San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Creativity | Culture | Adventure
October 28th to November 4th, 2023
Cost: $2950-$3600USD depending on room accommodations ie shared or private. Hold deposit of $1000.00 USD is required upon registration. The balance of your retreat will be made in two additional instalments prior to your retreat.
We are extending the invitation for you to join us on this creative journey of a lifetime in beautiful San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
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*Does not include airfare
Join Michelle Guitard and Jane Thompson for a week of pure creativity and inspiration. Professionally crafted creative workshops, delicious locally-sourced meals, and the exploration of vibrant local streets will provide you with a truly luxurious cultural exploration of beautiful San Miguel, Mexico. This will be a time for nurturing one's whole self; to slow down and soak in the environment with all of your senses. Michelle will lead you through workshops capturing inspiration with acrylic paint, pastels and other mediums, providing you with the opportunity to express yourself through creative projects, wherever you are in your art journey, from first-timers to experienced artists. Michelle and Jane will guide you through a week of thoughtful, playful, and meaningful creative workshops in beautiful San Miguel de Allende, where the culture and artistic history of the city align with their own passion and expertise, creating a beautiful blend of art and expression.
Located in Central Mexico with a temperate climate, spectacular art scene and historic architecture, San Miguel de Allende is a favourite among expats looking for a low key and charming existence. Known for its "eternal springtime" weather, sunny skies and walls dripping with large colourful vinery, San Miguel is the ideal creative escape. Michelle and Jane have each traveled to San Miguel many times over the years, and have fallen completely in love with San Miguel's vibrant culture and colours. We can't wait to slow down and share the inspiration with a small group of kindred creative women. Nicknamed "El Corazon de Mexico" or the heart of Mexico, San Miguel is the perfect place to step out of our busy lives and refresh our spirits together. We will delight each of our senses with Day of The Dead celebrations, fresh food, cooking class, artist studio tours, amazing shopping, field trips down secret alleys and so much more.
Nestled in its own private garden oasis, the private villa is a stylish, charming, and comfortably home-like retreat, located in the heart of San Miguel. The villa is in the perfect location to explore the beautiful city on foot. This luxurious private villa was built in true Mexican colonial style, weaving around a central garden fit with Spanish-arched column details and suites of refined architectural beauty, down to even the smallest details. It combines authentic charm and discrete luxury into one inspiring contemporary environment.
The villa offers many different relaxing spaces to enjoy and harness one's own creative energy. From the incredible roof-top terrace you will experience breath-taking views of the town and surrounding mountains.
The large central courtyard is equipped with a spectacular private pool, including lounge chairs and towels, granting you the option of unwinding in the sun, or under the shade of a parasol. In addition to the spacious lounge areas, all bedrooms include spacious en-suite tiled bathrooms.
The roof-top and other common areas will act as our central meeting space for eating, art making, relaxing, or gathering. The carved stucco and numerous balconies create a beautifully exotic atmosphere within the internal courtyard, overlooking the pool. On the ground floor, be swept off your feet in the extravagant formal dining and living rooms, well equipped with traditional Mexican fireplaces and lounges.
Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)
Day of the Dead is an Aztec spiritual holiday that is celebrated every year from October 31 to November 2. It is believed that the deceased awake from their eternal resting place and speak with their loved ones giving everyone the chance to reconnect. Alters are built to honour the deceased and families cook all of their loved one’s favourite foods for a celebratory feast. Ornate Mexican cemeteries are a sight to see no matter the time of year, however, there is no better time to visit than while graves and headstones are adorned with marigolds and decorations in honor of Día de los Muertos.
Anonymous | November 2019
"...I feel very privileged to have been apart of this retreat. Michelle & Jane have a very close, respectful relationship. I feel because of this they excelled at giving us an understanding of the culture & tradition of the people of San Miguel de Allende.
There is so much more to learn about Mexico. It will always be a trip to remember."
What to Expect | 8-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Saturday, October 28th, 2023 -Arrival & Orientation
Arrive in Mexico. Group transportation will be provided from Querétaro International Airport to our villa. You will be greeted by house staff with freshly made margaritas, guacamole and chips. You will have a chance to refresh yourself, and settle into your beautiful home away from home. Take a dip in the pool, get to know your fellow retreaters, or explore the neighbourhood. Settle in, and relax for our first dinner and evening together.
Day 2: Sunday, October 29th, 2023 - Walk about the city and all the main attractions
Delicious brunch at the villa, followed by our first art workshop and orientation. All of our art projects are for all levels of practice, many of our retreaters are beginners. We will spend the afternoon strolling through the streets of San Miguel. We will show you all the best shops, markets, churches, galleries and restaurants all within walking distance from the villa. Following our tour around town, dinner will be enjoyed together at a delicious gourmet roof top restaurant in town to watch the sunset.
