Cadereyta de Montes
Best known for the world famous Cactus Botanical Gardens “Quinta Finca Schmoll”, the Eastern municipal town of Cadereyta Montes was finally inaugurated onto the SECTUR Pueblos Mágicos Program in the summer of 2011. Encircled by mile upon mile of semi-desert terrain, the winding roads leading to Cadereyta Montes have found popular use in recent years within televised car adverts, as well as for the promotion of airline tourism. Up close, the sun-baked wilderness offers little shade or respite from the relentless sun, yet beckons with a lucid challenge so loved by hiking and cross country enthusiasts.
Until the 19th Century, Cadereyta Montes existed foremost as a center for mining and agricultural trade, with several plied routes through the Sierra Escanela Gorda mountains. Although the mines are now defunct, walkers are often inclined to explore the partially quarried valley below, seeking out the myriad of climbing and abseiling hot-spots. Municipal Cadereyta Montes comprises just over 1,164 km, however the town itself is relatively small, inhabited by less than 51,000 people. Its core is dominated by a distinctive yellow iglesia, not dissimilar to the famous twin-peaked central church at Bernal, however, Iglesia de Cadereyta is dedicated to dual saints - San Pedro and San Pablo. Built in the 17th Century, the Gothic inspired Iglesia de Cadereyta is certainly worth a look in if you appreciate fine arts and decadence. Framed by golden reliefs depicting the apostles, the altar of the main nave strikes your attention as soon as you enter, however, there is a surprising array of oil paintings also to be discovered.
The real oasis of Cadereyta Montes lies within the old mining town, less than 2 km from the Centro. Sprawling across 7 hectares of land, Quinta Finca Schmoll is said to be the largest site collection of cactus in the world, with over 4,200 different species grown here. Don't come expecting greenhouses. The climate of Cadereyta Montesi so temperate, the majority of cacti thrive in direct sunlight alone, with little need for tending or maintenance. Some of the larger species have grown to such height, they form covered walkways within the landscaped botanical areas. If the cool, aged tranquility of Iglesia de Cadereyta did little to invoke the magic of this town, Finca Schmoll almost certainly will!