Best of Mexico Tour: MISSIONS, MAGIC TOWNS & MOUNTAINS in QUERETARO
$2395 /adults • $2095 /child (10-17) + air
11 Days/10 Night Guide Tour
(includes day of arrival & departure)
Explore Querétaro City, 6 Pueblo Mágico Towns, 18th Century Franciscan Missions,
Sierra Gorda World Biosphere Region, an ancient ruins site, and a Horse Ranch which is also a Winery.
Need some help pronouncing Querétaro? Ok, you can sound it out. Ker-éh-tar-oh.
And remember the accent on the second syllable … Ker-EH-tar-oh. Go ahead and practice it a few times. It’s actually fun to say!
Yea! Good for you! Now you can confidently tell your friends where you are going on your next México exploration vacation. Better yet, invite them to come along with you to explore this beautiful rugged and culturally rich Mexican state.
The captial city of Querétaro state has the same name so that’s easy to remember too. From México City, it is only a short 2½ hour drive. It is here that you will find fascinating history in this Spanish-influenced colonial city with its many churches, museums, and picturesque landscaped plazas dotted with fine restaurants and outdoor dining.
On this guided tour, we think you will like the wooded and hilly Sierra Gorda region of Querétaro state. This area is actually an offshoot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Keep your camera ready to capture some excellent outdoor photos as you drive on a winding and curvy road through this outdoor scenic wilderness.
Hidden in this tangle of mountains and ravines are small quaint towns, some with beautiful Franciscan Spanish Mission Churches. You will be amazed at their ornate facades. In fact, UNESCO put them on their list of renowned World Heritage Sites.
And if you like wine & cheese, you are in for a treat! On day 8 you will tour a local winery and on day 9, visit a beautiful hacienda where they make cheese and other tasty items.
We invite you to take a look at our itinerary for this tour and see all of its interesting activities and places you will visit.
Querétaro may be one of the smaller states in México but as you will see on this tour, is is Big on history, culture, scenic beauty, and friendly people.
Come and join us!
• Historical Querétaro City
• 6 México Magic Towns (Pueblo Mágicos)
• 18th Century Franciscan Mission Churches
• Otomí Indigenous Culture
• Sierra Gorda Mountains & Forests
• Archaeological Ruins Site
• Underground Cave
• 100 Million Year Old Monolith
• Botanical Gardens
• Museum of Death
Arrive at the México City Airport
Shuttle to local hotel
Meet your host guide
Travel to Querètaro state
Amealco - Pueblo Mágico
Muñeca Doll Museum
Otomí family pottery business
Querétaro City walking tour
Afternoon: Explore on your own
San Sabastián Bernal - Pueblo Mágico
Peña de Bernal - gigantic monolith rock
Scenic drive through the Sierra Gorda Mountains
18th Century Franciscan Missions
- Landa de Matamoros
- Jalpan de Serra
Trail hike in the Sierra Gorda
Pinal de Amoles - Pueblo Mágico
San Joaquin - Pueblo Mágico
Morning free to wander through San Joaquín
Gruta los Herrera - huge cave
Las Ranas Archaeological Ruins
Vizaron de Montes - city of marble
Botanical Gardens in Cadereyta - Pueblo Mágico
Azteca Winery tour
Town of Villa Progreso
Learn about Otomí traditions & food
Lunch with an Otomí family
Finca Vai - craft beers & cheese
Tour Tequisquiapan - Pueblo Mágico
Farewell dinner with your Querétaro guide
Morning free to explore on your own
Museum of Death - San Juan de Río
Return to hotel near México City Airport
Farewell to your host guide
Shuttle to Airport
Book your flight to arrive at the México City Airport. Then take a shuttle to your nearby hotel and check in. Depending on your arrival time, you may want to taxi 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 just enjoy the ambiance of this culturally stimulating city.
Day 2: (B,L)
In the morning, you will meet your Querétaro host tour guide for breakfast at your hotel. He or she will give you an overview of your tour and answer any questions you may have. Then after checking out, it’s time to travel a few hours north to reach the state of Querétaro.
The first town you will visit is Amealco, a recognized Pueblo Mágico. This will be the first of 6 Pueblo Mágicos you will explore on your tour in the state of Querétaro. What’s so special about Amealco? In one word, DOLLS. In this town and 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 also called, Muñecas or Marías. There is a museum in the downtown area which is all about dolls … all kinds of dolls.
Also, you will travel to the small nearby community of San Ildefonso. There you will get to meet and watch as some of the local Otomí women work on making the Muñecas. In the same town, you will meet a local family who started a business making pottery and get to tour there production area.
After lunch, it will be time to travel a little further north to the capital of the state of Querétaro; the city of Querétaro. This México colonial city is filled with interesting things to see and do. And tomorrow, your guide will “show you the town.”
After checking in at a local downtown hotel, you will have the evening to go exploring on your own and find a nice restaurant to have dinner. Your guide will point out some restaurant options near your hotel.
Day 3: (B,L)
The city of Querétaro is waiting for you to explore. After breakfast at your hotel, put on your walking shoes and get ready to learn about the history of this city which the Spanish officially established on July 25 in the year 1531. It’s proper name is Santiago de Querétaro.
Your local guide will take you on a walking tour to see the many well-preserved Spansh colonial buildings, churches, an ex-convent, and its ancient aqueduct system which transported clean water into the city totally by using gravity. We think you will also like the beautifully landscaped city plazas, gardens, as well as the many choices of indoor and outdoor restaurants available for a nice meal. Your guide will give you a short history lesson about what took place here when the local people started their rebellion against their Spanish overlords.
