Retire in Mexico: A Guide to San Miguel de Allende


Genia Jones
Content Specialist
Genia is a writer for FXcompared. She has over 15 years of experience working in the financial industry as a writer, analyst, marketer, and content strategist. She enjoys writing about emerging trends… Read more

Located three hours from Mexico City in the country’s Bajio region, San Miguel de Allende has become one of the most popular places to retire in Mexico. It’s a safe, affordable and culturally diverse place to live, offering good food, a lively social scene, temperate weather and a rich history to explore.

If you’re looking to find out more about being a retiree in San Miguel and, most importantly, how you can finance your move to Mexico, this guide should help.

Why is San Miguel de Allende so Popular? 

With its narrow cobblestone streets, stunning architecture and picturesque plazas, San Miguel is ideal for retirees hoping to live somewhere with a historic, quaint feel, while enjoying a diverse lifestyle and access to quality healthcare and social services. 

The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with cultural, historical and architectural significance. Its restaurant scene has developed an international reputation; its expat and retirement communities are well-connected and growing; and its proximity to several major airports makes it a convenient home base and an easy-to-reach destination.

The climate in San Miguel is one of its biggest draws. The city is dry and desert-like, with low-humidity during the day and much cooler temperatures at night. It’s a comfortable place to live, especially if you have a health issue that makes extreme temperatures more difficult to manage. 

Due to its growing English-speaking communities, San Miguel de Allende offers a variety of English-language services and goods. The city’s public library has the second-largest collection of English-language books in Mexico and it publishes the bilingual local newspaper, Atención, that is popular with expats and locals alike. The site SanMiguelEvents also provides English-language news and community events.

san miguel de allende street vendor retirement

Where to Live in San Miguel de Allende

Whether you want to retire close to historical attractions or find a more peaceful home on the outskirts of town, San Miguel has plenty to offer should you choose to retire here. Below are some of the neighbourhoods you may wish to look at when thinking about where to live in the area. 

For those who want to be in the heart of the city, San Miguel’s historic centre is picturesque and full of restaurants and places to visit, including San Miguel Archangel, a church with gothic spires that date from the 16th century. The city centre is home to festivals and street markets throughout the year. 

Located south of the historical centre, Colonia San Antonio is quieter and more residential but has plenty going for it, including a popular market, a prestigious arts and language school and plenty of cafes and restaurants. If you’re looking for views, Atascadero is a hillside neighborhood to the east of San Miguel’s city centre. The homes here are private, tranquil and have stunning views of the city below. 

To the west of the city, La Palmita is a more affordable neighborhood with a strong community feel. The area is famous for its street art and murals, and has plenty of shops and cafes in easy walking distance. 

Finally, Los Frailes is a gated community on the northern tip of San Miguel that is perfect for those looking for a more suburban lifestyle, with a mix of villas, townhouses and apartments.

Healthcare in San Miguel de Allende

Healthcare in Mexico is generally good, but may operate differently to other systems that you are used to and can require some additional research, depending on your medical needs. There are two major strands to be aware of: the Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS) and the Instituto de Salud para el Bienestar (INSABI). 

The IMSS is Mexico’s public healthcare network funded by Mexican taxpayers, which foreign residents are also able to enroll in while paying an annual fee. For those that aren’t covered by IMSS healthcare, the INSABI is a more basic form of healthcare that covers certain medical procedures but not others (for example, it does not cover chemotherapy or procedures related to diabetes, heart attacks or major surgeries). Some expats in the region choose to go private with healthcare to make sure they can get the medicine they need, when they need it.

Visas for Retiring in Mexico

Remember: the requirements for retiring in Mexico can change, so it's recommended to speak to the Mexican consulate in your country to confirm the latest rules. However, below are some of the things you’ll need to consider if you are looking to retire in Mexico. 

Firstly, you’ll need to apply for a temporary or permanent residency visa. The temporary visa is valid for four years and has to be renewed each year, whereas the permanent residency won’t ever expire. Applications can be made at your nearest consulate and you will need to provide a valid form of ID. 

For a temporary residency, you’ll need to prove either that you have received a certain amount of income, or have a certain amount of savings available; this number can change regularly. Bear in mind that due to differences in exchange rates (which we look at in more detail below), you may have different visa requirements depending on the country you are in. 

mangos mexico usd pesos retirement

How Far Will My Money Go? 

Retirees with US dollars to spend will generally find their money can go far in Mexico. While San Miguel de Allende can be more expensive than many other locations in Mexico, the favorable USD-peso exchange rate can help to offset the higher cost of living.

Depending on whether you’re in the market to buy property or to rent, prices in San Miguel de Allende can be substantially less expensive than what you would spend for a comparable place in the US. Two or three-bedroom furnished apartments away from the city centre (not in the central part of town) can be rented for around $1,100 per month. Comparable homes for sale may be priced anywhere from $150,000 and up. The farther away from the centre of town you’re willing to go, the lower the prices drop.

In addition to potentially substantial savings on real estate, the Mexican healthcare system can also be a bargain for savvy retirees. While there is currently no reciprocal healthcare agreement between the US and Mexico, many treatments and services within Mexico are much cheaper than in the US, with the quality of care and level of service equally good. There are several excellent healthcare facilities within San Miguel de Allende and, for more serious procedures, hospitals are available in Querétaro, a city about an hour’s drive away with more than two million residents.

Financing Your Retirement in San Miguel de Allende

If you’re planning to retire and live in a foreign country, then figuring out how to finance your retirement abroad should be at the top of your list of things to do. For example, American citizens who choose to live in Mexico will not pay taxes on pensions or on their social security benefits.

Currently, there are no restrictions on transferring money between the US and Mexico. If you plan to live full-time in Mexico, you’ll want to research the best options for transferring funds between the US and Mexico.

Working with a foreign currency specialist that specialises in international transfers is often the safest and most cost-effective way to send funds internationally. Sites like provide free information, research and money transfer comparison tools that can help you find the best deal for your money transfer to Mexico. Researching your options before you make your move to Mexico can help you to find the most cost-effective methods for moving your money between countries.

Disclaimer: Some sections of this article contain contributions from ChatGPT with edits from a human editor.

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