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Eat The Peach Travel: Day of the Dead, San Miguel De Allende, Mexico

SAFETY

Mexico has its crime problems as you know. The drug gang/narco-related crime is what usually makes the headlines in the U.S. It’s for real and the country is trying to stamp it out as fast as it can. Most of these crimes, if not all, happen in known areas. Tourists really have no reason to go to these places. They are mostly border areas and a few other places like Acapulco, Sinaloa, and Michoacán. All of which we’ve traveled too, just for some perspective.

 

Most of Mexico is very safe just like the U.S. It’s basically a question of steering clear of the known “bad” areas just as you would in the U.S. San Miguel is very safe statistically and feels very safe. There is some crime occasionally like any other city, usually stolen purse or something of that nature. In the last few years there’s been a slight uptick in crime. Nothing that we as tourists have noticed, but, better to always play it safe and maybe take a cab home at night if you’re by yourself and take standard precautions.

 

Sharon and I have been coming to SMA for about 18 years, spending summers now and then and for business reasons and we have never had any problems at all in Mexico or SMA.

 

Taxis are cheap and plentiful...The current rate for anywhere within El Centro is 40 pesos (about 2.50 US). The Hacienda is within El Centro. Taxi drivers are always male and generally helpful...though not many speak much English.

You “Cuánto cuesta?” (how much?). Him “Cuarenta pesos” (40 pesos).

CASH/DINERO

There are several large banks with ATMs around the Jardin in El Centro, this is the easiest way to get pesos. Make sure you let your bank know that you’ll be withdrawing money down here. Banks can be a pain in the rear...appears they get a bit spooked when you do that and not tell them ahead of time. They’re in a perpetual state of dizziness when it comes to our accounts lol!  We also suggest taking out cash when you get to the airport here. NOT from the money exchange window...(rip-off), from the nearby ATM.

FLIGHTS:

 

ITINERARY 2019:

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

 

 

 SAFETY:

 

 

MONEY:

 

 

CUSTOMS:

 

 

GROUP SIZE:

 

 

GUIDES:

 

 

DOSSIER DISCLAIMER:

 

 

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER:

 

 

WATER:

 

 

EATING:

 

 

 

CULTURE:

 

 

FACILITIES

 

 

WHAT TO WEAR

 

 

SHOES

 

 

EMERGENCY CARE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Day Of The Dead (Dia De Los Muertos)  is a celebration of the sweetness of life &  a remembrance of those that have passed... A time of music, laughter, and fun, this culturally packed tour is, quite simply, food for your soul.  San Miguel De Allende

voted #1 city in the world 2013 & 2017, by Conde Nast Traveler, throws a weeklong public party - The Festival La Calaca.  Featuring several parades, all night celebrations, art installations, dances, talks, plays and lusciously decorated public altars in homes and the streets around the Jardin.  You'll gain access to a number of 'behind the scenes' activities, as a member of our 'clan' for the week.

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

Day Of The Dead (Dia De Los Muertos)  is a celebration of the sweetness of life &  a remembrance of those that have passed... A time of music, laughter, and fun, this culturally packed tour is, quite simply, food for your soul.  San Miguel De Allende voted #1 city in the world 2013 & 2017, by Conde Nast Traveler, throws a weeklong public party - The Festival La Calaca.  Featuring several parades, all night celebrations, art installations, dances, talks, plays and lusciously decorated public altars in homes and the streets around the Jardin.  You'll gain access to a number of 'behind the scenes' activities, as a member of our 'clan' for the week.

 
 
 
 

 

CUSTOMS

When en route to BJX/QRO, you’ll be given a white card to fill out.   Make sure you fill out the bottom portion on the back.  When you are processed in immigration, they will tear off the bottom part and hand it back to you. DO NOT LOSE IT. You hand it back upon exiting the country. Hefty fine if you don’t have. Trust us, we, unfortunately, know from experience.

After immigration, you’re off to the infamous “green light/red light” game. Mexican customs have a very peculiar method of inspecting/filtering the flow of visitors to the country. You’ll be told to approach a button, told to push it, if it lights up green...off you go to collect luggage. Red – you’ll be directed to a nearby inspection table to be ‘inspected’ (just your luggage, that is). We’ve tried to game the system many times...haven’t figured it out yet...doubt we ever will. Best to give in and adopt the very real ‘on Mexican time mode’. In other words, ‘take a chill pill bill’. Yes...all above is 100% NOT a joke lol!

 

After luggage collection, a lovely chap from BAIJO GO will meet you with your name on a sign. The ground transportation is via a comfy, 18 seater shuttle van.  If arriving/departing into BJX/QRO  Priority lounge is located on the property.  Several small shops selling water, snacks etc. are on both departure/arrival lounges couple of bars on both sides.

 

 

 

GUIDES

All group trips are accompanied by one of our representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.

