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This guide covers how to get to Atotonilco from San Miguel de Allende, what to see and do at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, how much it costs, and how to return to San Miguel when your day trip is done. 

Atotonilco is one of the most popular things to do in San Miguel de Allende and luckily it’s easy to reach from the city even without a car. It’s also incredibly budget-friendly!

Ready to go?

Use this article to plan the perfect half-day trip to Atotonilco.


Atotonilco Church in San Miguel de Allende

Baroque frescos inside Atotonilco Sanctuario de la Patria


Why Visit Atotonilco?

The Atotonilco Sanctuario de la Patria (also called Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco) was built in the early 1700s and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

It’s nicknamed the Sistene Chapel of Mexico because the walls and ceilings of the church and chapels are covered in intricate Baroque oil paintings by Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre.

Beyond the church, there is a market and a few small shops, but this is definitely the main draw of the day trip from San Miguel. 


exterior of Atotonilco

Exterior of the church


How to Get to Atotonilco from San Miguel de Allende

The easiest way to get to Atotonilco is by Uber, but the cheapest way is by bus. I’ll break down both options.

To get to Atotonilco from San Miguel by Uber, simply download the app (if you don’t already have it) and request a ride from your location to Atotonilco.

The drive from San Miguel to Atotonilco will cost about 150 mxn / 7.50 usd and takes about 25 minutes. 

If you want to save money on the trip, you can also take a bus from San Miguel to Atotonilco. The bus costs 13 mxn / .65 usd per person and the trip takes about 30 minutes. 

Catch the Route 7 bus (it’s clearly labeled with Route 7 on the front and sides) on Calz de la Luz near the corner of Animas St. – click here to see it on Google Maps.

The only problem with taking a bus to Atotonilco is that I don’t know what times they run exactly but my guess would be about once an hour. You can also take a guided tour to Atotonilco and Dolores Hidalgo (from Mexico City) if that’s more up your alley.


bus to Atotonilco

Route 7 bus to Atotonilco from San Miguel de Allende


What to Do at Atotonilco

The Atotonilco Sanctuario de la Patria is the highlight of this trip.

The first half of the church is free to enter, while the second has a minor entrance fee of 15 mxn / .75 usd per person. 

Both have pretty altars and gorgeous painted ceilings and walls that earned Atotonilco its nickname as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Mexico.’

The sanctuary hours are a bit hard to find online but from some searching, I think it’s open from around 9 am to 5 pm every day (although Sundays may vary from that). 

After visiting the church, you can also go to one of two nearby hot springs for a soak before heading back to San Miguel de Allende. 

La Gruta hot spring is a 17-minute walk from the church. The entrance costs 200 mxn / 10 usd per person to soak at their thermal springs and it also has additional spa services and a restaurant as well.  

Escondido Place is another nearby hot spring and spa about 27 minutes walking from the church. Entrance to Escondido Place costs 150 mxn / 7.50 usd per person.


cieling of Atotonilco Sanctuary

Ornate ceilings in Atotonilco. This part of the church has a 15 mxn entrance fee but it’s more than worth the price!


How to Get from Atotonilco to San Miguel de Allende

The odds of being able to successfully call an Uber in a town as tiny as Atotonilco are incredibly slim, but you can take the bus from Atotonilco to San Miguel instead. 

To find the bus stop, turn right and walk down the main road through town when you exit the church.

After a couple of minutes, you’ll come to a crossroads. Turn right, and you’ll see the giant purple bus waiting to pick up passengers and take them to San Miguel.

The ride back to San Miguel de Allende takes 30 minutes and costs 13 mxn per person. You’ll get dropped off at the corner of Calz de la Luz and Animas near the city center. 

If you can’t find the bus to San Miguel, simply ask around for it and I’m sure the locals will be able to point you in the right direction.


frescos in Atotonilco

More frescoes on the ceiling of Atotonilco 


How much does a day trip to Atotonilco cost?

Our day trip to Atotonilco was incredibly budget-friendly. To visit Atotonilco from San Miguel de Allende we spent:

  • 150 mxn – Uber from San Miguel to Atotonilco
  • 30 mxn – Atotonilco church entrance fees for two
  • 26 mxn – bus from Atotonilco to San Miguel de Allende for two

In total, our short half-day trip from San Miguel to Atotonilco cost 206 mxn / 10 usd for a couple. If you take the bus to Atotonilco instead of an Uber, you can cut costs even more. 

If you opt to tack on the hot springs, expect to pay about 150 to 200 mxn / 7 to 10 usd more per person for the outing. 


Ready to go?

Explore accommodation like unique stays on Airbnb (we stayed in this lovely apartment) or the top-rated hotels on to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the city.

Then, browse tons of San Miguel food, culture, and nature experiences on Airbnb to round out your itinerary, like the popular Mexican music walking tour or this art tour to local artist studios!



This article is part of the San Miguel Day Trip series. Read the rest below:

How to Visit the Magical & Mesmerizing Chapel of Jimmy Ray

Vineyards in San Miguel: How to Visit Rancho Toyan Winery

San Miguel to Dolores Hidalgo Day Trip Guide

Then, explore the Mexico Series for more tips on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in San Miguel de Allende and beyond.


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