Paradox Refined - Page 2

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Horseback Riding
FINDING YOUR INNER CABALLERO: Horseback riding in the Barranca de las Virgenes  (Aaron Verdery)

But Casa Liza offers more than just a staging ground for hours-long revelry. It also helped us decide what to do in San Miguel when my husband and I visited last summer. But even with Casa Liza serving a preliminary filter, you still have to narrow your passions from a veritable laundry list of activities: taking a language or an art or a cooking class, getting full-body massages, attending the local theater, taking guided tours…

And that’s where the B&B’s Susana Bowman became so refreshingly essential. A daughter of San Miguel, she proved quite well-versed in the city and its immediate environs, and helped narrow our encyclopedic desire into a daylong outing on horseback at Rancho Xotolar, the hereditary home of Felix Ferulais, caballero extraordinaire.

According to Felix, the canyons surrounding San Miguel managed to remain free of Spanish influence during the height of colonialism due to the seemingly inhospitable landscape and expert horsemen who managed to stay just out of reach of the Conquistadors. The arid, desert-like plains and steep canyons are a reminder of the hardships presented to the local inhabitants by the demands of the land. It stands in stark contrast to verdurous San Miguel proper.

Our day-long ride was topped by a well earned feast of chicken mole, blue-corn tortillas, and farm-fresh cheese proudly prepared by Felix's sister and grandmother, using only what can be grown on their ranch.

On our ride back in town, Felix discussed the dilemma of maintaining his ranch and the customs of his ancestors versus the pull of city living in San Miguel. He is worried that his children will opt for convenience over tradition. However, much like the rest of San Miguel, he enjoys being able to keep a foot in each world—after dropping us back at our hotel, he returned to the ranch to take his wife to the disco. She loves to dance.

Access and Resources
San Miguel de Allende is roughly 170 miles northwest of Mexico City, about 70 miles from Leon, and 45 miles of Quaretaro, the latter two making for reasonably-priced taxi rides from their respective airports. Once in town the infrastructure is established enough to make most things relatively simple, and European citizens, English is widely spoken.

Casa de Liza (www.casaliza.com) offers a variety of different accommodations, from suites to two-story villas, with rates that start at U.S. $150 based on double occupancy. The bed and breakfast offers complimentary high-speed wireless, an on-site masseuse, a bi-lingual staff, and access to personalized cooking and art classes, and can help arrange a variety of guided tours in and around the city.

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Best Hotels in San Miguel de Allende

$147
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#1
Hotel Villa Mirasol
$280
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#2
La Puertecita Boutique Hotel
$375
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#3
Rosewood San Miguel De Allende
$96-$159
Average/night*
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#4
Casa Mia Suites

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