GREATER GASTRONOMY, LODGING AND FUN
Crossing the Magical Town of Bernal, the road number 100 goes to the municipality of Tolimán, where is the threshold that divides the semi-desert of the majestic mountain range that forms the Sierra Gorda Queretana, an area of great natural and cultural richness between the hillsides and the tops of different microclimates.
The road forks before beginning the ascent between the hills on a road that opens between splendid landscapes with clearly marked ecosystems. If you take the right path, after just over an hour, you will know that you enter the municipality of San Joaquín with the change of colors, of the land, of the fresh air, the vegetation becoming wooded, a place completely different from the city, the semi-desert of the Queretaro highlands or the wild desert of Peñamiller.
Just a few years ago, San Joaquín Pueblo Mágico was mainly recognized by the prestigious Huapango Huasteco National Contest, with which this picturesque municipality earned the nickname of the Huapango Cathedral. A trip to San Joaquín, for many, meant a picnic in Campo Alegre or taking photos of the Mirador de la Crucita; beyond the head, the ruins and small pre-Hispanic pyramids of the archaeological site of Ranas, the Grottos de lo Herrera or the waterfalls of Las Maravillas. Those were the main ways to get into the attractions of this corner of the Sierra Gorda, but now, the new options for fun and spend a nice weekend in San Joaquin will be something that you can not leave out.
The first thing that stands out in this new tourist stage of this Magic Town, is its cuisine. Beyond the rich cheese gorditas enchilado in the market, you can find dishes for all tastes and, the best, at any time.
There are many travelers reluctant to leave the habit of a good breakfast that includes some eggs (called blanquillos in many sides) to taste in the morning or a rich chilaquiles, fruit or coffee; For them, El Otatal Restaurant (named after an old mine in the municipality), is the perfect place. The dishes are generous, the seasoning tasty, the prices comfortable, and, most importantly, its location: just a few steps from the municipal presidency and next to the kiosk on the esplanade; It is a comfortable place, with fast and friendly service.
There are those who seek the traditional flavor, that the dishes are part of the place, that represent Mexican food. San Joaquín owns the red enchiladas -known in certain places as queretanas, some say they are potosinas-, but with cecina and the Sanjoaquinense essential seasoning, the local oregano. There will be no person in the huapango cathedral who does not cook with the oregano that only exists in that geography, and of which the locals feel proud.
Those enchiladas can be eaten, with a particular flavor, in Citlali Restaurant, just in front of the monument of the Roundabout of the Round Stone, the point of arrival in this beautiful municipality; or, at the El Burrito Restaurant, where, in addition to filling your hunger with a large dish of meat and that Mexican flavor of the enchiladas, you can savor a gigantic burrito bathed in green sauce, exclusive for "good tooth" diners, with a taste worth trying.
There is a place that dared to recreate the local cuisine and combine it in a modern concept of identity; La Petenera Restaurant, name from a string instrument that inspired a piece of huapango, a cultural feature of San Joaquín. The concept of the chef seeks to incorporate the identity of the apple, the most characteristic fruit of this town, to most of its dishes; the apple chicken, the sushi, or the fried ice cream are dishes so you can not miss it.
San Joaquín chicharrón, which many could confuse with carnitas, is also part of the traditional food of this Magical Town, to such an extent that it is planned to organize soon a fair dedicated to this dish. Chicharrones Puro San Joaquín, there are those who affirm it, they are the best and they intend to prove it.
If you are in search of another unmissable dish, the delicious skewer of meats at El Torito Restaurant is an excellent option; Their shrimp in cheese and chipotle sauce are incomparable. For the night, Antojitos Memo prepares tasty cakes and burgers with which you will not go to sleep hungry -and if you ask for them double, the size surprises you-.
Where to sleep…
The options to stay in San Joaquin are also for all tastes, from the comfort of staying within the town, to the tranquility that gives you being surrounded by nature. Mesón Doña Lupe offers comfortable rooms, very close to the center of San Joaquin, in an environment dedicated to the tradition of huapango. The white color of its walls, the contours of its windows, recall the typical costumes of this Huastec dance; In addition, each of the rooms are identified with the names of huapango pieces (including the author of the song).
The Cabañas Las Ovejas, just 5 minutes from the municipal seat, are an excellent option for those seeking to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Its three cabins have a small stove, frigobar, bathrooms with hot water; a common area with barbecue and an ideal climate to breathe the pure and privileged air of San Joaquin.
Cabins Xicali, meanwhile, a few kilometers further from the head, passing the community of Las Maravillas and entering one of the slopes of the mountains, offers a temperate climate and a spectacular landscape that opens between the hills to contemplate from the Tree hut or from its hot water pools. In addition, regardless of the distance that separates them from the municipal seat or the road, Xicali has enough Wi-Fi signal for those who need not feel incommunicado. It also has a small shop where you can find the necessary consumables, and where you can even have some micheladas, so that your weekend in San Joaquín is a satisfying experience.
Curiosities and Fun
In a corner of the municipal seat, there is a special place to gather and work the various minerals that occur in the region. Antigua Roca is a recommendation to visit and take home a gift or a souvenir, which not only promises to decorate your home, but to keep your energy aligned, since there is a great variety of minerals native to the municipality that, they will explain to you, they adapt to your own personality and your needs.
Among the new projects that have emerged among the population of San Joaquín, La Escondida Recreational Park stands out for the fun you have at hand. Located in the town of San Joaquin, La Escondida has an extensive wooded area adapted to play with your friends and family, a circuit of five zip lines, a small badminton court and the possibility of practicing archery.
Parque La Escondida also has a small store, space and a tent for camping, an audio room, even small grottos where children can have fun at their leisure.
With all this, the people of San Joaquín, who shine for their human warmth, shows their legitimate desire to make their town truly magical, a genuine place, a must-see tourist destination in the state of Querétaro.