Just Back From
Slowly and with careful consideration, the Indagare Team has been venturing back out into the world to bring first-hand reporting to our community, and to lead by example as we determine what the future of travel will look like. Exactly three weeks ago, I was able to make my own return to the road with a scouting trip to San Miguel de Allende—a colorful, colonial yet modern gem of a city that is nestled in the mountains 180 miles northwest of Mexico City. San Miguel de Allende is a feast for the senses, and it offers a robust travel experience that combines cultural highlights with deep relaxation. Winding cobblestone alleys lined with candy-coated historic homes give way to fantastic modern boutiques, rooftop bars and sophisticated restaurants and mezcalerías. The air is heavy with lavender and citrus, and flowers and succulents bloom at every turn. A photographer’s dream, San Miguel is a place of sunlight and shadow, and it often seems that with every step, you discover a view that is more beautiful than the last.My trip to San Miguel marked my first time on a plane—and leaving the tri-state area—in nine months. Despite the fact that, prior to the pandemic, I was traveling frequently—and to unfamiliar places like Senegal, Thailand and Costa Rica—I found myself feeling incredibly nervous—inexperienced, unprepared—as I packed. But once I checked into my room at the Rosewood—the city’s top resort—my trepidations were soothed by those special comforts of an impeccable hotel: a perfect, white-linen-draped bed; an expansive private patio, where I could take my morning coffee with views over gardens of pampas grasses and jacaranda trees; and my very own Casa Dragones tequila bar, complete with a personalized margarita recipe. More importantly, I also found, with great relief, that aside from new safety protocols, far fewer crowds and the addition of PPE equipment, travel had not changed much since we last met. My old friends—beauty, discovery, exhilaration, connection—were simply waiting for me to return. Traveling now—safely, responsibly and to the right places—will at once wake up your senses and quell the anxieties that have been building up inside all of us. It will reunite you with parts of yourself that you didn’t even realize you had boxed away, like clothing being saved for a future season. And few places are better to begin traveling to again than San Miguel de Allende.
Although its land and sea borders are closed, Mexico has remained open to American travelers arriving by air. Covid-testing is not required for entry, though I did choose to take a PCR test prior to departure. Before check-in, travelers must fill out a simple health declaration form and present the completed form along with their other travel documents to clear customs; additionally, a basic health screening (consisting of a temperature check and hand-sanitizing) is required upon arrival in Mexico. For the latest updates on Covid-19 in Mexico, consult the U.S. Embassy website.To keep myself and others safe throughout the journey, I wore a KN95 mask as well as a face shield, and I used sanitizing wipes throughout, though the planes were quite clean (Indagare Tip: everyone focuses on the armrests, but don’t forget to sanitize your seatbelt buckle!) San Miguel de Allende is serviced by three international airports: in Mexico City (a three-to-four-hour drive away), León Bajío (a 90-minute drive away) and Querétaro (a 60-minute drive away). Direct flight options from the east coast to Querétaro and León Bajío are limited at this moment, so air travel time can range between five-and-a-half hours and eight hours. From the west coast, direct flights are widely available, and air travel time can range between three and five hours.
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