Ana Luz Solís and Carola Rico
Charco del Ingenio is the only officially protected nature reserve in San Miguel de Allende, and today, it is in urgent need of support due to a lack of resources to sustain its main activities, including research projects, tourist operations and maintenance of the grounds.
In addition to sharing the title as a World Heritage site, Charco del Ingenio is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions and the region’s largest natural reserves, affording an abundance of flora and fauna.
A total of 16 employees work every day at Charco del Ingenio, manning the entrance to welcome visitors, providing guided tours, lending a hand to researchers and protecting the wide variety of species that are grown in this beautiful oasis, minutes outside San Miguel’s city center.
The botanical garden receives over 30,000 visitors a year—both Mexican and foreign—who are keen to spend the afternoon engulfed by nature. The garden is known for its beautiful design, diversity of plant life and the air of tranquility that permeates this 67-hectare reserve.
El Charco del Ingenio, or “The Source of the Wise One,” was named after a legendary spring that once flowed along the bottom of the canyon, of which only ancient traces remain.
Wetlands extend out from the reservoir dam, creating a home for a large variety of birds. Climbing through the hills, adventure-seekers will find the region’s richest assortment of plant species, all native to Guanajuato and its semi-arid climate.
Dedicated to the preservation of this sanctuary and its biodiversity, Charco del Ingenio has an important botanical collection, made up of an staggering number of cacti species.
Unique of its kind, Charco del Ingenio is an extraordinary living monument to nature.