Learning about the style of life, food, art and this extraordinary celebration
Enjoying spectacular views, unique scenes and unforgettable moments
Living in a house with people who want to take-in the same experience
Have a memorable time watching and learning from a skilled Mexican cook who will prepare some typical meals "at home" for us
And the best part: Speaking Spanish all day long (or as much as you want!) with the expert guidance of your favorite Spanish teachers!
These are only some of the activities that we will be enjoying
Cruise the city and discover its architectural colonial gems including ornate churches and historical buildings
Visit the great “Mercado de Artesanías” and some of the authentic handcraft “factories” to enjoy the incredible skills of local artisans
Admire the local artists and artisans in action
Walk to strategic points for the best views of town
Taste the most delicious local food, tequilas and mezcales
Observe the preparations for the main events of the festival and visit the cemetery for a unique and unforgettable experience!
Enjoy the “Desfile de las Catrinas” (parade). And YES, you can dress up, have your face painted, and be part of it, too!
We will have a list of optional activities for your free time.
There are so many different flavors to try and so many great restaurants that we thought we would give you some freedom! However, all breakfasts and a total of 6 meals are included. Some meals, will be prepared by a local cook right in front of us so we cannot only taste typical dishes but also learn how to prepare them!
October 26th - November 3rd, 2017
Cost of this amazing trip is CAN $2,350.00 per person based on double occupancy (includes GST).
If you would like to participate in this trip, please Contact Us and we will send you an email with all the information and forms to finalize your registration.
WHAT IS INCLUDED
Accommodation as a group in a typical Mexican home with WIFI
All breakfasts, and 6 meals
Coffee, tea, drinking water, juice, fruits, some snacks at the house
Bedding, towels, and essentials
Get your face painted by a local artist for the "Desfile de las Catrinas" (parade)
City tour by tourist trolley
24/7 expert guidance of your favorite Spanish teachers!
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
Flights to and from Mexico
Transfers to and from the airport to the house
Meals other than the ones listed above
Optional activities and trips
Tips and gratuities
Personal expenses and any other incidentals not listed under "What is Included"
Our unforgettable and successful 2016 Trip!
October 26th - November 3th, 2017
What is "Día de los muertos"?
Día de los Muertos originated centuries ago in Mexico. The holiday is a blend of pre-Hispanic indigenous beliefs and Spanish Catholic beliefs. It is a festive, joyous time of celebration for remembering and honoring those who have passed. Day of the Dead is one of Mexico's most important holidays, which means that they invest a lot of time and money into celebrating Día de los Muertos, more so than any other holiday.
The Day of the Dead is on November 1st and 2nd of each year, coinciding with the Catholic holidays All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Traditionally, November 1st is the day for honoring dead children and infants, and November 2nd is the day for honoring deceased adults. Although November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. Usually the preparations (and some festivities) start even earlier. So really, the "Day" of the Dead can also be called the "Days" of the Dead.
SKULLS: The prominence of skulls as a Day of the Dead icon harkens back to the days of the Aztecs. Back then, skulls were important icons that illustrated their belief in the existence of an active afterlife. In the Mexican culture, skulls continue to symbolize death and rebirth. The Day of the Dead skulls take on many appearances in modern celebrations.
SKELETONS: called "calacas" in Spanish in Mexico, are another prominent Day of the Dead icon. Day of the Dead skeletons can take many forms, but all of them are whimsical and joyful — never scary or sad. They are typically long, skinny and well-dressed, like the famous skeletons drawn by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. Posada's skeletons are amongst the most famous Day of the Dead icons because they poke sarcastic fun at how death is the great equalizer — even the rich can't escape from death!
The city is located in the geographical centre of Mexico, on the high plains known as the Bajio region, between the two large mountain ranges of central Mexico, 274 kilometers northwest of Mexico City, at an altitude of just over 6,000 feet (almost 2000 feet higher than Banff!). Because of the light and changing colors of the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental, sunrises and sunsets in San Miguel de Allende can be quite dramatic.
Do I need to book my own travel?
Yes, you do! Your experience with Spanishmania starts and ends in San Miguel de Allende. You need to plan to arrive anytime after noon on Thursday, October 26th, 2017. Our last group activity will be on Thursday evening, so you will be free to return home or continue your travel on your own on Friday, November 3rd, 2017.
Group Shuttles from this airport to San Miguel de Allende cost around $39 USD per person
Shuttle services and private drivers should be booked in advance. We can help you with that if you need assistance but you will pay the company directly.
Is there transportation to the house?
If you are flying, you can take a shuttle from the airport. You will have to arrange your own ride but we can assist you if you need help. See the question Do I need to book my own shuttle?
Do I need to book my own shuttle?
Yes, but we can help you make the arrangements in advance. You will pay the shuttle company directly. We can provide you with the names of the shuttle companies that operate this transfer.
Is it safe to travel to Mexico? And to San Miguel de Allende?
Crime in major tourist cities and destinations isn't as high as in other areas of Mexico. More than 1.9 million Canadians travel to Mexico each year, the vast majority of them without incident. San Miguel is considered one of the safest cities in Mexico, with lower incidents of violence than other areas of Mexico. But that doesn't mean you should let your guard down completely. Always keep your belongings close and stay alert when walking through the city, especially -but not only- at night. Use common sense, don't leave valuables out in plain sight.
For more details at visit the website of the Government of Canada website:
YOU MUST HAVE ADEQUATE TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and medical evacuation, if required. Contact your insurance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
If you take prescription medication, bring along an adequate supply and a copy of the prescription. Ensure that both the generic and trade names of the drug are stated.
Individuals with heart, lung or respiratory problems should consult their doctor before booking their trip.
We will provide each person with a list of Emergency numbers and will have it posted at the house as well.
How big will the group be?
