Querétaro Daily: Cuatrimotos and Cascanueces

Since I typically like to create a catchy title for my blog posts, I thought I would take this as an opportunity to teach you all a few Spanish words that I learned over the weekend. 😀

Los Cuatrimotos= ATVs 

This weekend I signed up for an ATV tour in San Joaquín. What a blast!

On the tour we stopped at four main attractions:

1. Las Ranas Archaeological RuinsLas Ranas is located deep in the mountainside at the entrance to the Sierra Gorda biosphere reserve. These ruins were once inhabited by the pre-Colombian Chichimeca tribe from 200-900 A.D. These communities prospered due to their successful mining and distribution of cinnabar and mercury, which provided red pigment to the majority of Mesoamerica. The ecosystem here is very fertile and moist. Check out the variety of moss and fungi found on these trees. Kind of eerie! :/This is the first acorn I have seen in Mexico.  🙂Also, the place smelled like skunk, which is a species unique to the biosphere reserve. As I read later on, there are over 100 mammal species in the Sierra Gorda, including puma, jaguar and black bear. Additionally, there are over 300 species of birds and an estimated 500 archaeological sites which have yet to be uncovered. What a hidden gem! In fact, it was recently recognized as the number one ecodiverse location in Mexico.

The variety of ecosystems is clearly evident on this short ATV tour. Within minutes we were transported from our first attraction in the dense mountainous cloud forest to our next destination with a warm arid climate, filled with towering pine trees.

2. Campo AlegreCampo Alegre is a National Park and campground where, in August each year, they host the largest picnic in Latin America with over 15,000 visitors. What a fiesta! 😀

After a short break at the campground to stop and smell the fresh air, we were headed underground to explore an excavated cave.

3. Grutas Los HerreraThe cave was neatly paved with a walkway that was illuminated in pastel colors. Gorgeous!The construction of this cavern began during the Paleozoic period making this impressive collection of stalactites and stalagmites over 400 million years old. It is a combination of lava and mineral deposits, which slowly drip and collect on the rock. During my trip through the cave, there were numerous signs that read, “DON’T TOUCH.” I soon learned that each centimeter of rock takes over 100 YEARS to form. If all of the visitors touched the caves as they walked through, they would be damaging a century’s worth of effort. For example, look at how these water droplets are literally eating away at the mineral deposits. Crazy!4. MiradorEl Mirador is the lookout point over San Joaquín. I took a small video, which perfectly captures this peaceful mountain town. If you listen closely, you can hear roosters crowing, donkeys braying and mariachi music playing in the background.

I was incredibly impressed with this tour. For only $45, I was taken on a 4-hour outdoor adventure! Aventour Cuatris was a fantastic company with a friendly guide and automatic ATVs, which were perfect for a first time user!

Here is their website:

http://aventourcuatrisqueretaro.com/sitio/I did find something interesting when I went to use the bathroom at their house before we began our tour. Look at all those toothbrushes!! I have no idea how many people live there, but their dining table looked like a scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Hah. Growing up as an only child, I could NEVER imagine living with so many people. Serious props to them!Anyway, for this tour I went with a friend that I had met in Morelia. He is originally from Newport Beach in California, but now his family lives in Mexico and he is studying at the University in Querétaro . I was fortunate that we were able to go on this adventure now, because he is moving to Germany next month to finish his studies in Computer Science.

We drove his car from Querétaro on this exhilarating two-hour road trip along a winding narrow highway into the mountains. Gorgeous views!I told him that this road trip reminded me of a family vacation I took with my family to the Badlands of South Dakota. My poor aunt Cheryl was hanging on for dear life as we wound around the narrow roads overlooking a deep canyon. She would NOT be smiling on this road trip either! Hah.Love you Cheryl. ❤ You can enjoy these pictures without the dangerous journey. 😀

Overall, I would highly recommend San Joaquín for a day trip and getaway from the bustling city of Querétaro. 😀

El Cascanueces= The Nutcracker 

On Sunday, I was invited to a play by my fifth grade student, Irene. This holiday pageant featured ballet performances found in The Nutcracker and also included various other forms of performance art.Here is my student showing off some serious attitude as the posh character, Mama Bombon. 😀The ballet was a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit and their dancing was truly impressive for such a young age.

The real surprise happened when one of the groups busted out some moves to dubstep music. I did NOT see that coming!

I went to the performance with my friend Julie, who is Irene’s art teacher. Such a sweetheart!It was a great way to bond with my co-worker and show support for my student’s extracurricular activities. 😀

Anyway, Christmas is right around the corner. Celebrating the holiday season in Mexico WITHOUT snow has sure been strange, but I have NO complaints. Hah. Here is my new Christmas tree. It is small and adorable. Sure to fit in my suitcase wherever this new ESL journey takes me. Yes, those are Mexican sugar skulls. 😛 Enjoy and until next time. 🙂

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