Pinto Lake Shrine

Watsonville, California

Pinto Lake and the Shrine

Pinto Lake is located in Watsonville, California. Watsonville is primarily a Mexican transnational community just off of the Monterey Bay, about 90 miles south of San Francisco.


A shrine was formed on the edge of Pinto Lake when a woman named Anita Contreras was distraught and walking along the lake in 1992. She experienced a vision of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who appeared in a conch shell. Her image remained in the bark of an oak tree, which can still be seen today.


Thousands of pilgrims have come to visit the public park to pray, meditate and leave tokens of petition or gratitude (or milagros) for the Virgin of Pinto Lake.