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I made my way from Guanajuato to San Miguel de Allende. I stayed for 7 nights.
Accommodation in San Miguel is a problem … on ANY hotel search engine (including my favourites: AGODA.COM and BOOKING.COM), you will struggle to find a nice Double Room in a Hotel with Ensuite for less than MXP650 / night (65% of our daily GRANDPAcking Budget!).
I found the best Hostel that I could afford for about MXP450 / night. I wanted to directly compare an Hostel option with the Vacation Rentals that I had booked elsewhere.
I booked two weeks before my arrival, yet all Double Rooms in the Hostels were gone. I had to book one of the few rooms still available: a Triple Room with Fan and Shared Bathroom at La Posada Del Artesano.
The Artesano is a small place with only 6 rooms.
All of the rooms are VERY basic. My Triple Room had a single bed, a double bed, a fan, and 3 small bedside tables. But, it was clean and had daily Housekeeping.
There were 2 shared bathrooms. Both were clean. Only 1 of the 2 had a ‘usable’ shower.
There was a shared kitchen with kitchenware, a fridge and a kettle.
It was time to move on to Queretaro, yet another city that is said to have an historical ‘heart’.
TO THE SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE BUS STATION:
Queretaro is not far from San Miguel … so there was no point in starting too early … you just end up arriving in Queretaro too early for your check in.
I walked the 75 metres down the road to the Hostel’s Reception to return my keys.
Since UBER are almost non-existent in San Miguel I, then, walked around the corner to a busier road to flag down a Taxi.
I negotiated a fare of MXP40 for the 3km trip to the Central De Autobuses (Bus Station). It is MXP30 from the centre of town, so MXP35-40 from where I was north east of centre seemed reasonable.
BUS TO QUERETARO:
Primera Plus isn’t the only bus company servicing the route to Queretaro, but I have learnt to trust them … and their prices are reasonable for a luxury bus.
I headed directly to the bus and checked in my bags – which went into the Luggage Compartment.
On some Primera Plus routes, you get a free drink and snack as you get onto the bus. Not on this one … the trip is too short.
As usual, the bus was comfortable but not as nice as their longer distance buses. You don’t get your own ‘Business Class’ type Entertainment System (in Spanish). But there were drop down screens playing a movie and the bus had free wifi.
CENTRAL DE AUTOBUSES TO MY VACATION RENTAL:
Again, the Central De Autobuses is not in the city centre but it is reasonably close (about 3kms away … which is ‘close’ for Mexico):
The problem, for me, was that I was on the other side of town.
I had asked the Estander (my Vacation Rental) for their exact address twice before my arrival; they did not reply. It was only once I arrived in Queretaro and called them on my cellphone, that I was given the exact address.
I walked out of the terminal and opened up my UBER app.
To date, I have been paying all of my UBER Taxis in cash. In Queretaro, they don’t take cash … only Credit Card.
I had to open my suitcase on the footpath, dig out my Credit Card, and scan a picture of it into UBER. Once done, I could order my UBER Taxi. A bit of ‘a pain’, but not the end of the world.
My Taxi arrived within 2 minutes. The price to my Vacation Rental was MXP47.45.
MY VACATION RENTAL – DEPARTAMENTO ESTANDER:
I had already typed in my destination address into the UBER App, so the Taxi driver knew where to go and used Google Maps to get there. No Spanish required.
I called my contact to say that I had arrived.
She arrived in 5 minutes with the keys.
I booked the Estander on TRIPADVISOR‘s Vacation Rentals service. I couldn’t afford to get into the ‘heart’ of the city … so, I did the best that I could.
You ideally need your own transport to stay at the Estander … not something that GRANDPAckers are likely to have.
The Estander is a block of flats … most are on long term rental.
It has a Lounge / Kitchen area with sink, fridge / freezer, and gas cooker. Although the pictures clearly show kitchenware, there was none. Not even 1 plate nor 1 spoon. This, basically, made the kitchen useless to me apart from the fridge.
The bedroom was a good size and reasonably furnished with a good sized wardrobe.
The ensuite was OK.
There was no fan nor aircon in the whole unit … but, at this time of year, you didn’t need one. In the summer, you would need at least a fan.
The whole place was a good size and was reasonably clean but it was ‘well worn’ … it is due for a redecoration and a tidy up.
Have a look yourself:
Queretaro was another big mistake.
Never mind, anyone can put up with anywhere when it is only for 1 week … which I did.
The information online said that they were close the the centre of town … they are not.
They may be close to the START of the centre of town but they are several kms away from the Historical Centre.
The rest of the city is just a city … the Historical Centre is the only bit worth seeing.
Around the Estander there is very little to do and see. There are a selection of budget restaurants and eateries with a couple of Supermarkets … but, that’s it.
You can, also, get a very decent feed in one of the better local restaurants for as little as MXP130 (like my Chicken Fajitas … which was so big, I couldn’t finish it).
If you want a beer, you have to walk at least 1km.
You walk about 5oo metres to the bus stop. A #5 or #53 bus will get you to the edge of the Historical Centre. From there, you walk another 500 metres to Jardin Zenea. The fare is MXP8.50 each way.
THE HISTORICAL CENTRE:
Along one edge of Jardin Zenea are a group of bars which have Happy Hours each day from 4pm/5pm until 8pm: 2-for-1 cocktails, wines, and local beers. A beer is normally about MXP35 … so a 2-for-1 brings them just under the cheapest price that you’ll find in a budget bar.
The Happy Hour makes sitting around the Jardin Zenea a nice thing to do in the early evening.
Other than that, you can walk some beautiful streets and discover some smaller plazas.
The trip from San Miguel De Allende to Queretaro is an easy one and a quick one.
My total cost was MXP155. But, for 2 GRANDPAckers, budget MXP230 (using UBER Taxis).
I will tell you more about Queretaro in my next post.
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