Jardín Botánico El Charco del Ingenio
The botanical gardens are about 1.5 km Northeast of the main part of town in San Miguel de Allende. This 88-hectare (over 170 acres) space is not only a garden, but also a recreational and ceremonial space and a wildlife sanctuary. El Charco hosts an extensive botanical collection made up of cacti and other succulent plants, many of which are rare, threatened or in danger of extinction.
In 2004 El Charco del Ingenio was proclaimed a Peace Zone by the Dalai Lama, during his visit to Mexico. Five Peace Zones were designated in the country, places free of violence and arms, dedicated to the conservation of nature and community development.
They have a traditional temazcal in the park and hold ceremonies as well. Temazcal, also known as temazcalli, is a traditional native Mexican American purification ceremony. Mazcal guides claim that their temazcal ceremonies are cleansing and that they cure or relieve symptoms of many ailments. The temazcal is a spiritual ceremony conducted within a hot vapor bath. Many claim that the temazcal ceremony can cure practically any ailment, including physical, mental or emotional illnesses. This sweat lodge ritual takes place in a circular, domed structure made of stone or mud. The size can vary; it may accommodate from two up to twenty people The structure itself is also referred to as a temazcal.The word temazcal comes from the Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs), although many of the indigenous groups had this practice, including the Mayans, Toltecs, and Zapotecs.
Learn more about the temazcal ceremony here.
The distance is not too far and you could easily take a taxi or even walk. However, I would recommend taking a taxi there and walking back, which is what we did. The cost of a taxi (one way) was about 60 pesos ($3 USD).
There is also free transportation offered on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The 14 passenger van with El Charco’s logo on the sides leaves from Mesones opposite the Civic Plaza at 9:30a.m. and returns at 1p.m.
Hours: Open every day of the year from 9am- 6pm
Price: The entrance fee is around 40 pesos ($2 USD) per person.
We spent about 2 hours hiking around the park and looking at all the plants. They also have a cafeteria at the entrance of the park where you can pick up something to eat or drink. When we were there they were selling some plants that they raised in the park. The money from the sale will go towards funding the park. We picked up these two little guys. A little agave on the left and a special little cactus on the right. Bonus points if you know what type of cactus it is!
Look at the website to check the schedule of educational events which include: full moon ceremonies, traditional temazcal ceremonies, guided tours and bird-watching tours.
Have you ever visited the El Charco Del INGENIO?
What is your favorite botanical garden in the world?