Note: this Art Routes tour has concluded, but visit the Tours page to view our other past tours, as well as new ones that may be occurring soon. If you have any interest in having a San Miguel de Allende tour designed for you, send us a message via Ask Astrid!
Trying to decide where you want to travel solo? How about visiting San Miguel de Allende, selected by Travel and Leisure magazine readers as the Best City in World. A historic hotbed of mystical and creative activity, this colorful, lively Mexican city is better than ever. Celebrity chefs, art galleries galore, stunning Spanish Colonial architecture, Meso American pyramids, artisan markets and music everywhere makes San Miguel the perfect setting for a great solo adventure.
San Miguel de Allende Art Routes Tour
Happily, June, 2018 AstridTravel,LLC in partnership with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge is offered a seven-day trip to San Miguel de Allende as the second Art Routes cultural travel initiative. What makes the Art Routes trips so special is their focus on discovering fabulous art and cultures around the world. The first collaborative excursion was a fantastic week in St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia, which focused on Classical Dance, specifically ballet.
Art, Culture and Meso American Mysticism in San Miguel de Allende
Now our second travel experience will have a completely different theme; the art, culture and mysticism of Meso America that was centered in San Miguel de Allende, as well as, the dynamic, modern elements of the city's vibrant essence. As with the St Petersburg trip, the San Miguel itinerary will be filled with a variety of activities to give the solo traveler a complete and vivid understanding of what makes this city and it's culture unique.
San Miguel de Allende: The Most Beautiful City in Mexico
Before sharing with you some of the highlights of the upcoming San Miguel Art Routes trip, I’d like to explain why it is also considered the most beautiful city in Mexico. Situated in the Guanajuato mountainous region, San Miguel enjoys a year round temperate climate with clean, crisp air and many days filled with sunny skies. The weather and geography make it a place where flowers and vegetation flourish. Many residences and commercial buildings have an indoor/outdoor design with interior courtyard gardens and gathering spaces where people can enjoy this healthy, invigorating spot on Earth.
In addition to the wonderful climate, San Miguel is a picturesque city filled with well-preserved Spanish Colonial architecture, colorful ethnic shops, homes and cafes, beautifully landscaped public squares and hilly cobbled stone streets all making it highly atmospheric. As with any area where many artists live and work, San Miguel has an energy. In addition, the quality and intensity of the natural light lends to the aesthetic foundation of the creative activity in the area.
Warm and Friendly People of San Miguel de Allende
Besides the natural and man-made beauty, the warm and friendly people of San Miguel make it a comfortable Mexican city for solo travelers to visit. Hard-working and family-oriented, the residents love their paradise of a city and welcome travelers to discover the magic of their home. Gathering in open air markets, cafes or squares the spirited city dwellers daily enjoy conversation, food, mariachi music with friends and foreigners alike. Hospitality is in the air in San Miguel.
Art Routes San Miguel de Allende Tour Genesis
The genesis for this San Miguel tour evolved from a conversation I had with a friend about my life-changing trip to Egypt and how the history and civilization of Ancient Egypt had fascinated me so greatly which has led me to want to continue traveling to places that have a strong spiritual and mystical past. These storied locations usually included fabulous architecture and artifacts such as ancient cities, pyramids, hieroglyphic writing systems, etc.
Casually, my friend shared her son Albert Coffee, a noted Meso American archeologist, lived, excavated, worked and conducted tours of the area outside San Miguel known as the Canada de la Virgin, the location of a powerful, ancient Olemic Indian civilization. Suddenly, during this conversation, I had an Ah Ha moment!
Knowing San Miguel was an upscale, tourist destination with plenty of wonderful things to do and see surrounding the arts and culture scene, I had already had this city on my potential Art Routes destination list. When I found out that it had a mystical past which paralleled that of Egypt, the deal was sealed. We would be traveling to San Miguel.
Meso America: History and Culture
Meso America, which encompasses the southern tip of Mexico and most of Guatemala, was the home of several powerful Ancient civilizations such as the Olmec, the Toltec, the Mayan and the Aztec. Like the Egyptians, these early Meso Americans worshipped many gods, practiced blood sacrifices, and developed a calendar which helped them change from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural based economies. Similar to other areas of the world where there are pyramids or pyramid-like structures, the man-made mountains in San Miguel have a relationship with the heavens. Basically, they are astronomically oriented.
