Is San Miguel de Allende Safe? The Truth About SMA 2024

Last Updated on April 17, 2024 by Ashlea J. Russell

Not sure if San Miguel de Allende is safe for travel in 2024?

Safety is important. No one wants to have their trip ruined by crime, or even just by the fear of it. So, when I was thinking about visiting San Miguel de Allende I wanted to make sure it was safe before I committed.

And, since you’ve landed here you’re probably doing the same thing!

I recently spent a week exploring San Miguel de Allende solo and I’m ready to put your mind at ease. While I felt very safe walking around, there were a few things I wish I knew in advance that would have made my trip more comfortable.

So let’s go!

Is San Miguel de Allende Safe In 2024?

The short answer is: Yes, San Miguel de Allende is a safe travel destination! In fact, it’s one of the safest cities in all of Mexico, and is widely regarded as safer than some US cities.

Many Mexicans jokingly refer to San Miguel de Allende as Disneyland because it’s the sort of place that makes for a gentle introduction to Mexico, especially for first time visitors.

As soon as I arrived in the city I felt instantly at ease. People were smiley and no one was even slightly surprised to see a foreign face. The sun was shining and the pace of life felt leisurely.

There was also a feeling that behind the historic charm of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, this place had money. I mention this because I’ve travelled all over Mexico and I’ve learned that affluent areas see less crime, so a sense of wealth is a good indication of security.

As with anywhere in the world, you’ll still want to operate with a certain amount of care and follow the typical travel safety tips:

  • Do not flash large amounts of cash
  • Do not wear expensive jewellery
  • Do not overdrink
  • Do not purchase or seek to purchase drugs
  • Do not walk around alone in the wee hours of the morning
  • Trust your instincts

While crime rates are low in San Miguel de Allende, there are still some things you should know to get you through your trip happy and in one piece, so keep reading!

Safety of Tourists & Solo Travellers

Tourists aren’t just safe in San Miguel de Allende, they’re part of the fabric. Tourists from all over the world, and Mexico itself flock here to sip cocktails on rooftops, feed their foodie dreams and gaze at the famous Parroquia.

And while San Miguel de Allende is definitely a popular spot for tourists I wouldn’t describe it as “touristy”.

Many of the ultra “touristy” destinations around the world come along with some unfortunate features like cheap imported souvenirs, pushy market merchants, and scams. These are not things you’ll find in San Miguel de Allende.

Tourists are able to explore the city, dine, shop, and relax without fear of being approached by scammers or hustled into buying something they don’t want.

Personally, I didn’t experience any gringo taxing, aggressive sales tactics, upselling, or harassment. I was totally welcomed everywhere I went and treated exactly like the locals.

  • Gringo taxing” is when local vendors mark up the cost of goods when the customer appears to be a tourist, usually from the US. To avoid being gringo taxed take a moment to consider the price in your local currency. Does this seem expensive for Mexico? If you’re not sure, walk away.

I walked around openly carrying my smartphone and taking pictures, and I never felt watched or like my person or belongings were at risk.

San Miguel de Allende is a safe destination but you'll want to keep an eye on your budget. It can be very easy to overspend here.

Restaurants were also very welcoming to solo diners. I was often seated at the bar or at communal tables where the bartenders and wait staff would happily chat to me.

  • Don’t be shy to dine alone! Being solo meant I almost never waited to be seated, I was just popped into the bar straight away. I saw a lot of other people eating alone, especially locals!

The number one thing I think tourists need to be concerned about is how much everything costs. San Miguel de Allende is not a cheap destination. Prices for meals, drinks and even shopping can be as expensive as places like the US, Canada and parts of Europe.

Because it is considered a foodie destination, some restaurants in particular can be very expensive. For example, I went for a sunset cocktail on the rooftop at the Rosewood Hotel and it cost $360MXN [$20USD/$28CAD] for the one drink.

To be on the safe side, establish a budget and aim to stick to it.

  • Keep an eye on the prices and do the math so you know what you’re paying. Shop around to find reasonably priced, high quality restaurants and shopping.

