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Excursions and Tours

~ Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday ~

All Excursions are Single Ticket options; they are not included in Conference Packages.

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

Pre-Conference Celebration of Mexican Cuisine & Culture
85.00 USD

Tuesday, February 14, 5:00–9:00 PM
Maximum: 15
$85 USD
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.

Kris 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, Chile Pepper Magazine, 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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Fresh Eyes Photography in San Miguel
30.00 USD

Thursday, February 16, 3:30–6:00 PM
Maximum: 20
Meet in Hotel Conference Room # 3 for a brief discussion

This is an opportunity to explore one of the world’s most interesting cities with veteran San Miguel photographer Javier Barras. The beauty of San Miguel de Allende is easy to see, but not always easy to capture. This afternoon workshop will focus on forgetting our expectations and preconceptions, and standard imagery. Our goal is to see San Miguel’s beauty with fresh eyes and capture it with our lens. We will begin with a brief discussion and then take to the streets, 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
20.00 USD

Two Dates Available:
Thursday, February 16, 3:45–4:45 PM
Friday, February 17, 3:45–4:45 PM
Maximum: 15
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 series of books, to tour the cemetery next door to the conference. For an hour you’ll enjoy the history behind what we do in today’s SMA like:

  • How to ID local virgins (as in 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
  • The legends behind Mesoamerican tomb offerings

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



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Cantina Crawl
20.00 USD

Two Dates Available:
Thursday, February 16, 3:45–6:00 PM
Friday, February 17, 3:45–6:00 PM
Maximum: 25
Meet in the Jardin, on the Parroquia side

Cantina CrawlCome out for an afternoon of walking through the sun-drenched streets of San Miguel and visiting three of the oldest cantinas in town. Learn the history of these old taverns and the writers who frequented them.

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.Cantina Crawl

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Downtown Walking Tour of Churches with St. Nick’s Nudes, Transgender Saints and Hidden Indigenous Gods
30.00 USD

Saturday, February 18, 9:30–11:30 AM
Maximum: 25
Meet at the Oratorio Temple, directly behind St. Francis church, between Plaza Civica and the corner of Insurgentes and Loreto (Google Map: Insurgentes 12)

Join Joseph Toone, TripAdvisor’s top rated walking tour guide and award-winning history author of San Miguel de Allende Secrets series of books, to tour downtown churches. For two hours you’ll enjoy the history behind what we do in today’s SMA like:

  • The twisted tale of tamales as both the beginning of life and baby Jesus
  • Why a handsome young Irishman sleeps in Mary’s SMA bedroom
  • The German boogeyman that takes away bad children
  • How St. Joseph naps to help you
  • The battle of heaven versus hell in the jardin

The walking is flat with plenty of places to sit.

Church tour


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Historic Walking Tour of San Miguel
25.00 USD

Saturday, February 18, 10:30 AM–1:00 PM (max. 25)
Maximum: 25
Meet in front of the Parroquia — cathedral-like church — in the main square downtown (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.


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Tour of Elegant Homes in San Miguel
30.00 USD

Two Times Available:
Saturday, February 18, 10:00 AM–12:30 PM
Saturday, February 18, 2:00 PM–4:30 PM
Maximum: 30
Meet at Agave Sotheby’s International Realty, Hospicio  #37 (415) 152-5220
Please be on time: 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM

Go behind some of San Miguel’s famous doors to tour the astonishing interiors of these grand residencies. The gardens alone will take your breath away! 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 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 Atotonilco Church (“The Sistine Chapel of Mexico”) + Folk Art Gallery
15.00 USD

Saturday, February 18, 10:00 AM–1:00 PM
Maximum: 25
Meet at the front door of Real de Minas Hotel to board the bus

The Atotonilco Sanctuary is not a huge, spectacular cathedral, but a simple country church, with extraordinary paintings. The walls and ceilings of the interior are nearly entirely covered in mural work, sculpture, inscriptions and oil paintings in a style called Mexican folk Baroque, although indigenous influence can be seen. UNESCO long ago identified the sanctuary as an important World Monument and allocated funds to restore the paintings (now complete). The church also played an important role in Mexico’s war of independence from Spain, which began in 1810.

Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco

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

Galeria Atotonilco: A 5,000 sq. ft. showroom of the best of Mexican Folk Art, country antique furniture, vintage serapes, historic photographs, and more. TripAdvisor’s #1 San Miguel Shopping Destination. The gallery houses stunning collections of high quality Mexican folk art, in a gorgeous country setting in a much-published, architecturally interesting building. The owner, former ceramic artist Mayer Shacter, travels all over Mexico to find the best artists working today, and buys their finest work. Mayer will give a short talk about the history, importance, and variety of Mexican folk art, and then give you the opportunity to view his collections of paper mache, wood-carvings, ceramics, yarn paintings, weavings, and more. Many visitors to San Miguel say Galeria Atotonilco was the highlight of their entire visit.

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STREET ART IN SAN MIGUEL: Walking Tour of Distrito de Arte Guadalupe
25.00 USD

Two times available:

Saturday, February 18, 10:30 AM–12:30 PM
Saturday, February 18, 2:00 PM–4:00 PM
Maximum: 20
Meet in front of Restaurante Vía Orgánica at Calle Margarito Ledesma #2

Muros en BlancoFrom illegal to “painting with permission.” Take a stroll through the Mural District of Colonia Guadalupe with Colleen Sorenson, founder of Muros en Blanco Street Art Project. View the incredible murals of the best local, national and international graffiti writers. Learn the story of 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 all came together — Mexican, American, and Canadian. The final stop is where it all began, Colleen’s mosaic tile studio to view the exhibit of “wild style” graffiti art tiled with handmade mosaic tile, the only exhibit of its kind.

Muros en Blanco

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Rancho Tour of Agustin Gonzales, a traditional Mexican village
60.00 USD

Saturday, February 18, 12:30–5:00 PM
(includes 20 minute bus ride through the countryside)
Maximum: 30
$60 USD includes round trip transportation and dinner (comida)
Meet at the front door of Real de Minas Hotel

Rancho Tour of Agustin GonzalesLearn 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:

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

The group will be split into smaller groups of 8-10 for the various stops.

Rancho Tour of Agustin Gonzales

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Bus trip to La Gruta Hot Springs
15.00 USD

Saturday, February 18, 1:30–4:30 PM
Maximum: 30

$15 USD includes round trip transportation
($110 pesos admission, payable at the door.)
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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Maia’s Magical Art, Architecture & Design Tour
45.00 USD

Monday, February 20, 10:45 AM–3:00 PM
Maximum: 25
$45 USD includes round trip transportation, entrance fees, and 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).

Round trip transportation from Hotel Real de Minas is included. You may choose to end your tour at the Hotel, or at Fabrica Aurora (many shops and galleries 5 blocks north of the Central Jardin), or in the Historic Centro.

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

Wednesday, February 22, 1:30–4:30 PM
Maximum: 15
$30 USD includes round trip transportation, admission fee, water and a snack
Meet in the lobby of Hotel Real de Minas at 1:20 PM. Return to Hotel at 4:30 PM

Haiku Walk at El Charco del IngenioThis walkabout includes a brief talk about haiku followed by a meandering walk through El Charco, stopping at various locations to observe and write. Located 15 minutes from the Hotel, this must-see treasure was named a Peace Zone by the Dalai llama in 2004. 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 a writing pad or journal, pencils or pens. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.

Haiku is a rewarding writing practice that hones awareness. As we become more mindful, more present, more fully aware of our surroundings, we open our senses to the subtleties of time and place often missed in the rush of everyday life. Wyman Rousseau leads Mindfulness and Haiku Walks & Workshops across the US, Europe, and Mexico. He has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh in France and in the States. 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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