Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve

by Jane Sophia
Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve

What can you see in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve?

When the majority of us grew up, we had only zoos and aquariums to see wildlife, and marine lives. There were no such things as biosphere reserve, nature preserve, sanctuaries, or national parks.

These are the development much later though the term, ‘biosphere’ was coined as early as 1875.

A biosphere is a place on earth that is suitable for various life forms can live and that include insects to elephants. Microorganisms, to killer whales and manatee.

It is such a place where habitat is possible for countless living beings. I would include human beings too but the dictionary doesn’t include us.

What is a Biosphere Reserve?

There is no short answer instead a lengthy definition by UNESCO.

It goes like this:

“Biospheres are learning places for sustainable development. They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.”

Though we can’t clearly make out to come up with a short answer, we can understand what it implies.

Shall we say biosphere is a sanctuary for all kinds of life except humans?

Let me stop at this point and go about speaking of Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve.

Where is Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve?

It is located in Mexico. To be more precise, it is in the state of Queretaro, northern Mexico.

Sierra points out to a mountain range in Spanish language.

How to reach Queretaro, Mexico?

There is an airport in this state capital called Santiago de Queretaro. It is served by local flights.

Mexico City is 220 km south-east of Queretaro. You can rent a car from Mexico City.

Queretaro’s mild climate, eye-catching natural beauty, good connectivity with the rest of Mexico, makes it a wonderful place to settle down after retirement.

Our destination, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is about 110 km south-west of Santigao de Queretaro.

What is the size of Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve?

Take a deep breath, buddy. It occupies approximately a million acres!

That works out to more than 3800

How many days to see all of Sierra Gorda?

While an ardent naturalist will spend 10 days in this biosphere reserve, a normal tourist like you and I, will need to spend 4 days.

There are tours operated who offers 3 to 4 days itinerary to see this Biosphere Reserve.

What can you see in Sierra Gorda?

I think the question should be, ‘what cannot you see in Sierra Gorda?

Broadly speaking, the large ecosystem includes jagged mountains, abysses, canyons, waterfalls, caves, river, hiking trails, forests, and tall cliffs.


Such a diverse geography acts as a habitat to diverse flora and fauna.

Let us foray deep into the biosphere.

The flora range included tall oak trees, coniferous trees, and plants. The plains are conducive for sugarcane plantations, and banana trees.

Fauna of Sierra Gorda Biosphere

    • Puma
    • Jaguar
    • Wood Partridge
    • Black Bear
    • Spider Monkey
    • Military Macaw
    • El Chuveje Waterfall

The waterfalls in Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve are the ultimate attractions because they are mostly hidden from the road.

To reach El Chuveje Waterfall, you need to walk roughly 30 minutes.

What do you say? Isn’t the water crystal clear?

The water falls from 100 feet!

Forest and mountains when exist together, you have scope for hiking and bird watching. Both are possible here too.

Some ardent adventurers pitch up tents in the middle of the forest for staying overnight.

Natural Hot Springs:

The nearest town is Pinal de Amoles. Apart from the breathtaking water amidst dense tropical jungle, you will stumble across numerous natural hot springs, numbering over 100.

El Salto Waterfall

This is another spectacular sight in Sierra Gorda. The height is more than the previous waterfall. In this case, it is 115 feet!

There are several drops from that height. It must be roaring there.

I believe one can find many more waterfalls and cascades if explored deeper into the forest of Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve.

El Satano del Barro

Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve

If translated into English, it means a ‘mud cellar’.

The image says it’s a chasm. In other words, a chasm is an abyss, similar to a canyon.

However, while the walls of the canyons are usually bald, an abyss is usually filled with thick vegetation.

The ‘mud cellar’ is an astonishing sight and one of the must-see spots in Sierra Gorda.

The earth from the top of the abyss lies at 1450 feet!

This is the second largest chasm in the world. I think it is better to call it an abyss.

Wildlife found in the El Satano del Barro includes the Puma, Military Parrot and wild boar.

  • Jalpan de Serra

It is a Mexican City and is part of the Sierra Gorda. This is a historic city with unique architecture.

Jalpan de Serra is famous for the 5 Franciscan Mission, that come under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Therefore, the city is also a pilgrimage center and act as a gateway to the Sierra Gorda.

Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is one of the world’s most important nature reserves.


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