Is San Miguel de Allende Safe to Travel to? Your 2024 Local Guide

Is San Miguel de Allende safe to travel to in 2024? The charming colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, nestled in the Bajio mountains of Northern Guanajuato state is one of the most popular expat hubs and travel destinations in the country and yes, it is a very safe place to visit. 

While Mexico is often a destination that people are nervous about traveling to, the reality is that the security situation varies quite substantially from one part of the country to another. San Miguel de Allende is undoubtedly one of the safest parts of Mexico, and not somewhere that you have to be nervous about traveling to or where you will be constantly looking over your shoulder. 
Still, I can understand having a little anxiety about traveling somewhere new, especially when that country is often in the media for all the wrong reasons. You are in good hands here because I live in Mexico and have spent a lot of time in SMA.

A gorgeous cobbled street lined with colonial houses in San Miguel de Allende

Is San Miguel de Allende Safe to Visit in 2024? 

San Miguel de Allende is no doubt one of the safest places to travel in Mexico. Usually I tell people that they can be safe in most parts of Mexico but they need to use additional common sense and precautions, but SMA is so upscale, and tourism is so important here, that you can be pretty relaxed. 

You might find that you feel much more comfortable here than you do in your home town. 

The city is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the country and being just 4 hours away from CDMX, it makes a popular getaway from the Mexican capital and from nearby Ciudad de Guanajuato. 

Honestly, you may often hear more American accents in San Miguel de Allende than you will native Mexicans, and there is a joke that the city is like Mexican Disneyland for tourists; in part, because it is such a common “first timer” place to visit in Mexico. 

English is widely spoken here, meaning that you can easily get by without a word of Spanish. You will easily be able to find all of the home comforts and familiar foods that you may miss, and the city is an art and culture lovers haven, with many of its old colonial houses and buildings now converted into independent art galleries and boutique clothing stores. 

The historic center of San Miguel de Allende

Government travel advice for Guanajuato 

I always tell travelers that it’s a good idea to check their government safety advice before traveling anywhere new, including Mexico. The US Department of State has a pretty decent travel safety page that offers a state-by-state look at the safety and security situation in Mexico. 

Your government’s travel advisory will likely be updated in real-time in line with any changing entry requirements or recent safety and security developments. 

Still, the reality is often a little more nuanced than this implies and the truth is that safety in Mexico can vary significantly from state to state, and city to city within states. 

Mexicans will tell you that crime has been on the rise across Guanajuato state in recent years and in particular, the state has seen an alarming increase in homicides. The US department of state tells you to “reconsider travel to Guanajuato” however this should be taken with a pinch of salt when it comes to San Miguel de Allende. 

Most crime in Guanajuato is restricted to the city of Celaya and the south and eastern parts of the state where you have no business going anyway. The violent things that happen elsewhere do not happen in SMA. 

I personally felt very safe and comfortable in Guanajuato City, Leon, Dolores Hidalgo and SMA. In fact, Guanajuato state is one of my favorite parts of Mexico!

The historic center of San Miguel de Allende on an autumn day

Is the cartel in San Miguel de Allende? 

No. Fortunately there is no cartel presence nor reported instances of gang violence in San Miguel de Allende. 

I get that the US media portrayal of Mexico, as well as Netflix series like narcos make Mexico look like a sketchy place where gangs are constantly fighting for territory but that is so far removed from reality. Sure there are some dangerous areas, but gang violence is mostly restricted to certain pockets of the country.

These human-sized muñecas (dolls) are all over San Miguel de Allende

What is the crime like in San Miguel de Allende? 

San Miguel de Allende is not a place that sees a lot of violent crime. As we already established, there is no cartel presence in the city so clashes between gangs and homicides do not happen here.  

As a tourist, the main issues you could potentially face are petty crime and things like bagsnatching or pickpocketing but to be honest, these still do not happen to the same degree as in other cities. (For instance in Guadalajara, there are people that whizz down Avenida Chapultepec on bikes or mopeds and snatch peoples bags. SMA sees no such gangs or problem areas). 

A lot of blogs online state that crime in San Miguel de Allende is either low or on the rise without stating any sources so be mindful of what info you trust. Numbeo index interviewed 122 residents (yes its a small sample size) and asked them how comfortable they felt in the city.

83% of respondents said that they felt very safe walking around the city during the day. They had very little worries about being attacked or insulted, but did feel concerned about crime rising over the last 3 years. 

