Friday, June 17, 2016

El Charco del Ingenio..A Visit to the Puddle of Ingenuity!

We had heard some good things about the El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Gardens & Preserve that were situated just a short walk from where we were staying, but nothing prepared us for the spectacular display of cactus and other vegetation nestled in a deep ravine with a commanding view of the city. The name El Charco del Ingenio translates literally as "the puddle of ingenuity", and it named for the spring-fed pool that lies at the bottom of an impressive canyon.

The centerpiece of the Preserve is a large reservoir that backs up behind a dam created to provide water to a now defunct textile mill located in town over a kilometer away. The large iron pipe is no longer functional due to changes in the spring and silting of the reservoir, but there are still large sections of it visible along the edge of the canyon. There is also the stone remains of a large water wheel that dates back to colonial times and is believed to have been used to grind grain or perhaps to treat wool. The reservoir itself creates a spectacular wetland that is home to many species of wildlife.

The preserve is laced with scenic walking trails that can be enjoyed by people of all ages as they are relatively smooth and level. From these trails, you can enjoy the dramatic canyon with its deep green pond, a spectacular view of the city, the wetlands, and a beautiful conservatory. The Conservatory houses a diverse collection of cactus gathered from around the country as well as a water feature containing aquatic plants and fish native to the region.  The Preserve is also home to an amazing collection of cacti that are considered in danger due to urban growth and large construction projects. Two significant species, the Agave and the Nopal which are important sources of food, drink (tequila!), fiber, and medicinal remedies each have their own garden and an impressive display.

Do not miss El Charco del Ingenio when you visit San Miguel. Here are some more pictures from our visit. Click on any picture to open the gallery!

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful place indeed. We enjoyed it and the walk through "Balcones". We rented a house in Azteca for three months. Our hearts are still in SMA.