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Explore San Miguel Excursions

Begin Tuesday, Feb 13 – Conclude Monday, Feb 26

All Excursions are Single Ticket options; none are included in Conference Packages.

Most excursions sell out well in advance of the Writers’ Conference. To avoid disappointment, place your order soon.

Excursion tickets are nonrefundable (and only available through February 15 , 2017).

Net proceeds from Excursions support annual SMWC scholarship programs.

Celebration of Mexican Cuisine & Culture
PRE-Conference and POST-Conference Dates
85.00 USD

Two Dates:
Tuesday, February 13, 5:00–9:00 PM
Tuesday, February 20, 5:00–9:00 PM

Maximum: 15

Meet at La Cocina Cooking School, Sabino 26
(at the intersection with San Jorge in colonia San Antonio)

La Cocina Cooking School classEnjoy a traditional hands-on Mexican cooking class (includes dinner and margaritas), meet fellow writers, and learn more about Mexico, with chef and author Kris Rudolph. La Cocina is a short taxi ride ($40–50 pesos = $2.00–$2.50 USD) from Hotel Real de Minas (Writers’ Conference headquarters).

Kris owns and operates El Buen Café, a restaurant and catering business she’s had in San Miguel since 1991. Her school specializes in Mexican cuisine and its fascinating culinary and cultural history. Kris also runs Delicious Expeditions, a tour company specializing in food and wine around the world. She has taught cooking throughout the United States, most notably at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Kris’s classes and tours have been written up in Bon Appétit, Texas Monthly, Miami Herald, and The Washington Post. She has written three cookbooks, including Mexican Light: Healthy Cuisine for Today’s Cook, and entertains people with delicious travel tales on her blog,

La Cocina Cooking School kitchen

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Practice Mindful Photography in San Miguel
30.00 USD

Thursday, February 15, 3:30–6:00 PM

Maximum: 20

Meet in Hotel Conference Room #6 for a short meeting before heading out.

Photograph San Miguel with veteran photographer, SMWC faculty member, and prolific author, Dinty Moore. The beauty of San Miguel de Allende is easy to see, but not always so easy to capture. Is it the people? The architecture? The light? All of these? This afternoon workshop will focus on using mindfulness, or “awareness of the present moment,” to forget our expectations, preconceptions, anxieties, and our storehouse of standard imagery in order to see San Miguel de Allende’s beauty with fresh eyes and capture it with our lens.

We will begin with a brief discussion and then take to the streets, somewhat aimlessly, open to the possibility of the unexpected. Bring an open mind, comfortable shoes, and a camera, digital or film.

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Touring the Cemetery for Virgins, Witches and the Afterlife
30.00 USD

Two Dates:
Thursday, February 15, 3:45–5:15 PM
Friday, February 16, 3:45–5:15 PM

Maximum: 10

Meet at the front door of Hotel Real de Minas

CemeteryJoin Joseph Toone, TripAdvisor’s top rated walking tour guide and award-winning history author of San Miguel de Allende Secrets bestselling series of books, to tour the cemetery next door to the conference. You’ll enjoy the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA like:

  • How to identify resident virgins (saints)
  • Why SMA is the epicenter for both the cult of the cross and witchcraft
  • How we bring back the deceased for yet one more fiesta
  • What happens if someone doesn’t pay your tomb taxes (not pretty)

The walking is flat with plenty of places to sit, perhaps on a crypt.

Excursion cemetery

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“Beat Poetry” Cantina Crawl
25.00 USD

Two Dates:
Thursday, February 15, 3:45–6:00 PM
Friday, February 16, 3:45–6:00 PM

Maximum: 25

Meet in the Jardin, on the Parroquia side

Cantina Crawl

The ‘Beat Poetry’ Cantina Crawl is back. This year we will be offering two cantina crawls ending with a poetry performance with actors portraying Alan Ginsburg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and more.

The ‘Beat Poetry’ Cantina Crawl takes participants on an afternoon walk through the sun-drenched streets of San Miguel to three of the oldest cantinas in town. The tour culminates in a poetry performance at the La Cucaracha, the Beats’ old stomping grounds.

Tours are limited to 25 people. Each participant receives a commemorative cup, one drink, and a fun filled afternoon visiting some of the most memorable drinking establishments in San Miguel.