 

GROUP SIZE

                                                                                                  Max. 18

 

DOSSIER DISCLAIMER

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However, it is subject to change and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly from the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments, and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal to the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

 

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion, it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.   Any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

 

THE WATER

In Mexico, water treatment is a tad behind so most homes and places like our hotel have a filter system for tap water. So, it’s ok to drink the water. But, having said that, we have gotten into the habit of drinking bottled water while in Mexico. It’s readily available and cheap so why even deal with a tap. No worries with brushing your teeth with tap water or opening your mouth in the shower. It’s really a matter of your personal ‘fauna’ being introduced to a foreign ‘fauna’...it’s not that it’s contaminated, just that it’s ‘foreign’, and not jibbing with yours.  We recently rented a house in SMA without a filter system, and we all were fine, but why take a chance. So, we recommend that you use bottled water for drinking, teeth brushing, etc. FYI Ice in alcoholic drinks, soda etc, served in bars/restaurants is safe since it’s always purified.

EATING:

Mexico is known for delicious food, but, also for an unfortunate disturbance known as Montezuma’s revenge. A simple case of MR can usually be cured with some Imodium or Pepto bismuth or both... or another shot of Mescal...(the grownups version of tequila)...pick your poison. We’ve traveled for years to Mexico and all I can say is sometimes it happens, and, more often, it doesn’t. Sometimes it can even happen after a night of tequila and hot tamales! Nobody in our family has ever gotten sick with a fever in Mexico. But, in case it does, there are plenty of pharmacies and it’s very easy to purchase antibiotics etc. if needed. Speaking of pharmacies...if you’re looking for prescriptive drugs, Retin A, etc...come speak to us!

 
 

CULTURE:

In general, you won’t find Mexican men in shorts and you generally find Mexican women in dresses. That is changing with the influx of tourists, but you’ll still not see many women in shorts. I wore them once and felt like I had a big target on my behind all day.  This is a town where you can dress to the ‘nines’ all day, or wear jeans and t-shirt and fit in perfectly. But if you want to break out your ‘fancy pants outfits’...now is the time.   Just plan for that cool evening transition.

 

MEXICAN LOOS:

While Mexico is no longer a 3rd world country, it does possess elements of all ‘3 worlds’. One of which, besides faucet water (see above), are sewer works... Beside every Mexican loo, you will find a wastepaper basket. This is for the loo paper. Once you’ve ‘done your business’, pop it in the basket. Hacienda El Santuario is a former convent over 570 years. While they’ve hopefully upgraded the plumbing along the way, the above still applies. Ignore this at your peril lol!

 

Many restaurants have the toilet paper on a roll outside both male/female loos...check before you go in, because no one wants deal with the possibilities of that scenario...

DAMAS/DAMA = women CABALLEROS = men

 

WHAT TO WEAR:

SMA is at an altitude of over 5500’. It can be very warm (the upper 70s) during the day, to quite nippy at night upper 50’s. I’m not going to tell you what to bring, rather, I’ll tell you what we do.   Bring a small umbrella. The occasional, flash downpour can occur.

 

DAY: Sharon generally found in sandals, dresses/linen pants, and a t-shirt. Tom generally lightweight pants/short sleeves

NIGHT: Sharon dress with boots + shawl/sweater.  Tom generally long sleeve button down (with a t-shirt underneath, jeans/pants

SHOES:

There is an entire store in SMA devoted to selling shoes made especially for here. Wear comfortable, walking shoes that won’t slip or slide around on the ubiquitous cobblestones. Ladies evening shoes that work ok are wedges/platforms/boots. Stilettoes will prove hazardous to your health...if it comes down to a heel and the cobblestones...the cobbles aren’t going down.

 

EMERGENCY CARE:

SMA has excellent emergency care. We have you in safe hands and personally know Guanajuato’s’ top consultant. We can potentially have you in his care within an impressively short period of time   Many medical personnel, dentists etc. are trained in the US or Europe. We took four kids, plus ourselves for teeth cleaning/checkups for a grand total of $120 (all six of us) this summer. If anyone wants to do that (odd thing to offer I understand) let us know!

 

YOGA, MEDITATION, MASSAGE:

Tons of yoga around – if you’re interested let me know.  Tom and I go to a fantastic mediation center – by donation, again if you’d like to tag along, let us know.  We can arrange a masseuse to come to your room, or you wander off into town to several well- trained spas.  If you have any special requests at all...however peculiar, far-fetched...give us a yell. Chances are we can figure something out. We do love a challenge.

 
 

Flights, Airports, Ground Transportation:

 
*We will arrange for round trip ground transportation shuttle service from the following two airports.
*Please provide with flight info once you’ve booked.
*Any questions please call us 201 424 0834 (Sharon) 908 303 2781 (Tom).
 
Option #1: Leon International (BJX) airport offers the most choice in flight times as well arrivals/departures. Approximately 1.5 hr. ride from SMA (San Miguel De Allende).  Served by: Delta, American & United from Newark. In our opinion, this is the best due to the number of flights + choice of flight times.  Note that there are no nonstop flights to these airports.  Both require an easy layover/plane change in Houston.
 