Safety of Women

As female travellers, we often have to take our safety more seriously especially when travelling alone.

Many parts of Mexico have had a focus on improving the safety of women in the country as of late and San Miguel de Allende has rolled out their own programs. Most recently, the Seguro Taxi scheme which was implemented in 2022.

The purpose of the Seguro Taxi program is to train taxi drivers to be aware of women’s safety and intervene and advocate on their behalf should they see a woman in need.

Because taxi drivers spend all day driving around, the city thought that they would be a good group to train to help prevent and report actions taken against women.

San Miguel de Allende is safe for women but dressing modestly is important to avoid offending the conservative locals.

During my time in San Miguel de Allende I was never stared at, bothered, harassed, or touched by anyone. I felt comfortable having a cocktail or two with dinner and walking back to my hotel in the dark.

The most important thing for women to remember is that Mexico is a conservative country.

While it may be acceptable to wear short shorts and crop tops in places like Cancún that is not the case in Central Mexico.

To avoid offending the locals it’s important to use some modesty when dressing in San Miguel de Allende so avoid low cut tops and short skirts. If you decide to visit any of the churches you may be refused entry if you have exposed knees and/or shoulders.

Is San Miguel de Allende Safe at Night?

San Miguel de Allende comes alive at night! The streets in the historic city centre are very well lit and are always abuzz with people coming and going.

The central garden, Jardín Allende located at the Parroquia is bustling with families and friends at night coming to view the gorgeous church lit up. Mariachis will play music in the square while people sit and enjoy churros or ice cream.

San Miguel de Allende comes alive at night and stays buzzing until around 10pm.
The streets of San Miguel de Allende are well lit and beautiful at night.

On the weekends you’re likely to see weddings make their way to the Jardín Allende with the giant puppets called Mojigangas in tow, spreading the festivities to anyone who happens to be around.

Things begin to quiet down around 10pm so that’s a good time to aim to be back at your accommodation.

Getting Around Safely

Walking in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is a gorgeous, historic and safe city that is ideal for walking around. In fact, during the week I was visiting I chose to walk everywhere almost every single time.

Because San Miguel de Allende is a colonial city, the historic centre is designed in an easy to navigate grid pattern. There are no unsafe areas around the historic centre so you’re free to put the map away and just wander.

While you may not have to worry about personal safety there are still some travel tips to keep mind to avoid a trip-destroying ankle injury!

  • Watch your step! Beware of slipping! Carry water! Catch your breath!

San Miguel de Allende is old! Most of the roads and sidewalks date back to the 1500’s and things were different back then. Walking around San Miguel de Allende can be a little treacherous and exhausting on the legs (and lungs).

San Miguel de Allende is highly walkable but the roads can be treacherous. Watch your step and take your time.

Many of the sidewalks are very narrow and also very high off the road. Make sure to watch your step and stand against the wall to let locals pass.

There are also lots of uneven surfaces, broken stone, cobblestones, and unexpected steps, so always keep an eye on the path.

  • Many of the buildings are decorated with flowers and plants. Watch out for slippery sidewalks after they are watered, usually in the mornings and evenings.

Finally, San Miguel de Allende is a city of hills. As you explore the city on foot you will walk up and down some very frequent and often steep hills. It can be very exhausting on the leg muscles if you’re not used to this sort of walking.

It’s also important to remember that San Miguel de Allende is at an altitude of 1,900m/6,234 feet and it can take a day or two to adjust.

Take it easy! Don’t be a hero! Take your time to catch your breath, pop into a coffee shop, find a bench, and stay hydrated.

Taxi Safety

Before I visited, finding information on taxis in San Miguel de Allende was difficult for me. I struggled to find any clear information on how safe they were, how much they cost or how to find one.

A simple Google search of taxis in San Miguel de Allende will return several taxi company options and it’s hard to know who to trust.

When using taxis in San Miguel de Allende you want to only use authorized taxis or a reputable private taxi company. These companies operate differently so I’ve broke this down further below.

