Sierra Gorda & Xilitla ~ An Inside Look

  • Teotihuacan

Tour at a Glance

  Limited to 16 guests                   5 Days / 4 Nights                Physical demand: Level 3  
  Oct 15-19, 2017       Oct 14-18, 2018        Oct 13-17, 2019  
2017 - COST PER PERSON:    
  Sharing room:                     $  
  Single supplement:            $    
  Charges will be processed in MXN.  
  Eventbrite - Sierra Gorda  

Tour Details


Journey into the Sierra Gorda de Queretaro Biosphere Reserve, the most ecologically diverse protected area in Mexico! Be transported in comfort to remote and spectacular sites seldom visited by outsiders.

Travelian’s expert guides will take you into the heart of this magical natural world. Venture into areas such as Cuatro Palos for a spectacular hike across a high ridge overlooking valleys and distant hills and mountains.

The seeds of the reserve were planted in 1987 by Martha Isabel “Pati” Ruiz Corzo and her husband, Roberto Pedraza Munoz. They promoted land preservation, reforestation, environmental education and sustainable economic living among the 100,000 people living in small communities throughout the reserve. In 1997 their hard work was honored when the president of Mexico officially decreed the area as the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, an area comprising one third of the state of Queretaro, and now a part of UNESCO’s International Network of Biosphere Reserves. The whole reserve has an overwhelming feeling of unity and peacefulness. Its people work hard, but are not hurried; they are happy and welcoming. One has the experience of being in the moment at every turn.

Venture through mountains filled with fir and pine forests, as well as hills of diverse cacti. Visit the subtropical region of Conca with its remarkable Franciscan mission, walk along the turquoise blue waters of the Ayutla River for butterfly and bird-watching.  Stay in the designated “Magic Town” of Santiago de Jalpan with its mission. 

Travel eastward, stopping to visit Santa Maria del Agua de Landa to see its rust-colored mission. Then continue down into the tropical area of Xilitla, site of the surreal Edward James Gardens, Las Pozas. Spend the afternoon exploring the gardens on a guided tour, bird-watching, and swimming in the spectacular gardens and surrounding jungle. Stay at a modern whimsical hotel in town, visit Las Pozas the following morning and have extra time for photography, birding or wandering on your own.

On the drive back to Jalpan, visit the bucolic town of San Francisco del Valle de Tilaco, for a guided tour of its remarkable mission, and discover Tancama Archeological site. On our last day, we’ll drive back to San Miguel de Allende, stopping in the “Magic Town” of San Sebastian Bernal. This beautiful spot is known for its magnificent monolith.  Enjoy a delicious lunch and take time to wander through this quiet, charming town with shops selling woolen goods, crystals and opals, goat’s cheese, Cajeta and much more!

Experience this small group insider’s tour of one of Mexico’s natural treasures with Travelian’s expert guides!.


Itinerary - 5 Days

6:30 AM - Early departure from SMA
7:00 am ~ Depart from St. Paul's Church (Cardo #6, San Miguel de Allende). We will be met by a special guide from Centro de La Tierra for our entire trip. A box breakfast will be provided en route. Drive to Cuatro Palos for a hike up the ridge to a lookout. A box lunch will be provided. Head down to Serra de Jalpan. Check into hotel. Get settled, relax, and walk around town. Meet in the hotel lobby for drinks and dinner.*

7:00 am Breakfast at hotel. Drive to the Ayutla River and hike the mango orchards along the river. Drive to Conca and visit Mision Conca for a guided tour, and visit the nearby Food Processing Workshop. Enjoy lunch* in Conca. Return to Jalpan hotel and visit Mision Jalpan with our guide. Meet in hotel lobby and walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.*

7:00 am Breakfast at hotel. Check out and depart for Santa Maria del Agua de Landa Mision. Visit the Mission and museum for a short tour with our guide. Depart for Xilitla. Arrive and check in to our Hotel. Depart for Edward James Gardens ~Las Pozas and enjoy lunch* in the gardens. Have a private guided tour of the gardens. Stay and swim at the gardens, or wander through the gardens on your own. Return to hotel. Meet in the lobby and walk to dinner*.

8:00 am Breakfast at nearby restaurant. After breakfast we'll check out and return to Las Pozas to take photos or bird watch at the gardens. Depart for for Tilaco. Arrive at Mision San Francisco del Valle Tilaco for picnic lunch and a guided visit. Depart to visit Tancama archeological site. Then leave for Jalpan. Arrive and check into our hotel. Meet in hotel lobby and walk to dinner* at a nearby restaurant.

8:00 am Breakfast at hotel. Check out and begin our drive back to San Miguel de Allende. Stop in Bernal for lunch*. Time to wander and explore town after lunch. Head back to San Miguel de Allende arriving arround 5:30 pm.

* Meals marked with an asterisk are not included in the trip's fee.
This itinerary is subject to changes without prior notification.



  Official ID your current Passport, Mexican residency ID (copies are fine)
  Original INAPAM ID (if you have one)
  Water Bottle
  Bathing suit
  Umbrella and rain gear
  Hiking sticks
  Insect repellent
  Day pack
  Light-weight walking/hiking shoes
  A fleece garment can be useful in case of chilly mornings
  Pack your binoculars, toiletries and travel documents in your day pack, a supply of
resealable plastic storage bags can be handy for storing food items from the breakfast,
to be used as mid-morning snacks
  Be sure to bring your own kleenex and small change for bathroom fees
  Money belt
  Personal prescription drugs

First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder)


Further details about this tour

.   Travel Physical Demands
.   Reservations
.   Payment Options
.   Cancellations
.   Trip Insurance

Travelian Tour Leader

Arturo Morales
Photo of Arturo Morales Is originally from Mexico City, has lived in San Miguel since 1981. He studied at the Tecnológico de Monterrey: Agricultural Engineering in Zootecnica, partly at the UNAM, History. The Master of Science in Education course at the University of Valle de Mexico.
Learn more


Tour Map


Tour Cost



  Price per person, double occupancy.
For a single-room, add:


  Accommodation (4 nights)
  Breakfast daily
  2 lunches
  Private sightseeing, including all entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary
  Comfortable private transportation with driver
  Tipping & porterage taken care of by tour leader along the way
  Travelian Tour Leaders
  Tour limited to 16 travelers
  Eventbrite - Sierra Gorda

Physical Demand

    LEVEL 3
    Includes Level 2 plus: Walking or hiking modest uphill/downhill unimproved / dirt trails for up to four hours at a time. Or walking in urban or rural settings with significant stair climbing.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

Featured Photo

  In order to create Las Pozas, Edward James got inspired by the shapes of exotic plants and trees in the surrounding jungle; and in the convoluted forms in the immense collection of works by the surrealist artists he had assembled back in England.



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