Explore San Miguel de Allende's verdant parks and gardens, and savour fresh, local produce beneath the trees.
El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden (pictured left) was green before green was big in San Miguel. The pioneer in all things eco-minded, it sits just up the hill from the Parrocchia. A 150-acre nature reserve that features hundreds of varieties of cactus (some endangered), it embraces lagoons that support bird life and walking paths that take you along a spectacular canyon - a deep gash with walls the color of cayenne. Just another hue in San Miguel's fascinating spectrum. Visit the website >
This is as green as it gets in San Miguel. Via Organica has quickly become the community centre for the eco-minded. Its multi-armed operation includes an organic farm, a grocery store, a café plus an educational centre that offers workshops on such topics as biointensive agriculture. It's the place to fill your body - and your mind - with good green stuff. Calle Margarito Ledesma #2; Visit the website >
During the week this eatery - in the back of another organic grocery called Natura - offers simple, delicious organic fare, but on weekend nights it transforms into an exclusive restaurant that offers four-course meals to a limited number of people who pre-reserve. Exceptional dishes include horseradish-encrusted beef tenderloin and carrot, cauliflower and poblano salad. Calle Nueva #7; 415-154-9655.
If you want to see green while you eat "green," the best spot is the Bistro at Los Senderos, a 275-acre private park and winery just a few clicks outside the town centre. You'll feel like you've travelled a lot further, as you look over horses grazing in a field near shapely mesquite trees, sculptural cactus plants and clumps of lavender. The bistro is housed in a modern stone structure (a refreshing break from colonial architecture) and features dishes using vegetables and herbs straight from its own garden. After lunch, visit the equestrian centre and ride a horse. Visit the website >
The only thing generic about this eatery is its name. The seasonal menu draws on mostly organic meat and produce from farms and ranches in the campo surrounding San Miguel and the impressive imagination of New York-trained chef Donnie Masterton. The result is billed as global comfort food, including such standouts as curried cauliflower soup, a salad of beets, goat cheese and pistachios, and roasted pork loin with a perfectly zingy jalapeno honey glaze. Recently added are a lunch and breakfast menu, plus a store called, in a similarly plain vein, The Grocery, featuring organic gourmet food items. Calle Sollano 16; 415-154-7862. Visit the website >
By Jeannie Ralston, a US-based writer for many international publications
Do you have any more 'green' secrets?