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Cities Bernal (Querétaro)

Bernal, another „pueblo mágico“ situated only 2 hours drive from Mexico City has a lot to offer. Colored colonial houses, cobbled streets, great Mexican food and wine (yes wine), but also the third biggest monolith in the world (after Gibraltar and Corcovado in Brasil). La Peňa de Bernal was formed by volcanic activity and grows from the earth full of cactus right behind the little town. It reaches the hight of 2500 meters (thought it is only 288 meters tall) and the top is reachable only with mountaineering equipment.

Bernal is small but lively, 90% of the tourists are Mexicans so the ambient is „fiesta“ and prices are reasonable. The original inhabitants of this place were Chichimecas. This derogatory name was given to them by the Aztecs and means „savage dogs“.

What here: A lot, so you better book a hotel to stay overnight. Great food (try Doňa Tere on the main street Hidalgo 8, or Mezquite, restaurant behind the main square and church with a view of the monolith. They also make a very weird thing here, a cactus filled with cactus (on the picture). Great wine! There are several wineries around, you can visit Freixenet (for great champagne) or La Redonda (for wine).
You can get to the monolith (and climb halfway) on your own following the main street and then a stony path up (about 1,5 hours). Local tour agencies offer „train“ or bike tours around Peňa de Bernal for about 100 pesos.

Where to stay:
My favorite was a small boutique hotel in the town center Casa Mateo with a small swimming pool in colonial-modern style (from 1200 pesos). Other nice option nearby is Posada Meson de San José, tel: 441-296 4000 (600-800 pesos). There is a new hotel a little bit further, looks like a newly built castle, but has a great view from the terrace, El Encanto (700 – 1200 pesos). Along the road leading to the monolith you can find Hostal Quinta Maruca, kind of simple rooms but quiet (600-700 pesos).
How to get here: The best is in your own car (2 – 2,5 hours) from Mexico City following the highway to Querétaro. Or you can take bus to Querétaro and then a local one to San Sebastian Bernal.