Is San Miguel de Allende safe at night? 

Yes, San Miguel de Allende is pretty safe at night and you will find a lot of people meandering along the main streets and plazas after the sun goes down as they visit the various different restaurants and bars. 

The streets of the historic center are usually full of life until the early hours of the morning and my partner and I felt very safe walking back to our Airbnb on the outskirts of town in the late evening. Obviously, this still comes with some common sense assumptions – avoid dimly lit, quiet streets and if you have a long way back to your accommodation or you have had a few too many cervezas, consider taking a cab. 

Some great spots to check out after dark are:

  • Quince Rooftop (great day to night rooftop bar with live DJs)

  • The Room Mezcaleria

  • Zumo rooftop on the top of the Hotel Boutique Villa Limon (another valid contender for the title of the best rooftop bar in town)

  • Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar

  • Bekeb

  • San Mezcal

San Miguel de Allende safety tips 

A selection of useful safety tips to consider when traveling to San Miguel de Allende is detailed below. I don’t want to regurgitate generic info and a lot of this is pretty much common sense wherever you go, but I felt that it was worth reiterating here.  

  • Never leave your personal belongings unattended (i.e. no abandoning your Macbook in a coffee shop when you go to the bathroom)

  • Watch your things in crowded streets and markets like the Ignacio Ramirez Market or the Mercado de Artesanias and consider investing in a theft-proof backpack or money belt if you spend a lot of time in Latin America

  • Dont carry wads of cash. International credit and debit cards are widely accepted and 4,000-5,000 MXN pesos or so is plenty for a few days.
  • Watch your alcohol intake and take a cab back to your accommodation after a night out rather than walking

  • Don’t share your real-time location on social media

  • Dont drive in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato at night – streets are poorly lit, and stray dogs and animals may wander into the road

Wearing designer goods in San Miguel de Allende 

One of the most common themes that you will see in travel guides to Mexico and Latin America is the recommendation that you don’t flash the cash or draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive designer goods, accessories, etc. Honestly, I would say that San Miguel de Allende and perhaps Polanco/Roma in Mexico City are among the exceptions. 

A lot of people with money live here and many of the people that you encounter around town look almost as though they have just fallen off the cover of Vogue. If you are visiting San Miguel de Allende as part of a wider Mexico trip, it is probably better to leave your expensive jewelry or anything you would be worried about losing, at home for your security. 

However, in San Miguel de Allende, nobody is going to rip your Chanel sunglasses off your head or target you because you’re sporting an expensive handbag. This area attracts a very well-heeled crowd. 

The famous Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel in San Miguel de Allende
The famous Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel in San Miguel de Allende

Is San Miguel de Allende safe for solo travelers?

San Miguel de Allende is one of the safest places in Mexico for solo travelers. Since so many expats live here, you will see plenty of people from around the world running errands by themselves, going for coffee, etc. 

This isn’t a place where you will stand out or feel uncomfortable being alone. Even solo female travelers can feel comfortable here.

Nobody is going to give you weird looks or question your decision to travel alone either as tourists (including solo females) are a common sight. Since so many people choose to travel here, it is easy to meet other people too. 

If you want to be sociable during your trip, it is often just as easy as wandering into a coffee place (I recommend and ) and striking up a conversation with people that you meet there. There are also a number of Expat Facebook groups that you can join to see who wants to grab drinks. 

Is San Miguel de Allende safe for solo female travelers? 

Yes, San Miguel de Allende is very safe for solo female travelers and I would say that it is one of the “easiest” places for solo women to visit in Mexico. This entire website has been written by a solo female traveler based in Mexico (me!) and after traveling to 13 states solo, including several places on the “do not travel” list, I would say that SMA is one of the best places for solo women to start. 

Contrary to popular assumptions, as a woman who moved to Mexico alone, I find the men here to generally be very polite and respectful and you are not going to get catcalled or harassed in San Miguel de Allende. 

San Miguel de Allende has a “regional steppe” climate which sees warm, pleasant summers and cooler winters, though it never really soars above 73 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. During the summer, it is fine to wear shorts and sundresses as a female tourist.

(I want to dispel another myth that you need to dress conservatively in certain areas – Mexico is not the Middle East).  However, because it is a very tasteful and “classy” place, I would opt for fitted shorts and culottes rather than short shorts or skimpy outfits that you may see in Cancun.