Day 3: Monday, October 30th, 2023 - Cooking class with local chef and bakery owner
Breakfast at the villa, followed by a fun art project. After the Workshop, lunch will be provided at the villa. You will then be picked up by a shuttle to join local chef and owner of the finest bakery-patisserie, Paco Cardenas of el Petit Four, for a wonderful afternoon and evening at his private home and outdoor kitchen. There we will enjoy all the local flavors and amazing dishes created by Paco and ourselves. He is a wealth of information, extremely charming and creates such a magical and unique experience!
Day 4: Tuesday, October 31st 2023 - Afternoon at El Charco del Ingenio botanical garden
Breakfast at the villa, followed by some free time to enjoy a swim, walk the charming streets, sketch or read a book. Lunch will be provided at the villa and then we will take a short ride to the El Charco del Ingenio botanical gardens in San Miguel. This biodiverse nature preserve is host to an extensive botanical collection of cacti and other succulant, rare Mexican plants. This is a place that was sanctified as a peace zone by the Dalai Lama! We will explore this beautiful reserve with sketchbooks/water colours in hand to do some plein aire painting. Michelle will walk you through the art of painting outdoors. The best part is the pink berry cactis ice cream served at the gift shop! Once back to the villa , we will walk to a local restaurant for dinner and enjoy the children of San Miguel in the main square celebrate halloween, its an amazing sight!
Day 5: Wednesday, November 1, 2023 - Catrina Gala and Day of the Dead Parade
Breakfast at the villa, followed by a Day of the Dead inspired art project. After a beautiful lunch prepared in the villa, we will continue our project and begin preparations to attend the festivities at the Rosewood Hotel (this is where the spectacular catrina procession begins), located a few blocks from our villa. There will be face painting, marigold draped streets, parade and celebrations winding throughout the streets of San Miguel. We will have tappas and margaritas before the parade begins at the Rosewood Hotel. It is an extraordinary living art event you will never forget.
Day 6: Thursday, November 2nd, 2023 - Art project and free time to explore
Breakfast at the villa, and another inspiring art project. After lunch is provided at the villa, you art free to explore the sights and and sounds at your leisure with suggestions and options galore!
Day 7: Friday, November 3rd, 2023 - Local artist studio tour and farewell dinner
Breakfast at the villa, lunch at a local eatery and local artist studio tour. Meet the artist and see their process. Supporting local art is vital to our visit to San Miguel and so appreciated by the locals. We will then make our way back at the villa for a beautiful farewell dinner.
Day 8: Saturday, November 4th, 2023 - Farewell & Departure
Breakfast at the villa, followed by 10:30am check-out and group shuttle to the airport.
Please Note: This is our prospective itinerary. Small changes may be made due to weather, desires of the group, or unexpected opportunities. All cabs and shuttles (not including to/from airport and to/from cooking class) are your own expenses and are not included.
Anonymous | November 2019
"...I couldn't have asked for anyone or anything better! Michelle and Jane were absolutely fabulous.
They couldn't have done more to please us, and to accommodate our individual needs.
Thank you so much!!"
Do You Offer Payment Plans?
Yes! Upon receipt of your $1000 USD non-refundable, hold deposit, you may divide your remaining total into up to 2 separate payments. Total balance is due August 30th, 2023.
What Does The Cost Cover?
7 nights stay at our own private luxury villa with private pool
Intimate group of women including Jane and Michelle
Group Airport Transfer and transportation to and from the villa in San Miguel
Harnessing Local Inspiration: Art Workshops with Michelle Guitard,
Gourmet cooking class and dinner with local chef
Delicious fresh, local, organic meals catered by a private chef! 7 Breakfasts, 5 lunches, and one farewell dinner at the villa on our last night.
What is Not Covered in the Cost?
Your airfare is not included in the cost. Any meals eaten off of the Villa grounds, or alcoholic beverages.
Expect to pay $30-$60 USD (depending on the restaurant) per dinner. Anything you buy in the markets or on various trips will not be covered, as well as any extra tours or excursions that you choose during your free time if you choose to go.
Do I Need Travellers Insurance?
We highly recommend it.
How Much Money Should I Bring For Spending?
That is totally personal and depends on how much shopping you plan to do. ATM's are available to you and credit cards are taken at some major retailers. In our experience, very little US dollars are used in the city and can be difficult to exchange. You will use mainly pesos and there are ATMs around San Miguel making it very easy to access pesos, however usage of ATMs comes with a service charge.
Do I Have to Share a Room?
