Raising a Family in San Miguel de Allende Mexico
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on raising a family in the charming city of San Miguel de Allende with realtor Tracy Moss! We delve into the various aspects of family life in this beautiful Mexican city, providing you all the information you need to make the leap.
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another video. I am Maya, your interview host for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices here in San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico.
Today we have a very, very special guest with us, Tracy Moss, a realtor from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, who has juggled her role as a realtor here with that of a Mom, among others.
Hello, Tracy. Welcome.
Thank you, Maya, for the introduction. Yes, I'm very happy to be here today.
Yeah, I'm excited for today's video. Today we're delving into the topic of raising a family in San Miguel de Allende.
So Tracy, could you start by telling our viewers a little bit... Just giving us a brief overview of San Miguel de Allende and what makes this city stand out?
Sure. Yes. San Miguel de Allende I think stands out mainly because of its location. Of course, it's perfect all year round climate. It's very unique colonial architecture. The parroquia that we have, which is the main cathedral that's in the center of the town, is a big focal point of the square and focal point for San Miguel. Beautiful, quaint, cobbled streets that they have that look very European, very Spanish looking. And as I mentioned, the climate. Yes, the weather is really perfect most of the year.
But I think above all, what makes San Miguel really stand out is probably the friendliness of the Mexican people that actually live here. Extremely warm, caring. And that's important to the people that have actually moved down from the US, Canada, Europe. And you really feel that warmth and inviting atmosphere. So it definitely welcomes everyone with open arms. And a lot of amazing communities that they have, different cultures and nationalities are living here in San Miguel de Allende.
Yes, I totally agree with you, Tracy, there. And well, families often look for unique features in a city. So in your opinion, what makes San Miguel de Allende a family-friendly destination?
Maya, I think not only, as I've mentioned, the warmth and inviting feeling that we get when we actually move to San Miguel. Just even to visit. I meet clients that have just come in for a couple of days, and then they decide that this is where they want to be. And it always surprises me that people really feel that strong connection when they come into the town.
And for me, I think as a family, because I moved here seven years ago with my two children. Actually, there weren't even teenagers at the time. My daughter was 10 and my son was 12. And so I wanted somewhere that I could also feel very safe. And I think Sam Miguel definitely makes you feel extremely safe. And now, as I said, it's been seven years that I've been here. And my children go out and about, meet with friends in town, have dinners and coffee and lunches and stuff.
And I think there's a feeling of closeness amongst the children, I think probably because there's a lot of different cultures and personalities that are here too. But it really brings the children together. And so maybe the mom is Mexican and the dad's American. I'm Scottish and my husband Mexican. So that also brings a lot of, I think... How could you say? United, the children feel, and that closeness.
So I think that definitely makes it extremely family-friendly, for sure.
Yes, of course. I mean, growing up in an international environment is very positive for kids, so thank you for bringing that up as well.
Why don't we talk about the housing market now, Tracy. What can families expect in terms of the average cost of housing in San Miguel de Allende? And also tell us if there are specific types of housing that cater well to families now that we're at it.
I think we have such a wide range of housings. When I first meet clients and they're thinking about bringing their families down, of course there's a few important questions that I always ask. Do you want to be in the center of town? Do you want to be with all the activity, and of course it's not as quiet as being on the outskirts? And so you have that homes there, obviously that you have walking distance to center.
Some families actually want to be a little bit outside the town. Maybe five, 10 minutes drives. And so there are communities, like golf course communities or gated communities. There's even some places out in the country. And so it really depends what the family is looking for. Some families do actually want to be close to the schools. That's an important factor.
But the huge advantage with San Miguel is that you're 15, 20 minutes drive maximum to everywhere. And so really you don't pick a bad spot. All of the places are really perfect.
Prices do vary, I would say definitely, Maya. If you're in town, obviously you can expect half a million and up. There's a big range of prices in the center. But you can get a great home, 250,000, if you're willing to do a little bit of painting. Bearing in mind that to do construction in Mexico is a third of the cost of any other country, so even if you want to change a kitchen, change up bathrooms. I've done a lot of remodelation in my 20 years in Mexico. So it's extremely easy to remodel. And so some people will buy a house that needs a little bit of work, and of course when you come to sell it, then you get that money back, so it's perfect.
So yes, going back to your question, the prices would range, 250 all the way up to, being in center, over half a million.
Yeah. There is options for everyone, for every budget, which is great. Well, we already discussed the matter of safety, which is a top concern for families. So could you highlight some of the best neighborhoods in San Miguel de Allende, and also shed light on the safety and security aspects?
Sure, definitely. Yes, as I mentioned, when I first meet my clients, we will drive around. All the areas in San Miguel are very different, so I always like my clients to get that kind of feeling when they drive into an area that, oh, this is the spot that I would like to be in, and then we can narrow it down and look at properties there.
