How to Get From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende — Mexico Travel Tips

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Here’s how to get from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende. This can be tricky for people new to Mexico travel because it requires several steps and a bus ride. But don’t worry — it’s easy and quite relaxing, actually. If you’re planning to visit Mexico and want to know the best way to get from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende, read on. Below I give you a step-by-step process from the Mexico City Airport to the bus terminal and all the way to San Miguel de Allende. I also tell you how to get back: from San Miguel de Allende to Mexico City.

_Bus Interior personal movie screens. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. We certainly think so, and so do travel magazines like Conde Nast Traveler and others. However, there are no real direct flights from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende. There are no flights at all really: the community continues to oppose building an airport in the area.

That’s probably a good thing, too. Why? Because if there were direct flights to San Miguel de Allende then the place would get even more visitors than it does now. It will be much more charming without larger crowds, don’t you think? For example, we still love Bali. Even so, we wish it took more effort for tourists to get there. Including us. (The same thing could happen to Lombok next). By the same token, this bus from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende takes a little extra effort and a few more hours of travel time, but it’s worth it. Really, really worth it.

There are no direct buses from the airport to San Miguel de Allende, either. You can take a bus directly from the airport to Queretaro, which is about an hour south of your destination. Then again, you’d also have to sort out a second bus ticket from Queretaro to San Miguel de Allende. The way I describe here is easier.

Below I’ll go through each step of the process of getting from the Mexico City International Airport to the bus terminal to one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico: Guanajuato. Getting from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende is quite easy, really. Read below and see for yourself.

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Total Time from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

It’s impossible to give you a completely accurate timeline from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende, but you should plan on 5 to 6 hours. The (first-class) bus ride itself is three to four hours. Then factor in time in customs, getting your bags, traffic between the airport and the bus terminal. Moreover, if you just missed one bus, the next bus might not leave for another half hour.

Best Time to Go From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Ideally, I like to make the trip from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende during the morning or afternoon. Therefore, if my flight to Mexico City comes in after five in the afternoon, I’ll book a hotel in Mexico City and leave for San Miguel in the morning.

Need Luggage?

Our Guide to Best Travel Backpacks

Best Carry-On Luggage Reviews: Ultimate Guide for Your Next Travel

The Best Checked Luggage for Travel: Choosing the Best Suitcases

Step-by-Step: Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

_CDMX arrivals gate taxi stands. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Step Out of Arrivals Gate

Once off the plane, do the usual airport routine. Go through immigration, pick up your luggage, navigate customs and then exit the Arrivals Gate.

Like at any major airport, there will be people standing in front of the gate. You may see people waiting for loved ones, drivers waiting for business travelers, and tour groups. Someone may approach you here asking if you want a taxi. Say no. These are not the drivers you’re looking for.

Look for Taxi Stands

A few steps in front of the Arrivals Gate exit, you’ll see a handful of small stands with “TAXI” signs on them. They’ll be hard to miss as you walk nearby. Why? Because they’ll likely be waving at you to come to their stand instead of the other stands next to them.

Is one of these stands better than the other? I’m not sure. But I’ve used several of them and the service has been about the same, which is good.

Book a Ride to Mexico Norte Bus Station

Approach one of these taxi stands. Tell the person behind the counter that you want a taxi from the airport to Mexico City’s North Bus Station. The full name is “Terminal Central de Autobuses del Norte.” But don’t worry. If you can’t speak Spanish, just say something with “bus” and “north” in it and you should be fine.

You’ll be given a ticket or card. Hold onto this card because you’ll be giving it to your driver. Most stands take cash or credit cards. I think the last time we took this taxi to Mexico City’s Bus Terminal Norte it cost us about 250 pesos.

Go to the Taxi

Each stand represents a different taxi company. Their taxis are usually less than 100 meters away, just outside one of the nearby exits. Once you book your ride to the bus station, the person at the stand will tell you which exit (“Puerta”) to go out. When you step out that exit, you’ll probably see a fleet of taxis with the same logo as the taxi stand you just left.

There will be a guy standing around with a clipboard or a jacket with the same logo, too. Approach him and hand him the ticket or card you were given, and he’ll lead you to your ride.

Ride to the North Bus Station

_CDMX Norte Bus Counters. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Your driver should help you with your luggage and then everyone gets in the taxi. The ride from Mexico City Airport to the Bus Terminal Norte can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic.

Go to ETN or Primera Plus

_CDMX ETN counter. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

_CDMX Primera Plus counter. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Once you arrive at the Northern Bus Terminal, you’ll see more than a dozen counters for various bus lines.

The two Mexico bus companies we recommend are ETN and Primera Plus. Why these two specific bus companies? Because these are the ones we’ve used many times and have had consistently good service. There may be others, but we can say that in our experience, these two are the best for going from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende by bus.

You’ll see the departure times on the wall, or you can just approach someone behind the counter and tell them where you want to go.

