Day #3 of “A Ghost Town a Day For 30 Days” features the little village of La Manga, New Mexico.

I discovered La Manga by accident while on a New Mexico road trip when I noticed a tiny (literally) church and a cluster of abandoned buildings on a hillside just outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico on the way to Glorieta Pass.


La Manga, New Mexico


I pulled off the interstate and wound down a few side roads until I reached the spot. The miniature church I had seen from the distance was in fact, small in physical dimensions, it is actually about a 2/3 scale chapel, large enough for people to enter, but you’d have to stoop as the walls are short and the roof is low.  This is the Capilla de Santo Nino, or Chapel of Santo Nino- Santo Nino being the image of the child Jesus in the Roman Faith. This dimunitive chapel was puposely built on a small scale in honor of Santo Nino. I can not find any information on how old the chapel is, but it is still in use today, and there is a small graveyard on the church property.


The miniature 2/3 scale Capilla de Santo Nino at La Manga

A hundred yards or so up a steep, muddy slope with no defined road are the ruins of the village of La Manga. I parked my Jeep just north of the chapel, and hiked up to the ruins of the town, I did not see any private property sings, but I admired the buildings from afar just in case.


The main cluster of buildings at La Manga


Overall view of La Manga from the chapel below


Arranged in the typical square style of the old Mexican plazas are a handful of stone and adobe buildings with the tattered remnants of their tin roofs flapping in the wind.  I have not been able to find any information on when La Manga was founded, or when it died- There is one crude pole in the center of the plaza that appears to have brought electricity, or possibly telegraph or phone service to the hamlet long ago. La Manga is just one of the hundreds of  abandoned plazas and villages across New Mexico that share a similar mysterious history.


Picturesque red stone building at La Manga


Another view of the same building

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  1. Stephanie Tafoya says:

    My great great grandfather built the church and buildings along with some help from other friends and family. All my Ortega descendants are buried there! I don’t know too much but my older relatives know more details! So cool to see this!

  2. Bella Muniz says:

    This is Ortega land not abandoned.My brother and sister are buried there. My grandpa Ortega built that church His name is Rudolfo Ortega

  3. pdtillman says:

    Interesting. Thanks for posting these!

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