Beat Poetry Cast:
John Wharton (Jack Kerouac)
Henry Vermillion (Neil Cassidy)
Chris Kapilla (Alan Ginsburg)
Dennis Carter (William Burroughs)
Tasha Paley (Diane Di Prima)
David Ziff (Sax)
Phil Roger (Bongos)

Original script: Frank Gaydos
Director: Tasha Paley

Cantina Crawl

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Tour San Miguel’s Oldest ‘Hoods
30.00 USD

Saturday, February 17, 10:00 AM–12:00 PM

Maximum: 10

Meet at the front door of Hotel Real de Minas

Explore San Miguel de Allende’s oldest neighborhoods set aside by the Spanish for the indigenous (Centro was for the Spanish). We’ll climb up and up to enjoy panoramic views of the city while learning why we are the epicenter for the cult of the cross and what saint helps you find your glasses left on your head, or a husband. (Hint: “Tony, Tony come around, something is lost and can’t be found.”)

The walking is marginally strenuous and off the beaten paths (wear comfortable shoes). Your guide is Joseph Toone, San Miguel’s best-ranked walking tour guide and bestselling author of the series San Miguel de Allende Secrets about local history and travel.

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Tour of Elegant Homes in San Miguel
30.00 USD

Two Times:
Saturday, February 17, 10:00 AM–12:30 PM
Saturday, February 17, 2:30 PM–5:00 PM

Maximum: 30

Meet at Agave Sotheby’s International Realty, Hospicio #37, (415) 152-5220

Please be on time: 10:00 AM or 2:30 PM.

Go behind some of San Miguel’s famous doors to tour the astonishing interiors of these grand residences. Most of central San Miguel was built in the early-to mid-1700s, when the town thrived as a way station along the silver route; midway between the silver mines of the north and Mexico City. All across Mexico, wealthy merchants built elegant homes. However, in many towns, they were destroyed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A series of lucky circumstances preserved virtually our entire town. When San Miguel became a colony for the arts in the late 1940s, individuals began to purchase and restore old mansions or to build new homes in neo-colonial or “Mexican modern” styles.

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Bus trip to La Gruta Hot Springs
20.00 USD

Saturday, February 17, 10:00 AM–1:00 PM

Maximum: 30

$20 USD includes round trip transportation and admission fee ($110 pesos)

Meet at the front door of Real de Minas Hotel to board the bus.

Bring a towel, wear a swimsuit, and prepare to relax! Gardens, restaurant, 3 swimming pools (from hot to tepid), and the famous “source water cave.” If you are longing to luxuriate in the San Miguel’s famous hot springs, you will have two hours to do just that. La Gruta Spa has several pools including one that takes you through a mysterious tunnel to a cave where you can situate yourself under the forceful stream of water pouring from the cave wall for a reviving shoulder-and-back massage or simply soak in the soothing warm waters. An informal restaurant serves drinks and snacks delivered right to your lounge chair.

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Street Art in San Miguel: Walking Tour of Distrito de Arte Guadalupe
24.00 USD

Saturday, February 17, 10:30 AM–12:00 PM

Maximum: 20

Meet in front of Restaurante Vía Orgánica at Calle Margarito Ledesma #2

Muros en Blanco

From illegal to “painting with permission.” Take a walk through the Mural District with Colleen Sorenson, founder of Muros en Blanco Distrito de Arte street art project. View over 100 murals of the best local, national and international graffiti writers. Learn about the original “vision,” what it took to change the law and join the artistic movement sweeping the globe. There will be stories of the artists, the festivals, and how the neighbors came together — Mexican, American, and Canadian. Flat cobblestone walking. Wear comfortable shoes and bring your cameras!

Muros en Blanco

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Historic Walking Tour of San Miguel
25.00 USD

Saturday, February 17, 10:00 AM–12:30 PM

Maximum: 25

Meet in front of the Parroquia — cathedral-like church in San Miguel’s central square (el jardin). Two and a half hours, approximately.
Historical Walking Tour

Explore the city’s rich colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and fascinating history with a well-informed guide showing you former convents, churches, markets, and homes. You will learn surprising facts, hear stories and “urban legends,” and meet some of San Miguel’s famous personalities. The tour, which includes an in-depth look at the interior of the Parroquia (parish church), will cover a ten-block area. Proceeds benefit Patronato Pro Niños, a local nonprofit serving the medical and dental needs of children throughout the San Miguel region for 47 years.

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The Rancho Tour of a traditional Mexican village
60.00 USD

Saturday, February 17, 12:30–5:00 PM
(includes 20 minute bus ride through the countryside)

Maximum: 14

$60 USD includes round trip transportation and dinner (comida)

Meet at the front door of Real de Minas Hotel

Rancho Tour of Agustin Gonzales

Learn what life is like in a Mexican village from the Otomi pyramid descendants. This is an intimate hands-on experience. You will be invited into the homes of the villagers to experience the following:

  • How to make and decorate tortillas by hand (cooking on a wood-fired comal)
  • Learn about medicinal herbs and other traditions that have been used by these indigenous people for millennia
  • Learn a few words of the ancient language of the Otomi
  • Traditional stone carving, demonstrated by a master
  • A celebratory comida at The Rancheritas’ Store (Rug hooking demo, and shopping).