But yeah, I have a few great areas that I love of the neighborhoods. The two golf courses that we have. One is Ventanas, and the other one is Club de Golf Malanquin. They're both on different areas of the town. But both of them have great security, extremely well maintained. Both golf courses are beautiful. The Club de Malanquin golf course is the older one, and Ventanas is a newer development. So there's still a lot of homes being built in both of them. But you can buy land if you want to build something. Both golf courses offer amazing clubhouse, both with swimming pools, gym, excellent restaurants.
And I think the good thing, Maya, about the golf course communities is that meeting the people, you don't even have to be a golfer, because I lived in Ventanas for a few years, and I'm not a golfer, a Scottish that doesn't golf, but I met a lot of really beautiful families in Ventanas. And the same in Malanquin, I have friends over there that have their children in the tennis and they go to the gym there. So both of those are great places to be.
Now, another one of my favorites is El Capricho, and that's a little bit closer to everything, in fact. It's 5, 10 minutes to get into town. El Capricho is actually a mix of expats with Mexican, but the community is really nice. So for walking your dog, meeting people. It's also gated. And they have some homes there that have beautiful views to the parroquia into the town.
Los Frailes is another residential area that I really like. And they have actually a good selection of different housing, and so some of the older homes are in there. And they have wonderful park areas. So if you like running, walking your dog and meeting people, Los Frailes is also a wonderful place to be. And at the weekend, they have different markets set up where the locals come and they sell their arts and there's fresh produce.
But all the communities, Maya, are pretty close together. So you can pop into each one and choose maybe and get a feel for each residential area.
But yes, there's so many different areas, I'm trying to think if we've missed any. But if you think of any others, you can let me know.
Yeah. Of course. Well, I mean, every neighborhood in San Miguel has its own essence and personality, right? They're very different from each other, but they're also so close, that it really doesn't matter where you live because you can always visit another neighborhood.
And in case our viewers are curious, we have a whole section on our website which contains video blogs for each of these neighborhoods. So please feel free to check that out.
And thank you, Tracy. That was a very, very thorough explanation on neighborhoods and areas, especially the gated communities, which might be more suitable for families, in case safety is a concern.
Now let's move on to education. You raised both of your kids here. So what's the landscape like in San Miguel de Allende? Could you discuss the options available, including public schools, private schools, and also international schools?
Sure. Yes. We moved down from Houston, so my children had done a few years of their schooling up there. So that was kind of one of my concerns when we decided to move to San Miguel de Allende.
And actually seven years ago, Maya, there wasn't the options that we have now. We've seen such a big influx of families coming into the area, that schools have just been popping up all over. Which is wonderful for us because now obviously we have better options, and there's a little bit of competition between the schools to try and be better, which is kind of nice.
But yes, most of the people that move into the area, Maya, with the Europe and Canada and the US, they will put their children to private school because it's extremely affordable. And the range of schools is really good. We have the international schools, where children are taught in both languages. So I'm very fortunate with my children now, they're completely bilingual, which really opens a lot of doors for them moving into the big world.
My children were in a Waldorf school when we were in the States, and we also have a Waldorf school here if you really want that hands-on kind of experience for your children.
We have an amazing selection of kindergarten schools now. As I said, in the last seven years that I've been here, there's just really been a lot opened. But we've had a demand for that.
And I think, going into the education in a little bit, I think the most warming thing about the schools is that the children really do connect. My children have friends that they made when they first got here. And it's really strong connection, Maya, that they have, I think because they feel that they're not in the country that they were born in, and so when they get here, it's like they make that extra special effort to really connect with their friends and hang onto that friendship.
And so the education has really taken a big step up in the last years that I've been here. My children have now finished high school. In fact, my son is now at university in Mexico City. But they got a really good standing of the high school here. And I've seen many of the expat children actually head back to universities in Mexico City, very good ones, or go back to obviously where they were born in the US and get into very prestige universities in Europe or in the US. So yeah, the curriculum that they have now is very good.
And also, I'll tell you that they have a really good range of private tutors. If you need that extra help also for your children, there's been a big influx of people moving down and wanting to share their experience and helping out the children also for tutors.
So yeah, definitely education is very good in San Miguel.
Yeah, that's great to hear. And also, well, San Miguel is considered to be a destination for retirement. And now that you mentioned that the demand's been growing for education and for schools, it's because families are moving here, so maybe that might be changing. Even though it's still a great retirement destination, it's kind of shifting a little to raising a family and becoming more of a family city, for all the things you mentioned.
And I want to go back to language and curriculum, because they are very important factors. So can you share a little bit more about the language of instruction, the curriculum diversity, and the overall quality of education? You already talked a little bit about it, but maybe we could get a little bit more into detail.
