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Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

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Minneapolis, MN
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Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

Hi--

We are thinking of visiting and want to rent a house or apartment for a couple weeks around the first of the year. We are in our 60s and are experienced and pretty adventuresome travelers having been to many places around the globe that most Americans would never even consider visiting. We like interesting and more authentic places where we can be a part of local culture rather than just being in a place with English menu, upscale restaurants and non-stop gift shops. We enjoy nature, walking a lot just to soak in the ambience, history, small hole-in-the-wall local restaurants, interesting architecture, colorful local markets, cultural events etc. My Spanish is such that I can at least communicate basic needs. We are comfortable renting a car and driving in Mexico so we can make day trips on our own.

We’ve spent close to a month in Merida and found it an enjoyable and interesting place both with what is available in the city and the opportunities to venture out to other locales. SMA is hilly whereas Merida is flat, and Merida is more tropical while I know that at this time of year most rentals in SMA will be quite chilly. Can anyone make any other comparisons so I can try to decide if this would be a good place for us? Is SMA a place we’d like, or would we be better off in a place like Oaxaca which is perhaps not so gringoized? Thanks much if you can offer me any insights.

Guadalajara, Mexico
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for San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas
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1. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

Try Guanajuato, GTO or Oaxaca if you want more "authentic". Or Puebla, or Morelia, or Tlaxcala or many other places - if what you mean by authentic is avoiding the distinctly Americanized places. SMA is beautiful, with lots of activities & restaurants, but is a tourist place with higher prices and less Mexi-centric stuff than state capitols elsewhere or in GTO.

Minneapolis, MN
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2. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

Thank you . This is exactly the type of information I was seeking. I had a niggling feeling that since so many Americans and Canadians have heard of SMA (and since many people do not want an experience that is too different from home) that this place might have more the feel of the U.S. than we'd prefer.

San Miguel de...
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3. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

San Miguel is not a state capitol ( or even a state capital) but it does have UNESCO World heritage status, as indeed does Guanajuato.. I don't thiink it would have that if it were Americanized. Most Americans and Canadians who live there do so because it is NOT like home and are always the ones who protest when a big new supermarket opens up on the outskirts or. Starbucks in he centre. Gto has those too you know. Both San Miguel and Guanajuato are tourist destinations, but he vast majority areMexicans. The towns are both what is known as the cradle of independence and are famous in Mexicn history.if you had been there last weekend for the feast of St Michael, you would have seen it in a different light.

I am not trying to promote San Miguel over Guanajuato or any other historic Mexican destinAtion for that matter. Just trying to correct what I believe are cliched misconceptions.

Edited: 04 October 2012, 07:19
San Miguel de...
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4. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

On a practical note, there is m ore short term rental accommodation in San Miguel than in Guanajuato, so if you opt for the latter, you need to plan well ahead. And be sure to get somewhere with decent heating..

Minneapolis, MN
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5. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

Can anyone make any comparisons to Merida since that is a place I am familiar with?

Chapel Hill, North...
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6. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

just wanted to chime in on this one.

We have visited Merida, Oaxaca, Patzcuaro, Merida, as well as beach resorts and while we especially loved Oaxaca, we return to SMA as well. Its not instead of Oaxaca, its in addition to.

SMA is smaller and feels more like a village-- and having visited a few times now, it feels like home.

Oaxaca is amazing, has Monte Alban, great central plaza, market and great side trips, including the beach which is not all that far. and we loved the cooking classes at Seasons of My Heart in Etla.

But SMA just feels right to us.

L

Minneapolis, MN
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7. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

I am the OP. We spent 8 days in SMA and really enjoyed it, and it was not at all overrun with tourists from the US and Canada as I had suspected. We also spent 6 nights in Guanajuato, and while we liked it, for a number of reasons, we probably wouldn't go back. We would visit SMA again though. But I think Oaxaca might have to be our next trip to Mexico.

San Miguel de...
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8. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

Oaxaca is a great choice too. Try to be there during the Guelaguetza festival in summer. Many B&Bs will get the tickets for you, since they sell out rapidly and can't be had at festival time (with the exception of the free seating, which involves queuing).

Washington DC...
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9. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

I like Guanajuato, but couldn't see staying more than a few days. I could stay weeks in San Miguel. There seems always to be a fiesta celebrating something and there are a variety of activities if you like being busy, whether it's the art galleries or the hot springs. It's very different from Merida and the Yucatan, where a huge draw is the Mayan sites. SMA is very hilly, cobblestone streets, more like the little hill towns of Italy or Spain. It's an easy place to make friends and feel "at home".

Lewiston, California
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10. Re: Is SMA a good choice for us for 2-3 weeks in Jan.?

I spent this January in a lovely house in Guanajuato wishing it had been longer. Got a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with a roof top patio just a block from the Governor's Mansion * about a 20 minute walk to the Jardin. Such a lovely city with so much to see & do.

My wife especially enjoyed the Leather shopping 30 minutes away in Leon.

We both enjoyed The Opera, Ballet, theatro productions & the many various plaza entertainment,

My favorite Mexican city in 26 years.. .

Resturants excellent at very low prices. My favorite city in all of Mexico.

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