Best of Querétaro's Missions, Magic Towns & Mountains Tour
From Querétaro City to the Sierra Gorda Mountains – Explore the Best of the State of Querétaro
11 Day Exploration Tour
(includes day of arrival & departure)
from $2495 /adult • $2195 /child (8-17) + air
Single Supplement +$450
Even though the state of Querétaro is one of the smallest in México, it is overflowing with historical significance, Otomí indigenous culture, 6 quaint Magic Towns, and 5 very ornate Franciscan Missions which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
From touring the beautiful colonial-style capital city of the state to visiting a rural winery to hiking in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Region with its magnificent mountain scenery, this tour is filled with a diversity of places to experience.
Join us for the Best of Querétaro's Missions, Magic Towns & Mountains Tour.
• Tour Querétaro City
• Meet local artisans
• Visit 6 México Magic Towns (Pueblo Mágicos)
• Beautiful 18th Century Franciscan Mission Churches
• Lunch with an Otomí Indigenous Family
• Travel through the Sierra Gorda Mountains & Forests
• Archaeological Ruins
• Underground Cave
• Peña de Bernal Monolith
• Rural Winery / Horse Ranch
• Botanical Gardens
• Museum of Death
*2023 Tour Dates
Apr 26-May 6 (We-Sa)
May 31-Jun 10 (We-Sa)
Jul 19-Jul 29 (We-Sa)
Aug 16-Aug 26 (We-Sa)
Sep 27-Oct 7 (We-Sa)
Oct 18-Oct 28 (We-Sa)
$2495 per adult - double
$2195 per child (10-17 yrs)
* Includes day of arrival & departure.
** Prices in USD. Air not included in tour price.
DAY 1: Welcome to the México City
After arriving at the México City Airport, secure a shuttle to our nearby hotel to checkin and get settled. Depending on your arrival time, there may be time to taxi or Uber into downtown México City and take a look around the main plaza, see the beautiful Bellas Artes (fine arts building), walk down Calle Madero (a pedestrian-only street with shops, restaurants, and street entertainment), and enjoy the ambiance of this culturally stimulating city. We will sleep in México City for 1 night.
Day 2: Orientation / Amealco / San Ildefonso / Querétaro City (B,L)
In the morning, we will meet our Querétaro host tour guide for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. He or she will give us an overview of our days together and can answer any questions about the tour and the many locations we will be visiting. Then after checking out, it’s time to travel a few hours north to reach the state of Querétaro.
The first of 6 recognized Pueblo Mágicos we will be visiting during our 11 day exploration tour will be the interesting small town of Amealco.
What’s so special about Amealco? In one word, DOLLS. In this town and in some of the surrounding pueblos, many local indigenous people (the Otomíes) derive their livelihood from creating these very cute and colorful dolls which they market worldwide. They are called, Muñecas or Marías. There is a museum in the downtown area which is all about dolls … all kinds of historical dolls made from wood to paper mache to even dried chilies.
We will then travel to the small nearby community of San Ildefonso where we can meet and watch as some of the local Otomí women work on making the Muñecas. In that same town, we'll also meet a local family who started a small business of making pottery items.
After lunch, it will be time to travel a little further north to the capital of the state of Querétaro; the city of Querétaro. The evening will be free to relax or explore. We will sleep in Querétaro City for 2 nights.
Day 3: Querétaro City (B,L)
This morning we'll embark on a walking tour to explore the many well-preserved Spanish colonial buildings, churches, an ex-convent, its beautifully landscaped city plazas, and its ancient aqueduct system which transported clean water into the city totally by using gravity. Querétaro City is filled with important history regarding México's rebellion against their Spanish overlords.
The afternoon and evening are open for further personal exploration of this city . . . perhaps a little store-browsing, enjoying a meal at one of the many nice outdoor restaurants, or just relaxing on a park bench in one of Querétaro's beautiful central plazas to people watch.