Yes. Especially for the children, I think it is one of the most important, how could you say, gifts that you can give your child, that they learn another language. For me, I had to learn Spanish when I started working abroad and I was an adult, and so it was a challenge, a really big challenge. And so children just soak it up super fast, especially when they're little. And so for them, to switch back and forth between a couple of languages, and even then to take on a third language. My son, he went to school in Europe for a little bit and come back, and in one semester he was speaking Portuguese. So it's like, my gosh, he learned super fast another language.
And so I think it really is a great gift to give your children. And so in the schools here of course, they have in Spanish and English. And if you want to take another language, German or French, Italian, they have extracurricular classes in the school, along with all the sports and stuff that they offer.
And so it just opens so many more doors to the children when they have that extra language, for sure.
Yes, of course. And well, as you said, it's not limited to Spanish and English. Schools offer a variety of languages. And as you said, it's a great gift. I studied here for a year when I was younger, I think I was around seven. And I had friends from the US and I didn't know how to speak English very well. And at eight, as you said, you just soak up the language so fast. And I think that's why my English is good now, because I lived for an entire year and my best friends were English speakers, and so kind of just trying to play with them made it so that I could just learn the language very, very easily without pressure. So that's I think very, very important to consider when choosing a school, that they have bilingual classes and international students as well. It's great for kids.
Let's switch gears and talk a little bit about healthcare facilities, because that's also very, very important for families. So can you tell us about the healthcare facilities here in San Miguel de Allende? Are there specialized services for children, emergency care, and just general health services?
Yes. The healthcare services that are offered in San Miguel de Allende are extremely, extremely good. We have had, in the last couple of years, a couple of new hospitals been opened. And quite a few doctors have actually moved from Mexico City and now are living in Queretaro, but they come and have a few days in San Miguel de Allende, and so they will provide services here.
Emergency care is very good. We also have a company, Be Well San Miguel, that is a very good resource for medical referrals. We have very good doctors, really specialized in any kind of situation that you may need.
And yes, I think it is extremely important for the families that come down. Obviously for the children that are little, they obviously have vaccinations and different things going on, so that's very important.
But we do have families, Maya, that bring maybe the in-laws down. Maybe the mom wants to bring her mom down. So for the people, as we go back and say, San Miguel de Allende is obviously a retire [inaudible 00:20:41] also.
But it's very important that both age spectrums have good healthcare. And I think the healthcare services is extremely good in the town that we are in, for sure.
Yeah, it totally is. And well, you mentioned Queretaro. It's I think one of the fastest growing cities in Latin America. So they have everything you need, and it's only 40 minutes away. So that's also just important to mention, that even if San Miguel does have very, very good healthcare facilities and everything should be covered, Queretaro has all the different specialties. So it's just great to know that there is a big city very, very close by.
Yes. Queretaro actually, they developed super fast as well after people were moving out of Mexico City and moved in to get a lot of doctors. And we are extremely fortunate, like you said, Queretaro's close by, to very specialized doctors there. I mean, I'm shocked really sometimes. I'm like, wow. That was never, 15 years ago when I was in Mexico, that we'd have that opportunity. We sometimes had to go elsewhere.
Actually I've had clients that will fly down, and they may be seasonal, but they'll actually fly down and have their medical treatment done. And one, because obviously it's much cheaper than elsewhere. But they will fly down and have their medical services here. So it's good for us.
Yeah, totally. It's great. Well also, families often look for recreational activities. Let's talk a little bit about that now that we covered safety, education, healthcare, those are things that are a priority when moving somewhere new with your family. But community and recreation is incredibly important for the well-being of children. So what are some of the family-friendly options available, I don't know, like parks, museums, art classes, maybe sports clubs?
Yeah. I think we're really blessed in the town because we're not a huge city, but while we have a really good selection, I think for all the family that might enjoy. I mean, yes, apart from the ones that I've mentioned in the golf course community, which have the pool and the gyms, pickleball has opened. And people from all ages are doing pickleball right now. A lot of courts have gone up. There's tennis, paddle, football, soccer. Soccer is really big here.
I'm heavily involved in the horse community. I have my horse here and I ride dressage. And so we have the dressage. There's also jumping. But for anyone that wants to go out and do trail riding, also there's some wonderful horseback riding schools for the children. And actually they will do overnight camps. Or they opened a couple of years ago this wonderful group on Facebook, and it's specialized just for that teenage age camp, and they will take them out and do different activities. And that's been really successful. I've seen that group grow and grow.
And on Facebook here, there's a lot of different communities you get involved with. Hiking. There's wonderful dancing groups. I love to dance. I'm a salsa dancer. But not only salsa, there's contemporary. Or if you're looking for some art, well, we have amazing art. I mean, San Miguel de Allende is really known for its art and culture. Music events. If you want to learn a new musical instrument.
