Are you wondering what is the best way to travel from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato? Plus, if it is possible to visit on a day trip?
This article will answer all your questions and is based on our personal experience of getting to San Miguel de Allende (SMdA). We will also give you tips on where to stay and what to do to help you get the most out of your visit.
The UNESCO-listed centre of San Miguel de Allende is packed with old-world charm. Its colourful colonial buildings, elegant colonnades, cobbled streets and leafy gardens enchant visitors of all ages and nationalities, many of whom have stayed to make SMdA their home.
Highlights include the fairytale-esque Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel and the 18th-century Oratorio de San Felipe Neri. Once dusk falls, the town has a thriving food scene and a vibrant nightlife.
Summary of Your Options:
|How To Book
|Cheapest, best for solo travellers
|From $40 one way
|Flexibility, affordable, best for couples
|From $30 per day
|Use Discover Cars
|On A Day Trip
|Door-to-door service & guide
|$96 per person
|Most convenient from CDMX airport
|Fastest, but requires bus transfer
|Browse Sky Scanner
Our Experience Of Getting To San Miguel De Allende From Mexico City
We visited SMdA for Mal’s birthday, and we took the bus. We opted for the Primera Plus bus, which we took many times before, and we trust the company. We just turned up one hour before the planned departure at the North Terminal with an Uber car and managed to buy tickets fine. The trip took just over 4 hours, and the bus was super comfortable.
The bus station at SMdA is a little further away from the historic centre, so we took a taxi. San Miguel is a lovely town to visit. It felt super safe and posh. It is packed with charm, interesting shops, artisanal markets and nice restaurants. It is also very compact and easy to navigate on foot. Since the bus trip took so long, we stayed overnight, and it turned out to be a perfect weekend trip.
#1 Getting By Bus From Mexico City To San Miguel De Allende
For many visitors, catching the Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende bus will be the best option.
It is perfect for solo travellers and for visitors who don’t want to drive in Mexico. It is also a cost-effective choice for budget travellers or for visitors who like to sit back and watch the scenery pass by.
However, if you are short on time, travelling by bus might not be the best option for you.
Mexico City to San Miguel De Allende bus schedule
In our experience (and hearsay from fellow travellers), the Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende buses are generally considered reliable. There are a few bus companies operating this route, all of which depart from (or stop at) Mexico Central Norte station. The bus terminal is 6 km from the historic centre (15 minutes by car and around 35 minutes by Metro).
ETN Turistar is our go-to bus company for day trips out of Mexico City. We like it because it’s modern and super clean and offers the best choice of available times. It operates 7-10 services a day between 4.30 am and 7 pm. Buses run every two to three hours during this time.
Another great bus company is Primera Plus, which, from our experience, also boasts very modern and comfortable buses and is very reliable. They offer 3 buses per day.
|7:15 | 11:15 | 17:15
|From 608 MXN ($35)
|10 services between 4:30 & 19:00
|From 689 MXN ($40)
|From 575 MXN ($33)
|From 582 MXN ($33)
Where can I buy my ticket?
You have a few options when it comes to buying your ticket:
✅ You can book it in person at the Terminal Norte. The north bus terminal is located in the Magdalena de Las Salinas neighbourhood, which is not the nicest area of CDMX. But you can easily get here on Uber or by METRO, Line 5. The Metro station is called “Autobuses del Norte”.
✅ If you prefer to get your tickets in advance, we recommend using the Bookaway.com site, which is a reliable, international ticket service for travellers.
✅ You can also get your tickets online in advance through the Reservamos.mx website, which compares all the above bus companies and also provides up-to-date schedules. The only thing is that the site is in Spanish.
✅ You can also buy bus tickets in most OXXO shops.
Are there direct buses from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende?
Yes, both of the companies mentioned above run direct services. Check the schedules carefully before you book your ticket, as not all buses are direct. If you want to travel in the shortest time possible, book a direct bus.
How much are bus tickets to San Miguel from Mexico City?
The ticket prices vary according to the company you travel with. A one-way ticket with ETN costs MXN 689 / $40 USD for a one-way ticket.
Primera Plus is generally considered to be more of a luxury line, but we think ETN company could also be considered a luxury bus from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende. It offers video screens on the back of the seats and toilets on board.
How long is the bus ride from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende?
The bus ride from CDMX to San Miguel will take between 3 hours, 40 minutes and 5 hours depending on traffic and bus service, the time of day you are travelling, and how many stops the bus makes.
Mexico City to San Miguel De Allende shuttle
If you decide that the Mexico City bus to San Miguel de Allende is not for you, you could hire a private transfer or shuttle. However, this will work out very expensive so it is only a viable option if you are travelling as part of a large group.
