Getting There & Departing
By Plane -- The two major airports are the Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City, 3 1/2 hours away (which has direct bus transportation to nearby Querétaro), and the León/Guanajuato airport, 1 1/2 hours away.
By Car -- You have a choice of two routes for the 3 1/2-hour trip from Mexico City -- a Querétaro bypass or via Celaya. The former is shorter -- take Hwy. 57, a four-lane freeway, north toward Querétaro. Past the Tequisquiapan turnoff is an exit on the right marked A SAN MIGUEL. This toll road bypasses Querétaro and crosses Hwy. 57 again north of town. Here it narrows to two lanes and becomes Hwy. 111. Some 30km (19 miles) farther is San Miguel.
From Guanajuato, the quick route is to go south from the city a short distance on Hwy. 110, then east on a secondary, paved road passing near the village of Joconoxtle. For the long but scenic route, which passes through Dolores Hidalgo, go northeast on Hwy. 110 through Dolores, then south on Hwy. 51. If you drive this route, take a break and experience a slice of rural Mexican life near the small community of Santa Rosa, where a few restaurants serve the local mezcal de la sierra, a distilled firewater that packs a strong punch and has a forceful aroma of agave.
By Bus -- From Mexico City airport: AeroPlus buses (tel. 55/5786-9357) leave directly from the airport for Querétaro about every hour or half-hour, depending on the time of day. A one-way ticket costs 256 pesos.
From Mexico City's Central Norte: First-class buses take 4 hours (with one stop in Querétaro). The company ETN (tel. 01-800/800-0386 in Mexico; www.etn.com.mx) has the best service, with wide seats that recline far back (four buses per day). Primera Plus (tel. 01-800/375-7587 in Mexico; www.primeraplus.com.mx) has two buses per day. Regular service is handled by Flecha Amarilla, with buses leaving every 40 minutes. Another option is to take a bus to Querétaro and change buses.
From Querétaro: Local buses run to San Miguel every 20 minutes (Flecha Amarilla and Herradura de Plata have alternating departures). If you arrive in Querétaro by first-class bus, you'll be in Terminal A. Go out the door, turn right, and walk to Terminal B.
From Guanajuato: ETN has three nonstop superdeluxe buses per day. Primera Plus/Servicios Coordinados has four nonstop buses per day.
To/from Laredo and Nuevo Laredo: Four companies offer an overnight first-class bus to and from Laredo or Nuevo Laredo: Autobuses Americanos (tel. 415/154-8233; www.autobusesamericanos.com.mx/americanos) crosses the border to Laredo, Texas; Futura (tel. 415/152-2237), Primera Plus (tel. 01-800/375-7587 in Mexico), and Omnibus de México (tel. 01-800/765-6636 in Mexico; www.odm.com.mx) go to Nuevo Laredo. The trip takes 12 hours and costs around 900 pesos. From San Miguel, there is one departure per day per company. The four buses leave San Miguel between 6 and 7pm. Departure times from Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are also around 6 or 7pm.
The bus station is 2km (1 1/4 miles) west of town on the westward extension of Calle Canal. Taxis to town are cheap (30 pesos) and available at all hours.
The city's tourist information office is in the ayuntamiento (city hall) facing El Jardín. The address is Plaza Principal 8, and the phone is tel. 415/152-0900. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 8pm, Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday from 10am to 5:30pm.
Carefully pruned Indian laurel trees shade San Miguel's central square, El Jardín. The center of city life, El Jardín is the point of reference for all places in the middle of town and is bounded by Correo (Post Office St.), San Francisco, Hidalgo, and Reloj.
Most places in San Miguel are within walking distance, so a car isn't necessary. Buses to outlying villages (La Taboada thermal pool, for example) leave from the little plaza by the mercado. Taxis to places inside town should not cost more than 40 pesos, unless ordered from a hotel.