Our private villa offers the feel of an intimate vacation home. Some pricing options do involve sharing rooms, however in our experience the sharing of rooms has led to closer bonds, and contributed to a sense of community that adds value to the experience.
What Kind of Food Will be Served?
The chef at the villa never uses processed foods and all meals are prepared from scratch. Breakfast every day will be fresh and delicious. They provide a fixed daily menu that relies on local ingredients. Vegetarian options are available if we inform the chef before hand of food intolerances.
How Do I Get To an From the Airport and Villa?
We will book your group transportation to and from Quetetaro International Airport.
What Airport Do I Fly Into?
When booking your flight please fly into Quetetaro International Airport, which is an hour and 15 minutes drive from San Miguel. We recommend booking your flights at least 90 days before the beginning of the retreat. We recommend booking your flight with Michelle Campbell at Vision Travel, in Ancaster, ON. It is imperative that our group arrives and departs from the airport at the same time, for the purpose of shuttle scheduling.
What Will the Weather be Like?
San Miguel is known for having eternal spring-like weather, averaging around 25 degrees C. In the evenings expect temperatures to drop to around 15 degrees C.
How Should I Dress in San Miguel?
When planning what to wear in San Miguel think "casual city chic" with light layers for the changing mountain weather. The city is best explored on foot, so opt for comfortable shoes, sneakers or sandals. Plan outfits that will work for exploring but will also be nice enough for a relaxed dinner in town.
Do I Need to Bring Anything Special?
We recommend that you bring an extra bag (a collapsible duffel) to bring home your goodies you have collected on our shopping trips. San Miguel is known for its artisan markets and handcrafts, which creates an exciting shopping environment. The temperatures will vary, so don't forget layers, pack a bathing suit, sweater and a light jacket!
Sounds Fun but I Am Not An Artist, Is the Retreat Still For Me?
Absolutely! This retreat is primarily focused on adventure and inspiration. Painting is just one aspect of the creative portion of your retreat. It will be a mix of creativity, exploration, discovery and stepping into the inspiring culture of San Miguel
Do You Offer Refunds? What is your cancellation policy?
Please note that because Art and Soul Creative Retreats are limited to a small number of attendees, to allow for a more personable, intimate experience, our cancellation policy is in place to help guests and us alike work together sharing expenses that may arise from unexpected cancellations.
1. Hold deposits are non-refundable
2. Hold deposits (minus $100.00 re listing fee) are transferable to another attendee found and assigned by original attendee.
3. Full balance due 8 weeks before start date of retreat unless otherwise noted.
4. Cancellation requests submitted within 30 days of retreat date, 50% of total amount (less deposit) will be refunded.
5. Within 14 days of your retreat: sorry but no refunds given, no exceptions.
6. Any refunds allowed will incur a 3% processin fee
No one books a retreat with the intention of cancelling it, but unexpected events do occur, so please consider purchasing travel insurance and that is your responsibility to read and understand our cancellation policies. Exceptions cannot be made for any reason, including weather, injury, illness, or personal emergencies. No refunds or credits for failure to attend or failure to complete the retreat, or for arriving late of leaving early. We recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance. We encourage you to purchase trip cancellation insurance in order that your trip fees will be covered should you or your family have a medical problem prior to your trip or while on the trip. Trip insurance should also be purchased to cover medical expenses in the event you have an accident while on retreat. Most travel insurance must be purchased within 14 days of making your reservation. Art and Soul Creative Retreats cannot be held responsible for any personal expenses, such at airline tickets due to changes in itineraries or retreat cancellations.
What Are the "Retreats" and What Can I Expect to Gain from my Experience as a Participant?
The beauty of our retreats lies in the balance of structured creative workshops, and scheduled free time, where participants can continue on their creative journey however they see fit. For those looking to improve their painting skills, explore painting for the first time, build a portfolio, or just unwind with friends in a creative environment, the opportunity to learn from us is there. We will work closely with you during our painting workshops to foster your creativity spirit in a way which resonates in Mexico, and at home. Whether you've been painting since childhood, or see the value in a supportive escape from day to day life, our retreat caters to anyone, no matter how far along your creative journey you may be.
Who Usually Comes on These Retreats?
Our Retreats are offered for women only; Women from all walks of life, all nationalities, and a wide spectrum of ages & life experience come. The value of our retreat lies in the collaboration of like-minded women who bond over their love of art, travel, and food.
I Really Want to Learn Painting During the Retreat, How Can I Best Prepare?
There is absolutely no prior art experience necessary. An open mind and a willingness to learn are the only prerequisites.
I Have a Dietary Restriction, Will There be Something For Me to Eat?
Yes, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions. Prior communication is helpful depending on the severity of your needs.