The afternoon is free to relax or wander as you please. Once again, you will overnight at the same hotel.
Day 4: (B,L)
Ok, enjoy your breakfast, then get your stuff together because it’s time to check out and head 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.
Today you will visit Pueblo Mágico #2, to 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 is one of the 10 tallest in the world. How cool is that!
In the town, there are cutesy shops to browse in and if you are game, your guide can take you on a short hike part way up the monolith on a path. Yes? No? Your group can decide.
From San Sabastián Bernal, the road east will take you and your traveling companions into the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Region of Querétaro. It will be 3 hours of winding and hilly driving with that fabulous scenery we mentioned above.
Your stopping destination for today will be the #3 Pueblo Mágico, Jalpan de Serra. There your hotel room will be waiting for you.
Day 5: (B,L)
The Sierra Gorda mountainous region is home to 5 beautiful Spanish missions all built in the 18th century. Today you will get to tour 3 of the 5 churches each located in a different town. They are Landa de Matamoros, San Francisco del Valle de Tilaco, and Santa Maria de Agua de Landa in Jalpan. 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. Your guide will interpret some of these symbols and also give you the background on how and why these missions were built in this wilderness area.
Once again, your group will overnight in Jalpan de Serra.
Day 6: (B,L)
This morning it’s time to check out of your hotel and go “see some nature” in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere.. Your guide will lead you 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, everyone will hike back to the 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. You will visit an old cantina, try some local liquors, and taste their delicious fresh bread.
Your final destination for this day will be your hotel in the town of your #4 Pueblo Mágico, San Joaquin.
Day 7: (B,L)
Today you can have a leisurely breakfast as we will continue our exploration in the late morning. Nearby is a large underground cave called, Gruta los Herrera. A local guide will lead your group on a tour of this underground wonderland of interesting stalactites and stalagmites.
Then after lunch, you will all 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. Your guide will introduce you to its temples, the area where the common people lived, and to view the 3 ball courts found at this archaeological site.
On this night you will again stay in San Joaquin.
Day 8: (B,L)
Today is going to be a busy day of exploring more of the state of Querétaro.
After checking out of your hotel, you will 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.
Next on your agenda of places to visit is the beautiful botanic gardens of Cadereyta. Note: The town of Cadereyta is Pueblo Mágico #5. Here you 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 which are different kinds of cactus.
Lunch will be at a botanical garden restaurant.
Hey, what better way to cap-off a delicious lunch than to do some wine tasting. Yes, you will visit a local winery to learn about how they produce their wines. And of course … there will be an opportunity to do some wine tastings.
After that, a 30 minute drive time will bring you to #6 Pueblo Mágico - Tequisquiapan and to your hotel for the evening.
Day 9: (B,L,D)
This morning you can relax, have a leisurely breakfast, or get up early and go exploring on your own in Tequisquiapan. Your choice.
In the late morning, it will be time to travel a short distance to the town of Villa Progreso where a local Otomí guide will lead you on a cultural tour relating to the traditions of his heritage.
You and your travel companions will be invited to his home to meet his family and share in a traditional lunch with them.
There will be one more stop before you reach you head back to your hotel. Finca Vai is a small family-run place where they make cheese, craft beer, sauces, and more. Your group will take a tour of this rustic estate and along the way, learn a thing a two about the art of making cheese. So bring your camera and say, “Cheeese.”
In the afternoon, everyone will return back to Tequisquiapan (their big sign in town say, TEQUIS). Your guide will take you on a stroll around the town and point out some of the notable places here.
Then in the evening, it will be time for a get-together with your guide for a fun farewell dinner where you can reminisce about all your tour and just enjoy a relaxed fun evening with your travel companions.
You will overnight in your hotel in Tequis.
Day 10: (B,L)
After breakfast, you will have some time to get your things together and then check out to start traveling south towards México City.
However, there is still one more place of interest to go to. 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. But, it is on the way and it is quite interesting.
This small museum shows prehispanic and colonial Mexican burial rituals. 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, your guide will take you back to the first hotel you stayed in near the airport when you first arrived. Then it will be time to say Good-Bye or Hasta Luego to your host guide.
Day 11: (B)
You can make arrangements with the hotel front desk for a shuttle to take you to the México City Airport for your flight back home or to wherever your next adventure awaits you.
Thanks for joining us on this tour. Please come back and visit us again … perhaps on another one of our exploration tours to visit another great region of México.
March 8 - 18
April 26-May 6
May 31-June 10
September 27-October 7
* Includes day of arrival & departure
– Want to make this a private tour for 2-16 people? Please contact us for available dates and tour price.
– Want to customize this tour to fit your vacation schedule & interests? We can help you. Just contact us and let’s get creative!
$2395 per adult / double
$2095 per child (10-17)
Single: +$410 USD
Tour Price Includes
Querétaro host guide
Hotel shuttle service to and from the México City Airport
All ground transportation
All activities per itinerary
All entrance fees
10 nights of hotel lodgings
10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 1 dinner
All guide tips
Tour Price Does Not Include
Additional activities & meals not listed above
Trip interruption insurance
Trip medical insurance
Activity Level: Easy-Moderate
Group Size: 4-12
Suggested Minimum Age: 10
Arrival & Departure City: México City / México City
Deposit: $350 USD per person
A Reminder -
Tips are already included in your trip price for all specialty guides as well as your main host guide during this tour.
So there is no need to fret over how much to tip and of having the right amount of Mexican Pesos.
You just enjoy your trip and we will take care of the gratuities.