For a large SUV or small minibus, we have been quoted prices ranging between $380 – $630 for a group of up to six people. You can browse Bookaway.com for different shuttle services.
#2 Driving From Mexico City To San Miguel De Allende
If you are a confident driver, driving from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende is another option.
It is a good choice if you are travelling as a couple or as a group. You can share the long hours of driving as well as the costs of hiring and running a car.
Traveling from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende by car is not the best option for young, nervous or inexperienced drivers or solo travellers.
How far is San Miguel de Allende from Mexico City?
If you take the shortest route (the Mex-57D toll highway north of the city), the drive from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende will take just under four hours, depending on traffic.
The most challenging part of the drive is navigating the streets of Mexico City. Once you are out of the capital, we think the drive is relatively straightforward.
Is it safe to drive from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende?
Yes, it is safe to drive to San Miguel de Allende – as long as you follow the usual driving precautions that you should take everywhere in Mexico (or in any foreign country).
Firstly, get to know your rental car before you set off. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and do not stop if you encounter anything unusual or suspicious on the road, especially if you are in an isolated area.
We also recommend locking your doors whilst in the car and spending a few minutes learning the rules of the road, such as speed limits and essential road signs, before you start driving.
Finally, we always recommend driving during daylight hours. Avoid driving at night if you can.
Renting a car in Mexico City
Renting a car in Mexico City provides the ultimate flexibility for your vacation. However, you need to make your preparations in advance.
Book your rental car as early as possible, especially if you are travelling in peak season or wish to rent an automatic car. We use and recommend Discover Cars, which allows free cancellation should your trip plans change.
We find the Discover Cars website quick and easy to use, and its clever algorithm shows us the best-reviewed as well as the best-priced car available for our travel dates. Using Discover Cars saves us time, stress and money.
Driving in Mexico City is not for the faint-hearted, and parking is notoriously difficult. We recommend only renting a car in Mexico City once you are ready to leave for your trip to San Miguel de Allende.
#3 Can You Do A Day Trip To San Miguel De Allende From Mexico City?
A day trip from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende will involve at least six hours of travelling, whichever form of transport you choose to use. As long as you start early and are prepared for a long day, it is possible to make a day trip to San Miguel de Allende from the capital.
If you don’t want the hassle of public transport or the stress and cost of self-driving, we recommend taking one of the available tours from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende.
TOP RATED San Miguel de Allende tour from Mexico City
WHY BOOK THIS TOUR?
This highly-rated tour lasts for approximately 11 hours, so you will have plenty of time in SMdA. It has a small maximum number of just 15 guests and allows free cancellation up to 24 hours before departure.
The first stop of the day after departing Mexico City is a short 20-minute stop at Parador Turistico San Pedro to pick up drinks and snacks.
When you arrive at San Miguel de Allende, you will have a 1.5-hour guided tour of the city, which will cover all the major attractions, such as the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel and the Civic Plaza.
The guided tour ends at the local artisan handicraft market, where you can pick up a locally-made souvenir (we love it there!) You will then have 3 – 4 hours to explore SMdA on your own.
After your free time, you will be taken to the Mirador San Miguel de Allende to savour the view of the city before departing for Mexico City.
#4 Getting A Private Driver From Mexico City To San Miguel De Allende
Hiring a driver and private transportation from Mexico City to San Miguel is a good option for groups or for people with large budgets who are short on time.
It is probably the easiest and the most comfortable way to travel, but hiring private transportation won’t be cheap.
Whichever method you choose, shop around for the best price before booking your vehicle. Don’t be afraid to haggle, but remember that it is a round-trip journey of nearly 600 kilometres!
Taxi from Mexico City to San Miguel De Allende
Catching a taxi all the way to SMdA will be expensive. If you are determined to use this option, make sure you contact several different taxi companies to try to secure the best price.
In the current economic climate, we think a taxi would cost between $440 – $510 one way for up to three passengers.
Uber from Mexico City to San Miguel De Allende
If you were to book a private car, such as an Uber, we think it would be cheaper than a taxi. We estimate that it would cost from $250 per vehicle for a one-way trip.
Don’t opt for the most basic vehicle, though as you will be sat in it for 3 – 4 hours each way.
Another way is to book a private shuttle service through Bookaway.com.
#5 Flights From Mexico City To San Miguel De Allende
Unfortunately, despite the short distance between the two locations, there isn’t a fast, direct Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende flight available.
For this reason, we think that flying to SMdA from Mexico City is not a viable option for a day trip.
Does San Miguel De Allende have an airport?
No, you will need to fly into an airport close to San Miguel de Allende and either take a bus, taxi or self-drive to reach the town.
What airport do you fly to for San Miguel de Allende?
There are two options you can choose.