Take a walking tour to get your bearings when you arrive

Taking a walking tour is a great way to get your bearings in a new city and the same can be said of visiting San Miguel de Allende for the first time. If you are a little nervous about being in Mexico for the first time, they can help you gain confidence plus exploring with a local will help you gain more information and context to the various buildings and neighborhoods that you see, and learn more about the city’s role in the Mexican war for independence.

You will see spectacular city highlights like the Temple of the Immaculate Conception, the Parish of San Miguel Arcangel, and the house of Captain Ignacio Allende.

Recommended San Miguel de Allende tours

Numerous reputable tour companies operate in San Miguel de Allende. They often include pick up from your hotel or you meet the other participants in the historic center. 

I have shortlisted a selection of some of the very best tours below for your consideration. Book your place online in advance to avoid disappointment!

Getting around San Miguel de Allende Safely 

It is very safe (and enjoyable!) to get around San Miguel de Allende on foot. Part of the joy of exploring is found in simply taking the time to get lost among the city’s various cobblestone streets. 

I would walk a different way to Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel (the famous, Instagrammable pink church) each day, and constantly discover new cute bakeries, coffee shops and stores. The only thing to note is that the city is quite hilly and steep so it can be a bit of a challenge for your calves! 

You can get by solely on foot for pretty much the entirety of your trip here. If you need to get somewhere a bit further out of the city, take an Uber or a Didi cab. 

Intercity buses offer affordable and comfortable connections onwards to Ciudad de Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, Santiago de Queretaro, Leon, and Mexico City. 

Taking taxis from San Miguel de Allende 

Usually I tell people to avoid street taxis (including official taxis) at all cost in Mexico because of express kidappings. However, in San Miguel de Allende, you will find official city taxis that are white and green in color, and have their taxi number written on the side. 

Only authorised drivers are allowed to drive these taxis, and you can either flag them down on the road, or head to one of the various ranks scattered around town. Still, taxi drivers are often a law unto themselves the world over, including San Miguel de Allende so I still prefer Uber. 

Sometimes people can be sneaky and try and overcharge you “gringo tax” because they know you are foreign and do not know the correct going rate. Other times they may take you on a roundabout route through town to rack up the fare on the meter. 

With an Uber/Didi cab, you know the approximate fare before you get in the vehicle. 

Using Uber/Didi cabs in San Miguel de Allende 

Spend any amount of time in Mexico and you will note that ridesharing apps like Uber/Didi are most Mexican people’s preferred way of getting around. Here, they are even considered safer than regular licensed cabs. 

It makes sense though, since there is more accountability via the app. When you get in an Uber, you have the driver’s name, past references and rating, vehicle info and license plate details. 

You can share your ride details with friends/family and if something happened to you, it would be very easy to trace exactly where you were and who you were with. You simply don’t have that with a street cab. 

I have used Uber all over Mexico – from Merida, to Sinaloa, to Cancun to San Miguel de Allende. My experiences in San Miguel de Allende were mostly fine, although I did have two drivers that asked for more money than the fare after they accepted and arrived. 

In one instance, I had already checked out of my hotel, waited 15 minutes for my Uber and loaded my suitcases in the trunk for the driver to ask me to pay him double, me to say no, and him to ask me to leave the car.  I reported him to Uber, and like to think that this was just one or two isolated instances of rude people on the app, but I thought it was worth mentioning here. 

Using Uber safely in San Miguel de Allende 

There are a few useful things that you can keep in mind to make sure that your experience of using Uber in San Miguel de Allende (and anywhere in Mexico to be honest) is safe and pleasant. 

  • Check that the driver has completed a healthy amount of previous trips (100+) and has been on the platform a while

  • Check that the driver has a rating of 4.5 or above

  • Cancel the ride and look for another driver if neither of the above ring true – if you do this quickly, Uber will not charge you any fee

  • When the driver arrives, make sure that their vehicle and license plate match those on the app 

Taking buses in and around San Miguel de Allende 

Within San Miguel de Allende, it is generally easier to get around on foot or by uber/taxi because local buses often run on irregular schedules and the system can be confusing to navigate. However, if you want to go from San Miguel de Allende onwards to Guanajuato, Santiago de Queretaro or elsewhere, you can take an intercity bus. 

The San Miguel de Allende bus station (Central de Autobuses San Miguel de Allende) is located a little ways out of town in the Los Mezquites district so you will probably need to take an Uber there if you have luggage. 

