Join us for seven days in this artist community for cooking classes, cultural events, shopping adventures, and grand dinners. Located high in the mountains north of Mexico City, this colonial town (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) was listed by Conde Nast Traveler as the 8th best travel destination in the world. Famous for its mild high desert climate and colonial architecture, San Miguel de Allende is known for its art galleries, craft shops, outdoor markets, art and language institutes, fine restaurants, and a large expatriate population drawn from throughout the world. It’s a town of cobblestone streets, pealing church bells, intense colors, and endless holy days, fiestas, and celebrations. Hugh and his wife, Teri Sandison, have been visiting San Miguel de Allende for years. They know many of San Miguel’s artists, writers, gallery owners, and townspeople, and have used these contacts to create an “insider’s” tour to one of the world’s most romantic and captivating small towns. Hugh and Teri are your hosts for every event throughout the week, each limited to only 12 people per session.

About the climate: San Miguel is in the high desert country of central Mexico, about 6,000 feet above sea level. January and February attract many tourists from snowy North America. This is the “dry season” with crisp clear days. Evenings are in the mid-40s, while the afternoon temperatures are in the high 70s. It’s a magical time of year to visit San Miguel.

About safety: San Miguel is small conservative Catholic town, far removed from the troubled border nearly 800 miles to the north. In the 13 years of operating this program, none of our attendees has ever experienced any crime.

Traveling to San Miguel: You’ll fly into the nearby airport in Leon and be met by a private driving service. Within 90 minutes, you’ll be walking along the cobblestone streets of San Miguel.

Upcoming 2019 dates: February 16-22 and March 2-8

Hugh Carpenter’s Camp San Miguel classes are created for the independent traveler wanting to combine a cooking vacation with plenty of free time to pursue their own interests while in San Miguel, Mexico. Features include lunches, receptions and dinners, as listed in the class itineraries. Airfare, hotel accommodations, car rental, and other items not described are not included.

Camp San Miguel tour price per tour member: $2,580 ($500 deposit required with balance due 90 days before class begins). Payments may be made through PayPal or by personal check. Please call (707) 363-9707 to register.

Class Itinerary

Saturday: Dinner at Trazo 1810.
For our opening dinner, we are treated to contemporary Mexican cuisine at the rooftop restaurant, Trazo 1810. This elegant restaurant is the talk of the town. After dinner, we walk a short distance to the town square (“centro” or “jardin”) to enjoy the beautiful view of the cathedral, listen to mariachi bands at every corner, and watch the vibrant night life. (D)

Sunday: Colonial House Tour, Botanical Gardens, Lunch at the Design Center, Dinner at The Restaurant.
This morning you have several options from which to choose. You may want to explore San Miguel, its shops, art galleries, and restaurants, or you can go on the “House Tour,” which gives you a chance to "see behind the doors" of three great San Miguel houses. A visit to the beautiful botanical gardens is another optional activity. Or you may meet Teri and Hugh at San Miguel's design center, La Aurora, for a no-host lunch and a walk-through of the many studios and galleries. In the evening we go to dinner at The Restaurant at Sollano #16, San Miguel's top restaurant. Chef-owner Donnie Masterton creates a dinner for us that blends both rustic and refined Mexican country cooking—all dishes not on the menu and cooked by Donnie. (D)

Monday: Cooking with Chef Ruben at Sazon, Market Tour, Jewelry Shopping at Bill and Howard's.
Our morning begins as we gather at Sazon, centrally located just one block from the jardin. It is in this beautifully arranged indoor-outdoor cooking layout set inside an 18th-century colonial building that we gather for our cooking. A charming and enthusiastic teacher, Chef Ruben from the Casa Sierra Nevada Hotel conducts the class. We spend about two hours cooking, followed by lunch served in the garden courtyard. After lunch Teri leads all participants on a tour of the market. Remainder of the afternoon is free. Late in the afternoon we meet at the home of jewelery Bill Harris and Howard Haynes. We tour the property, enjoy a glass of wine, hear their wonderful stories about life in San Miguel, and jewelry shop! This evening you are free to choose from the many exciting restaurants for dinner. (L)

Tuesday: Day Trip to Guanajuato.
This morning you have free time to continue exploring San Miguel. In the early afternoon we drive to the colonial city of Guanajuato, about a one-hour drive from San Miguel. Guanajuato is a charming European-style city squeezed onto the steep slopes of a ravine, with narrow streets twisting around the hillsides and roads that disappear into a series of converted mine tunnels. Built in the 18th century from silver mining wealth, much of the fine architecture remains intact. This state capital is the home of a great university, many museums, and public art, and has a sophisticated European feeling. San Miguel’s top guide leads us along the twisting streets, through beautiful parks and into historic buildings and museums. We have dinner at the beautiful Valadez restaurant and then attend a live music performance before returning to San Miguel. (D)

Wednesday: San Lucas Luxury Resort and Winery, Mi Casa Restaurant with Gypsy Jazz.
This morning we drive a short distance from town to experience an amazing luxury resort, San Lucas, which includes a beautiful restaurant, vineyards, a spectacular winery, and polo field surrounded by olive groves. Exclusive and luxurious, San Lucas is ours by invitation only, and we taste the wines, enjoy a leisurely lunch overlooking the grounds, and explore the property. This evening we dine at Mi Casa Restaurant and listen to gypsy jazz with famous guitarist Gil Guitierez and his group. The performance is spell-binding! (L,D)

Thursday: Rancho de la Capilla, Church of Atontonilco, Folk Art Galleryt.
This morning we outside of town to Rancho de la Capilla. This is a private and secluded 18th-century rancho that was lovingly restored by Kathy Lichter and Steve Zazula. They are our hosts for an authentic Mexican traditional lunch prepared by three talented rancho cooks. This is sure to be fun! It’s an utterly glorious setting. After lunch we drive a short distance to the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Church of Atontonilco, which is utterly unlike any other Catholic church. You will be amazed! On our way back to San Miguel, we visit the estate of folk art collectors Mayer Schacter and Susan Page. Their folk art collection is world-class, and they have a large gallery of art that is for sale. Trip Advisor calls their gallery "the best shopping opportunity in San Miguel." This evening you are free to choose from many of San Miguel's wonderful restaurants, or join Hugh and Teri at the rooftop terrace of the Rosewood Hotel for a glass of wine. (L)

Friday: Cooking with Chef Ruben, Graduation Dinner at Restaurant Fatima.
This morning we meet with Chef Ruben for our last cooking class, which features innovative, contemporary Mexican cuisine. Wearing our colorful Mexican aprons, we gather around Chef Ruben, follow his clear instructions, and conclude with a wonderful lunch. The afternoon hours are free for you to take care of last-minute shopping or shipping. This evening we meet for our graduation dinner at the most talked-about new restaurant in San Miguel, Restaurant Fatima. Located on a rooftop terrace overlooking the steeple of the historic San Francisco Church, we enjoy a menu featuring the foods of the Mediterranean cooked for us by the executive chef. We celebrate our adventures of the week, raise our wine glasses in toasts, affirm new friendships, and plan for a reunion dinner. (L,D)

Saturday: This is a travel day home, or you may decide to extend your stay in Mexico.
We hope you return to visit us again in San Miguel.

For More Information and To Register

We invite you to call us at (707) 363-9707 to find out more about enjoying a fabulous week of hands-on cooking and wine tasting and all the other exciting activities that you can get only at a cooking school hosted by cookbook author and chef extraordinaire Hugh Carpenter. We look forward to hearing from you.