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The following was created with an extensive amount of work by the combination of previous tenants and the landlord.  It is only as up-to-date as you (and I) keep it, so wherever you find an addition or a correction, please bring it to my attention.  Thank you.  Michael

Welcome to San Miguel, and the apartments or entire house at Suspiros #14

The following information is offered as a community service by the MPW Charitable Foundation:

copyright MPWein 2008 - permission is expressly forbidden to reproduce without written permission 

Since you are anxious to get settled in so that you can start enjoying the many delights of our slow-paced and picturesque town, this publication is intended to help you get started, ease the culture shock, and make your stay more pleasurable.


Don't forget to do everything with a smile.  It is Mexican custom to laugh at anything before fixing it, whether or not it is fixable.  You should also remember that many Mexicans have a "different" attitude about time.  Mexicans always have time for small courtesies, for family, for friends.  Learn to accept the fact that most things will not arrive on time (certainly not when YOU expect them).


The laws under which we live in San Miguel (in all of Mexico, for that matter) were originated under Napoleonic law, quite different from English common law observed in the USA and Canada.  Here, you are guilty until proven innocent.  Normally, this is not much of a problem, but you should be aware of the laws regarding defamation, libel, slander, etc. While gossip is rampant here in both the Mexican and gringo communities, defaming a person, especially if you impact upon his or her income, and even if the statements are true, could land you in jail, or subject you to stiff financial penalties, during the entire period while you are attempting to prove your innocence.  


General - dial 066 OR 152-0911
Doctors:  Dr. Rodriquez 152-1014; Dr. Mendoza 152-1929; Dr. Barrera 152-2233; Dr. Jorge 152-5400; see Dentists nearer bottom of this page
Fire: dial 152-2888, 152-3238, or 152-3699, or 068
Gas Leak or gas emergency: dial 152-0228
Electrical (luz-lights) emergency: dial 152-7393
Hospitals: de la Fe dial 152-2233 or 152-2320 (English spoken); Hospital Civil dial 152-0045 or 152-6015; Seguro Social Hospital dial 152-0699 or 152-0278
Pharmacies: Farmacia Guadalajara (Ancha de San Antonio); Farmacia Chello Agundis speaks English (Canal 26); or 24-hour (will deliver) pharmacy 154-9048 
Police: dial 152-0022
Red Cross - emergency ambulance pick-up, dial 152-4121, 152-4225, or 152-1616
Emergency Medical List - click here  emergency list for names of friends to call if you find someone has been sent to some hospital and need a friend to help them
Report NOISE to Dept. of Ecologia - dial 120-4339
Foreign Community Aid - dial 152-2890
US Consulate Agency - dial 152-2357

Food Shopping:

Espino's, Codo 36 - canned goods, fruits and vegetables, most household supplies
El Tomate, next door to Espino's - more health-conscious fruits and vegetables 
Remo's, Codo 9 - cheeses and other Italian specialties
La Cava, Zacateros 40 - cheeses and other delicatessen items
Bonanza, Mesones 43-A, worth a look for the many various things it has, many of which can not be found elsewhere in town 
Soriana, at the new Plaza la Luciernaga shopping mall, has almost everything unavailable elsewhere 
Auerrera (a Wal-Mart affiliate), at its own new shopping strip, has almost everything
Mega, at the Salida de Celaya glorieta, has almost everything
Sam's Club and Costco, in Queretaro and in Celaya- just like in the USA (memberships are required but are available on day of shopping) 
Try also the small bodegas around town, one or more on almost every block. Try also the various stalls at the markets at San Juan de Dios, the Covered Market Ignacio Ramirez near Quinta Loreto, and the Tuesday Market (on Tuesday's) just behind the Plaza Real de Conde center (especially for the fresh fish)

Care and feeding of your car:

