An Eight-Peso Adventure

When my artist friend Colleen proposed a bus adventure, I was all in. We could spend an afternoon, she said, riding local buses to and from their farthest destinations — just for the fun of it, for a change of scene, to expand our horizons. Sounded good to me!

This is the kind of adventure just about anyone can take anywhere in the world where there is a reliable urban bus system. My friend Barb here recently told me she did this while traveling in Costa Rica not so long ago. One day she and her travel buddy took a bus to who-knows-where, she told me, and got off at the end of the route — a place without a plaza or town square, just a church.

“We wandered down what appeared to be the main dirt road,” Barb said. “Lovely coffee plants cascaded over each side of the road and up the sloping hills. We ended up meeting one of the coffee growers and having a lengthy conversation with him and his daughter, who spoke a bit of English. It was a great adventure!”

Loving this concept, Colleen and I made a plan to meet on the street one day this week, at a specified time, but without a firm travel plan.

Here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the city buses are large, sturdy (mostly Mercedes-Benz), clean, and well maintained. They’re also only 8 pesos, or $0.38 USD per ride. Since both Colleen and I are on budgets, this was the kind of adventure we each could afford to take.

As far as we could tell, a physical map of SMA’s bus system doesn’t exist. But, I later learned, WeExpats published an excellent article online two years ago (August 15, 2019) titled “Bus Routes in San Miguel de Allende,” which covered all of the available routes at that time: . Perhaps the routes haven’t changed since then.

This WOW post takes readers on the route that Colleen and I ultimately chose for the first of what may turn out to be a long series of fun bus adventures:

At 12:25 we hopped on the #6 bus on Calzada de la Luz, just before he turned right onto Calzada de Aurora. This young and able driver had a picture of La Virgen de Guadalupe above him — to protect us all, I assumed.
Inside the bus everyone was masked and socially distanced.
The northernmost point for the #6 bus route is San Luis Rey, where everyone had to get out so the bus could be washed. Colleen and I then walked around the colonia (neighborhood) and took in the sights:

Wall art in San Luis Rey

Colleen capturing some bougainvillea in San Luis Rey

On the return trip from San Luis Rey, the bus snaked through el centro, picking up and dropping off more passengers, then headed south, past the grand supermarket La Comer and down the highway some distance to an outlying colonia (neighborhood) called Don Diego, then turned back onto the highway going north and back into town.

In all, the trip – like a long, figure-eight-shaped route — took two hours and gave Colleen and me a clearer understanding of the way more people here live, as well as a better view from the bus’s higher vantage point (than we would have had in a car) of the beautiful Mexican landscape beyond the city’s limits. All for 8 pesos a ride.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For more on Colleen and her artwork, see my WOW post of July 18, 2020, “Garden Ladies”: .

30 thoughts on “An Eight-Peso Adventure”

  1. Loved to hear about your bus adventure and to know that there will be more. It’s a great mini-field trip into unknown parts. And I got a kick out of reading about one of my bus experiences.

  2. Bonnie, like you and Colleen, Russ and I did this in SMA when we lived there. We’ve also done it in other places we’ve explored including Pátzcuaro, Cuenca, Capetown and New Delhi. It’s a great way to learn about your surroundings and find not-so-hidden gems. They’re all around us! Enjoyed your article.

    1. Mil gracias, querida April! I was hoping readers would share their similar bus adventures, and you’ve fulfilled my wish! Yes, in theory it’s easy to just hop on a bus; but in fact, it takes a bit of bravery to board a bus when you’re not sure where it’s going! But that’s part of the exciting adventure…

  3. Cool adventure. And if you have an INAPAM card the bus is only 4 pesos. Great to know about the #6 line in my neighborhood.

  4. Dear Bon,

    This sounds like an enjoyable way to see parts of SMA that you may not know. That bougainvillea looks spectacular. And the price is certainly right!


    1. Yes, Paul dear, at 8 pesos the price is certainly right — AND, if I were to remember the “old person” card I carry and show the driver, I could get bus rides for half the price! 🙂

  5. Fantastic! So happy that you are doing this. It’s much needed. I’ve never been able to figure out the article that WeExpats did a couple of years ago. The colours on the map aren’t clear and so I can’t figure out the map or the directions. I’d love more details of your trip — eg. where did the bus go from la Calzada de la Aurora to San Luis Rey and where did the bus go on the return trip from San Luis Rey, as you went through el centro, then headed south, past the grand supermarket La Comer. Which streets did the bus take? Thanks so much for doing this.

    1. Thanks, Pat! Did you go to the link and read the article? I believe they describe the routes in words. (I know the maps are difficult to decipher.) I’m afraid I didn’t make note of all of the streets we wound around and through, so I can’t be of help there.

  6. Sounds like my kind of adventure, Bonnie! You have had good experiences all the way around in Mexico. I wonder if there’s a bus that goes from the Leon airport to SMA. Surely there is, right?

    1. If there is a bus from the Leon airport to SMA, Be, I’ve never heard about it and I’ve never heard of anyone taking it. I doubt that there is. Most people take a car service, door to door. But, in general, the bus system in Mexico is excellent. This post focused only on the city buses within greater SMA (at 8 pesos a ride), but other bus companies reach far and wide, and they’re all clean, comfortable, and amazingly affordable.

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