The Highlights of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve

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The Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is located in Querétaro covering approximately one-third of this state’s territory. Protected by the government, Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve boasts the country’s most diverse ecosystem home to hundreds of different birds, mammals, butterflies and more. Take the time to explore this diverse ecosystem and it’s communities with these highlights.

Pinal de Amoles

Pinal de Amoles is the last (or first) town reached in the Sierra Gorda. Nestled within the more mountainous area of the Sierra Gorda, the panorama view of the city on your way in is enough to make you want to stop. Grab a quick bite to eat from one of the street vendors, wander the city for a bit before making your way onto the next destination. 

Cascadas de Chuveje

Cascadas de Chuveje

Chasing waterfalls is a pastime of ours despite words of advice from TLC. Cascadas de Chuveje was no exception. Located along a long and bumpy dirt path, you will arrive at the entrance to the waterfall. The cost to enter is 40 pesos per person. The waterfall is located approximately 15-20 minutes from the entrance along a well-trotted path. Before reaching the waterfall, you will come upon beautiful ponds flowing from the waterfall and canopied by large trees. Take the time to swim in the water if you can bear the frigid waters. Then head onward to the waterfall. If you take the path to the right across the ponds, you will end up at a viewing point. The left path takes you to the basin of the waterfall where you can take another swim (although it is unclear if swimming is really permitted in the waterfall basin). 

On your way out, stop and grab lunch from one of the few vendors and in our opinion the first one from the waterfalls. Skip the enchiladas and go for the quesadillas on freshly pressed and fried tortillas with steak or pork. 

Alternative: The Puente de Dios is a forty minute hike into the waterfall along the rio escondido. We skipped the Puento del Dia due to the boat load of tourists coming off the tourist bus when we arrived. There is nothing like lots of tourists in nature to ruin a good thing. Plus, having visited one waterfall, we did not want to spend another MXP 300 which is the of a guide for two as this waterfall cannot be explored at your own leisure. 

Jalpan de Serra

Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda

Jalpan de Serra is located almost directly in the middle of the biosphere reserve. While the town itself was not quite what we expected having come from Xilitla (i.e., flat topography), it was the perfect place to relax for a few days. Spend an afternoon wandering around the historic city center, pop into the church for one of the creepiest Jesus statues I have ever seen or head over to Kawa Bistro for a cup of coffee and to beat the heat for a bit in the afternoon. 

Also check out Jalpan Reservoir just south of the city. At Mundo Acuatico you can rent a kayak for a quick explore. You can also head further south and simply jump into the reservoir for a refreshing dip. Or grab a fishing rod and reel in some dinner. 

Pro-tip: For those overlanding, it is the perfect place to spend the day. Camping is allowed and police patrol the area. Locals do stay (as they do) and party into the night with loud music, so we recommend spending the day here and then packing up just before heading to bed and sleeping at a spot nearby. Click here for the coordinates to where we recommend you sleep. 

If you are planning to spend a few nights in the Sierra Gorda, Jalpan de Serra is the best place to find a decent hotel.

Las Pozas

Las Pozas, the surrealist garden of Sir Edward James

While technically not in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, if you are here you might as well make the extra journey to visit Las Pozas in Xilitla. Nestled among the wild rain forest, you will find the surrealist sculpture garden commissioned by Sir Edward James. Take an hour or two to wind through the gardens admiring the handiwork of this artists. Make sure to bring your swimsuit for a dip in the natural pool (hence the name “las pozas”) inside the garden. 

READ MORE: How to Visit Las Pozas and Xilitla

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