The group will have a maximum of 10 people plus one representative from Spanishmania.
Do all the people in the group have the same level of knowledge of Spanish?
No, because knowing Spanish is not a requisite to partake in this trip.
What should I pack?
San Miguel de Allende is the city of the “eternal spring”. It is famous, among other things, for its lovely temperate weather of mostly clear and sunny days. Since it is dry (40 and 60% humidity), the heat is easily tolerated.
Bring comfortable, sturdy walking shoes with good ankle support or sandals with sturdy soles and ankle straps to easily navigate the inclines and descents. Slip-on canvas sneakers will work too.
Pack light and simple. Add a few pieces to layer on at night. In October/November the average daytime temperatures are around 25 Celsius and it usually drops to around 12 Celsius at night, so a fleece sweater/jacket is ideal for the evenings!
San Miguel de Allende has a relaxed atmosphere with an interesting mix of people: the city serves as a haven for retirees, a destination for budding artists, and it is still a Mexican city at its core.
We will spend much of the time outdoors so do not forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and sun glasses.
Please note that this is not a beach town so you do not want to find yourself underdressed when visiting an art gallery or having a night out at a local restaurant.
What restaurants will we eat at?
Discovering the real Mexican flavors and specialties will be part of the experience! As a group, we will enjoy a few meals together at some of San Miguel's best restaurants and bars. We will enjoy some incredible food creations, live music, always a nice atmosphere and beautiful city views from their roof-top terraces.
We will also have the opportunity to try some street food from carefully selected "off the beaten track" places lauded to have the tastiest food in the city.
Although Guanajuato state has a safe drinking water supply, it is easy to avoid any risk of stomach upset at restaurants or elsewhere by sticking to bottled water and beverages. At the house we will provide you with plenty of purified water (in big water bottles).
Will I have free time?
Yes, you will! And you will have lots of options from staying and relaxing at the house, or go out and explore what else there is to see, do and experience. We will have lists of suggested optional activities and places to visit.
How can I move around?
The historic center of San Miguel encompasses 24 blocks of narrow winding streets, alleys, and paths without any traffic lights. Most attractions are within walking distance. Just keep in mind that because San Miguel was built into the side of a mountain there are many inclines –some at 15 or 20 degrees. Furthermore, the streets are cobbled and narrow. Curbs are often uneven, narrow and/or a high step away from the road. For this reason, it is highly advisable to bring sturdy and comfortable shoes.
If you get tired, no problem! Everything is nearby and taxis are inexpensive and offer good service 24 hours a day.
You can catch a taxi for a flat rate of only 30 pesos within "el Centro" (downtown), more outside of Centro or after dark. In-town taxis are abundant. There is an additional cost if you call a taxi to pick you up from a specific location. Rates can also be negotiated to destinations outside of town. It is always best to ask the taxi driver what the rate will be to your destination before you get into the taxi.
How far are the other main cities in the area?
San Miguel de Allende is 274 Km northwest of Mexico City, 69 Km northwest of Queretaro and 120 Km east of Leon.
Other cities, from the airport in Leon: Cancun is a 3-hour flight away, Puerto Vallarta is a 1-hour flight, and Guadalajara is a 3-hour flight via Mexico City.
Will we have Spanish class?
No. We will not have Spanish class. We will have some time every day after breakfast to prepare for the activities planned for the day, and review/learn specific vocabulary. We will have some other time later in the day or in the evening which we will use to "debrief" your day's experience! You are encouraged to keep a "diario" with, at least, the highlights of your day. We will help you with guidance to keep a more thorough one, though!
Do people need to have taken classes with Spanishmania to participate on this trip?
No, because knowing Spanish is not a requisite to partake in this trip.
Do people need to know Spanish to participate in this trip?
No. Knowing Spanish is not a requisite to partake in this trip.
Do I need a visa to go to Mexico?
Canadian citizens must present a valid passport in order to enter and exit Mexico. The passport must be valid until the date of expected departure from Mexico. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Permanent residents and landed immigrants of Canada should check for specific entry requirements with Mexico's immigration agency, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) (in Spanish).
Is there a welcome reception?
No, because participants will be arriving from different places at different times so there will not be an organized event. However, we will be gathering at the house to welcome those arriving later!
How much should I tip?
It is customary to tip servers 10 to 15 percent of your total bill. Don't forget to tip your shuttle driver, cab driver and maids as well.
What are the store hours? Do they close for "la hora de la siesta"?
Artists work in studios throughout the city, and crafts, jewelry and other folk art is sold along winding cobblestone streets. If you are looking to shop for creative wares, keep in mind that some stores close from 2 to 5 p.m. daily (except on Sundays when many stores are closed all day), but many stay open till 8 or 9 at night.
Can I cook my own meals? Can I do my own grocery shopping? Is the food included?
We will have some meals out together as a group. A total of 6 meals are included, some of which will be prepared by a local cook at the house so that we can learn how to prepare them! Breakfasts are also included at the house. We will go to the market to do some groceries shopping for our breakfasts so you will be able to buy extra groceries if you so wish. We will use our kitchen as a community kitchen so yes, you can cook your own meals at the house if you do not want to eat out.
Is dinner included the night of arrival?
No. Since everyone will be arriving on their own, from different places, and at different times we will not organize a dinner.
What is the best currency to use in Mexico?
You will get the best deals if you pay in Mexican Pesos. It is a good idea to bring some Mexican Pesos from Canada, and you can always exchange more while in Mexico through the ATM machines. It is highly recommended to use the bank ATMs which are actually attached to or inside bank buildings.
Can I stay longer after the trip?
Of course you can! Our trip starts on October 26th, 2017 in San Miguel and ends on November 3rd, 2017 in San Miguel. Before and after those dates, you can make your own plans!