El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden is a 67-hectare project located in the eastern part of the city of San Miguel de Allende.

The site receives its name from two elements in its interior, which represent the opportunity to know how the then Villa de San Miguel, today San Miguel de Allende in honor of the national hero Ignacio Allende who was born here, emerged.

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Know by Virtual Reality the “El Charco del Ingenio” Botanical Garden

At the bottom of the gorge that divides the site, is a spring (la poza Del Chan or the pool of Chan in English), which since time immemorial different people attend to bathe; the spring was known as “el charco”, or the puddle in English. 

On the other hand, close to the spring there are the traces of what is known as the first mill of the American continent, which dates from 1561; this structure, in addition to grinding, it operated an rudimentary mechanism which served to hit the wool obtained from the shearing of sheep in the region; said action gave the name to the mill of Batán, word that came from the Spanish “abatanar” which means to beat. 

“El Charco del Ingenio” Botanical Garden

That is why, during the 16th century every industrial work that used the force of water to generate energy was known as “ingenio” or mill. 

After nearly 25 years of initiating activities, nowadays it is a conservation project recognized in the region.

In addition, due to the diversity of plants that make up the botanical collection, El Charco del Ingenio currently protects the largest botanical collection of succulents in the country.

From the moment the fencing and soil conservation actions are carried out, at the same time an effort is made to build a plaza that is appropriate for the different sectors of the community. 

It is at that instance when landscape architects Enrique Pliego and Cabeza de Vaca get involved to develop the concept and construction of the Plaza de los Cuatro Vientos (Four Winds Square), replica of one Toltec-Chichimec codex, which describes the worldview of the original civilizations in relation to the territory. 

“El Charco del Ingenio” Botanical Garden

The Plaza de los Cuatro Vientos was a race against time, since it was expected to be entirely finished and to carry out its inauguration during the total eclipse of the sun that occurred on July 11th, 1991. 

Once the long-awaited date arrived, it was possible to count with the participation and blessing of different stewardships of indigenous ancestry, who, faced with the lived experience, decided that a cross of conquest should be placed on the site, thereby sacralizing the site and transforming the space in a ceremonial center. 

“El Charco del Ingenio” Botanical Garden

The activity celebrated during that total eclipse of the sun endorsed a union between the various attendees and traditional groups, which detonated a commitment for the preservation of traditions and different symbolic spaces.

Around 1993, Charles Glass arrives to San Miguel de Allende, a cactophilist of international recognition, who upon meeting the group of San Miguel citizens, initiators of El Charco del Ingenio, as well as their intentions for having a botanical collection of succulents, resulted in his conclusive decision to retire in San Miguel de Allende and undertake an adventure of touring the country in search of plants, as well as generating different processes for the transference of knowledge.

At present, the goals of El Charco del Ingenio are the conservation of flora and fauna, education for sustainability and scientific research. 

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How this Virtual Tour was made

In the company of Cristian Ramirez from the Tourism Council of San Miguel Allende, we spent a cold February morning visiting El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden.

His general director Mario Arturo Hernandez Peña, very kindly explained the work they are doing on the subject of education and research on the conservation of flora and fauna. The photography of the botanical gardens is an opportunity to learn and reflect on the importance of taking care of nature.

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English language translation made by Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa through the collaboration of Centro de Estudio de Idiomas Culiacán

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