The Broken Christ (El Cristo Roto, San Jose de Gracia, Aguascalientes)
One of the challenges of moving to a new city and being a host to foreign visitors (well, so far all Canadian and all from Vancouver) is that very little is available in the way of English-language information for foreign visitors in the state of Aguascalientes (or the city of Aguascalientes, for that matter). And whatever little is available is usually not presented in the best form. So I have now come to realize that I am the one who will have to write in English about the wonderful things there are for foreign, English-speaking visitors who might come to Aguascalientes, either to visit me or to visit on their own, much as I did for Vancouver, and British Columbia.
One of the things that I was told was a must-see was to travel north-west of the city of Aguascalientes to a little town called San Jose de Gracia, which is the home to the largest dam in central Mexico (the Presa Plutarco Elias Calles). From the outset, when you arrive to San Jose de Gracia (you need to drive north towards Zacatecas and turn left once you arrive to Pabellon de Arteaga and drive towards San Jose de Gracia), you would think that the dam is actually a reservoir or a lake. But once you are almost in the midst of it, you can totally see the wall of the dam. It is within this dam that the island of the Broken Christ (el Cristo Roto) is located.
The Broken Christ has an associated legend with it (notes in Spanish from the Wikipedia page) and a poem as well. Legend says that around the independence of Mexico time, when the image arrived into the church in San Jose de Gracia, it arrived broken, and that it spoke told the would-be seller to leave him broken so that he would always have a reminder to think about his brothers and sisters without opportunities, without limbs. While I’m not really religious anymore, I found the inscription incredibly motivating and humbling.
To get to the Broken Christ island, you need to take a little boat (I took Airdrie when she visited me and JT when he came down just a couple of weeks ago as well as my Mom, so in total I’ve visited 3 times).
The area is well staffed and transportation is really inexpensive ($28 Mexican pesos or less than $2.50 USD per person per trip). Obviously you can also rent cabins, and a longer ferry trip which costs about $200 pesos per person or so. There is a restaurant (Las Playas) and several smaller places for food. There is also a little bit of an artificial beach, and the Island of the Broken Christ is considered a must-visit in Mexico when visiting Aguascalientes.
Overall, I enjoyed visiting the Broken Christ Island, and so did every single one of my guests. So I would strongly recommend that if you visit the city of Aguascalientes you take a chance to come visit. You can also get to San Jose de Gracia by small van or “pesera” as they are called in Mexico.