There is a public parking lot at Weber's nearby.  There is also public parking on the lot to our south.  There are other public lots as well.
Pemex gas stations on Ancha de San Antonio; another near the traffic circle near Gigante, and still another at the traffic circle on the way to Celaya
There are reputable mechanics in town, among which are: Billy Sidney (152-4917); Servicio Gonzales Clinica; Automotriz (152-4459)

Sights to see and things to do:

Art classes - Jane Evans 152-1112, Keith Keller 152-0637 
Art galleries (see separate listing of galleries, by geographical location) Art-Galleries
Art openings and literary readings - announced in local English-language newspaper, Atencion
Bellas Artes - Hernandez Macias #75 - the cultural center of San Miguel - presentations and courses in the arts
Charitable organizations that can use your time productively: Feed the Hungry, Crecimiento, Biblioteca, CASA, PPN, and many others that we use your monthly rents to give money to (click here)
Classes: acting, art (see above), cooking, dancing, drawing, jewelry making, languages, music, nutrition, painting, photography, sculpting, writing.
Computer Club - meets Tuesdays at the Biblioteca
Ecological Gardens, El Charco del Ingenio, up above Balcones - long hike, be sure to bring hat and water
Education and Language Schools: 
Instituto Allende (Ancha de San Antonio 20); 
Bellas Artes (Hernandez Macias #75); 
Academia Hispanoamerican (Mesones 4); 
Universidad del Valle de Mexico (Zacateros 61)
Glass factory, Lupita 2, near RR station, see glass blown, buy glassware at discount (152-2532, 152-1075 for free tour reservation)
Golf - Club Malanquin (152-0516)
Movies - 
Plaza Real del Conde (aka Gigante), 
Quinta Loreto 
many more movies available via us$50 monthly subscription to Satellite-TV here at our house
Music and concerts - Teatro Angela Peralta, and others generally announced in newspapers and on bulletin boards around town
Newspapers, English language - Atencion (every Friday)
Nearby towns of interest: 
Guanajuato (90 km away) 
Dolores Hidalgo (43 km) 
Celaya (50 km) 
Queretaro (64 km)
Pozos (45 minutes away)
Orchid Gardens (Los Pocitos - Santo Domingo 38) of Sterling Dickenson, deceased
People watching/meeting -- free and available and generally friendly: 
Tuesday Socials, 
Bellas Artes, 
restaurants and cafes, 
Juarez Park, 
charitable organizations, etc.
Religious services - many various - See listing in Atencion
Shoes, women's - Martha's Zapateria, Reloj corner Mesones, home of the "official" style-conscious SMA woman's walking shoes - remember also (to avoid broken bones and bruises) do not wear high heels
Swimming, spas, or other waters - La Gruta, Taboada, Escondido, and others, available by buses heading towards Dolores Hidalgo
Weber's (Colj. de San Antonio #12), 
La Aldea (Ancha de San Antonio 9), 
Club Malanquin (nearby, on road to Celaya)
Theatre, live English speaking - 
St. Paul's, 
Santa Ana,
Shakespeare Readers, 
also see announcements for other places
Yoga and aerobics - long list of possibilities is in Atencion each week.
AND still other things to do - 
horseback riding, 
folk dancing, 
mountain biking, 
Mexican news IN ENGLISH and CURRENCY Conversions, see (click on this>>>
San Miguel newsmagazine (click on this>>>> online newsmagazine

