a VirtualTourist member from Greenwich
How does these cities compare as destinations? i like a colonial atmosphere, relaxed with lots of walking and, above all, SAFE! Really appreciate any advice.
I really loved Queretaro, and it would certainly be my choice of the two. It has been a few years since I was there, but most of the tourists then were othe Mexicans. It is a large city--much bigger than San Miguel--but I felt quite safe there in the historic old city areas. I wandered around by myself a lot, including evenings.
It is a beautiful colonial city, with lovely parks and plazas, plenty of history if that interests you, and good food. Type 'Queretaro' into the Trip Planner on VT's tool bar and check out all the tips, including my page.
Both are colonial cities. Both are reasonably safe. Since after World War II San Miguel de Allende has been more the escape city for Americans to study Spanish, be involved in an art community or enjoy a small city relaxed atmosphere. Queretaro is, of course, much closer to Mexico City and I think as a consequence has been much busier and less touristy. I think you can say Queretaro is a more typical Mexican city. I think I prefer it, but I think many people would prefer San Miguel.
hmmmm, goes to show, everyone is different!! to me, San Miguel by far is the more enjoyable of the two; more compact for walking, lots of little side streets etc.
I believe both are quite safe.
If you hve enough time, you should also consider fitting in the city of GUANAJUATO, just north of SMA --- totally unique and all 3 cities are linked by frequent, cheap buses, so you could probably have an overview of all in a short few days.
interesting article written from Queretaro, which (on 2nd page) speaks a bit about current day city, which is now population One Million!
They are different, both safe. SMA is a tourist and retirement haven, a much smaller place. Pretty, good (and at times expensive) restaurant scene. Many national and int´l visitors prefer the Guanajuato state capitol, also called Guanajuato - close to SMA, as there are not so many older English speakers and there is more youth activity, a U town with lots of music. Queretaro is a fascinating and beautiful city to explore in its historic center and museums, helps to read up on Mexican history to undertand the context. Also a state capitol so you get a huge variety of activities, its a bustling commercial center. You see contemporary middle class Mexican life at its best, rather than the tourist oriented stuff. Personally I like both QRO and GTO alot, can give SMA a miss, don´t like retiree scenes.