While staying in Guanajuato, I made a day trip to the nearby town of San Miguel. The town was practically deserted in the early 1900s during the influenza pandemic. However, over the decades, many artists discovered the well-preserved colonial structures and established art institutes. This reputation made its way to the US where, shortly after the close of WWII, former soldiers studying on the GI bill came in large numbers to its art schools. Since then, San Miguel has become one of the top destinations in Mexico for American retirees. While the colonial architecture is undoubtedly beautiful, it struck me that the town’s economy is utterly dependent on the expat community there. Being handed a menu in English was a small gesture that dissolved the town’s magic for me.
La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, the current parish church of San Miguel, is one of the most photographed in all of Mexico.