Additional information of probable use to you

 ..Appliances for the home - Mosqueta's (out at Landeta), Elektra (near our house at Zacateros near end of Hernandez Macias) 
 ..Banking - Lloyd's (San Francisco 33), Banamex (off Jardin), Bancomer/BBVA (Juarez 11), BanNorte, Bital, others (see also "cambios" and "obtaining cash"
 ..Book stores: El Colibri (Sollano 30); El Tecolote (Jesus 11); Lagundi (Umaran 17), Tinta y Papel (Ancha de San Antonio 6)
 ..Cambios - you can usually obtain the most favorable conversion rates for your US dollars at Intercam which has at least 3 conveniently located places around town (San Francisco near Jardin, Correo between Sollano and Recreo and elsewhere)
 ..Copying documents: Copias (Zacateros 27); Video Geminis (Zacateros 43); Imprenta Lasser (Zacateros 85)
 ..Dentists - Dr Vargas (the elder and son Fernando) 152-1081; Dr. Vargas (son Jorge) 152-4966; Dr. Retana S. 152-2319, Dra Laura 152-4330; Dra Alma Godinez 152-3082
 ..Gym and Exercise: Lobo's (Potrero #8 - 152-2707), Axis (152-1613), Flex (152-0457)
 ..Hardware - Don Pedro's, English-spoken, Ancha de San Antonio #123 
 ..Health - Natural Foods/Vitamins/etc at Naturista "Diva" (Pila Seca #39); Homeopathic remedies (Mesones betw Reloj & Hidalgo)
 ..Internet/email availability: Prodigy (01-800-123-2222); Unisono (152-4958); Cybermatsa (152-1942)
 ..Laundromats: La Pila (Jesus 25); LavaMagico (Pila Seca 5); Franco (Zacateros 54-B and also at Ancha de San Antonio 15-A)
 ..Locksmiths - Hernandez Macias #123 (Sr. Rodriquez); also various hardware stores
 ..Mail and fax services: Border Crossings (Mesones 57), La Conexion (Aldama 3) and of course, a box at the Mexican post office
 ..Medical Laboratories - LabSam (Mesones 51); Laboratorio Clinico (San Francisco 51-A); Bios-Lab (Hidalgo 22);
 ..Money Exchanges (Cambios) - Deal, Monex, Lloyds, DiCambios S.A., others
 ..obtaining cash - you can usually obtain the most favorable conversion rates for your US dollars at Intercam which has at least 3 conveniently located places around town (San Francisco near Jardin, Correo between Sollano and Recreo and elsewhere)
 ..Odds/Ends - Try the "local 5 and 10" (Casa Anguiano) Canal#28, corner of Hern. Macias - has glasses, silverware, as I said "odd/ends"
 ..Restaurants and Cafes - see separate listing of Restaurants
 ..Tips (beyond those given on this page) on various problems that you might  encounter when living in San Miguel - see tips for living here as well as additional web-pages for problems with employees and fm2-fm3 and shopping tips and taxation in Mexico and finally, all other odds and ends of living here.
 ..Translations: Lilia Trapaga (152-3580); Hector Ulloa (152-6705)
 ..Travel agencies: American Express (Hidalgo 1-A), PMC-Travel Institute (Hidalgo #18), Viajes de San Miguel (Sollano #4)
 ..Two places with whom  you should register as soon as possible:
.......24-Hour Association - 152-1723 or 152-5237 - a money-back if not used, but just-in-case, guarantee of immortality
.......The Consulate for your own country of citizenship - the USA Consulate is at Hernandez Macias 72 (152-2357)
 ..Water (to drink) (already supplied free to your apartment, but, if you wish to buy elsewhere): Risco (152-0450), Junghanns (152-8886), Agua Nova (152-4972), or Prisma (152-1951)
 ..Water (more info) It is safe to drink the water in all restaurants around town (think about what "I got sick there" would do to their business). But, because of the "hands handling money" problem, I would not ever buy from street vendors.  

How to do some other things:

