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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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? Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to San Miguel de Allende and then explore accommodation like unique stays on Airbnb or the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the pretty colonial city.
This article is part of the San Miguel Day Trip series. Read the rest below:
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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➤ I exclusively use Airbnb for savings and security on long-term stays in furnished apartments.
➤ I use Booking.com for short-term stays in hostels and hotels on weekend trips.
➤ Upwork allowed me to take the leap to travel full-time because they make it so easy to find freelance clients in any field.
➤ The Superstar Blogging Travel Writing Course launched my travel writing career and helped me become a contributor at sites like Cincinnati Refined and International Living, and even get published in the Boston Globe.