Day 4: San Sabastián Bernal / Monolith / Sierro Gorda Mountains / Jalpan de Serra (B,L)
After breakfast we will leave the city and start heading east to a beautiful area of Querétaro state called, the Sierra Gorda. This is a region of tall tree-covered mountains with steep canyons and ravines. The roads are winding and the views are breathtaking. It is similar in respect to the Appalachian Mountains of the USA.
On our way to the mountains we'll stop to visit Pueblo Mágico #2; the town of San Sabastián Bernal. The air is dry and clear, the pace is relaxed, and the town has the best view of a gigantic rock which juts almost 1500 feet into the air. They call these kinds of rocks, monoliths. Peña de Bernal is the name and it ranks as one of the tallest monoliths in the world. How cool is that!
From San Sabastián Bernal, we will continue our trek east into the deep Sierra Gorda Biosphere Region of Querétaro. It will be 3 hours of winding and hilly driving with the reward of viewing some very spectacular scenery along the way.
Our stopping destination for today will be Pueblo Mágico #3; Jalpan de Serra. We will sleep here for 2 nights.
Day 5: Franciscan Missions (B,L)
The Sierra Gorda mountainous region is home to 5 beautiful Spanish missions all built in the 18th century. Today we will get to know three of the 5 missions, each located in a different town. The 3 we will visit are Santiago de Jalpan, San Francisco de Asís del Valle de Tilaco, and Santa Maria de la Purisima Concepción del Agua de Landa.
What makes these mission churches so special are the very ornate facades made of stucco and stone. The characters and symbols on the face of each mission tell religious stories. In 2003, these 5 churches were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our guide will interpret some of these symbols and also give us the background on how and why these missions were built in this wilderness area.
Day 6: Nature Hike / Pinal de Amoles / San Juaquin (B,L)
This morning after checking out of our hotel, we'll go on a nature hike to a charming 130’ (40 meter) waterfall called, Cascada Chuveje. It only takes a short 20-30 minute easy hike to reach this idyllic setting.
After taking in the fresh air and peaceful scenery, we'll hike back to our vehicle and continue on to the small community of Pinal de Amoles. This town is known for its red roofed buildings, nice balconies, and narrow streets. There we will visit an old cantina, try some local liquors, and taste their delicious fresh bread.
Our last destination for this day will be our #4 Pueblo Mágico, San Joaquin where we will sleep for 2 nights.
Day 7: Cave Exploration / Ancient City Ruins (B,L)
After enjoying a leisurely breakfast, we will continue our exploration in the late morning. Nearby is a large underground cave called, Gruta los Herrera. A local guide will lead us down into this underground wonderland of interesting stalactites and stalagmites.
Then after lunch, we'll head over to a local archaeological ruins site, Las Ranas (that’s Frogs in Spanish). This small ancient city thrived for several hundred years until the arrival of the Spaniards in the early 1500s. Our guide will introduce us to its temples, the area where the common people lived, and to view the 3 ball courts found at this ancient city site.
The evening is free to enjoy the small town of San Juaquin.
Day 8: Marble Artistry in Vizarron de Montes / Cadereyta Botanical Garden / Winery / Tequisquiapan (B,L)
Today is going to be a busy day of exploring more of the state of Querétaro.
After breakfast, we will check out and travel less than an hour to the town of Vizarron de Montes. The interesting thing about this town is that they mine marble in this area. Hence, you will find items made of marble everywhere. Local artisans use marble to create a variety of different items which you can find in the several shops which sell their work. Even sections of some streets in the town are made in marble.
Later we'll visit the beautiful botanic gardens of Cadereyta. Here we can see the vast diversity of plants which are found in this region. This well-maintained garden is actually divided into 5 different collections of plants, many of which are different kinds of cactus. Lunch will be at a botanical garden restaurant.
FYI: If you are keeping count, the town of Cadereyta is Pueblo Mágico #5 on our itinerary of Magic Towns in Querétaro.
