San Miguel was less like travelling and more like real life for us. We’ve taken a regular yoga class, volunteered walking beautiful dogs and even went to a Mexican wedding.
We are less interested in taking tours or seeing the must see sights. The joy we get from travelling is sampling local life and food, as soon as we begin to tire of a place we can move on. It’s not about seeing a specific place or thing, travel gives a sense of freedom, which we don’t get in our life back home. We also get the chance to concentrate on exciting new online projects, but we work the hours we want.
House sitting in San Miguel for 3 months gave us a good chance to get to know the place and settle into the community, it also meant that we’ve both been able to see our parents and stock up on Yorkshire Tea!
San Miguel has a massive expat community and although there maybe downsides to that, there are also many benefits, mainly food and convenience.
It boasts some excellent quality restaurants and cafes…
Top picks – cafes and restaurants:
The best pizza in Mexico? La Mesa Grande
La Mesa Grande; the coffee is great, they also have their own bakery and do the best pizza in Mexico (according to Rob).
El Petite Four; has a French patisserie feel to it and you can watch them create the most amazing looking cakes whilst sipping coffee and devouring a freshly prepared pastry.
Working hard in San Miguel – Café Rama
Café Rama; has amazing decor, which is a mix of comfy sofas, a Chairman Mao obsession and London kitsch. On paper it doesn’t make sense, but it’s the funkiest place in town AND the best coffee in San Miguel. Their lemon meringue pie is pretty special too. Rob based his office here for good reason!
Mivida is a posh Italian restaurant with a Mexican accent. The food was to die for. When Rob’s parents were here we went twice, that’s how good it was. Definitely not a budget option though.
Bhaji is a British curry house in Mexico. We’d been craving curry for a while and had already spied this before we even got here. As excited as we were I wasn’t holding out much hope. Turns out I was wrong and it’s one of the best curries I’ve ever had in my life!
Organic food – Healthy eating
Have I mentioned I’ve been ill? Just a million times? Thankfully healthy eating couldn’t be easier in San Miguel…
We were lucky enough to discover Rancho Toyan, an organic vineyard and farm. They serve the best Mexican food we have ever tasted. These are the sort of places you only discover when you live in a place for a while. We found it through our new friend Darren, who we met in our Spanish class. Darren was living at Rancho Toyan with his Mexican fiancé Claudia. You can check out their Aztec wedding here.
Claudia’s parents own the organic farm and her mum runs the restaurant kitchen. It’s a real hidden gem, with an incredible chicken mole. They open their doors every Wednesday for the restaurant and organic market. The food is literally picked meters away from where it’s sold and you can pick up a bottle or 3 of the vino. It’s a short taxi/car trip from the centre of town but it’s well worth it.
On Saturday there is an organic market, located on Celayas Dolores-Hildago just up from the Instituto Allende. You can stock up on locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as honey, yoghurt, gluten free cakes, and there are Mexican food stalls to grab a snack. There are also at least 2 great organic shops around the town, Via Organica and Natura
Our other favourite place to eat was Luna de Queso Deli. It’s a feast for the eyes for cheese lovers and they had some of the best olives I’ve ever had and I don’t even like olives! It has a shop where you can stock up your larder with all manner of food, which you don’t find everywhere in Mexico. Imagine sun dried tomatoes, quinoa, fancy cheeses etc… It’s also where I discovered pineapple and ginger juice; I’m a little bit addicted to that stuff now.
What to do in San Miguel
Volunteer dog walking – This was not only one of the best things we did here in San Miguel, but also whilst travelling! We volunteered with the wonderful SPA animal shelter and made many four legged friends who we miss very much now. You can volunteer 11am – 2pm Mon-Sat. Here’s Rob’s lovely post about it all…
Yoga classes – We took a twice weekly yoga class at Lifepath with Anabel. It was our first introduction to a yoga class and we loved it. Anabel was a great teacher, with over 13 years of experience. She mixes mind and body well, so you leave the class feeling like you’ve had a work out but so relaxed it’s like your floating on a fluffy cloud. Rob was a self confessed inflexible beginner, with various persistent back problems. The class sorted out his back pain and slowly built up his skill level, so no need for beginners to panic about looking silly.
Small movie theatres – There is a chain cinema in San Miguel but I preferred the Movie Pocket Theatre at Petit Bar. It shows what Rob would describe as ‘Kellie films’. There are no action blockbusters, but it does show art house and foreign films along with a good dose of documentary. For 100MXD you get popcorn and a drink thrown in too.
Thermal spas – La Gruta is a Restaurant and Spa about 25 minutes drive from the city and great peaceful escape when the noisy neighbourhoods get a bit much for you. Get a taxi there for about 140MXD. It’s a beautiful place filled with lush green trees and bird songs. There are a number of pools all filled from the hot springs. The largest pool has a cave you can swim through, with a waterfall inside. It’s simply a nice place to spend an afternoon. One word of warning, if you want to enjoy the peace and tranquility, go during the week, it gets really busy at the weekend and is more like a kid’s holiday club.
A good doctor – If you’re unfortunate enough to need one, I can highly recommend Dr Silvia Azcarate. She tries to find a natural way to heal where possible and uses antibiotics as a last resort. You can find her at Codo # 9, in the centre of town, call 415 152 1944 for appointments. Her English is great as is her daughters who works there too.
Horse back riding – Rob got a bit adventurous with his Dad and did some riding for the first time in his life. He loved it and now thinks he is John Wayne… Xotolar Ranch offer excellent trips in the surrounding hills and valleys of San Miguel, at good prices ($95 for 2hrs+ in the saddle and it included a delicious home cooked Mexican meal).
So I guess in summary San Miguel was a great place to set up home (when I wasn’t ill), we discovered happiness through our four legged friends, ate tasty food, drunk delicious coffee, exercised and relaxed. Sounds good to me!