Ideas to enjoy the monolith and the Magic Town
What you should know if you visit Bernal …
The Villa de San Sebastían Bernal is a peaceful place that you can explore on foot, visiting its handicraft stores, among which wool and blanket products and typical sweets stand out.
From every corner, you will be able to appreciate the majestic Peña de Bernal that is said to be charged with energy. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to climb the rock.
The weather in spring and summer is hot during the day, but generally cool at night. In winter it can be quite cold even in the day.
The Magical Town of Santiago de Bernal, in the state of Querétaro, is ideal to visit for a weekend. It has the characteristic of being quiet, small, and, yes, very instagrammable. In addition to its proximity to Mexico City, it has other advantages: it is the gateway to the Sierra Gorda, it is located a short distance from the Magic Town of Tequisquiapan and it is located in the wine-growing region of the state, so get ready to taste some good reds.
Bernal may be small, yes. But, you will be surprised by the infinite number of things you can do, starting with climbing the famous rock of Bernal, considered the third largest monolith in the world. Here, the flora made up of garambullos, mesquites, and huizaches, will frame your postcard. And, at night, you can capture its dancing fountains that are located at the foot of the rock.
The monolith has created the fame that the Magical Town of Bernal is charged with positive energy, therefore, there are plenty of spaces to do a shamanic cleanse or detox with a sacred temazcal bath.
Get on the rock. You can go alone or in the company of a guide. If you choose the latter, the guide will tell you about the characteristics of the monolith, the flora, and the fauna of the place, and will tell you a little about its history. The walk lasts an hour and a half. Don’t forget to bring a hat and slip-resistant sneakers or boots. The cost is 160 pesos. www.lapeniatours.com
Aqueductur offers an ecotourism tour around the rock to get to know the Chichidó protected area, cave paintings, springs, a cave and a place where, it is said, that the echo is repeated seven times. There is also bird watching. The tour includes lunch (two gorditas and drinks). Price: 600 pesos per person.
One of the best things to do in Bernal is to go down Calle Independencia, to visit the Museum of Masks. It has more than 300 pieces brought from different latitudes, some are carved in dehydrated maguey stalk or bone, to name a few.
Traditions that you will admire and will delight your palate on this same street you will find stalls that offer the typical dish, the broken corn gorditas.
But, if you are looking for a more formal lunch or dinner, take a stroll down Calle Juan Aldama, with its charming restaurants and bars.
We have to warn you, Bernal is not very popular for its nightlife, so the party in the town ends before one in the morning.
To buy handicrafts, nothing like the La Aurora Artisan Center, in front of the Main Garden . Here you will see artisans in action, making coats, shawls, rugs and cushions made of wool and woven on a pedal loom.
There are several tour operators that offer the Cheese and Wine Route: it is a tour that includes, depending on the package you choose, several wineries and artisan cheese factories or farms, as well as a walk through the magical towns of Bernal or from Tequisquiapan.
In the surroundings, you can take the Cheese and Wine Route and get to know the community of San Antonio de Cal, located behind the Peña de Bernal. There, the customs of the Otomí-Chichimeca culture are preserved intact , which is why the region was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Bernal, a sacred site
Before the town was founded in 1642 and the surrounding mining regions were exploited and it became one of the country’s climbing capitals, this site was a sacred center for the Chichimeca and Otomí cultures. Hence, every May 4 an indigenous procession takes place to the top of the great rock.
Since ancient times, a pre-Hispanic stone cross with a circle in the center has been venerated. Although originally the walk was made to ask for rain (let’s not forget that this is the semi-desert area of Querétaro), today the intention is to preserve the traditions. The dedication of the pilgrims has made this annual event inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
There are several vineyards that you can visit, such as the Finca Sala Vivé de Cavas Freixenet México and its impressive cellar at 25 meters. deep, or Viñedos Azteca where you can taste some of the best wines in the region and enjoy the beautiful Hacienda. To stay, check our list of HOTELS (CLICK HERE)