Sierra Gorda & Xilitla~ An Inside Look

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Take an inside look at Sierra Gorda de Queretaro Biosphere Reserve, the most ecologically diverse protected area in Mexico! We’ll transport you in comfort to remote and spectacular sights seldom visited by outsiders. Travelian’s expert guides have a special connection with El Centro de la Tierra, the organization that manages and maintains this incredible reserve. Through them we have an opportunity to get into the heart of this magical natural world. Venture into areas such as Cuatro Palos for a spectacular hike across the high ridge overlooking valleys and distant hills and mountains.

The reserve was created 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 through the reserve. In 1997 all their hard work was honored when the president of Mexico officially decreed the area as 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 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.

Travel through mountains filled with fir and pine forests, as well as hills of diverse cactus. 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.  Visit the town of Santiago de Jalpan and its beautiful mission.  Travel eastward stopping in Santa Maria del Agua de Landa to see it rust colored mission, then head down to the tropical area of Xilitla, and the surreal Edward James Gardens, Las Pozas.   Spend the afternoon exploring the gardens, bird-watching, and swimming in the spectacular gardens and surrounding jungle.

On our way back to Jalpan, enjoy a picnic lunch in the bucolic town of San Francisco del Valle de Tilaco, and visit this most interesting of the Franciscan Missions in the Reserve.
Upon our return to San Miguel the following day, stop and take in the breathtakingly beautiful Monolith in Bernal. Enjoy a delicious lunch and take time to wander through the woolen shops and taste the many artisanal cheeses made in this village.

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



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Day one

7:00 A.M. ~ Depart from St. Paul’s Church (Cardo #6, San Miguel de Allende). A box breakfast will be provided en route. Drive to Cuatro Palos for a hike up the ridge to a lookout. Head down to Serra de Jalpan for lunch. Check into our hotel, and explore the town of Jalpan. Meet in the hotel lobby to go to dinner.

Day two

8:00 A.M. Depart for breakfast at Centro de la Tierra. Drive to the Ayutla River. Drive to Conca and visit Mission. Lunch at Centro de la Tierra on our way back to Jalpan. Visit Mission Jalpan and the Jalpan Museum Meet in the lobby and walk to a nearby restaurant*.

Day three

7:30 A.M. breakfast at hotel and check out. Head through the reserve towards the lower tropical area of Xilitla. Stop and visit Landa Mission on our way. Lunch* will be served at our B and B in Xilitla. Visit the Edward James Gardens ~Las Pozas. Swim at the gardens or relax and enjoy bird watching from the patios at our B and B. Dinner* will be served that evening at the B and B.

Day four

Breakfast at B and B. You may wish to get up early and go bird watching with our guides before breakfast. Check out and drive back to Jalpan. Drive to the beautiful Mission San Francisco del Valle Tilaco and enjoy a box lunch. Drive to Jalpan and check into our hotel. Dinner with our friends at Centro de la Tierra.

Day five

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. Head back to San Miguel and arrive that evening.

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


What's included

 Hotel (4 nights)
 All transport between destinations and to/from included
 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
 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
 Professional bird watching guide
 Travelian Tour leaders
 Small group experience; Max 16, avg 10


Booking and cancellation policies

We accept payments by:

   Credit Card (Paypal) through our Online Booking System    

   USD Wire Transfers. Read More

   Checks (No US Bank Checks please). Read More

   MXN Cash (Mexican Pesos). Read More

Please remember that each traveler must turn in a signed Trip Form
(Except if you are using our Online Booking System)

Instructions for Trip Form:
 bullet Download this link: Trip form
 bullet Fill it out
 bullet Print it and sign it
 bullet Put your Trip Form, your phone number, and email address inside an envelope
 bullet Seal the envelope and address it to:     Rodrigo Lopez / Travelian PMB 214-B
 bullet If you are in San Miguel de Allende, deliver the envelope to: La Conexion on Aldama #3
 bullet If you are in United States or in Canada or another country outside Mexico, mail it to:
    Rodrigo Lopez / Travelian PMB # 214-B
    220 N. Zapata Hwy. # 11
    Laredo, TX 78043-4464


Payment with credit card
    To pay with credit card, please use our Online Booking System it's very simple.

