About six miles out of Moyogalpa, one can find a tranquil emerald-green pond called Charco Verde. The lagoon is an extinct parasite crater of Concepcion Volcano. Steeped in legends and mystery, Charco Verde was a sacred spot for the Nahuatl ancestors, where the indigenous population practiced rituals such as sacrifices, reincarnations, and supplications to the gods. The algae infested lagoon was called Xistletoet by the Nahuatls, which means “Place Where the Gods Pee.” They did have a sense of humor!
Today, Charco Verde is a protected nature reserve where many varieties of local and migratory birds congregate, as well as Howler monkeys, armadillos, rabbits, and deer. Walking the well-maintained trails through the dry tropical forest that surrounds the reserve, we encountered herons, monkeys, cormorants, egrets, woodpeckers, magpies, and a variety of tropical plants and trees.
Fishermen cast their nets daily.
Gardens display duendes, sort of like mischievous little gnomes or leprechauns hidden among the foliage.
Map of the 1.7 kilometer trails through the reserve.
Majestic Concepcion volcano casts its enormous shadow into the green lagoon.
Herons and Egrets wait patiently for breakfast.
Zapolotes or buzzards circle the lagoon, always picking the ripest morsels of flesh.
This tranquil lagoon has a history of magic and witchcraft. Read the Legend of Chico Largo here.
The Howler monkeys take daily siestas in the tree tops. This little one says, “Who’s there?”
Cowboys herd their stray cattle back home. Who knows? This cow may be the cowboy’s father who made a pact with the devil. Legend has it that one can call forth the devil in Charco Verde, trade one’s soul for riches, and when the devil recalls the soul, he turns the deceased into a cow. Our local butcher says he found several cows with gold teeth.
No need to be petrified about these legends. Life in Charco Verde is abundant and full of vitality. Next time you are wandering around the lagoon, watch out for the cows. It could be a deceased relative.