Come to Rocky Point

El Pinacate

and Grand Desert of Altar Biosphere Reserve

The stunning landscape of volcanic craters bathed in black lava of el Pinacate, as well as the dunes of the Gran Altar desert, in Sonora, were declared world heritage site by UNESCO. Its ten huge, very deep, circular caters constitute only part of the beauty of this unique place in the Sonoran desert, which is home to the greatest biodiversity of the four North American deserts.

El Pinacate is an exceptional area for ecotourism and for watching hundreds of birds glide through the air with a fascinating desert scenery as its background. Within the volcanic area there is a museum showing the prehistory and evolution of this area, which, due to geographical defects or external effects, has been transformed over time.

This natural protected area is home to over 1,000 species of flora and fauna, and is considered as the desert with the greatest biodiversity in the world. Here live 40 species of mammals, 200 of birds, 40 of reptiles, as well as amphibians and two species of native fresh water fish. There are also some endangered species such as the Sonoran pronghorn, the bighorn sheep, the Gila monster and the desert turtle.

El Pinacate and the Gran Altar Desert also have a great wealth of archaeological remains, dating back to over 20,000 years. The papagos or tohono o’odham (desert people) a group of people still living in this territory, consider it as being a very important cultural site, as they maintain the belief that the origin of their creation took place on the Pico Pinacate, where they still perform sacred ceremonies.

The designation of El Pinacate and the Gran Altar desert makes Mexico proud, it was for this reason that UNESCO received its candidacy in which it is accredited that this Natural Protected Area has an outstanding universal value, with natural and important ecosystems for the preservation of the biodiversity, in addition to a unique scenic and aesthetic beauty unparalleled in the world. 

The distinction grants Mexico the fifth natural site designated world heritage of humanity, earlier, this distinction was granted to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the El Vizcaino Whale Sanctuary, the islands and Protected Areas in the Gulf of California, and the Biosphere Reserve of the Monarch Butterfly.

Biology Station: 638 383 1433

Schuk Toak Visitors Center: 638 388 2277
Business Hours: Mon – Sun 8:00am to 5:00pm



  • Claudia Reyna 637 110 2507
  • Ecoturismo Caborca Israel Nava 637 104 5887
  • Alma del Desierto 637 117 6681