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Cuatro Ciénegas Biosphere Reserve

  • (worth a detour)
  • 10+ km
  • Moderate
  • full day
  • 2 2

Wetlands, caves, sand dunes and more!

El Rodeo (Zaragoza 109 Norte) for cheese and meat

Cuatro Ciénegas (Four Marshes) is a 84.4 hectare biosphere reserve located near a city with the same name in the northern arid state of Coahuila. According to the NASA, it is highly likely that Cuatro Ciénegas could be a strong link to life on Mars due to the food chain of the unique flora and fauna that inhabit the region that resembles that of 550 million years ago and the species ability to survive the extreme conditions in the region such as the lack of phosphorus in the waters and the high solar radiation that hits it. Cuatro Ciénegas is often compared to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador due to its rich and varied flora and fauna. The reserve is mostly famous for its colorful pools of water that house live stromatolites and white sand dunes.


The reserve is the home to more than a hundred species of flora and fauna that are unique to the area and hence, it is highly protected by the Mexican government and many conservation leaders. Aside from that, there are colonies of cyanobacteria that have become extinct in the rest of the world.


The main attractions include, but are not limited to:

  • (Blue Pool)
    A pool of crystal-clear blue water (note: it is protected and you cannot swim in it). There is also a museum that hosts photographic expositions of the flora and fauna found in the reserve.
  • Las Playitas (The Small Beaches)
    An extension of several lands saturated by waters and one of the largest bodies of water in the reserve.
  • La Poza de la Becerra (The Pool of the Calf)
    The home to a myriad of species that do not exist anywhere else in the world
  • Dunas De Yeso (Plaster Dunes)
    A series of white sand dunes, which are the third largest in the American continent.
  • Poza Churince (Churnce Pool)
    Spring pools with different temperatures each, where you can swim in and relax.
  • Ejido Nuevo Atalaya
    In this place, you will find several caves with paintings on the walls created by indigenous groups who inhabited the area thousands and thousands of years ago.
  • Cerro del Muerto (The Death Man’s Hill)
    Its name comes from the hill’s shape that resembles a dead body laying on the ground. It is a perfect location to do rock climbing.