Huiricuta Ecological and Cultural Protected Area, Mexico
Coordinates: 23 42 N 100 54 W
Approximate Area: 285 sq. miles (738 sq. km)
Pilgrimages have long been a part of religious practice for many faiths around the world, and while the purpose and destination of each journey is predictably quite different, a common element among them all seems to be distance. In the case of the Huichol people of western Mexico, their route spans roughly 400 miles to a sacred mountain at the southern limits of the Chihuahuan Desert. Huiricuta, the terminus of this pilgrimage, is found within the state of San Luis Potosi’s Real de Catorce region, and is known for its biodiversity. Regarded as a natural temple by the Huichol, the area has been recognized internationally for its ecological importance in addition to its cultural significance, containing as it does, the highest concentration of native cacti species on the planet.
Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.