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Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve: 5-Day Encounter

On this 5-day tour, explore Mexico’s most ecologically diverse reserve with an professional naturalist and guide. Go birding in Xilitla’s cloud forest, and hike through diverse landscapes from pine forests to subtropical jungle. Visit the reserve’s five Franciscan missions (UNESCO World Heritage Sites), experience the surrealist sculpture gardens of Edward James, and more!

Per Person

Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve: Encounter Abundant Wildlife, Stunning Landscapes, and Rich History

Sierra Gorda de Queretaro Biosphere Reserve is Mexico’s most ecologically diverse protected area! Dedicated to land preservation, reforestation, environmental education and sustainable economic living among the 100,000 people living in the reserve, Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is an important sanctuary and designated member of the UNESCO International Network of Biosphere Reserves.

On this 5-day tour, explore fir and pine forests, and hills of diverse cacti with your expert guide.Visit the subtropical region of Conca, and walk along the turquoise blue waters of the Ayutla River for butterfly and bird watching. Relax, hike, swim, and explore in remote and spectacular landscapes seldom visited by tourists.

Visit the Reserve’s beautiful Franciscan missions (Designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites), explore Edward James’s surrealist sculpture gardens, and stop in several pastoral villages to enjoy  artesanal cheese, wool, and other products sustainably and authentically made by local residents.


  • Discover the amazing Missions of the Sierra Gorda
  • Enjoy breathtaking scenery at Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve
  • Go birding with a professional naturalist in the cloud forest of Xilitla
  • Experience the Surreal Gardens of Edward James
  • Encounter dozens of butterfly species
  • Interact with the world class Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve organization


Day 1: Travel from San Miguel to Jalpan
7:00 am — Depart from St. Paul’s Church (Cardo #6) in San Miguel de Allende toward Jalpon. 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. In the afternoon, check into our hotel, and explore the town of Jalpan. Meet in the hotel lobby to go to dinner.

Day 2: Explore Turquoise Rivers and Franciscan Missions
8:00 am — Depart for breakfast at Centro de la Tierra. Drive to the Ayutla River and hike along the turquoise waterway. Drive to Conca and visit the Franciscan Mission. Stop for lunch at Centro de la Tierra on your way back to Jalpan. Visit the Jalpan Mission and the Jalpan Museum for an in-depth look at local history. In the evening, meet in the hotel lobby and walk to a nearby restaurant*.

Day 3: Visit the Missions & Surrealist Gardens
7:30 am — Enjoy breakfast at hotel and check out. Head through the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve towards the lower tropical area of Xilitla. Stop and visit the Landa Mission on your way. Lunch* will be served at your B&B in Xilitla.

Visit the famous surrealist “Las Pozas” sculpture gardens of eclectic 20th century collector Edward James. Swim at the gardens or relax and explore the grounds. In the evening, enjoy birdwatching from the patios at your B&B. Dinner* will be served that evening at the B&B.

Day 4: Go Early-Morning Bird Watching and Explore a Mission
8:30 am — Enjoy breakfast at the B&B. You may wish to get up early and go birdwatching with your guides before breakfast. Check out and drive back to Jalpan. Drive to the beautiful Mission San Francisco del Valle Tilaco and enjoy a boxed lunch. Drive to Jalpan and check into your hotel. Enjoy dinner with friends at Centro de la Tierra.

Day 5: Visit Bernal
8:00 am — Say goodbye to Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. Have breakfast at hotel, then check out and begin your drive back to San Miguel de Allende. Stop in Bernal for lunch* and have time to wander and explore town. Head back to San Miguel and arrive that evening.

*  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 activities
  • 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Private sightseeing (including all entrance fees) as outlined in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve
  • Comfortable private transportation with driver
  • Tipping & porterage (taken care of by tour leader along the way)
  • Professional bird watching guide
  • Small group experience: Max 16/Avg 10 travelers

What to Bring

  •  Official ID (Passport or Mexican Residency)
  • Original INAPAM ID (if you have one)
  • Water bottle
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Bathing suit
  • Flashlight
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Umbrella and rain gear
  • Hiking sticks
  • Insect repellent
  • Light-weight walking/hiking shoes
  • Fleece garment
  • Day pack (Including: binoculars, toiletries, travel documents (copies), resealable plastic storage bags, toilet paper, small change for public restrooms)
  • Money belt
  • First-aid kit (Including: 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 taking)
  •  $1000 to $2000 Mexican Pesos for meals not included


Sierra Gorda de Queretaro

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Sierra Gorda de Queretaro 20.597700, -100.375000

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What Happens After I Book?

After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.

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USD $189.00 Per Person
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