Charco del Ingenio is sacred nature conservation area in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.
It has the largest collection of cacti in Mexico, if you visit from November-April, don’t miss the murmuration of the bronze cowbirds at sunset. The sight is stunning.
The creation of an extensive botanical collection, mainly of cacti and succulent plants, has meant establishing relations with rural communities, scientific institutions and various authorities for the protection of rare species, or those threatened with extinction.
This collection is exhibited in various parts of the garden, such as the Conservatory of Mexican Plants and the Area of Rescued Plants. Likewise, the botanical collection forms the genetic base for propagation in the nursery at El Charco del Ingenio.
One aspect that merits special interest is the Charco del Ingenio’s character as a historical site, an important part of San Miguel de Allende since its foundation. Traces of the past represent an ample compass of time, from remains of pre-Columbian stone tools and ceramics found in caves in the canyon, to a variety of more recent Spanish-era structures, whose vestiges are overgrown with vegetation.
Canals, aqueducts, dams, and mills bear witness to skillful water management during Colonial times; there are also ruins of an old hacienda and a still functioning dam, both from the 19th century, and the remains of an iron aqueduct, built in the early 20th century.