Our Visit To The Sierra Laguna Biosphere Was Epic

Filed in Adventures in Mexico!, Cultural Adventures!, Travel by on December 22, 2017 4 Comments
red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

Christian, tour guide exceptional!

After two days and six dives in Cabo Pulmo, adventures with bull sharks and fish tornadoes, we were off to Sierra Laguna Biosphere, ready for a change of scene. Our fantastic Red Travel Mexico guide, Christian, had a little disappointing news for us. A “norte” (a storm where the winds come from the north and are cold) was closing in on La Paz, making our trip to Espiritu Santo to see whale sharks and sea lions unlikely. To save you the suspense, the winds were high and the ports were closed, so we were unable to participate in that itinerary. Thankfully, we had a flexible, seasoned group who knew that Red Travel and Travels with Tam can’t control the weather. Instead, we enjoyed other areas of the Baja, which means we’ll need to go back to Espiritu Santo another time! Something to look forward to.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

One of the most amazing sights was this Hummingbird nest filled with baby Hummingbirds! I’d never seen a nest before, and these chicks were cuter than you can imagine! We all spent a lot of time checking in on them during our stay.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

Cactus grows everywhere on the Baja…it is so unusual to see cactus, mountains, and the ocean at the same time.

On Day 3 we visited the Sierra Laguna Biosphere in the mountains of Sierra Laguna. UNESCO has designated the Sierra de la Laguna a global biosphere reserve: “This semi arid to temperate subhumid climate area represents highly important and contrasted ecosystems, including arid zones, matorrales, low deciduous forest type, evergreen oak: Quercus devia (“encino”) woods, pine-evergreen oak mix woods and oases with palms and “guerivos” situated throughout the gallery forest following the long river basins.” The Biosphere reserve was established by a Mexican presidential decree of 6 June 1994, which designated a core area and buffer zones. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_de_la_Laguna) Within the biosphere are ranchos, and we visited Rancho Refugio where the old ranchero way of life is unchanged. There are few left, and the culture may well die out since the children are opting for cities and the larger world.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

While touring the Rancho, it was common to come upon animals wandering around. Goats, horses, cows, and dogs were always nearby.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

A meteorite kept on the ranch, it was found by the ranchero’s grandfather.

We toured Rancho Refugio with one of the family, Rogerio, and discovered the life of the authentic rancho family. I was expecting a “hacienda”, but that is not rancho culture in the Baja. The family had furniture outdoors for sitting and sleeping, and the kitchen was also outside. The ranchero showed us how they live, different ways they make their living (leather working, crops, animals), and the lack of modern day “necessities” (which of course, are not necessary). We embarked on a hike through the mountains, taking us through boulders, woods, and streams. The stream was as clear as glass, I don’t know that I have ever seen such clear, clean water! We walked through huge white boulders and saw waterfalls, pools, and even a “slide”! No, I didn’t try it, that would be tempting my luck too far. We had one fall, but it wasn’t me! (Mark!) We also bouldered, and looked at a ficus palmeri, also called a rock fig. It is known as the Boulder Strangler. The fig roots encircle another tree’s trunk and eventually reach the ground. The roots then enlarge and squeeze the host tree’s trunk while the upper branches overshadow it and starve it for light. The host dies and rots, leaving a hollow giant fig tree. It looked like a banyan tree, only white. Fascinating killer strangler tree! After our hike, we headed to the outdoor kitchen and made tortillas. Their honey was absolutely amazing, maybe the best I’ve ever had! Lunch was lovely, under the trees.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

Ficus Palmeri, the Strangler! You can see the dead tree within the ficus.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

An intimidating place to hike, but beautiful.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

You can see rock figs on the boulders!

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

The hike was challenging, but fun!

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

What a fantastic group of people! From left to right, Rogerio our guide, Mark, Chris, Janet (of Go Learn Things travel blog), me, Amanda, and Tom.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

We bouldered behind the waterfalls

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

The beauty of the hike was in its austerity.

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

Tortilla making

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

Rogerio picked this squash flower for my lunch since I was the only vegetarian!

red travel mexico, travels with tam, hiking, baja, sierra laguna, bouldering

My flower tortilla! It was delicious.

We headed to La Paz after our day in the mountains. As you can imagine we were very tired! The sun was setting, so we snapped a few photos and headed to our beds at the Hotel Catedral. The hotel was quite lovely, and more on that later!

You’d also enjoy reading about a Baja Tornado of Fish!

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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life!
Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

Comments (4)

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  1. Amazing pictures as always Tammy! Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  2. Janet says:

    This was probably my favorite part of the trip. Great post Tam!

  3. Tam Warner says:

    Really? I thought the bull sharks might be!

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