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“Great option for eco-turism”

Reviewed January 7, 2012

Sierra Gorda eco-system is located in the state of Queretaro/Mexico, driving from Mexico City takes 4 hours of just great views of more than 9 different evo-systems along the road, from desertic to rain forest.

Jalpan is the best town to stay, good Hotels, great food, WiFi and ATM infrastructure - best places from there are:

Jalpan itself - the mission and damp.
Xilitla - Edward James Castle.
The missions route wo/missing the canyons and waterfalls.
Golondrinas and Guacamayas basemnt - a great natural early morning spectacle.

3  Thank flezama2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10 - 14 of 19 reviews

Reviewed July 24, 2007

The Sierra Gorda Queretana is an excellent place, similar to Chiapas or Catemaco Forests. It is ubicated at the central part of mexico and near from mexico city (about 5 hours) it is provided by several waterfalls, mountains, mexican fauna, eco-sports, hiking, etc.
My experience was only in the Chuveje Waterfalls and a river hiking route into Puente de Dios and The Angostura Canyon.

For both places you can take a cab from any of the near towns as Pinal de Amoles or Jalpan.

Entrance $20 pesos
For Chuveje there is a very easy pad up tu the waterfalls but dont miss to use adecuate footwear for some streams that cross the pad. There are toilets during the route. At the waterfalls you can go swimming and take some pictures. Someone told me that in some seasons this waterfall do not contain so much water...

For Puente de Dios, it´s a good idea to hire one of the childrens that are at the beggining of the pad as your guide, they know each part of the river and the best place to cross it. ($50 to $100 pesos) It last about 1 hour to get to puente de dios but it worths it (2 hours all route). During the route, you can see spectacular places and pass through some small waterfalls and swimm in small pounds formed in the river. Puente de Dios is where all the tours finish as it is an awesome hole made by the river in the middle of mountain. You can pass through it and see some estalactitas as the water is filtrated from the mountain, as well as some extra views after it.

Some pictures atached

7  Thank alduca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2007

This is one of the best places to visit in central Mexico, and it is a shame more Americans don't take the time to visit (or maybe it is a good thing?). This is where Brother Junipero Serra built his first five missions in the 18th century before heading to California and building nine more there, including San Diego, Santa Barbara, etc. etc. There are older churches and missions since this area was first visited by the Spanish in the 1530s. For history buffs this is a must see, especially the missions in Tancoyol and Tilaco which are in little villages. Conca is also in a little village but is closer to civilization. Tilaco is my favorite, is not at all tourist oriented, is very clean and well-maintained, and is so far from the main highway that few tourists take the trouble to visit. The others are in larger towns; Jalpan where most folks stay since it has a fairly wide selection of hotels and is centrally located, and Landa de Matamoros which is in a larger town on the main highway to Xilitla and was the last mission completed. Conca was the first.

The Sierra Gorda is also known, among Mexicans at least, as the place for eco-tourism in central Mexico. It has a long list of natural wonders from tropical rain forests to mountain pine forests to hidden waterfalls and caves, to bird sanctuaries, etc. Las Pozas de James in Xilitla is a unique location with surrealistic ruins and statuary hidden away in a tropical jungle, and worth the drive. It could be the setting for the movie Time Machine, futuristic ruins in the even more distant future. Really extraordinary.

There are tours to the Sierra Gorda from Querétaro or you can rent a car and drive the four hours from Qro to Jalpan. Do not drive during the rainy season (April-May to Sept-Oct), use a tour bus instead. Except during Holy Week, Independence Week and Christmas, finding a hotel in Jalpan (also called Jalpan de Serra) is not a problem, but you can also phone ahead if you are the nervous type. Do not expect to be able to reserve a room with a credit card, or to pay with a credit card. Some of the better (cheaper, cleaner, well located, pleasant and best service) hotels do not accept credit cards in Mexico. Also do not expect to get a confirmation number and all that American stuff. Their word is their bond, and I have never been told that my reservation is confirmed and later found out that I had no room. Do not expect you make a real reservation by e-mail or the web, you have to call. But do expect to use your credit or bank card to get cash from machines in most larger towns like Jalpan, Matamoros, Xilitla.

Do not stay at the Hotel Mision Jalpan or Maria del Carmen unless there is nothing at the Sierra Inn or unless you really need to stay in town and cannot stay at the Hotel Conca outside town (need a car). Mision Jalpan and Hotel Conca are way overpriced by Mexican standards (or even American standards). M. del Carmen and Sierra Inn are priced about right, but the first is noisy (if you like a good night's sleep) and directed toward tour buses.

The minimum stay in the Sierra Gorda is two nights to be able to really get a feel for the area; but a 4 or 5 night stay would be better. You can do it in one day and not stay overnight, but the trip is 4 hours each way from Querétaro, and driving at night in the mountains is a definite no-no. There are just too many people and donkeys and cows wandering around, although the road is in great shape. To see all the missions, a one night stay is really necessary, but pushing it; and you will miss the natural wonders and Las Pozas.

20  Thank TomW1944
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2015
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2  Thank E C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2015
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1  Thank christian r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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