How does one move to San Miguel or Guanajuato?

I'm planning a trip to SMDA and Guanajuato in August for 2 weeks and don't know where to begin. I'm a retired librarian with a limited income and I want to see, first, if I can afford housing to rent long-term. Also, I have 3 cats who are dear to me and I want to bring them. I also want to know about how to arrange my banking (SS and pension self-deposits, and moving IRAs, savings).

In short, how can I spend two weeks in August finding out if I can live there? It'd be great to speak to or correspond with any ex-pats (especially seniors) who've done it. I've a limited time there and I want to find out essential details about living in the area. Please help.

Of your question, this is of what I can inform you. SS and other retirement income can be directed to a US bank account and then you can withdraw the necessary living funds from ATM's which are everywhere. Mostly at banks and supermarkets. You can make arrangement with Mexican banks later, if you wish after you are settled in.

I hope others will chime in regarding living arrangements. I do know that there are a number of reality agencies in SMA.

I spent a month last summer in Gto. Fell in love. Decided to send 4 months there this summer. Prebooked the same place imwas in last year. Long story short - it was much more difficult there this year. I am 60 and a wee bit out of shape, but i had no problems last year. This year was awful. I just bit the bullet and moved to SMA. Much flatter and seems to me to be much friendlier.
Hope this helps some.
Just use your debit card - tell them where you will be.

Did you go through a realtor to find your places? I would be wanting an unfurnished house or apartment. I want to permanently relocate and I have a one-bedroom household. Many books and shelves. I want to move my stuff. Any suggestions you can give would be greatly appreciated. I'm coming down for the last half of August.

I would suggest booking a hotel or aibnb for a week or so. I found my spot because i saw the Renta sign in a store window. Walk everywhere abpnd talk to everyone when you get here.

Hi Claire,

My name is Melanie and I have lived in San Miguel de Allende for 6 years now.

The best advice I can give you is to come and spend some time here. Connect with Mexicans and Expats while you are here and become informed as much as you can first hand.

Beware that not everyone who gives advice or offers an opinion is well informed, regardless of how long they have lived in Mexico. Try to connect with people who are bilingual / bicultural. They are your best source for well-informed answers. 

Where to meet people? Check out the San Miguel Newcomers´Group --
San Miguel de Allende Newcomers´ Group

Best of luck!

Thanks Melanie. I'd be looking for a long term unfurnished place to settle into and check out the possibilities of buying a small house somewhere in Guanajuato. I have a lot of stuff I want to bring and three cats who live indoors. Any advice about this will be appreciated.


Hi Clare,

Do you plan on coming down anytime soon?

When I moved down, I sold everything and flew down. There are a lot of people in town who have moved down with furniture & pets. My friend, Yvon Marier, from Canada has a FB group about pets in Mexico. You might find some answers here: Travel Pets North America

There is another FB group page called Expats Living in Mexico. I suggest you post a question and see what advice you get. The more specific your question, the better. Here is the link: Expats Living in Mexico

Hope this information helps, Clare!

All my best,

Thanks Melaine, but those links you sent were Facebook pages that I can't access because I don't have a FB account. But to know that what I want to do is doable helps. Best, Clare

Clare, I live in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) and have lived here for 5 months. It is a fairly nice place but a bit more expensive than I have heard of living in other Mexican locales. Just for an example, there is small place called Tequisquiapan (not far from Queretaro and about 3.5 hours north-east of Mexico City). I have been told that is quite easy to find a 2 bedroom furnished house for between $400 and $700 US per month. In comparison, SMA is typically over $1000 US per month. That is not to say that you cannot find places for less in SMA. That is certainly possible, but not as easy as I have been told it is in Tequis. This disparity in rents, I believe, is due to the larger numbers of expats living in SMA. Guanajuato apparently has a lower number of expats so that may result in lower rents. I have also heard that Guanajuato requires you to be in good shape due to the terrain. I was there, although only for one day, and did not find it that much different in terrain than SMA. In fact walking around the city center was better because they use flat bricks to pave the streets rather than the uneven cobblestones they use to pave the streets in SMA.

You are coming in August which is one of the hottest months. That is good as it will give you an idea of the worst it gets climatically. How you experience this will obviously be subjective. Two weeks is not much time to make any kind of decision. But it will get you started. I would suggest just moving here and renting and then, in time, visit some other places in Mexico and then making a decision as to what location best suites you.

For me, the dryness is a bit of a problem for my nose and for sleeping at night. I am told this dryness will last for several months. For this reason I may decide a more humid location might be the best.

SMA has many social venues for expats that you can take advantage of. Guanajuato may have these as well. I met quite a number of expats visiting Guanajuato the day I was there.

In general, I can say that life is pretty good in SMA. But, likely, I will not stay here. I prefer places that have lower numbers of expats. There are some 13,000 living in SMA. From what I can glean from other posts there are fewer expats living in Guanajuato than SMA.

I have a cat. He came with me from Canada and has lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for 2.5 years before coming here. I live in a house that has high walls around it and a large garden. He spends a lot of time outside especially at night. I sometimes let him out in the street by himself. There are other cats wandering the streets as well. But most of the time they are not around. The few dogs that are around don't seem to bother him. When you move if you decide to fly to Mexico you will be faced with some decisions to make. Having 3 cats, I would think driving would be better for the cats.

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