Payment by wire transfer
    To pay by wire transfer from a U.S. Bank in U.S. Dollars, please use this information:

    bullet Beneficiary: Intercam Casa de Bolsa, S.A. de C.V.
    bullet Address of beneficiary:  Rio Tiber No. 67   Col. Cuauhtemoc   06500 Mexico, D.F.
    bullet Account No. 8900720557
    bullet ABA (Routing): 021 000 018 (for domestic transfers, within the USA)
    bullet Bank: Bank of New York Mellon
    bullet Branch address:  1 Wall Street 19th floor   New York, N.Y.   10015 U.S.A.
    bullet For further credit to: Rodrigo Lopez

       Please notify Rodrigo Lopez, of the expecting wire transfers so that we can
       identify them immediately.

       For any questions regarding this matter, please contact directly Rodrigo Lopez
       Email: or by phone: +52 (415) 100 2798

       To to download or print this information about Wire Transfers, please click here.

Payment with check (don't send US checks please)
     If using a bank account from Canada or another country (except USA),
     please make your checks payable to: Rodrigo Lopez

    bullet Put your check, Trip Form, your phone number, and email address inside an envelope
    bullet Seal the envelope and address it to:     Rodrigo Lopez / Travelian PMB 214-B
    bullet If you are in San Miguel de Allende, deliver the envelope to: La Conexion on Aldama #3
    bullet If you are in United States or in Canada or another country outside Mexico, mail it to:
       Rodrigo Lopez / Travelian PMB # 214-B
       220 N. Zapata Hwy. # 11
       Laredo, TX 78043-4464

Payment with cash (only mxn pesos)
    At the moment we can only accept cash payments in pesos.
    All cash payments must be delivered to Carmen Silva personally:
    bullet Tel. 415 152 1662, Cel. 415 100 2081


Booking and cancellation policies

bullet Reservations will be confirmed once the full payment
   has been received
bullet Due to the cancellation policies of our providers, we must
   retain 30% of your payment if you cancel your reservation
bullet If you cancel less than 15 days prior to departure 100% of
   your payment becomes nonrefundable. If you or we are able
   to find a traveler to fill your space we'll refund 100% of your
bullet If Travelian does not have the minumum number of travelers
   necessary for this trip, the trip will have to be cancelled, and
   you will receive a full refund of your payment

Travel Insurance
    We recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance in case
    you need to cancel.

    Here are links for providers we recommend:


What to take

We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry.
A good size daypack is also essential.

Check list

bullet Official ID your current Passport, Mexican residency ID
   (copies are fine)
bullet Original INAPAM ID (if you have one)
bullet Water Bottle
bullet Binoculars
bullet Camera
bullet Bathing suit
bullet Flashlight
bullet Hat
bullet Sunblock
bullet Sunglasses
bullet Umbrella and rain gear
bullet Hiking sticks
bullet Insect repellent
bullet Day pack
bullet Light-weight walking/hiking shoes
bullet A fleece garment can be useful in case of chilly mornings
bullet 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
bullet Be sure to bring your own kleenex and small change for
   bathroom fees
bullet Money belt
bullet First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar
   tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be
bullet Bring $1000 to $2000 Mexican Pesos for meals not included

5 days

Travel style
Culture, Nature, Scenery, Birding

Trip type
Small Group

Physical demands

Start/Finish City
San Miguel de Allende

Trip Highlights
Discover the amazing Missions
   of the Sierra Gorda
Enjoy breathtaking scenery
Bird watch in the cloud forest
   of Xilitla
Experience the Surreal Gardens
   of Edward James
Hike along turquoise river waters
Be surrounded by dozens of
   butterfly species
Interact with the world class
   Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve

Trip Cost
Please request a quote by sending an email to:

or please give us a call:

+52 (415) 100 2798
+52 (415) 100 9175
+52 (415) 152 3644
+52 (415) 152 1662