El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden#6 in Best Things To Do in San Miguel de Allende
Much of San Miguel's splendor can be discovered in its abundance of manmade beauty, but at El Charco del Ingenio, nature is the aesthetic draw. At this more than 170-acre botanical garden set in an ecological preserve, you'll have the chance to spot wildlife, walk along greenery-lined trails and learn about various species of local cacti. Meanwhile, the San Miguel community often gathers in the garden to watch performances, partake in ceremonies and attend environmental education programs. Recent travelers recommend enjoying a hike through the park, picnicking alongside the waterfalls or spending an evening at a concert in the outdoor amphitheater.
Located just a mile northeast of central San Miguel, El Charco del Ingenio can be reached on foot (it's about a 30-minute walk from the municipal market) or by taxi. The reserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Led by English-speaking guides, two-hour tours of the conservation area operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.; tours cost 80 MXN (about $6 USD). If you'd like to forego a tour, entry is 40 MXN (about $3 USD); children younger than 10 can enter for free. For more information, visit the garden's website.
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#1 El Jardin (Zocalo)
El Jardin is San Miguel's main plaza, located in the heart of the city. At the Zocalo, as El Jardin is often called, you can spend time people-watching, perusing the nearby shops and restaurants and reorienting yourself should the town's winding roads lead you astray.
Depending on when you find yourself in El Jardin, you may witness a political rally or have the chance to listen in on a live concert. According to one TripAdvisor reviewer, there's always something happening in El Jardin: "You'll hear mariachi bands, you'll see dance performances, you'll find arts and artisans, and religious ceremonies and every other possible entertainment experience here in the center of San Miguel." Early evenings and weekend afternoons are particularly busy times in the plaza; this is when you'll find expats and locals catching up with friends or simply relaxing on the wrought-iron benches.
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