The ride should be between 420 and 550 pesos. Primera Plus is usually the cheaper one, but in our experience, the service and amenities are basically the same.

Check these sites for times. You can also reserve seats online, and it’s slightly cheaper, but frequently it just doesn’t work. We’ve never got it to work. You’ve been warned. That said, in our experience, there are usually seats on a bus leaving within an hour of whenever we show up. The longest we’ve waited was 45 minutes for a bus. Usually 15-20 or less.

Head to the Waiting Area

_CDMX Primera Plus ETN Waiting Room. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

_CDMX waiting room. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Just around the corner from the ETN counter is the waiting area for ETN and Primera Plus buses. There’s also a convenience store, a small bakery and a public toilet.

The toilet costs 6 pesos to use. In our experience, this toilet is clean and worth the pesos. Yet keep in mind that there’s also a clean toilet on the bus you’re about to board.

Go Through Security

_CDMX Bus terminal Norte security. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Just like at an airport, you’ll run your luggage through an X-ray machine and walk through a metal detector. A security guard may ask to look inside your bag, too.

Luggage and Boarding

_CDMX Primera Plus bus boarding. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Once through security, you’ll approach your bus. There will probably be many buses loading. Yours should have a sign that says “San Miguel de Allende” or the lit signboard on the bus will say where to board.

You’ll show your tickets to a staff member standing in front. They’ll offer you a snack and a beverage — usually a cookie, granola bar or small sandwich and a bottled drink.

All large luggage goes underneath the bus — not up to your seat. Line up and hand the guy your suitcase for him to place it in the storage space under the bus. He should give you a baggage claim ticket for each item stored under the bus. Make sure to count and make sure your baggage claim tickets match the number of bags. Just in case.

It’s time to board. You’ll be asked for a ticket once more and they’ll do a quick security bag search. Once you board, there is an overhead compartment on the bus, but it’s not that large. I have to leave my laptop backpack on the floor next to me.

Settle In for Four Hours

Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende with Kids - Mexico Family Travel

_Primera Plus seats screens snacks. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

The seats are super comfortable and there are movies on the screens in front of you. That said, keep in mind that they all movies are probably dubbed in Spanish.

Some buses have onboard wifi, as well as power outlets and USB charging stations. The view along the way is quite can be nice as well. Some buses stop in Queretaro on the way. Some don’t. Queretaro is a little over an hour from San Miguel de Allende.

Arrive in San Miguel de Allende / Taxi into Town

The San Miguel de Allende bus station is small, quiet and slightly removed from downtown. Once off the bus and with your luggage, walk straight through the small waiting area.

Step out the main exit and there should be a taxi or two waiting around. If not, wait and one will arrive soon. Hail one and tell him where you want to go. Make sure to have your address written down in Spanish if you can’t speak the language well.

FYI: There is Uber in San Miguel de Allende, but don’t rely on it here. There are usually only a few cars in operation at one time. What’s more, they often won’t pick up a ride from a place where lots of conventional taxis are waiting.

Getting from San Miguel De Allende to Mexico City

_SMA Primera Plus. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

_SMA ETN. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Now it’s time to return. You’ve had your amazing trip to San Miguel de Allende but now it’s time to fly home or elsewhere. Here’s how to get back from San Miguel de Allende to Mexico City.

It’s simple really — basically a reverse of what’s written above.

Get to the San Miguel de Allende bus station and approach the ETN or Primera Plus counters. Buy tickets to “Terminal Central de Autobuses del Norte.” Primera Plus is slightly cheaper, but both offer similar service, space, and seating.

_bus interior from the back personal screens. From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Jump on your bus and ride for four hours to Mexico City’s Northern Bus Terminal. Once off your bus and into the terminal, you may be approached by someone offering a taxi. Skip these guys and walk up to two taxi stands in the main atrium.

From here, book a taxi to the International Airport. They’ll give you a ticket. Take this ticket and your luggage and walk to the front. You should see the taxis from here.

Taxis load here one at a time. There may be a line. Just follow the order and hand your ticket to a guy standing in front of the taxis. He’ll sort you a car and then you’re on your way to the airport! Tips are appreciated but not expected.

Need Luggage?

Our Guide to Best Travel Backpacks

Best Carry-On Luggage Reviews: Ultimate Guide for Your Next Travel

The Best Checked Luggage for Travel: Choosing the Best Suitcases

How Do You Go From Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende?

Do you take a similar bus ride? Or have you hired a driver? Tell us how you get from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende if you have any special tips!

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Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something or book a hotel in San Miguel de Allende or elsewhere using one of my links, we might get a small commission. You pay nothing extra, so don’t worry. Also, everything you see here is just my personal opinion. I only recommend places, activities, and gear that I believe will genuinely help my readers, and I want to help to get from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende. Have you traveled from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende before? Did you take this bus or arrive some other way?

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