Folk Art in Santa Maria Coyotepec

Tlapanochestli Cochineal Farm

This is a unique farm that is involved in the study, production, research, teaching and experimenting with the "Grana Cochinilla". The "Grana" is a little bug that feeds on a couple of varieties of the prickly pear cacti and reproduces the carmine acid from the plant into a natural dye. This dye is carmine red and has been used since approximately 1,700 years ago as a preferred color for textiles, feathers, paper, and colonial murals. Today this same dye is being used again, now as a natural food colorant and in the cosmetics industry.

Entrance Fee: Open daily from 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The Spaniards quickly built an entire industry and made wealth from it as it became the third highest source of revenue in the New World, only surpassed by Gold and Silver. Visiting Tlapanochestli is a great experience as you can see the entire living process of these bugs, the cacti used and the dye obtained, and learn about this special and unique industry of the Americas.