On the Art Routes tour, Albert Coffee's Carmen de la Virgin half-a-day tour will explain to the participants some of the fundamental beliefs and practices of the early inhabitants of this area and how these ancient beliefs are still intertwined into the area's present day culture. His Archaeotour is rated #1 by Trip Advisor for visitors to San Miguel. On the site is an entire city with seven pyramids built between 540-1040AD.
Lunch with an Archaeoastronomer
In addition, we had lunch with and listened to a noted archaeoastronomer. How do you like that for a profession? Pretty far out in my book! We learned how the people of the past understood the phenomena in the sky and the role the sky played in their culture and daily lives. Why did ancient man all over the world want to build pyramids? Where did this knowledge and inspiration come from to do these mysterious things? The archaeoastronomer's answers to these thought-provoking questions were fascinating.
The root of this mysticism is still a mystery. Places where these fantastical, man-made structures were built all have a mysterious quality or vibe to the area making San Miguel, like Giza or Chichen Itza, a fascinating place to visit and explore.
Art in San Miguel de Allende
In terms of art San Miguel has so much to offer and this art vibrancy, also, had it's roots in the bygone history of San Miguel. In the early 1950's a series of artist colonies were formed here because of the natural light, the wonderful weather, the quaint Spanish Colonial architecture and the affordable, laid back nature of this Mexican town. The first two art schools established after WWII were Bellas Artes and the Instituto Allende. Many of the Americans that came to study art here stayed which led to the creation of San Miguel's creative community and soul.
Today, there are a plethora of arts and crafts studios filled with highly talented designers, craft artisans, painters, sculptors, jewelry makers and writers. In additions tourists can visit art museums, take art classes, attend art lectures and go on art tours, as well as, there are plenty of art galleries and shops for the souvenir and serious collector to satisfy their retail art needs. In terms of art and creativity San Miguel is on fire! If you love art, join us on this Art Routes tour.
Without sharing the entire itinerary of the tour in this post, which can be found on the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge's website, artsbr.org, or scroll to the bottom of this blog post, the following are some of the fun and interesting activities planned:
Art Routes San Miguel de Allende Tour Highlights
Taste of San Miguel Food Tour
San Miguel Vineyards and Wine Tasting Tour
Historic Walking tour of San Miguel
A Visit to the Mask Museum
Separate Specialty Tours to the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, a World Heritage Site with a magnificent church which is considered the Sistine Chapel of Mexico and the fantastical, Chapel of Jimmy Ray
Half-day Tour of La Canada de la Virgin archaeological site
Fabrica Aurora Arts and Crafts Tour
Dining at San Miguel's Top Restaurants.
In addition, there will be ample free time for tour participants to wander off on their own to shop, visit a spa or just relax in one of the squares or cafes and people watch.
Lodging Choices and Tour Cost
There will be two choices of accommodations on the trip. One can either stay at the five star Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada Hotel or share a luxurious, courtyard hacienda with fellow travelers where you will have your own separate bedroom and bathroom. Cost for solo travelers for this seven day, six night tour is $4,280 which includes your accommodations, 3 gourmet dinners, 2 lunches, all tickets to the exhibitions, museums and performances and your transportation to and from the airport. The only additional costs you will be responsible for is your airfare, some of your meals, souvenir purchases and tips.
Art Routes Tours are Opened to Worldwide Solo Travelers
Even though this Art Routes tour is sponsored by the Greater Baton Rouge Arts Council, it is open to interested solo travelers from anywhere in the world who want to experience one of the World's Best Cities. The registration deadline was originally set for January 15, 2018 but it has been extended to February 1st. A 20% deposit is required upon registration. See the additional due dates for when the subsequent payments must be received in the brochure at the bottom of the blog post.
Enjoy this short video showcasing San Miguel and subsequently, decide to join the art enthusiasts of Baton Rouge and take this special tour to this special city.
If you enjoyed this post, let us know in the comments section below and share with someone who might enjoy it as well. For more affordable luxury solo travel tips, tricks, stories and advice, follow us on social media and listen to the Solo Travel Talk Podcast! Click on the links below!
Author: Astrid Clements
Astrid Solo Travel Advisor CEO and founder, Astrid, has spent over 40 years traveling around the world. She is passionate about embracing the world’s diverse cultures and sharing with others the global need and personal benefit of cultural literacy. Her focus is on affordable luxury travel that is both substantive and fun! To read more about her and each one of our Solo Travel Advisors, head over to theAbout page!