We are grateful for the recognition we have received over the past 15 years.

El Cedral Camp, A Proposal for Conservation Tourism in Sierra Gorda

Mexico's Sierra Gorda, a true natural treasure, is becoming a magnet for tourism thanks to its lush biodiversity and breathtaking scenery. However, the massive increase in visitors poses a significant challenge for this delicate region, especially at sites such as El Chuvejé, Cuatro Palos and Puente de Dios, which are facing increasing saturation. Reflecting on the management of these sites and how we tourists contribute to their preservation is essential to ensure that the wonders of the Sierra Gorda endure for future generations.

Guardians of one of Mexico's great lungs.

At the gates of the picturesque Pueblo Magico Pinal de Amoles, we met "Chema", a true guardian of the biosphere reserve. Chema, along with his family, is the owner of "Campamento El Cedral", a private project that demonstrates that tourism can be a positive force for raising awareness among visitors through meaningful experiences. With a background in tourism, hiking and certifications in environmental interpretation, Chema presents himself as an expert committed to conservation.

El Cedral Camp: A Sustainable Refuge

As we enter El Cedral, we are greeted by the aromas of cedar and pine that abound in the area. Chema reveals that they are implementing remarkable efforts to regenerate the soils through controlled grazing. This method, which allows ruminants to loosen the soil, facilitates the vitality of native species. We observe tiny pines sprouting among the fallen trees, mushrooms, native flora and fauna, but... the question arises: how is this space managed? Does it take a large team to keep El Cedral in order? Is it the same for all mountain destinations?

Chema clarifies that for them it is not a job, but a game; building lookouts, creating safe paths and maintaining the place is fun for them, as they learn by playing. He tells us how the pool that houses the main ajolotario came about: "At first it was just an idea for my brothers and me to enjoy a sunny day swimming. We started building with local materials and one day we realized that there were these salamanders.

Ajolotls and conservation: beyond the surface

Salamanders, amphibians endemic to Mexico, are an essential part of the biodiversity of the Sierra Gorda. Although they are better known in Xochimilco, their habitat has been modified in that area, unlike in mountainous areas such as El Cedral where we can find specimens in their purest state. 

Although they are a clear attraction for the camp, their preservation is also important. So how do they manage to protect them if they are part of the guided tour? Chema explains that it is very easy since "the quality of the visitors is more important than the quantity"; his goal is that tourists arrive and reinforce this awareness during the visit, thus contributing to a more responsible tourism about the natural spaces and the fauna they know.

Tourism that cares for and preserves

The Sierra Gorda presents us not only with natural beauty, but also with the importance of sustainable and regenerative tourism. The commitment of people like Chema, who see tourism as a tool for conservation, highlights the need for careful management and active community participation. By visiting El Cedral, we not only enjoy the experience, but also contribute to the preservation of this natural treasure for present and future generations.

Learn more about the El Cedral project:

WhatsApp: https://wa.me/524412768838

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elcedralpinaldeamoles?mibextid=ZbWKwL  


*Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Tequisquiapan Campus.

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