Attractions in Tequisquiapan, Mexico: What to do and where to go
Tequisquiapan, in spite of being a small town, has more than four centuries of history and culture. Visiting this gorgeous place, located in the countryside, not only will astonish you, but will delight you with its beauty, pleasant climate all year round, several aquatic parks, and very laid back atmosphere. But above all, when you visit Tequisquiapan you know that you are really experiencing colonial Mexico. Explore Queretaro and find out that there really is a whole lot to discover!
Miguel Hidalgo Plaza
Miguel Hidalgo Plaza is flanked on one side by quarry stone arches and the old Temple of Santa Maria de la Asuncion, with its neoclassic facade, on the other. Here, time has stood still, you can breathe fresh air and feel the colonial atmosphere of old Mexico. In the center of the plaza there is a kiosk built at the beginning of the century, as well as dozens of handicraft stores, restaurants and cafes encircling the plaza.
La Pila Park
A visit to La Pila Park is a must due to its historic importance and relaxing areas. The central focus of the park is a large structure where water was once kept, and later the local people used it as a pool. Today La Pila is a recreational area to rest and stroll around, or perfect for a family cookout under the leafy, ancient sabino trees.
Old Bernal Train Station
The old Bernal train station now serves as a lookout point over the town. From here, you can admire the sunsets and sunrises, as well as the beauty of Tequisquiapan.
Legend Walking Tour
On the weekends, learn more about the history and the legends of Tequisquiapan by taking the Legend Walking Tour. This tour is conducted by professional actors who reenact various scenarios around the town.
The town of San Juan del Rio was on the main route of silver shipments during colonial times, which led to the rapid economic growth of the area and many lavish haciendas to be built. Nowadays, several of these stunning haciendas have been transformed into luxurious hotels. During your stay in San Juan del Rio, do not miss out on the opportunity to visit them, since they are wonderful reminders of colonial Mexico. San Gil Hacienda (hotel), Galindo Hacienda (hotel), La Venta Hacienda (hotel), and La Llave Hacienda really stand out as some of the best examples.
In Tequisquiapan and the surrounding areas there are many aquatic parks that are ideal for relaxing, having fun, and for taking a refreshing dip in the spring waters. Sun, pools, water slides and lots of outdoor activities are waiting for you and your family, year round, in this gorgeous region of Queretaro.
Tequisquiapan Celebrations and Fairs
During the month of May the Tequisquiapan area is packed with visitors, mainly because the Feria Nacional del Queso y El Vino (National Fair of Wine and Cheese) takes place during this time. This is a very popular event where the most important wine producers and cheese makers of the region present their delicious products. During the month of July, the Fiestas de la Fundacion (The Celebration of the City's Founding) features several cultural and artistic events to celebrate the founding of Tequisquiapan. In a similar fashion, in August there is a big celebration that honors the town's patron saint, called the Fiesta de la Asuncion (Celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin).
Another great attraction, a few minutes drive north of Tequisquiapan, are the vineyards. The most important wine producers, in the state, are La Redonda and Cavas Freixenet, the latter featuring cellars constructed 82 feet under the ground. These two places have been blessed with an excellent climate and fertile land, allowing them to produce really outstanding products. Both offer free tours, on a daily basis, through their attractive facilities, so you can learn more about the age-old process of winemaking and also get to taste a few of Queretaro's wonderful wines.
La Carbonera Opal Mine
In the Tequisquiapan area you can also find a mine open to the public, La Carbonera. This and other mines in Queretaro are the top producers of opals in the country. La Carbonera is an interesting place located in the Trinidad community, 7.5 miles from Tequis. During the trip to the mine, aside from enjoying the landscapes and being able to get in contact with nature, the miners will tell you exciting stories.
Twenty minutes from Tequis, in the town of Cadereyta de Montes, there are two important nurseries, the Manuel Gonzalez de Cosio Regional Botanic Garden and the Quinta Fernando Schmoll. Both are investigation centers, where they grow, conserve, and exhibit cactaceae from the semidesert area of the state of Queretaro, as well as from other regions of the American Continent and Africa. When walking around these nurseries, you'll get to admire the unique, exotic beauty of a wide variety of different species of cactaceae exhibited here.
Villa de San Sebastian Bernal
Villa de San Sebastian Bernal, better known as Bernal, is a tiny picturesque village 20 minutes north of Tequisquiapan. This Pueblo Magico (Magic Town), an award given by the Mexican Government in 2005, was founded in the 17th century. Now it is a place that offers several attractions to the thousands of tourists that come here every year to visit this wonderful town.
Some of the attractions include Pena de Bernal, the third highest monolith on the planet, ideal for rappelling and climbing; beautiful colonial buildings such as El Castillo, De las Animas Chapel, De la Santa Cruz Chapel, and the Temple de San Sebastian Martir. The tranquil streets and green landscape will give you a real flavor of colonial Mexico. The delicious regional gastronomy, in the several small local restaurants, is definitely worth trying, but especially at the Mercado Artesanal y Gastronomico (Artisan and Gastronomic Market). There are also an excellent variety of handcrafts, such as woolen clothing, ceramics and wooden pieces, just to mention a few.
San Juan del Rio
San Juan del Rio is a city 12 miles south of Tequisquiapan. It is the second most important city in the state of Queretaro and is home to a good variety of attractions for the entire family.
There are numerous temples and churches, their interiors decorated in a neoclassical style, dating from between the 16th and 19th century. Do not forget to visit the Parish Temple of San Juan Bautista, the main temple in town. Also, the Conjunto Conventual de Santo Domingo, which was built in 1691 and has a handsome facade made of dark quarry stone, is well worth a visit.
During your visit, to San Juan del Rio, do not miss out on the opportunity to visit the History Bridge (Puente de la Historia) that was constructed in the 18th century. It spans the San Juan River and was the most popular route for people traveling north and west of New Spain. Another main attraction is the Museum of the Death (Museo de la Muerte), formerly a cemetery until the mid 19th century, where you'll find this interesting subject presented in a truly fascinating way.
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