Rancho Tour of Agustin Gonzales

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Fresh Eyes Photography in San Miguel
30.00 USD

Saturday, February 17, 2:30–5:00 PM

Maximum: 20

Meet in AV Tent behind the Conference Bookstore for a brief discussion.

Explore San Miguel de Allende, one of the world’s most visually interesting cities, with the highly regarded San Miguel photographer, Javier Barras. Our goal will be to see San Miguel’s beauty with fresh eyes, to translate our unique interactions with it into evocative and memorable imagery. We will begin with a brief introduction before exploring San Miguel. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera, digital or film.

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Mezcal Tasting with Jonathan Lockwood
15.00 USD

Two Times:
Saturday, February 17, 2:30–4:00 PM
Saturday, February 17, 4:30–6:00 PM

Meet at Hotel Real de Minas, Tent E

Been hearing about mezcal, but aren’t exactly sure what it is? Join us for the official mezcal tasting of the 2018 Writers’ Conference. Jonathan Lockwood of Guiño Guiño will be pouring 5 diverse mezcales — all hand-crafted by master mezcaleros from various regions of Oaxaca. From smoky to earthy, from green to mineral, and from notes of roasted wood to subtle sweetness, mezcal flavors vary so widely you’re sure to find at least one you’ll love!

Originally from Michigan, Jonathan is in his fourth year as a resident of San Miguel de Allende — and his third year selling artesanal mezcal. Previously, Jonathan was a draft-brewed beer drinker, but mescal has captivated him — and he’d love to create the same intriguing experience for you. Jonathan’s day job is voiceover work.

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Bus trip to Atotonilco Church (“The Sistine Chapel of Mexico”)
Plus Galeria Atotonilco Folk Art Gallery
15.00 USD

Saturday, February 18, 10:00 AM–1:00 PM

Maximum: 25

$15 USD includes round trip transportation

Meet at the front door of Real de Minas Hotel to board the bus

This short bus trip will take you to two of San Miguel’s most extraordinary visual extravaganzas, including Trip Advisor’s #2 San Miguel attraction after the Parroquia.

The Atotonilco Sanctuary is a simple country church, with extraordinary paintings covering all the walls and ceilings. Known as “the Sistine of Mexico,” and now a World Heritage Site, it was built in 1750 to convert the Otomi Indians living near the hot springs there.

Galeria Atotonilco is widely acknowledged as the finest folk art gallery in Mexico. In 6,000 square feet of exhibition space in a lush country setting and a much-published architecturally interesting building, you will see an enormous variety of high quality folk and fine art, antiques, silver jewelry, contemporary ceramics and glass, textiles, and historic photographs.

Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco

Image Credit: ReyungCho/, under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Maia’s Magical Art, Architecture & Design Tour
45.00 USD

Two Post-Conference Dates:
Monday, February 19, 10:45 AM–2:45 PM
Monday, February 26, 10:45 AM–2:45 PM

Maximum: 25

$45 USD includes round trip transportation, entrance fees, and catered lunch

Meet at the front door of Hotel Real de Minas at 10:45 to board the bus

The jaw-dropping homes and landscapes, the working studios, and the selective shops and galleries we visit create an unforgettable San Miguel experience. Each stop features the genius of artists, architects, and designers. This unique tour includes a lovely catered lunch in the country and a stop at Trip Advisor’s #1 shopping destination in SMA, Galeria Atotonilco (world-renown folk art in an extraordinary setting).

Round trip transportation from Hotel Real de Minas is included.

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Nature as Muse: Haiku Walk at El Charco del Ingenio
(San Miguel’s 455-acre botanical garden)
28.00 USD

Post-Conference Date:
Tuesday, February 20, 11:00 AM–1:30 PM

Maximum: 12

$28 USD (includes transportation, admission, water, snack)

Meet at the front door of Hotel Real de Minas at 11:00 AM

Haiku Walk at El Charco del Ingenio

This walkabout includes a brief talk about haiku followed by a walk through El Charco, stopping at various locations to observe and write. Located 15 mins. from the Hotel, this must-see treasure was named a Peace Zone by the Dalai Lama. Easy-to-moderate trails through succulents and lichen offer stunning vistas of wetlands, the lake, and the canyon. We will end by sharing our haiku (optional). No experience necessary; all ages welcome. Bring writing pad and pen. Water and snack provided. Wear comfortable shoes.

Haiku is a rewarding writing practice that hones awareness. As we become more present to our surroundings, we open our senses to the subtleties of time and place often missed. Wyman Rousseau has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh in France and in the US. His love of haiku emerged years ago from friendships formed with fellow students from Japan while attending graduate school at the University of Chicago.

Haiku Walk at El Charco del Ingenio

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