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Climbing in Peña de Bernal

TO THE CONQUEST OF THE GIANT

Just 54 kilometers from the city of Santiago de Querétaro, there is a charming town called San Sebastián Bernal. Many Queretans, Mexicans and foreigners visit you to enjoy a dream scenario; understood in the tranquility and beauty of its streets, its fantastic architecture, its rich gastronomy and its delicious wines, and the sympathy and hospitality of its inhabitants.

But there is also an appeal of much greater challenge, a natural formation called the Peña de Bernal. In Basque, Bernal means "place of stones or rocks". So they put the town to the Basque soldiers who arrived in 1647 to establish a barracks and protect themselves from attacks pames and chichimecas.

As for mass, Bernal's monolith is the second heaviest on the planet, behind the famous Ayers Rock, in Australia. It is also recognized as the third largest natural monolith in the world, after the Rock of Gibraltar and the Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro. It rises 350 meters above the town of Bernal.

At the spring equinox, every March 21, thousands of tourists gather in this block of limestone, with reflections between whites and pinks, to be charged with energy. This mystical festival is common in other places in Mexico, where it is believed that there are special natural forces. It is said that the mineral deposits present in its interior, such as quartz, obsidian and fluorite, are elements that can easily induce relaxation states.

But the adventure begins when you start to upload it, for which there are several alternatives. One of them is to walk on a path that leads to the chapel, at the base of the wall. The advantage of climbing this part is the possibility of enjoying the incredible panorama it offers from its summit.

In order to climb, permission is needed from the municipal authorities and it is necessary to be guided by experts who know the rock, who can be found in the Magic Town and operate with respect and professionalism.

There is also the so-called Vía Ferrata, a 90-meter path that is traced by means of the iron staples. It is a classic route to climb the Rock and can be enjoyed by beginners.

The Bernalina is the longest road, with 280 meters, and is also recommended for beginners. However, it requires good physical form, knowledge and climbing skills to adapt to the quality of the stone and the direction of the itinerary. The summit is reached by the central spur.

The descent, of course, is done rappel, emphasizing the excitement of overcoming this challenge, framed by the beauty of the landscapes of Queretaro, which always observe back to this wonder of nature.

¿Qué Visitar?

What to Visit?

  • Querétaro If you visit Bernal you can also go to the city of Querétaro, a marvelous tourist destination where you can find the perfect fusion of the historical with the modern.
  • Tequisquiapan It is a picturesque place well-known for its hot air balloon rides and the work they do with wicker. We recommend that you visit the Basket Museum in this Magical Town.
  • Tancama Archeological Zone It is a regional Huasteca archeological zone in which you can find the remains of mammoths, and apparently it was ceremonial and astronomical center.
¿Qué hacer?

What to do?

  • Holy Friday A very solemn religious celebration that includes the Procession of the Silence that takes place in the Historic Downtown that night.
  • Day of the Dead As in the rest of the country, it takes place on November 1st and 2nd each year. During this national celebration the cemeteries are full of people who bring flowers, candles, food, music, and offerings to spend a day with those loved ones that have already passed away.
¿Qué Saber?

What to Know?

  • The Peña de Bernal or Bernal Rock is the largest monolith in the Mexican Republic.
  • The monolith is 2,515 meters above sea level and is considered the third highest in the world.
  • The rock can be climbed by amateurs as long as they are in relatively good physical condition, but it can also be a challenge to experienced climbers. It all depends on the route that is chosen.
  • In 1923 Bernal was climbed by members of the Explorers Club of Mexico.
  • In June of 2011 the Bernal Rock Fest was held, which was an event that attracted 500 climbers of various ages and different levels of experience. The funds raised were used for the conservation of the zone.

Popular Craft

  • Visit the "Casa Queretana de Artesanías" located in the historic center of Querétaro where you will find handicrafts and other articles of carved stone, wood furniture, items of clothing, jewelry, just to mention some.
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