Our good friends Manuel and Alejandra from Toluca joined us for a 3 day trip to the Sierra Gorda Wednesday through Friday, February 4-6, 2015.
We set out early on Wednesday and drove to Cadereyta, one of the 83 “Magic Towns” (Pueblos Magicos) designated by the Mexican government as worthy of visits. We arrived in Cadereyta about 9:30 and first visited the Templo de Pedro and Pablo, built by the Franciscans 1725 – 1756, with its spectacular Churrigeresque Retablo begun in 1752 by the sculptor Don Pedro de Rojas.
After exploring the Plaza Principal, we made our way to the Finca Schmoll, facing the Pilancón town fountains.
The Schmoll botanical garden is a leading collection of cactus and succulent plants, both for appreciation and for research. Our guide (also named Alejandra) gave us a very knowledgeable tour of the greenhouses. Our friends Alejandra and Manuel picked out some small plants to take home – included in the tour! Then we got to explore the very large mature garden. On our way back to the Plaza Principal, we were happy to see a Green Heron enjoying the local ponds.
From Cadereyta we continued our journey into the Sierra Gorda. We stopped next in Vizarrón, a marble-mining town famous for the sculptures produced there. Our interest was focused on gorditas: we always enjoy finding savory gorditas in the towns we pass through with Manuel and Alejandra.
Our plans called next for visiting the Cañon del Paraíso, which we had read about on the internet.
That turned out to be quite an adventure, as we struggled to find the turn off of the highway onto the long dirt road over a mountain and down into the canyon. To our surprise the road eventually came to an end: running right into the river. Manuel consulted the local residents and found that the road simply turns into the riverbed, up the river for some 200 yards and then climbs out on the other side. Our instructions from the website mentioned a green hanging bridge – which we did find: at the point where the road climbed out of the river. Not a word in the instructions about driving up the river bed. We were not willing to consider such extremes. We did, however, enjoy the beautiful canyon and river (as far as we got).
Then back over the mountain on the difficult road, and on up into the Sierra Gorda through the “Puerta del Cielo” and Pinal de Amoles to the Cascada del Chuveje, a gorgeous waterfall and trail leading to it, on the Rio Escanela. We enjoyed the delightful company of a very enthusiastic canine guide.