Authorized Taxis

Authorized taxis in San Miguel de Allende are green with a white roof. They have large red numbers on the side and back as well as a taxi sign on the roof.

These authorized taxis are generally considered to be safe to use in San Miguel de Allende although it is not advised to use these late at night especially if you’re alone.

Authorized taxis do not have meters you will need to agree on a price before getting in.

The going rate for a taxi around one area during the day is $45MXN [$2.30USD/$3.25CAD], and this can go up at night.

If you flag a taxi on the street make sure to verify it is an authorized taxi and agree a price.

Taxis can be flagged in the street but you’ll want to make sure of a few things first:

  • The taxi is green with a white roof
  • The taxi has the taxi number in red on the side and back
  • The taxi has a white and red taxi sign on the roof
  • The driver’s license is displayed
  • The driver matches the license

If you prefer to call a taxi to come to you or reserve one in advance the price will at least double.

For an A to B trip around San Miguel de Allende, I strongly recommend that you use Uber or DiDi instead of the authorized taxis.

If you need to be somewhere at a specific time or need to reserve your taxi in advance, I recommend using a private taxi.

If you still want to call an authorized taxi I recommend Taxi San Miguelito +52 415 152 0124.

Private Taxis

San Miguel de Allende has several private taxi companies that operate all over the city. These can be hired for San Miguel de Allende day trips to places like the hot springs, long distance trips, or even just short trips around the city.

Prices can vary drastically depending on which company you use. I had a few journeys I needed to reserve in San Miguel de Allende. One to the Chapel of Jimmy Ray Gallery out of town and back, and one to the bus station.

I took several recommendations from people who live in San Miguel de Allende and I quoted these journeys with almost 10 different operators.

My number one recommendation for private taxis in San Miguel de Allende is Taxi Águila.

Taxi Águila is my first choice for all my private taxi needs in San Miguel de Allende.
Taxi Águila is a clean, safe, comfortable, reliable private taxi service in San Miguel de Allende.

Taxi Águila offers really fair prices with excellent service. Their vehicles are new and clean, the drivers are prompt and friendly, and they are consistent and easy to quote or book.

You can contact Águila Taxi via WhatsApp to reserve in advance or to order a taxi in real time. They will provide you with the driver name, vehicle type and colour.

  • WhatsApp is the number one method of communication in Mexico. You can order taxis, laundry service, make reservations, talk to hotels, and more via WhatsApp. If you don’t already have it, you can download WhatsApp here.

If you book in advance they will send you the driver name and vehicle information 15 minutes before the taxi arrives.

The cost for a journey around town is typically in the realm of $80MXN [$4.30USD/$6CAD]. This is about the same price as ordering an authorized taxi to come to you but the service is better and the vehicles are consistently newer and more clean.

Uber and DiDi

Uber and DiDi are a great way to get around San Miguel de Allende if you want to give your legs a rest.

In Mexico it’s always a good idea to have both apps in case you want to cut down wait times or avoid surge pricing.

I used Uber and DiDi during my time in San Miguel de Allende and found them to be a safe and reliable way to get around. I didn’t wait more than a couple of minutes for a ride and the drivers will always confirm your name and destination before leaving.

The great thing is you do not need to set up a new account to use Uber or DiDi in Mexico. If you already have an account you use at home, this same account will work in Mexico.

Rides around town will usually not cost more than $45MXN [$2.30USD/$3.25CAD] making them super affordable.

As always, make sure you are getting in the right vehicle and always check the following:

  • Does the vehicle description match?
  • Does the license plate match?
  • Does the driver match?
  • Say the driver’s name

  • If for any reason you feel unsure, don’t get in the vehicle. You can also share your journey with someone you trust so they can track your trip.

Getting To and From San Miguel de Allende Safely

There is no airport in San Miguel de Allende, so the first step is choosing the right airport for SMA.

By Bus

Taking a bus in Mexico might sound like a scary thing to do, but to be honest it’s my favourite way to get around!

