Tired of tourist-studded down- town San Miguel? Don’t be, because different outdoor spots are opening up in and around town to “decongest” the Jardín area and give tourists new options.
New tours are being proposed by the recently formed “Haciendas, Mexico’s Architectural and Cultural Heritage” headed by Flora Dionicio.
“The purpose of this non-profit organization is to use the haciendas in new and innovative ways and one option is cultural tourism. It is also an effort to show off the architectural jewels that we have in a number of municipalities across the state of Guanajuato and to value the haciendas as the production hubs they were in their moment,” commented Flora Dionicio.
On Sunday a group of over 30 people of all ages formed part of one of the first tours. It was an experience tainted with a bit of trial and error, but nevertheless, left everyone happy because the four haciendas they visited are private properties, and therefore, have been seen by very few. Some of them virtual ruins.
They visited the remnants of San Miguel’s once foremost hacienda, Hacienda Alcocer, built in the 17th century and which still boasts a levee holding back a water reservoir.
The small entourage moved on several vehicles to the Hacienda Puerto de Nieto on the road to Querétaro, built in the 18th cen- tury and was previously a rampart tower, a church and the hacienda owner’s residence.
Then the group moved on the lovely Hacienda San Miguelito, in the company of several local architects who served as volun- teer guides. This one was built in the 19th century and is per- haps the best-kept structure of the four included in Sunday’s eight-hour tour.
“It wasn’t as exhausting as I had expected since we were given refreshments at each stop and had a chance to sit down and listen to the explanations on the history of the place,” said one of the older women of the group.
The last visitation was to the Hacienda Corral de Piedras near the San Miguel-Querétaro highway, which still preserves its structure and agribusiness production capabilities.
All four haciendas are located on the way to Querétaro.
After being ased why four haciendas were part of the tour, organizer Flora Dionicio responded: “the number is not important, they could be more
or they could be less. The point is to enjoy them and to imagine how they would have looked in their days of splendor. It’s not about seeing one, but several at a time, to compare them and to understand their value.”
Another objective of the tour, Dionicio added, is to prevent them from total decay, because for many people, they are still a strong symbol of Mexico’s colonial past.
“It is difficult to preserve the haciendas because the local residents and municipal authorities are not interested in their preservation, on the grounds that these architectural jewels are seen as symbols of power and exploitation.”
Tours are organized by appoint- ment and to reserve, please call (415) 110 3162.