The state of Queretaro is one of the smallest in Mexico, located in the country’s north-central region. It’s known for quaint colonial towns of hospitable, creative people, savory wines and cheese, stunning ancient Spanish architecture, and archeological treasures, as well as all the wonders found in the rugged ecological expanse of the Sierra Gorda stretching across the north of the state.
For a bit of adventure amongst a beautiful landscape, you must see the Sierra Gorda Biosphere with its varying eco-systems, its steep mountains and deep canyons, caves, waterfalls, flora and fauna. A 2,300 year old mummy of a female child was discovered here – who knows what you might find!
The Sierra Gorda is also home to the Franciscan Missions, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take the “Missions Tour” to view ancient, ornate missions and churches built by Franciscan monks.
The beautiful capital city of Santiago de Queretaro (aka Queretaro city) is a fast growing industrial development balancing its progress with its over 460 years of history and tradition.
The center of the city is a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity site, and here you will see amazing colonial structures of Spanish design, like the historic Aqueduct with its 74 arches, along with the city’s ancient temples, mansions and palaces.
Wine connoisseur or not, here’s a tour you won’t want to miss. Tootle along the state’s Ruta del Vino (Wine Route), which connects three significant vineyards of Freixenet, Los Aztecas, and La Redonda, along with a myriad of cheese manufacturing facilities.
Also, don’t miss the wine festivals along the route, such as the "Feria del Queso y del Vino" (Cheese and Wine Fair), which attracts wine producers from around the world.
The small village of San Sebastián Bernal (Bernal) is included on the Wine Route, just for its charm. It’s a declared Pueblo Mágico city where you are assured of a magical experience! Bernal is also the home of the steep Peña de Bernal, the world’s third largest monolith (the Rock of Gibraltar and Sugarloaf Mountain being first and second), dating back more than a million years to the Jurassic Period.
Tequisquiapan is quite a tourism center, known for wine, festivals, and thermal water spas. Select souvenirs from the town’s beautiful handcrafted baskets and jewelry made with semi-precious stones. For a real kick, check out the city’s "Feria del Toro de Lidia"(Bullfight Fair).
Don’t miss the spectacular botanical garden situated between Tequisquiapan and Bernal!
The town of San Pablo Toliman has many 18th century churches and chapels to explore such as the Oratorio Chapels, where tiny buildings are erected over the burial sites of the most important person in a household. For souvenirs, you’ll find unique bags and capes handcrafted from the maguey plant.
Santa Maria de los Cocos is located 7 km from the "Sotano de Barro", a cave that is approximately 600 meters around and 400 meters deep. AKA, the Mud Basement, it’s a little explored area just waiting for athletes to check out its high slopes.
Jalpan de Serra has many fine attractions including the Jalpan and Tancoyol Missions and the Sierra Gorda Museum. Find souvenirs from many beautifully handcrafted items, such as embroidered cloth, carved wood statues, and several leather items. Nature lovers can camp, fish, or boat at Presa Jalpan.
San Juan del Rio is famous for thermal water spas and several haciendas, like the legendary Hacienda de la Llave, a gift from Hernan Cortez to his girlfriend, La Malinche. Also see the "Museo de la Muerte" with jewelry, paintings, and regional archaeological relics on display. For souvenirs, select handcrafted wicker and cane objects, jewelry, and woolen goods.
Cadereyta is an interesting colonial town filled with 18th and 19th century architecture. It’s also home to the Toluquilla archeological site, which, surrounded by cliffs, was once a formidable fortress. Cadereyta is famous for its magnificent marble pieces and leatherwork.
Colon is known for its 16th – 19th century Missions and churches. Also, it’s well-known for handcrafted woolen knitting goods like ponchos, sarapes, and carpets. Also don’t miss the spectacular Los Pilones Cliff with its odd-shaped rocks or the legendary La Carambada's Cave, once used as a shelter by a character of the same name.
Corregidora is famous for the archeological ruins of El Cerrito. Here you can explore important sculptures, glyphs, calendars, gravestones and carved figures.
Ezequiel Montes is best known for its winery, “Finca Freixenet”, with its expansive vineyard and Hacienda-shaped factory.
Absolutely stunning baroque-style buildings are found in Landa, some of which are at the 18th century Mission located here. A quiet place to hike or camp is Landa’s Rio Verdito. The river offers awesome panoramic scenery with its four natural wells and 196-foot waterfalls.
San Pedro Escobedo is known for its many beautiful haciendas, such as the Epigmenio Gonzalez, Cirilo, and Escolasticas Haciendas, and more.
The extremely picturesque village of Santa Maria de Peñamiller is surrounded by the spectacular El Paraiso Canyon with its black marble walls edged against the flowing waters of the Rio Extoraz, the Agua Fria Rocks with its perfectly cut lines and cliffs, and huge cacti, some of which rise up to 26 feet. Not to be missed!
Languish in the peace and quiet of nature along the Rio Escanela with its 35-meter waterfall, found near the city of San Pedro Escanela.
Make your way into the charming and picturesque town of Pinal de Amoles where you can visit 18th century missions, ex-convents, and more. Take home souvenirs of hand-loomed cloth with intricate hand-sewn designs, carved wood objects, leatherworks and clay pots made by the town’s artisans.
San Joaquin is an important tourism center, with many attractions. Explore the magnificent stone formations at the "Grutas Los Herrera" (Los Herrera Caves) or investigate the 16th century archeological sites of Ranas and Toluquilla. Tour the La Prieta Mine or the Archeological Mining Museum. While you’re in the area, get a pair of the famous "zapatos serranos"(mountain shoes) to trek around in; they’re handmade by local artisans.
Whatever you do in this great state, you are sure to have a wonderful time!