A couple of different bus companies operate on the routes in this area including Futura and ETN. Honestly all of them are great in my experience, always run on time, have comfortable seats, toilets onboard, air conditioning and entertainment, USB charging points and sometimes, free wifi. 

I did have one experience where a bus I was traveling on from SMA to Queretaro oversold its tickets and people had to stand in the aisle, which I believe is still illegal on intercity buses in Mexico. But most people got off the bus in the pueblos just outside of SMA so it wasn’t like that for too long. 

Is it safe to rent a car in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato? 

I have always gotten around Guanajuato by bus or private driver, despite living in Mexico for years and driving extensively through other states. Honestly, I mostly made this decision because the first few times I visited Guanajuato, I didnt really know what to expect safety wise (like you now). 

Having explored the state fairly extensively, I would say that yes, I would feel comfortable renting a car and driving here.

I would have no hesitation to do that the next time around and honestly, it would have saved a decent chunk of change in always getting private taxis and buses. You can pick up rental cars both at Leon airport (BJX) and in San Miguel de Allende. 

The roads throughout the state are well maintained, and you will pass by gorgeous scenery of ranches, rolling hills, and spectacular greenery on your drives. Between Ciudad de Guanajuato and Dolores Hidalgo, there are some intimidating mountain roads with large drops at the side but the roads are always wide enough for two cars to pass. 

(And winding mountain roads are perhaps just a personal fear of mine!) You do not need a car if you are only going to be hanging out in San Miguel de Allende proper but it can come in useful if you plan on doing day trips out to other cities, archeological sites, wineries and hiking trails. 

Can I drink the water in San Miguel de Allende? 

No, you cannot drink the water in San Miguel de Allende (or anywhere in Mexico for that matter). Although it is purified at the source, and Mexicans will tell you that years ago it was OK to drink, unfortunately, it can get contaminated en route to your tap. 

Even Mexicans do not drink it. Fortunately, hotels and Airbnbs will usually provide a couple of complimentary bottles of water in your hotel room when you check-in. Some luxury San Miguel hotels and villas may have potable water taps. 

(They will likely tell you about this when you check in. Look out for signs marked “agua potable”.) 

You may also want to consider purchasing a reusable water bottle like the Lifestraw to minimize plastic waste. That way, you can buy large, multi-liter bottles of water each day and then fill up your water bottle with enough for your sightseeing activities.

(The great thing about these bottles is that they also keep the drinks inside cool for multiple hours, even when it’s super hot out!)

Convento de San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende
Convento de San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende

Purchase comprehensive travel insurance 

It is prudent to purchase comprehensive travel insurance before traveling anywhere. Unfortunately, today’s health is not promised tomorrow and we can never know what’s around the corner. 

Although healthcare is cheaper in Mexico compared to say, the US, it still isn’t super cheap and if you were to fall sick or have an accident, bills can quickly mount up. Try and opt for an insurance plan that offers at least $100,000 or $250,000 USD worth of medical coverage per person.

Always read the small print as many additional activities (even things like hiking) are excluded from standard policies. A good insurance plan comes with additional extras like repatriation, loss/theft of baggage, cancellations, etc. 

If you have an annual insurance plan, or you get travel insurance through your credit card, read the small print and make sure that it covers Mexico.

Is San Miguel de Allende safe to travel to in 2024? Final thoughts 

San Miguel de Allende is a very safe place for tourists to travel to and I hope that this article has helped quash any worries or concerns that you may have had. I will often tell people that parts of Mexico are safe “with precautions” or that safety is a very personal thing but SMA is extremely safe and you really dont need to worry about anything. 

Once you arrive, I am sure that you will wonder what it was that you were worried about in the first place.

The city has a very small town feel about it, local people are very friendly and the large presence of international expats and travelers ought to make you feel secure. This is not a place where you have to constantly be worrying about what you do and where you go like in other parts of Mexico.

Have any questions about planning your trip? If you are planning a trip to Mexico for the first time, you may enjoy browsing through these Mexico travel tips.

I have been living in Merida, Mexico since January 2022. If you need anything, Im always happy to chat.

Feel free to drop me a comment below or connect with me via email/social media.

Safe travels and enjoy Mexico! Buen Viaje!

Melissa xo

Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Mexico and the Editor-in-Chief of Mexico Travel Secrets. She has over seven years worth of experience in working in travel media and has travelled to 57 countries, mostly solo. Throughout her career, Melissa has produced written content for several high-profile publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, the Huffington Post, Rough Guides, and Matador Network.

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