pena de bernal

The Peña de Bernal is often referred to as the third largest monolith in the world. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Is This Once-Active Volcano an Energy Vortex? Visit the Heart of Querétaro and Feel the Vibes

Sixty-five million years ago, in the heart of Querétaro, an enormous volcano was extinguished forever; the lava inside slowly cooling until becoming solid. The passing of time destroyed the volcano slopes, revealing the cooled-off molten rock, a beautiful and enormous monolith known today as the Peña de Bernal, the third largest monolith in the world after the Rock of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean and the Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil.

Peña de Bernal is said to possess energetic qualities, and the village at the base of the monolith is considered a holistic healing destination—that receives thousands of visitors every year during the spring equinox.

As travelers, it’s always best to try things firsthand, so we invite you to feel the vibe at Peña de Bernal for yourself and be blown away by the charm of its Pueblo Mágico (Magic Town).

Explore the Summit

Adventurers will want to start their day by stretching their legs and climbing La Peña, for which we suggest being accompanied by an expert. You can book a tour with Viator, which offers promotions with well-trained guides.

After enjoying impressive views from the summit of La Peña, you’ll be supplied with the necessary equipment to rappel down—for a well-rounded activity. It’s not necessary to have previous experience to rappel downhill.

Another fun activity to do in La Peña is to head to the Parque Ecoturístico Los Cuervos; you can arrive in an off-road vehicle to explore the protected nature areas of the park and view the preserved cave paintings.

Take a Break for (Foodie) Delights

Surely, after the excursion, you’ll arrive back on earth with hunger. The Bernal tradition is to eat gorditas—pancakes made of corn and filled with different stewed ingredients like peppers, cheese and roasted corn, chicharron (pork rinds), picadillo (mincemeat) and a colorful variety for all taste buds—on the street.

For a more fit meal, visit El Mezquite, an outdoor restaurant with small tables and a privileged view of La Peña. Don’t forget to order the Mesquite chile, stuffed with mincemeat, apples, pears and almonds; and don’t worry, it’s not too spicy because it’s marinated with brown sugar.

pena de bernal
Taste some of the typical sweets they make in the region. (Photo: Getty Images)

Historic Desserts

If you are one of those people that craves something sweet after meals, a good option would be to visit the Casa Museo del Dulce (Museum House of Sweets). In addition to tasting the typical sweets they make here, you can tour the history of pre-Hispanic and Mexican food through cuisine representations from different eras, ingredients and instruments

Afterwards, don’t miss a visit to the San Sebastián Mártir church, constructed in 1700. At night, enjoy Bernal’s good weather while strolling through its quiet squares or you can visit Folk, a bar specializing in mixology and wood-fired pizzas—a perfect end to the day.

A Glance at the Museums

After a good rest, you can visit the museums of Bernal. First stop is the Museo de la Máscara (Mask Museum) where you’ll find a collection of masks from Mexico and the world, as well as pieces that won the Concurso Estatal de la Máscara (State Mask Competition).

Many of these masks were made with corn, agave and cactus, therefore they overflow with personality and speak about the surroundings from where they were made.

Crossing the street you’ll find the Museo de las Ánimas, where they exhibit maps and oil paintings from the time when Bernal was founded. Additionally, there are also religious objects and a motley chapel where the faithful would write requests on the walls asking for help from the Ánimas del Purgatorio (Souls of Purgatory).

Continue your journey at the Museo del Cine (Cinema Museum) to get to know the work of filmaker Rosalío Solano, originally from Bernal and director to a legacy of more than 200 movies.

To culminate the day and do a little shopping to take home, visit the Centro Artesanal La Aurora. Here, you will find artisans washing, dyeing and weaving wool to create beautiful tablecloths, ponchos, bedspreads, coats and anything you can come up with. It’s a good opportunity to witness the artisans weaving on the waist loom in person.

Let yourself be carried away by the charm of Bernal and its tranquil and nostalgic aura. We are sure that once you get to know it you’ll want to return.