1️⃣ One option is to fly from Mexico City to Queretaro International, from where it is a one-hour drive to SMdA.
2️⃣ The other option is to fly to Leon-Bajio International Airport (located between Leon and Guanajuato), which is a 1.5-hour drive from SMdA.
Best Places To Stay In San Miguel De Allende
Luxury Pick – Casa 1810 Hotel Boutique
If you dream of tasting the colonial lifestyle, stay in this central, character-packed 5-star hotel. Think colonnades, courtyard fountains, stone walls and fireplaces, and you will see why we love this boutique hotel so much.
Location | The hotel is on a pedestrianised street overlooking the famous Church of St Michael the Archangel. It is 100 metres from the history museum and is surrounded by cafes and restaurants.
Facilities | Casa 1810 features an outdoor pool, a restaurant, a bar and a roof terrace. It has a 24-hour front desk, a useful airport shuttle, free WiFi and free parking. Room service and laundry are available. Breakfast is included in the room rate.
Rooms | Rooms range from studios for two people to suites sleeping up to three people. Studios and classic doubles feature extra large double beds, a desk, a safe, a TV, and a coffee machine. Wall art and floor rugs add an authentic touch.
Sliding wood doors lead to a stylish bathroom with a walk-in shower. The larger suites have an additional seating area and a freestanding bathtub in the ensuite.
Mid-Range Pick – Casa Cien Hilos
We love the quirky, characterful rooms at this small 4-star hotel.
Location | The hotel is in a quiet location, a 10-minute walk from the centre of SMdA. There are cafes, bars and restaurants within a few minutes walk.
Facilities | Casa Cien Hilos features a 24-hour front desk, free WiFi and a business centre for people who work on vacation like us!
Rooms | Rooms sleep two people in single, double or extra-large double beds. There is a TV, a safe and a desk, plus a shower in the ensuite. The individually styled rooms each have a quirky feature wall.
We advise booking a room with an outdoor terrace from which to savour the views of SMdA.
How To Get From Mexico City To San Miguel De Allende: FAQ
How many days do you need in San Miguel De Allende?
Although you can see the highlights of SMdA in one day, we think that 2 or 3 days is the perfect amount of time to explore this laid-back town at a relaxed and enjoyable pace.
Who knows, you might be like one of the many expats in the city and fall in love with SMdA and stay forever!
Is there a train from Mexico City to San Miguel De Allende?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a train from CDMX to San Miguel.
What’s the distance from Mexico City to San Miguel de allende?
If you’ve been wondering how far is San Miguel de Allende from Mexico City the answer is between 258 – 306 kilometres / 160 – 190 miles, depending on your driving route and your starting point in Mexico City.
For example, the driving distance from the Zocalo in Mexico City to the centre of San Miguel de Allende is approximately 265 kilometres / 180 miles. This is taking the shortest, most direct route on the highway.
Is it worth going to San Miguel de Allende?
100% yes! Apart from its friendly charm and laid-back vibe, you will see architecture that you won’t see anywhere else in Mexico. We think the fantastic museums alone are worth visiting SMdA for.
Plus, the Mercado de Artesanías is one of our favourite locations to pick up high-quality, locally-made souvenirs at a reasonable cost.
Is it safe to walk around San Miguel de Allende?
San Miguel de Allende is generally considered safe – and one of the safest places in Mexico. We always feel safe walking around the town.
This is partly due to the considerable collective efforts made to keep the SMdA crime rate low in order to attract (and keep) expats in the area.
However, we always think it is wise to exercise caution wherever you are travelling to.
Avoid walking alone at night and avoid quiet, unlit areas. Keep your valuables safely locked away in your hotel, and don’t flash your cash or other valuables when out and about.
What is the best way of getting around in San Miguel De Allende?
On foot! We think walking around SMdA is the best (and only) way to truly appreciate the colours, vibe and architecture of the town. However, you must be prepared to do lots of walking and to encounter several hills. Don’t forget to pack sturdy and supportive shoes!
If you can’t face another footstep, taxis are plentiful and affordable to use within the town limits.
Now you have read all the options of getting from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende; we’re sure you will agree with us that the best way to get to San Miguel de Allende is by tour, self-driving or hiring a private driver in an Uber.
However, if you’re travelling on a budget and can spend more than one day in SMdA, we recommend saving money and going by bus. We don’t think flying is a worthwhile option in either time or money.
It is not a short trip – but it is worth it. At the end of your 4- 5 hour journey, you will be rewarded with one of the gems of Mexico.
We love visiting San Miguel de Allende and know you will, too. If you can only visit this charming city for one day, then go for it; you won’t be disappointed. But if you are lucky enough to stay longer, we guarantee you will find it hard to leave.
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