Option #2: Queretaro International (QRO) airport is closer to SMA, approx. 1 hr.  Served by: Delta, American & United from Newark
 
*If you find yourself flying into Benito Juarez International Airport (Mexico City), and, need help arranging transportation – just let us know.  Transportation from MEX City to SMA is not covered in the trip price, and is roughly 4 four hours from SMA.
 
*When passing through Mexican customs, you’ll be given a white tourist card.  Keep it safe during your trip since you’ll have to hand it back upon departure. A hefty fine is levied if you lose it (as Tom knows from firsthand experience).  You’ll be met by the shuttle service as you exit customs.
 
Below are what we consider the great search engines for flights:
#1   momondo      #2   skyscanner      #3   google flights ita       #4   hipmunk
 
Please feel free to text/email us with any questions/enquiries… we’re here. 

DAILY ITINERARY

 

 

DAY ONE: Sunday, October 27th, 2019         Check out the Hacienda!

 

*Private shuttle from BJX/QRO provided
*Hotel check-in, met by us - Hacienda El Santuario.   Master Deluxe level rooms.

FREE TIME: upon arrival, to wander around and acquaint yourself.

 

 

DAY TWO: Monday, October 28th, 2019

 

*Breakfast served in the courtyard 7 am - 10 am.  Cooked buffet style or made to order cooked choices: fresh fruit, and local bread/pastries/yogurts/fresh juices, etc, followed by cooked choices. Very filling, fresh and fabulous - served in a flower-filled the courtyard.

*Pre-luncheon guided walk (with a cocktail in hand) through our art-filled (award winning!) Hacienda, rooftop garden included:)!

 

*Meet & Greet Luncheon, exact time/ location will be announced prior to the tour, however, previous locations have included local rooftop bar/restaurants. Light tapas, refreshments - also a lot of fun had by all! 

 

*Horseride Tour (optional) This unique experience is completely optional. We are guided through downtown San Miguel De Allende on an evening 2-hour tour of local streets, stopping in two traditional Mexican Cantinas. Contact us for details & pricing. 

FREE TIME: All morning/evening unless you're taking the Horseriding excursion.

 

DAY THREE:   Tuesday, 29th October 2019


*Breakfast served in the courtyard
 

*Walking tour: You’ll view buildings that represent more than 400 years of different architectural styles.  It is an architectural area frozen in time with laws to protect it. (time TBD) (Your donation supports the work of Patronato Pro Nina non-profit organization that has provided medical and dental care to children from the neediest families within our community and the outlying area since 1970.) Approximately 2 hours. 

*Happy Hour with Tom @5 if you fancy a refreshment in a spot you probably haven't discovered yourself...come along! (optional)

FREE TIME: All day and evening except for the morning walking tour.

 

DAY FOUR:   Wednesday, 30th October, 2019

 

*Breakfast served in the courtyard

 

*Cuna De Tierra, Vineyard Tour: We'll visit the fabulous vineyard Cuna De Tierra for 2-hour exploration.  Includes tapas + wine tasting, served in a gorgeous open-air setting, under the tutelage of an expert Vintner.  We will be the only guests visiting during this tour. Transportation via private shuttle. Details will be provided closer to the tour.  6 pm return to Hacienda.
 

FREE TIME: Morning/lunchtime, late evening.

 

DAY FIVE:  Thursday, 31st October, 2019
 

*Breakfast served in the courtyard
 

*ATV Tour through the streets of San Miguel De Allende (or similar) 2 hours of fun!! (optional and subject to change, sign up with Tom)

 

*Happy Hour with Tom @5 if you fancy a refreshment in a spot you probably haven't discovered yourself...come along! (optional)

 

DAY SIX:  Friday, 1st November 2019   DAY OF THE DEAD PARADE DAY!


*Breakfast served in the courtyard

 

*We will meet in the Hacienda courtyard for professional face painting. Cocktails and tapas will be served. Once our group is ready we will proceed (as a group to the parade).  The parade finishes in the Jardin (center square) with lots of activities going on around us.  We will then move onto our group dinner. Times/location of the restaurant will be determined closer to the time.

 

(Note: all photo's on this site are of us during prior parades.  We participate fully in the parade, dress up, etc. You do not have to do this. You can watch the parade, and still participate as a group with all the other activities!) Tons of details will be provided on etiquette, dress etc

 

Parade details will not be fully available until the council posts times/route etc. 

 

-Dinner after the parade,  9.30pm

FREE TIME: Morning/early afternoon

 

 

DAY SEVEN:  Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

 

*Breakfast served in the courtyard

 

*Farewell Luncheon, time and location will be provided closer to the tour.  However, past locations have included fabulous local cuisine spots with lovely ambiance.

FREE TIME: time to grab those last minute gifts for back home! Wander the markets, shops and dine one last time in this gorgeous city!

 

DAY EIGHT:  Sunday, November 3rd, 2019
 

*Breakfast served in the courtyard, shuttles to the airport