Route of Canyons a new tourist draw in San Miguel
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Tourist attractions in the city are growing beyond the urban area. First, the tour of the Indians’ chapels was inaugurated, and now a new tour, the Ruta de Cañadas (Route of Canyons), has been developed. Through this tour that highlights the geography and wildlife of the region its creators hope to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of rural communities and also entice tourists to spend one more night in San Miguel.
Guillermo García Bedoy has worked for more than ten years developing tourism products, always incorporating the natural and cultural heritage of cities. In 2011, along with the municipal government, he launched the Route of Indians’ Chapels, which takes visitors to religious centers dating from the 17th century that were constructed by Spanish friars to attract the natives to Catholicism.
This year, in cooperation with the 2009–2012 administration, he launched the Ruta de Cañadas, which takes tourists through natural landscapes in rural communities such as La Huerta, Xotolar and Boca de la Cañada. According to García Bedoy, the tour was developed to take advantage of the natural beauty of San Miguel and also because most of the tourist attractions are located in Centro or in the urban area, and relatively few people benefit from that. They developed this product to help the rural communities by improving their quality of life.
According to García Bedoy, the inhabitants of the communities on the tour have been organized into cooperatives. The guides are locals who talk about legends, myths, customs and traditions, and even about their saints. Guillermo commented that during the walks “the inhabitants will give tourists a great class on herbalism, a tradition that has survived throughout the years and that they still practiced as medicine.”
Currently, several routes have been developed for visiting the canyons of the three communities. One of them is La Huerta Tour, which starts at the rural community of La Huerta with a visit to “El Sabino,” a bald cypress tree that is about 500 years old. Then, visitors are led to a chapel that according to Bedoy is older than the founding of the Villa of San Miguel. Later, the visitors are taken to artisans’ workshops where families construct baskets and other products from reeds. The tour finishes with a stroll through orchards where the families of La Huerta produce fruits and vegetables and visitors are given samples of a liquor made of pomegranate and marmalade made of xoconoxtle, the fruit of a type of prickly pear.
To schedule a tour on the Route of Canyons, call Tomás Morín at 415-115-2622.