One of Mexico’s best-kept secrets, the Cañada de la Virgen archaeological zone opened to the public in February of 2011. Since then, Albert Coffee has taken over 30,000 people on his academic-level introduction to the pre-Hispanic history of Mexico through visits to the site which he had the privilege of helping excavate. The site itself is a true testament to the mathematical, astronomical and architectural genius acquired over thousands of years by its builders and their ancestors. The House of the Thirteen Heavens, the House of the Longest Night and the House of the Wind are three of the main structures. Occupied between 540 and 1050 A.D., they served as ceremonial spaces, elite residences, burial grounds and time keeping instruments that are aligned precisely to the movements of the celestial bodies. The site was also a pilgrimage destination for common people who brought in tribute to the elite astronomer priests who lived and died there and used the place as a refuge, an observatory and possibly even an astronomy school. Don’t miss this most informative, accurate and well-presented tour of the site.
$59 USD or peso equivalent by credit/debit card.
Length of tour: 4.5 hours
Includes: All transport, entry fees, Albert Coffee as guide through the archaeological zone.
Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday. The site is closed on Mondays.
Exact time is given to each participant, though most departures are between 9am and 11am.
Pickup point is St Paul’s Church (Iglesia de San Pablo) on Cardo Street
Google Maps Link to pickup point
Video courtesy of Dennis Keyes
Things to know:
- No bags or backpacks are allowed into the site because of recent thefts of artifacts. Small camera bags, cameras and water are ok. Bags can be left in the vehicle or with site staff at the visitor’s center.
- Hats, sunblock and comfortable walking shoes are recommended as there will be about 3 km (2 miles) of walking to do.
Horseback Riding Excursion
An optional horseback excursion can be added to the pyramid tour at the end or done on a separate day. Price includes all transport, horses, cowboy guides and a delicious ranch style meal at the ranch. It is the best horseback experience to be had here and a great way to experience contemporary rural life in the area. The family at the ranch have been there for 8 generations and have exclusive access to the most scenic areas. It passes through several working ranches and the most scenic canyon system that runs near the pyramid site. It is appropriate for all levels of riding ability.
This adds about 4 hours to the trip. 2.5 hours of actual riding. Their expert knowledge of horses and livestock will ensure that your visit is safe and comfortable. Located only a short distance from San Miguel de Allende on the high plateau overlooking the city among natural surroundings and breathtaking views. Cost: 2576MXN/person.
Wine Tasting, Vineyard Tour
The Holy Trinity (La Santisima Trinidad) is a vineyard that merges different passions in one place. It is a real estate development with an agricultural area composed of vineyards, olive trees and lavender, in addition to having a boutique hotel, restaurant, polo field, olive workshop, lavender workshop and of course wine. Don’t miss your chance to experience this unique opportunity.
$1,550 MXN per person.
Tour duration from start to finish: 3 to 3.5 hours.
Departures are at 2:00 pm from in front of St. Paul’s Church on Cardo Street.
Includes: Roundtrip transportation from SMA to the vineyard, entrance tickets, guided tour of the vineyard by the sommelier, where visitors will see the facilities: fields, production area and underground barrel cellar.
Visitors will visit the lavender and olive oil production workshop. There, they will learn about the oil extraction and have a chance to taste them later in the tour.
At the end of the tour, you will enjoy different wines accompanied by a cheese board and fresh olives.
Tours are offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Prior reservation required. Tour will be confirmed once minimum group size has been met.
Hikes, birdwatching and other ecological and cultural tours through the surrounding countryside are also available.