I think there's something for everyone. And do you know the good thing, Maya, is that you can really be involved as much as you want, or take a step back and say, "Do you know what? I don't want to be in this group." You can pick and choose.
And so it's really united. The whole town is extremely friendly and very united. And we have many great clubs and communities that offer a wide range of activities for everybody, every age group.
Yes, that's amazing. And it's crazy how such a small city can have so many things to do. People would often times just wonder, what should I... Small towns or small cities are often related to being boring and not much going on. It's just not the case in San Miguel. There's never a dull moment here. There's always something to do, whether you are a kid, a teenager, an adult, or someone who is retiring.
Well, beyond the activities, how does the lifestyle and culture, which you kind of mentioned right now, the lifestyle and culture of San Miguel, how do they contribute to enriching a child's upbringing?
Yeah. I mean, I've mentioned a few already I think. Just the friendliness. I think for me as a mom, and I've seen it with my children, it's the connection. It's really the connection that they've made with the children. It's a genuine sense of warmth. The children are very friendly. I mean, I have a house full most of the time, and I love that.
So I think it's really easy to get into a group and make friends. People are very open to that.
And I think the whole feeling of the community. What I love is if I'm in the office in town sitting there, and people will come in and want to look at property or whatever. And I sometimes ask them, I'm like, "Why San Miguel?" And they said, "Because, Tracy, everyone's happy." And it's so true. You walk around town, you're like, wow. I mean, you really feel it, that happiness, especially at this time of the years as well at Christmas. But all through the year, there's different festivities going on. And the connection is just really strong, I feel. And I think that's really important for families. Because as I said, it's a great gift to give your child to not only see other places in the world, but also fall into a town that really makes them feel wanted and needed. It's wonderful.
Yeah. Actually, I was going to ask you now about the community and the social life here. So it connects very well with what you were just saying because community's crucial for families. So how would you describe the sense of community in San Miguel de Allende? And are there notable social events and festivals and opportunities for families to connect?
Yes. I mean, I think once you start your children at the school, that's the biggest thing. There's a lot of different social events through the school.
But for somebody maybe that's coming into the town and they're not quite sure what school they're going to put their children to maybe for a few months, and so they just choose to do homeschooling for a little bit, but they feel like they need to obviously get into that community. Well, they can ask me. I will connect them to many different groups. But really when you get on Facebook, there's some wonderful groups there. And actually once you connect to a couple, you can meet somebody coffee or connect the children. And then from there, it just seems to just spread. You're like, oh my gosh, now I connect to this person who knows this person. And then pretty soon, you've got something going on every day. So I think that's the best way to do it.
Yeah, totally. I always joke with my friends that it's like every day is the weekend here. We are going to have dinner on Tuesday and we'll play tennis on Wednesday. And there's always something to do and an activity. So that obviously makes you feel part of a big, big family in San Miguel. Because also, once you live here for a while, you start to notice that everyone knows each other in a way. You go to the grocery store and then you find someone who you know, so you chat a little. So as you said, it's a very happy environment, in general. Like a big family.
I know. I would just like to pick up on something. It's true, because when my kids were growing up and going through that teenage stage, I would have friends that would call me, "Oh, I saw your child in town, just so you know. They're in Starbucks or they're in that coffee shop or having lunch." So it's amazing. People know you through the children, and they're always keeping an eye out for them. So it kind of gives you that warmth feeling.
Exactly. Everyone's taking care of each other. It's very true. Well, Tracy, thank you so much. It's been such a fantastic conversation. And before we say goodbye, do you have any personal experiences or anecdotes about raising your family here in San Miguel de Allende that you'd like to share with our viewers?
I just think to someone that's out there thinking about bringing their family down, come and visit, we can show you around. But it was the best thing that I ever did for my two children. It's really opened many opportunities for them. And I think you are definitely are in the best of hands if you choose to come down San Miguel de Allende and raise your family, for a few years or for forever, because people want to be here and then they get hooked and they're like, "No, that's it. We don't want to go anywhere else."
Yeah, of course. And if our viewers decide to visit, they need to know that there will be a community supporting them if they decide to make the move. People here are extremely friendly, so it's not like they're left alone. I don't know. There's a very big sense of support, as we said already. So it's just about visiting and just deciding whether or not it's the place for you. But it is definitely worth checking out.
Well, viewers, we also want to hear from you, so comment below with your experiences or thoughts about raising a family in San Miguel de Allende. And also don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more videos like this. We release this type of content on a weekly basis, so if that's something that interests you, please hit the subscribe button.
And thank you so much again, Tracy.
Thank you, Maya.
Yeah, it was great. Great talking to you. Thank you for watching, viewers. And we'll see each other on our next video. Take care. Bye-bye.
Thank you, Maya.