About halfway between Mexico City and San Luis Potosí, an environmentalist’s paradise awaits:  El Charco del Ingenio Reserve.  These 170+  acres of biodiversity, boasting a native ecosystem found only in the foothills of Mexico’s striking Guanajuato Mountain Range, set the stage for an unforgettable  celebration of nature.

Not a Typical Reserve

Before being re-imagined as a nature park, this area—which was the site of a grain mill and now-abandoned historical hacienda—is now home to over 600 species of plant life indigenous to Central Mexico, nestled in the climate-temperate state of Guanajuato.  Touting itself as an “Ethnobotanic Garden,” and supported by Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology, El Charco has a lot for you to explore, including more than 80 varieties of cacti thriving in the Opuntia Garden, or the agave garden with over 70 kinds of succulents, or the collection of native ferns adorning the landscape.  You can take a guided tour, or stroll through at your own pace.

When you’re ready to get out of the sun, you can spend some time in the herbarium where special protected varieties are cared for:  the home of rare, magnificent Mexican flora.  You might also be able to catch one or more of the many entertainment and educational events taking place throughout the year.

A Spiritual Place

El Charco is about more than just plants; it’s a mecca for contemplation and a center for ceremonial artifacts and healing rituals. In fact, the Dalai Lama himself dubbed it a “peace zone” on his 2004 visit.  It’s also the site of The Plaza of Four Winds (La Plaza de Los Cuatros Vientos), an outdoor space celebrating the elements and an outdoor sanctuary perfect for contemplating existence and your place in it.

If you’re inclined to more actively participate in nature, you can walk the 1.8-meter circular trail, a flat-level, easy walking trail where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the many pools, streams, and waterfalls that distinctly add to El Charco’s beauty and tranquility.

One thing’s for sure:  You’ll definitely need a place to relax after an exciting day at the Reserve.  Casa Hixuli, an Orchid House Boutique Hotel San Miguel de Allende, is the perfect respite.  Only minutes away from the reserve by taxi, you’ll be able to enjoy spacious rooms, glorious colonial architecture, and all the amenities offered by San Miguel de Allende’s central business district.  Book your reservations today!

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