Sierra de La Laguna Biosphere Reserve, an off-the-grid marvel
The Sierra de La Laguna Biosphere Reserve, home to the tallest peak in Baja California Sur, lies approximately 16 miles north of San José del Cabo. It stands at an impressive 2,090 meters or 6,500 feet. This reserve, a UNESCO, site has experienced a remarkable 700% increase in tourist numbers.
The surge in visitors from around the world to this mountainous region is particularly notable during adventure vacations. Travel enthusiasts are drawn to this area to test their skills and enjoy the stunning views of Baja California Sur from the summit.
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of tourists flocking to Los Cabos specifically to explore the mountains. This trend reflects the growing preference among tourists for nature-focused, sustainable, and wellness adventures that seamlessly complement their beach resort vacations.
Nearly 50% of the visitors to Sierra de La Laguna comprise international tourists, with the other half consisting of Mexicans and local residents.
The allure of this destination lies in the opportunity to observe distinctive flora and fauna, drawing visitors to explore the rich biodiversity. Additionally, the area is celebrated for a variety of outdoor activities, including canoeing, climbing, hiking, and more.
Among the locals, November emerges as a favored time to visit Sierra de La Laguna, particularly around the 20th and during Dias de los Muertos.
Why come to Sierra de La Laguna?
Situated in Baja California Sur, the Sierra de La Laguna Biosphere Reserve stands as a distinguished UNESCO World Heritage Site. This extraordinary location showcases diverse landscapes, including the only pine-oak forest found within the Baja California Sur Peninsula and enchanting lowland rainforests.
Within the untouched expanse of this reserve, a flourishing avian community exists, with a remarkable count of over 154 bird species making it their habitat. Notably, 24 of these avian species are unique to the Cabo region, while an additional 15 species exclusively thrive in the oak forest.
Visitors have the opportunity to witness the stone dams built by the local community for the purpose of capturing the excess water during the rainy season. According to UNESCO data, the upper portions of these dams collect up to 700 mm of water each year.
What can you do in this Biosphere Reserve?
The possibility of observing unique animal and plant species is one of the reasons that attracts tourists to this paradisiac reserve. However, Sierra de La Laguna offers much more than that. It is a great area for nature and adventure enthusiasts, with a variety of outdoor activities available.
Hiking is particularly popular, especially during the months from November to early spring when the conditions are optimal. The reserve boasts several hiking trails, including the Cañon San Dionísio trail.
This trail, which starts in Boca de La Sierra on the east side of Sierra de La Laguna and ends in Santo Domingo on the west side, is one of the easiest and most popular paths in the reserve.
The Cañon San Dionísio trail covers around 22.5 km and usually takes an average of three days to finish. Moreover, the trail features several water pools, providing hikers with a convenient source of drinkable water and eliminating the necessity to carry bulky bottles in their backpacks.
Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize that navigating these reserve trails can be challenging, mainly due to the difficulty in finding and following them. Therefore, it is recommended for tourists to enlist the assistance of a local guide to reduce the risk of getting lost.
Hiking is not the only outdoor activity offered by Sierra de La Laguna. Canoeing, climbing, bouldering, and camping are also popular activities that attract a growing number of tourists to this reserve each year.
Climbing the Sierra de la Laguna
Ascending a 6,500-foot mountain might not seem like a formidable challenge to some adventurers, but proper preparation and physical fitness are crucial. This is mainly due to the hot and humid weather that awaits those trekking to the summit.
Many nature enthusiasts opt to undertake this journey in the peak season, from October to December, when the weather is more temperate. During this period, travelers are spared from worries about extreme heat or the risk of hypothermia during the excursion.
Currently, Sierra de La Laguna can host a maximum of 600 individuals per night. According to authorities, despite the significant increase in tourist visits to the reserve, this maximum capacity has never been reached.
Hence, tourists planning to stay overnight need not worry about availability. This may be due to Sierra de La Laguna being entirely off-grid, meaning campers must contend with the absence of electricity and water.