The first class buses in Mexico are the best buses I’ve ever experienced, anywhere in the world. If you’re nervous about taking the bus in Mexico or want to learn more about what to expect check out this Ultimate Mexico Bus Travel Guide.

They are incredibly comfortable, spacious, prompt, and affordable. They usually have toilets on board, air conditioning, and WiFi. Some even have snack bars and seat-back entertainment like on airplanes!

Buses run regularly between San Miguel de Allende and cities like Querétaro, Mexico City, Guanajuato and León.

First Class buses are a comfortable, safe and affordable way to get around Mexico.
First Class Bus is my favourite way to travel in Mexico.

My personal choice for operator in this region is ETN. They have some of the nicest coaches in the country and I loved my experience with them.

I took the ETN bus from San Miguel de Allende to Querétaro for $110MXN [$6USD/$8CAD]. I was able to purchase the ticket online and I didn’t have to print the ticket to board. The journey was the most comfortable hour and a half bus ride of my life!

  • Recently some people have had trouble purchasing through ETN with a foreign credit card. If this happens you can purchase the ticket at the station or through BusBud.

If you’re on a very tight budget, Primera Plus is also a good, safe option but is not as luxurious as ETN.

When choosing a bus service follow the tips below:

  • Choose a reputable first class bus service like ETN or ADO
  • Choose a bus route that doesn’t make stops between stations
  • Avoid taking buses that depart or arrive late at night
  • Always keep your valuables inside the bus with you

By Shuttle

Shuttle bus is a convenient way to reach San Miguel de Allende from the surrounding airports.

BajioGo is a local company based in San Miguel de Allende and they are the best and most reputable company to make this journey with. They offer regular shuttles that are clean and comfortable with English-speaking service.

They operate one way and return shuttle services that are shared and private between San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, Querétaro, Guadalajara, and both Mexico City airports.

Prices vary depending on your journey but you can check prices on this BajioGo booking form.

By Rental Car

Whether you’re driving yourself or hiring a driver, cars are a popular way to access San Miguel de Allende.

Parking in San Miguel de Allende is limited, at best. Street parking and parking lots are often full, especially on weekends. This city is so walkable! I recommend skipping the car but if you want to drive there are a few things you should consider.

It is strongly advised that you do not drive to San Miguel de Allende at night.

When I was researching how I was going to reach San Miguel de Allende I was finding a lot of scary information about driving at night in this area. So, when I got to Mexico I asked around and here’s what I learned.

San Miguel de Allende is a highly walkable city and I strongly advise against having a rental car.

There is a misconception surrounding the safety of making these journeys at night so I want to be very clear. The danger is not due to violence, carjacking, or cartel activity.

The reason why these journeys are so dangerous to make at night is due to the driving conditions.

The roads travel through remote areas that are pitch black at night and have limited to no cell service. The highways are popular for animals to cross and if you have an accident it would be very difficult to find help.

If you decide to drive, only drive during the day.

By Private Driver

Another popular way to reach San Miguel de Allende safely is by hiring a private driver.

I arrived into Querétaro International Airport and decided to hire a driver to take me to San Miguel de Allende. I spoke to a lot of locals and expats who live in the area and almost everyone recommended Heros Transportation.

Heros Transportation is owned by Daniel, who lives in Querétaro. They offer private transfers and tours in and around the Querétaro area.

Heros Transportation is my first choice for private driver from Querétaro to San Miguel de Allende.
Heros Transportation is my first choice for private drivers from Querétaro to San Miguel de Allende.

They charged me $900MXN [$50USD/$68CAD] for a one way private trip from Querétaro to San Miguel de Allende.

They have new, clean vehicles, offer very fair pricing, are super friendly, great with communication and speak excellent English.

If you decide on a private driver from Querétaro the only option I recommend is Heros.

If you are not travelling from Querétaro, but rather from other cities there are lots of private transfer options.

Private drivers can be expensive in this area and generally run in the hundreds of US dollars per journey. You can comparing the pricing and options below:

San Miguel de Allende Safety FAQs

What is the Best Area of San Miguel de Allende?