In the afternoon on our journey, we'll visit a local family-owned winery to learn about how they grow their grapes and produce their wines. Interestingly, before this family got into the wine business, they raised horses. As we will see on our arrival, they have not totally abandoned their first passion. On their ranch/winery, they still have some horses we can view in a corral while we sample some of their wines.
A short 30 minute drive will bring us to #6 Pueblo Mágico - Tequisquiapan and to our hotel where we will sleep for 2 nights.
Day 9: Visit an Otomí Family / Craft Beer & Cheese / "Tequis" Tour / Farewell Dinner (B,L,D)
This morning is free to relax or wander around Tequisquiapan.
After checkout, we'll travel a short distance to the town of Villa Progreso where a local Otomí guide will lead us on a cultural tour relating to the traditions of their heritage.
We will also be invited to their home to meet some of the family and share in a traditional lunch with them.
After saying our goodbyes, we'll go visit Finca Vai which is a small family-run place where they make cheese, craft beer, sauces, and more. We'll stroll around this rustic estate and along the way, learn a thing a two about the art of making cheese and beer. So bring your camera and say, “Queso!”
In the afternoon, our group will return back to Tequisquiapan (their big welcome sign in town say, TEQUIS). Our guide will take us on a stroll around the town and point out some of its notable places.
Then in the evening, it will be time for a get-together for a farewell dinner where we can reminisce about our past days of touring around Querétaro state and to enjoy a relaxed fun evening with our travel companions and host guide.
Day 10: San Juan de Rio / Museum of Death / México City (B,L)
After breakfast, we'll check out and start to travel south towards México City.
However, there is still one more place of interest to go explore. That is the Museo de la Muerte in the city of San Juan de Río. If you have not figured out the Spanish yet, it means, Museum of Death. We know, it is not exactly our idea of a great last day-of-the-tour big finish Tah-Dah place to visit. However, this little museum is on the way and it is quite interesting.
This small museum shows pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexican burial rituals. Right outside of the museum is a small graveyard with many old headstones.
Here is what one local official said about this museum, “It aims to present death as a cultural phenomenon that accompanies the history of mankind, changes in the way of presenting burials at different times, and the symbolism manifested by the thinking of human beings around this ritual.” We could not have said it any better. So there you have it.
After lunch and the museum tour, we'll head back to the first hotel we stayed in near the airport when we first arrived. Then it will be time to say Good-Bye or Hasta Luego to our host guide. We will stay 1 night near the airport.
Day 11: Travel Day Home (B)
After breakfast, our tour will official come to an end. Arrangements can be made with the hotel front desk for a shuttle to the México City Airport to return home.
If you have an interest, we can add a day or two or three to your trip to explore México City and the surrounding area.
Itinerary schedule is subject to change.
Tour Price Includes:
• 11 days / 10 night guided tour (includes your day of arrival & departure)
• Small group tour size of up to 12 travelers
• Querétaro host guide plus local experts
• All ground transportation during tour days
• All activities as listed in the itinerary
• All entrance fees
• 10 nights of hotel lodgings in centrally located hotels
• 10 breakfasts, 9 lunch, 1 dinner
• All tips for all your guides & driver
Additional activities & meals not listed above
Trip interruption insurance
Group activities listed are subject to change.
Activity Level: Easy - Moderate
Maximum Group Size: 12
Suggested Minimum Age: 10 years
Arrival & Departure Cities: México City / México City (MEX)
Deposit: $350 USD per person
A Reminder -
There is no need to fret over how much to tip and of having the right amount of Mexican Pesos.
Tips are already included in your trip price for all specialty guides as well as your main host guide.
If you would like to stay a few more days in this region either before or after your tour with us and would like some assistance in making those plans, contact us.
We can design an independent travel experience based on what you would like to see and do. We can help you to arrange local transportation, accommodations, and set you up with a local guide.