My things have changed in San Miguel de Allende in the last 50 years. Most visitors are shocked to learn what the developed area of the city was in 1968. As the city has grown, the residential areas favored by expats have changed as well.
In the 1960s, expats were concentrated in the historical center and on a few ranches in the country. As the years passed Guadiana became attractive to many residents, then San Antonio and Guadeloupe and finally “Deep San Antonio.” When I came to live in San Miguel in 2002 few gringos lived in “Deep San Antonio” and those that did were considered suspect LOL!
Now all of this has changed, expats are everywhere and doing everything! All these neighborhoods are filled with restaurants, bakeries and shops patronized by both expats and Mexicans. While a great many expats have streamed into SMA as either full- or part-time residents over the last 10 years, the biggest change has been the arrival of Mexican visitors.
They come for long weekends, like Holy Week and Christmas. Many arrive as large multigenerational families. To meet the demand, a series of complexes, lovely ones, much as you would see in South Florida or San Diego, have been built. They are well designed and constructed, loaded with amenities and usually offer some form of free transport to the center of the city.
These complexes have proven immensely popular with visiting Mexicans, but they have not attracted as much interest from expats. Why? There is no way around the fact that this lack of interest is probably a bit of old-fashioned snobbery.
Many expats who come to Mexico look for a colonial-style house in an old colonial city that will give them a very different life than their friends and family back home live. That’s me! I came here to live a different sort of life than I would have had in Palm Springs or Galveston and I am very thankful that my life IS different here. But the reason my life is different is not my colonial home, it’s the people, the culture, the weather and all the indefinable things that make San Miguel, well, San Miguel.
At a time when rising prices are making colonial Centro expensive, these complexes offer great choices at great prices. Multiple, high- style two-bedroom, two-bath condominiums are available for under US$200,00 and many sell for under US$150,000. They are great lifestyle choices with pools, on-site security 24-hours-a-day and easy access to transit that will take them anywhere in the city, which is great on crowded weekends and holidays!
If you’re coming to SMA to look for a place to live, you should put these complexes on your shopping list.