The historic centre, which is the wider area surrounding the picture perfect Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel is where most people like to be. This is a safe, lively, and beautiful area both day and night.

I also encourage you to venture out to my favourite area, Colonia Guadalupe, walking distance from the historic centre.

This part of the city is bursting with incredible street art and colourful buildings. It’s much quieter than the historic centre and prices are more affordable. It has a more local feel but is also totally safe to wander and explore on foot.

Is there Anywhere I Should Avoid?

As soon as I arrived in San Miguel de Allende this was the first thing I asked my hotel. The answer was clear: you don’t have anything to worry about in the city itself!

There is nowhere considered to be “off limits” to visitors in the city. People are very friendly and welcoming, and you’re free to wander as you wish.

As with any city, there are poorer areas on the outskirts of the city but there would be no reason for most people to find themselves there.

There are no unsafe areas in central San Miguel de Allende.

Is there a Cartel in San Miguel de Allende?

No! San Miguel de Allende is located in the state of Guanajuato, which is known for cartel activity but this shouldn’t worry you. San Miguel de Allende does not have cartel activity and is a safe place to explore and live.

Can I Drink the Water?

Mexico doesn’t have a universal clean water program so you’ll want to be careful when it comes to water, but that doesn’t mean buying endless plastic bottles.

San Miguel de Allende is a wealthier part of Mexico that is popular with foreigners. Many hotels and other accommodations will offer either a purified water system built in or a large water dispenser of drinking water.

Most restaurants will offer clean drinking water for free as well as bottled water for purchase. Also, restaurants typically purchase ice in bags, so the “dirty ice cubes” thing is a bit of a myth.

If you’re not sure, you can always purchase bottled water at groceries stores, conveniences stores and street vendors.

Do they Speak English in San Miguel de Allende?

San Miguel de Allende makes a fantastic introductory destination in Mexico for first time visitors or people who don’t speak any Spanish.

This city has been popular with foreigners and ex-pats for years and the locals have adjusted. It’s much easier to find people who can speak at least some English, and even some people who are totally fluent than in other parts of Mexico.

This is still Mexico though!

It’s a good idea to learn a few key phrases and keep Google Translate handy just in case. If you find yourself in smaller, local places or outside of the tourist centre, you may need to flex your Spanish muscles.

  • Grab the Free Useful Mexican Words & Phrases Cheatsheet at the bottom of this page for everything you’ll need to get by en Español!

Can I Use Credit Cards?

Credit cards are widely accepted in San Miguel de Allende with Visa and Mastercard being the most common. Smaller vendors such as food stands and local shops are cash only. It is always a good idea to have cash for smaller purchases, taxis and tipping.

Can I Use an ATM for Cash?

I recommend bringing cash with you to San Miguel de Allende and using credit card when possible. Many of the ATMs in the city are often out of service or out of cash and it is not uncommon for the ATMs to eat foreign cards.

If you must use an ATM always use the ones located inside the banks and avoid machines on the street or in stores. ATMs are usually very reliable in Mexico but I found San Miguel de Allende to be an exception.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Yes, everyone travelling internationally should purchase travel insurance.

Travel can be unpredictable so I always recommend purchasing a plan that includes, at a minimum, emergency medical, emergency transportation and trip cancellation and interruption. I travel light, but baggage coverage is also available.

I was recently had an overnight delay in Mexico and was happy I had insurance in place to cover my expenses.

San Miguel de Allende is full of hidden gems so be sure to wander and explore.

Summary: Is San Miguel de Allende Safe?

Hopefully by now you’re feeling excited and confident about travelling to San Miguel de Allende!

I was surprised at how much I loved my time in San Miguel de Allende and the feeling of safety was a big part of that. Knowing I could walk around, take lots of photos and make lots of memories worry-free made my trip just that much more enjoyable.

If you’re new to travelling Mexico or just want to spend some time in a truly magical and beautiful city while feeling totally safe and secure then San Miguel de Allende is the perfect choice.