Introducing Simply San Miguel

The prospect of ‘living on Mexican time’ just got easier

San Miguel de Allende (4/26/2006) – Looking for a throw-back to a simpler time? A place that’s ‘off the beaten path’ to live and work (thanks to the Internet and VoIP), or just retire (but continue to kick-up your heels)?

A community where ambience, friendliness, family, art, culture, good food (and smooth Tequila), Wi-Fi, and shopping are smiled upon, all without the commute?

The word is out: Home sweet San Miguel de Allende.

Ranked the number two city in the Americas in Conde Nast Traveler 2005
Reader’s Choice Awards and recently selected as the top place to retire outside of the U.S. by CNN and Money Magazine, people – from the rich and famous to the curious tourist – are flocking to this burgeoning sixteenth-century colonial town – the closest thing Mexico has to central Italy.

And, now, a couple of well-connected residents are planning to introduce Simply San Miguel (, a unique (and fun) lifestyletour created to help one maneuver the perilously steep cobblestone streets,learning curve of relocating to and living in the mountains of central Mexico.

“So many first time visitors fall in love with San Miguel, but are naturally daunted by the myriad questions and insecurities about living in a foreign country,” said Camie Sands, one of Simply San Miguel’s principals.

Sands, 50, a former Seattle-based advertising executive and six year
resident whose family’s connection to San Miguel dates back 350 years, is joined by business partner Linda Lowery-Keep, 52, a former Chicago-based travel industry executive and children’s book author who has lived in San Miguel for some five years.

“We’ve developed Simply San Miguel as a stress-free lifestyle tour that will save you time, and offer you special treatment – with access to the people, places and events that will help undo the complicated process of ‘living on Mexican time’,” said Lowery-Keep. “You’ll be properly introduced to this special community by varied ‘insiders’, all offering you a wealth of intelligence and perspective.”

-Concerned about quality health care? Get facts about San Miguel’s medical facilities from a team of local doctors, dentists and other health professionals.

-Good schools for my children? Educators from bilingual schools will share several options, including Waldorf, Montessori and United Nations-inspired schools.

-Want that million-dollar dream home? Bank account only allows for a
$250,000 one? Road-bumps in the building process? A Mexican mortgage? Tour an eclectic mix of neighborhoods and homes, learn tips from local
architects, builders, and artisans, and share a cocktail with home-owners and real estate experts.

-Are there tax benefits to living in Mexico? Possible to open a local bank account? Want to work ‘virtually’ south of the border? Business experts with hands on experience, including a former official with the IRS’s Mexico City office, will explain in simplest detail.

-Need a visa? What about a car? Possible to move household goods? Learn from immigration experts the real story to living legally in Mexico.

-Concerned about security? San Miguel PD’s foreign community assistance director will calm any fears with straightforward, reliable information.

-Significant cultural differences? Learn protocol ‘do’s and don’ts’ from persnickety experts. Housekeepers, gardeners, cooks really that inexpensive? Long-time residents will unmask the local economy.

-Anything to do outdoors? How about a dip in one of the area’s many natural hot springs, a hike through the vast botanical gardens or a quiet stroll through the town’s European-styled park, shaded by ancient towering trees.

-Community theater? A library? Good restaurants? Experience innovative
cultural centers, a number of Gourmet Magazine-recommended restaurants, fine art galleries, and other gathering points.

-Places to shop? Are you kidding?

-Nice hotels for out-of-town guests? How about the Orient-Express’s Casa de Sierra Nevada – a favorite haunt of celebrities ranging from Salma Hayek and Johnny Depp to Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford?

A seven-day, six-night insider’s look at San Miguel will set you back $2,300 per person (based on double-occupancy) and doesn’t include airfare. But it does include accommodations in a unique boutique hotel located in San Miguel’s ‘Centro’ (nice), daily meals (yum), cocktail parties (yea), tours of eclectic neighborhoods and homes guided by local real estate professionals (ooh, aah), daily ‘expert’ panel discussions (wow), and all ground transportation (Zzzz).

Daily flights via Delta, American, Continental, United, Mexicana and
AeroMexico are available from major U.S. and Canadian airports to
Leon/Guanajuato Airport (BJX), Queretaro Airport (QRO) or Mexico City
Airport (MEX).

For more information or to schedule a visit to San Miguel (make your
reservation for an introductory media fam trip), visit or call 253-210-5613 (a Seattle area code and
telephone number via Vonage).

Additional information:

Deemed the ‘anti-Cabo of Mexico’ by New York Magazine, where the weather tends to be spring-like year round (at 6,500 ft), gringos with taste have had a love affair with San Miguel for some time (it’s already home to an estimated 7,500 foreigners – some part-time, others year-round, including many Americans and Canadians). A sampling:

“Life is easy here; life is healthy here,” said Warren Hardy, 55, founder of the internationally-acclaimed San Miguel-based Warren Hardy Language School ( “The quality of life that we enjoy here is superior to anything I’ve seen, having lived and traveled all over the world.”

“San Miguel is a bit of a paradox – a vibrant mix of tradition and
contrariness – where interesting people are actually accessible, and life is more rich and is less complicated than in the states,” said Brett Holmes, 43, partner in Houston-based Toddy, the cold brewed coffee and tea company (, which he runs from his office in San Miguel (thanks to high-speed Internet, a Vonage VoIP telephone system and a Blackberry).

Holmes, his wife Kate, 42, an artist (, and their three school-aged children have called San Miguel home for more than three years, having lived in southern California and Massachusetts for more than 16 years.

Photo Credit: Ari

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