Planning your visit

Getting to Troubled Clef Studios is pretty easy.  There are a few normal hurdles you should plan for as it is with any international trip.  This information should help you.


I guess it goes without saying that if you are not from Mexico, you need a passport to get here.  Let's assume you already have that for all members of your team that are coming.

Mexico is a very welcoming country.  For many citizens of other countries (including US, Canada, etc.) Mexico offers up to a 6 month (180 day) tourist VISA on entry to the country, however this is at the discretion of the immigration officer.  Normally no form is required to be pre-filled out other than the one provided by the airline on your inbound flight to Mexico.  However the rules for this will differ based on the country of your nationality, so check with an expert.  We recommend the services of Pro Legal San Miguel  They can streamline the process for you at very affordable rates and are familiar not only with immigration law, but all forms of local laws in Mexico.


Mexican customs are pretty brutal, so if you are planning on bringing in a lot of gear, you will need to make sure that you are conforming with Mexican customs laws.  For musicians, it can be surprising that instruments are subject to customs at different levels.  You should research what is and is not allowed to be brought in, and what could constitute fees, etc.  The good news is that we, at Troubled Clef Studios, have pretty much everything you would need already here, so you don't need to bring that much.  But if you are planning on bringing in personal instruments, etc. then just check the regulations regarding customs on it.

If you are a larger band or group, you may wish to engage the services of a logistics company that can take care of the needs of touring musicians.  Companies like Rock-It Cargo are great for this sort of thing, but you might also have some success with smaller operations like Inbound Logistics  Just make sure you have plenty of advanced notice for this sort of thing.  3-6 months of planning ahead is a good idea.


For many it may go without saying on this, but for musicians coming from different countries, dealing with power and what the local power systems are like can be important - particularly for things like guitar amps, keyboards and other powered items.  Mexico uses the same standard as found in the USA - 120v at 60hz for AC power.  If your equipment doesn't operate at this voltage, you may need adapters for it.  Just note that many introduce electrical noise, which is why we provide a variety of guitar amplifiers at Troubled Clef Studios to ensure you don't have to deal with voltage adapters, etc.

Is it safe?

Totally.  Compared to most major western metropolis cities, it is so safe.  Despite the press giving Mexico a bad rep when it comes to safety, the truth is that beyond the border regions towns like San Miguel de Allende are amazingly safe.  That's not to say that there isn't the odd crime event that pops up here and there, but other than petty theft which can be understood considering the vast gap between the rich & poor in Mexico, the safety of San Miguel de Allende is good.  

About 5% of the total population of San Miguel de Allende are expats that come here from the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc. and most stay for decades.  It is pretty common to talk to another expat at the supermarket and find they have been living here for 20 years.  Probably the greatest risk we hear about is when someone makes the mistake of drinking water from a tap, rather than bottled water.  The odd petty theft here and there, but nothing that is out of the norm for most towns in the world.


Mexico has some great and modern airports.  Mexico City (MEX) is huge and services Mexico City which is a "supercity" and has over 23 million population.  Most major carriers fly in there from all over the world.  Other airports in other cities that are near to San Miguel de Allende include Queretaro (QRO) which is about a 1 hour drive by Uber to San Miguel de Allende, Leon (BJX) which is about a 2 hour drive to San Miguel de Allende, or Guadalajara (GDL) which is about a 5 hour luxury bus ride to San Miguel de Allende. 

Upon arrival, all members of your team will go through immigration and then customs.  Once you have cleared those hurdles and collected luggage, etc. you will need to get to San Miguel de Allende.  This can be intimidating to the first time Mexico visitor.

In order to make this process easy, we can arrange private travel from the airport to San Miguel de Allende.  We have a number of private drivers who can pick you up at the airport and drive you to San Miguel, but they need to be booked at least 1-2 weeks ahead.  Alternatively (and inexpensively) you can take advantage of the wonderful bus systems in Mexico.  Buses in Mexico are luxury, tour style buses and often are used as an alternative to domestic airline flights.  We recommend ETN as a fantastic bus company which services most major cities and San Miguel regularly.

