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Querétaro : tourism
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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  The surroundings

(Allow one day to visit these two places) :

To the east,Tequisquiapan

This city of 55.000 inhabitants (2007) is famous for its hot springs. It kept the image of the viceroy time. It was founded in 1551 after a royal decree of Charles V. It is located at 1880 m (6168 feet) of altitude and it is a favorite place for the Chilangos ("inhabitants of the capital") because of the hot springs and the climate. The prices go up on weekends. You can enjoy the beautiful paved streets, with bougainvilleas and colorful old houses, the serene plazas flanked with arches invaded by the Indian craft market, the warm atmosphere of the restaurants, bars and good tasting stores. Go to the market (open daily 10 AM-8 PM, busier on Sundays) where you can buy wickerwork, wooden furniture and cheap local craft. Visit the Parroquia de Santa Maria de la Asunción on Plaza Hidalgo, built in 1874 with a neoclassical façade with stone (cantera) columns. There is a beautiful clock on the top.

At the entrance of the village, by the bus terminal, you can stroll onto the "Parador Artesanal "on weekends (open on Saturday 4AM-2PM and Sunday 9AM-2PM). You can buy produces directly from local craftsmen.

There are many itineraries as well as hiking and mountain biking trails starting from Tequisquiapan.

Take a bus to San Juan del Rio and another one to Tequisquiapan (47 + 22 km or 29 +14 miles). If you are driving from Querétaro or Mexico City, take the exit San Juan del Rio and then, follow the signs to Tequisquiapan).


To the south : San Juan del Río

This city of 242,000 inhabitants (2007) is famous for wickerwork, wooden sculptures, furniture made of palm trees and semiprecious stones, especially amethysts, opals and topaz. Also visit the Museo de la Muerte, the Puente de la Historia built in 1710/1711 and the Parroquia de San Juan Bautista on the main plaza, wonderful example of the religious architecture of the seventeenth century.

You can ride balloons from San Juan del Rio.

A fine hotel structure in Tequisquiapan and San Juan del Rio allows a good stay in these two cities wherever you are coming from Mexico City or you are ending the Tour of Las Misiónes de la Sierra Gorda. Click to http://www.tequis.info to log onto the website of the hotels in Tequisquiapan.


A little further : Reserve of the Sierra Gorda

The Sierra Gorda is a mountain area of the Oriental Sierra Madre, a mountain range that lies from South to North along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, from the northern part of Coahuila, next to the border with the USA to the isthmus of Tehuantepec which is the geographic mark of Central America.
A Presidential Decree dating from May 19, 1997 declared the Sierra Gorda, a Biosphere Reserve in order to protect the exceptional natural seabed and the ecosystems. It is located in the northern part of the State and covers the communities of Jalpán Serra, Arroyo Seco, Landa Matamoros, Pinal de Amoles and Peñamiller. There are fourteen different ecosystems in this region of 383,567 hectares (1480 square miles), a remarkable feature for such a territory.
The Sierra Gorda silently protects five temples that proudly represent the fusion of two cultures : The "Franciscan Missions", one of the two sites of the UNESCO World Heritage list in the state of Querétaro. Take the Federal Highway #120 from Río de del San Juan to Xilitla to get there.

Some specialists think that this Reserve is the richest of the many Mexican Reserves, because of the ecological diversity. It has belonged to the program 'Man and Biosphere” of UNESCO since 2001 (called MAB).view of the Sierra Gorda

The Sierra Gorda comprises mountain ranges with magnificent valleys and gorges.
It is ONE paradise of luxuriant vegetation with landscapes formed by canyons, rivers, falls, deserts, jungles and wild life; you also have every possibility in practicing “alternative tourism". Contact the Environment Group of the Sierra Gorda through the company "Sierra Gorda Ecotours" which gives the visitors the opportunity of staying in this nice protected natural region - www.sierragorda.net -

There are about 1,718 kinds of vascular plants and 124 varieties of mushrooms as well as 131 species of mammals, 363 birds, 72 reptiles and 23 amphibians. 30% of the night butterflies of the national territory are there split up into 600 species.

     Left picture : view of the Sierra Gorda

You can see some remarkable fauna species : jaguar, temazate, black bear, spider-monkey, otter, hocofaisán, cojolite, mountain hen, guacamaya verde (military macaw), huasteco parrot, tucán (hull toucan), tucaneta verde and crocodile. There also are endemic species such as the real mole (Pappogeomys neglectus), the Autochton siermadrior butterfly and many fish.

The first inhabitants arrived at the classical time. The Otomís arrived from the south in 800 A.D and then, the chichimecas, pames and jonaces settled there.
The Reserve is endangered because of the polluted water, the illegal cut, the furtive game hunting, the forest fires, the extensive cattle, the erosion and the constant changes of the use of the soil.
You also can go trekking, canoeing/kayaking, mountain biking, camping, fauna and flora watching and paragliding from el Sótano del Barro (clay cave).

Here is an interesting document about the diversity and the continuity of the North-American ecosystems :


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