Located in the Ejido (communal land) of El Rosario, only 45 minutes to the south of La Paz (the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur), is the lonely Cactus Sanctuary (Santuario de los Cactus), in which 50 hectares of parkland have been divided into 50 distinct areas to preserve cacti and endemic plants found only in this part of the globe.
Despite its beauty, the sanctuary has been mostly forgotten, as is too often the case with many of the small communities in this area: the sanctuary isn’t regularly or properly maintained and government authorities neglect their responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of such an important heritage site, not only for the local people, but especially given the number of plant species found here and only here.
Lending a Hand
We of Gray Line Los Cabos have been visiting this place and the surrounding area for months to find a way to promote them sustainably, including looking at helping the local communities’ artisans sell their handmade crafts.
Yanet Manriquez, the municipal delegate representing this space, described the sanctuary’s specific needs as follows: trash containers, ‘No Littering’ signs, assistance with sanctuary maintenance and financial support for Demetrio, the currently unsalaried person who looks after the sanctuary.
Thus far, we have contributed trash containers and signs, and we are getting in contact with recycling organisations in Los Cabos so that we have somewhere to deliver the plastic that we collect. This will happen once a week, which is as often as we plan to take people down to the sanctuary anyway.
We are also contributing to the maintenance of the sanctuary by paying for one week of cleanup. This way we are also supporting the small neighbouring community by hiring locals to participate. We are even helping Demetrio by hiring him as our local expert Sanctuary guide. This is a big boost for him, support for his great and a useful token in support of protecting this beautiful place.