Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


an adventure in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

We have spent a week exploring this charming artistic community, at 6000 feet elevation, with temperatures mostly in the 70s. Most streets are cobbled, a real challenge for cane users. We are two visually impaired adults and 2 children. I am the only one that speaks a modicum of Spanish.

I am using the BrailleNote PK and Gena is using the Braille Sense OnHand, with Mexico maps and POIs loaded. High roaming charges have limited our use of the cell phone for navigation and for phone calls.

Mobility is a challenge with the narrow cobbled streets and sidewalks, which are as skinny as 18 inches, with lots of steps up and down.

I have recorded over 70 user points of interest in San Miguel. The maps are pretty good but I'd say only about 25% of businesses are in the points of interest database. The new user POI sharing features of our 2012 version have helped a lot. Feel free to download the User Americas POI file to see for yourself where we have been, even if you don't load Mexico maps.

We have explored on our own and with the help of my Friend Roberto Diaz Del Campo, of the adaptive technology company, Antarq and by his very charming daughter, Harubi.

On Friday, Harubi hooked us up with a guide who picked us up in his van and showed us around what I would call the alternative tourist spots. I couldn't help but think of our WayFun adventures. San Miguel would certainly be a fun place to come with an adventuresome group.

Among many interesting spots, he took us to one of the oldest chapels in San Miguel called Santa Cruz, built in 1555. From there he described 3 blocks of stairs that comprised an alley straight up 3 blocks to a lookout point. He said he would drive us the long way around. Of course, we opted to walk and have him meet us there.

Turned out there were 211 stairs. It wasn't always obvious where the next set of stairs was when we crossed a street. Sure enough, when we ran out of stairs, there was no lookout and no guide meeting us. This is where the adventure got challenging. Should we go back down? look on one of the other streets we crossed? We found a hotel called the Mirador, the lookout and wondered if that is what he meant.

I asked a few people where the lookout was and they all pointed us down a very steep hill and said to find the church and then turn left. This was concerning because we didn't want to find ourselves at the bottom and have to climb 211 stairs all over again.

I had marked points along the way of course and was actively using my GPS to see where we had been and what points were nearby.

I couldn't call the guide because we didn't have his number. Finally, we went into a hotel and I called Harubi and got the guides phone number. I told him where we were and he came and met us. We were only about 200 meters from the Lookout, which turned out to be a lovely vista over San Miguel. As we always say, its better to travel hopefully than to arrive. It was really the process of exploring on our own that was the real fun in the journey, even with a little trepidation when we were separated from our guide.

Thank goodness for having a strong spirit of adventure, for the Sendero GPS and a happy ending to the story.

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