The normal travel time by road/bus from major airports in Mexico to San Miguel de Allende are:

  • Mexico City (MEX) - About 3-4 hours 
  • Queretaro (QRO) - About 1 hour
  • Leon (BJX) - About 2 hours
  • Guadalajara (GDL) - About 5 hours


There are all sizes to choose from here.  AirBnBs are everywhere and typically you can find a place for under USD $100 a night.  Maybe increase your budget for something really special.  If you wish to stay in higher end, "Monaco style" luxury hotels we have them too.  Of course the costs will be in the multiples of AirBnBs, but you have the choice.  Most accommodation is well equipped and if you stay in the centro (the center of the town) you don't need to have a car.  Taxis are everywhere and you can also find Ubers.  The center of town was designed for horses & carts anyway, so you probably don't want to bring a car in there anyway.

If you are looking for a luxury hotel and budget isn't a problem, check out the Rosewood Hotel here in San Miguel de Allende.

Phones & Internet

You may have a phone carrier that allows for International roaming in Mexico.  Be sure to have your phone set to allow International Data Roaming on, so you can use it.  We have found the different carriers have differing results with this, and often it is just easier to buy a local SIM card.  The best provider in our experience for this is Telcel and there is a Telcel store in the Mexico City Airport that will sell you a SIM card & data plan on arrival.  However many US carriers will work here without issue - our best experience has been with AT&T at this time.  

There is not a lot of Wifi hotspots here, so don't assume you can just land, turn on your phone and connect to something.  If you have a phone carrier that lets you do that, great.  If not, you will likely need to get a local SIM card.  Of course the assumption here is that you have an unlocked phone that allows you to swap SIM cards or use an eSIM.  That typically means you paid off the phone and it wasn't part of some monthly service fee you are paying with the carrier.  Check with your carrier the status of your phone and you may also have to get them to do some unlocking to allow you to SIM swap.  They should know what you need for this, but don't forget to check.


Everything here is in Mexican Pesos, so you will likely want to change money at a bank or airport.  That said, as I write this the Mexican Peso is at 17:1 to the $USD, so your money goes a long way further here in Mexico.  Although there is no perfect formula, our experience has been that dining out is about 30-50% of the price of a meal in the USA, yet the quality is often 2-3 times better.  Mexico prides itself on a "farm to table" approach to food and there are few GMOs here.  Everything is organic, so everything tastes better.  Value for money is incredible.

And yes, your ATM cards and credit cards probably will work fine here, although you should let your bank know you will be in Mexico before you leave so they don't freak out when you use your card for the first time here.

Medical insurance

Mexico has great affordable and available medical services should you need them.  In San Miguel de Allende, there are 4 private hospitals with 3 of them having emergency services should you need them.  Many people ask if they should get medical insurance for travel to Mexico.  Although this is a decision best left to the individual, private medical facilities in Mexico prefer not to take insurance and often require payment up front anyway.  You may be able to get reimbursed for medical costs afterwards, but they probably don't know your insurance carrier, so having a credit card with a decent amount of available credit might be your best bet.  That said, services here are cheap.  It is not uncommon to find general practitioners charging USD $25 for a consultation, and pharmacies don't usually need prescriptions for most medication.  Medication costs in Mexico are generally about 1/10th of the price of US prescription drugs and medical service costs are about 12x cheaper than in the USA.  That said, if you come from a country that has free public healthcare, you will not be able to take advantage of that in Mexico, so plan accordingly.

But I don't speak Spanish

You'd be surprised just how many people here speak English.  But in respect for Mexico, just trying some Spanish will get you a lot further ahead.  Mexico is a courteous and respectful place, and por favor & gracias goes a very long way here.  If you want, try Google Translate too.  It is easy and people are used to the expats using it if their Spanish isn't up to the task.

Need a hand?

We can connect you with a number of local travel experts here in San Miguel de Allende that can assist with your travel planning needs.  Just CONTACT US for more information.