TREND: San Miguel de Allende, in the central state of Guanajuato, is a preferred destination for those wishing to enjoy a small community with colonial charm, fantastic weather, or even some of its luxurious offerings. Travel+Leisure Magazine ranked it second (just behind Oaxaca City in Southern Mexico) in its list of “Best Cities 2020.” However, due to growing violence in Guanajuato, some precautions should be taken before visiting soon.
•San Miguel is preparing to let visitors in as of July 15 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This town was customarily packed with visitors from all over the world. Daytrips, weekend wedding events, or foreigners establishing seasonally or permanently, were all served by top-class hotels, restaurants, and local markets. As was the case with Los Cabos and Cancún, San Miguel obtained a “Safe Travels” seal by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which means guests can experience the area as long as they follow the necessary considerations.
•The state faces rising violence as rival criminal organizations fight to control the territory. Shootings in cities like Celaya and Irapuato, and illegal roadblocks near Apaseo and Salamanca, took place recently. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City issued a Security Alert during June for Guanajuato. Local businesses have felt worried about being extorted by organized crime.
•Tourists should take care even if they are not the target of criminal gangs. Make San Miguel your leading destination and avoid traveling on the road to nearby towns or attractions. The El Bajío (BJX) and the Querétaro (QRO) airports are the nearest to San Miguel (1 to 1 and a half hours away by car). Travel between these places and San Miguel is safe, but car-rental, taxi, or shuttle services should be arranged beforehand.
•Read for security tips or reviews for your accommodation before booking. The town offers a wide variety of hostels, hotels, and property rentals, ranging from affordable to pricy; however, security should be your primary concern. Check for: rooms with a safe to keep belongings; gates in well-lit, busy areas; comments about past thefts or intruders; and do not forget health protocols for Covid-19. Walking around town is safe but remain near the major attractions and restaurants. Some places offer full-day experiences within its facilities (spa, classes, workshops) that you can enjoy without moving around much.
TAKEAWAY: Without being a bustling town, San Miguel still has many things to offer. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has invested accordingly in infrastructure and services needed to keep visitors satisfied. The people and businesses in the town are friendly and open to foreign visitors. Still, tourists should be respectful of churches or shrines, authorities, and heeding warnings about wearing a mask in public for the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the region’s public security challenges, San Miguel is safe to visit with due caution.
* Spotlight by Sergio Mendoza, Senior Consultant at Riskop, a consulting firm focused on strategic intelligence and risk mitigation for investors and decision-makers in complex sociopolitical environments. It is located in Monterrey, Mexico. Twitter: @RiskopMx