To keep warm outside of the house in the winter, wear layered clothing, so that you can unpeel as the day gets warmer. To keep warm inside your house in the winter, you may wish to close doors between rooms and section off parts of the house to keep that section warmer. During the day, in both summer and winter, moving between the shade and the sun makes one or the other comfortable at virtually all times of the year.
To make local pay phone calls, buy Ladatel card at various stores. To locate people, use the phone directory for the English-speaking community. "Juarde" is the only useful directory because most phones remain in the name of the purchaser of the original phone, and therefore the names/numbers in the regular phone book are out of date, so, I recommend that you list your name/address/phone # with Juarde as soon as possible 
Employees - legal relationships are different from those in other countries; consult with an attorney before hiring, firing, giving raises, etc.   In addition to weekly wages, there are additional costs of aguinaldas (Xmas gift), vacations, severance, pensions, etc. etc. etc.
Seek professional advice on major decisions.  "Facts" obtained from people with good intentions are often not real usable facts.  My personal experience is that the "local list-servs" (and I was one of three people that started the whole SMA lists process) are filled with answers that are generally incorrect at worse and incomplete at best.  Be very wary of such free information.
Holidays - almost every day is a holiday (best list that I've ever seen is in the Archie Dean book - see below).   Or you can consult my own free community newspaper near the very bottom of that web-page in the section called "FIESTAS POPULARES DE SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE".
To learn even more about San Miguel, I recommend reading the Archie Dean book, "The Insider's Guide to San Miguel", and the Robert Somerlott book "San Miguel de Allende".
Here are some guidelines for lighting the old style (ceramic brick) LP gas heaters.
1.  First make sure that the gas valve on the heater and the wall are closed before you start and there is no gas smell.
2.  Open the valve on the gas line coming out of the wall.
3.  Locate the valve on the heater that says Off/Piloto/On.
4.  Get your long lighter ready.
5.  Turn the Off/Pilot/On valve to Piloto position, there will be a little tab to show you where that position is.
6.  Push and hold down that button down and light the pilot light in the front bottom of the heater.  It will take anywhere from 5 seconds to a minute or so for the little flame to light and stay on.
7.  Continue to hold the button down until it stays on, about 30 seconds to a minute or so. Then release the button The flame should stay on now.
8.  Turn slowly the Off/Pilot button to the ON position and the burners should light,  Be sure to keep you face away from the burners when you do this.
9.  Some heaters will have another dial on it that is a thermostat.  You can adjust this from 1 to 10 t control at what temp. the Burners come on and go off.  Start at 5 and see how that goes.
10. To turn off, turn the Off/Pilot/On button, normally clockwise all the way to the Off position and close the valve that is on the line that comes out of the wall.

 These are guide lines ONLY.  Your heater might be different.  If you feel unable  to follow these instructions or your heater is different seek help from your plumber or a knowledgeable friend.  DO NOT CLOSE ALL THE WINDOWS AND DOORS WHEN YOU USE THESE HEATERS YOU WILL WAKE UP DEAD!!!!!!  LEAVE A WINDOW OR DOOR OPEN A LITTLE.  I hope this is helpful but I assume no liability for the accuracy of these instructions on your heater.  Stay warm.     written by Bill Taylor

And lastly, some definitions (or glossary) (in both English and Spanish) to get you started   There are many more on the (click here> next page:

House locations situación de casa things in your house cosas en su casa
Bathroom Bano antique antiguedad
Bedroom Recamara appliance, electrical electrodomestico
Brick domed ceiling Boveda armoire ropero
Dining area Comedor bed linens blancos
Fireplace chimenea blinds persiana
Floor Planta carpets alfombra
Fountain fuente ceramics alfareria
Garage Gareje, Cochera chair sila
Garden Jardin curtains cortina
Guestroom cuarto de huésped cushion cojin
Kitchen Cocina dresser comoda
Land Terreno fabric tela
Living room Sala furniture muebles
Office oficina lamp lampera
Patio patio  paint pinta
Pool alberca pillow almohada
roof tejado rug tapete
Storage area Bodega table mesa
Study Estudio tableware vajilla
Terrace Terraza upholstery tapeceria
Wall Pared wallpaper papel tapiz

If YOU think of anything else that should be added to an updated copy of this list, I would be happy to hear about it/them.

Due to the rapidly rising rents in SMA, commercial/business renters are known to have to move quite frequently. As a result of this, art galleries and restaurants, and many other businesses, may no longer be at the locations herein shown. If you want to find them, ask for hints at the old locations, and quite possibly someone there knows of the new location. Good luck.


“Underpromise and Overdeliver”

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