This majestic and ancestral site, located just a few miles outside Puerto Peñasco, is a must if you are planning on visiting this nook of Sonora.
El Pinacate Reserve is made up of hundreds of craters, a sea of dunes that is actually the longest extension of dunes in North America, and the Sonoran desert mountain range. It has spots you can get to thanks to special routes designed for vehicles, or you can also join a tour and other expeditions that will take you straight to the heart of Reserve where you will be able to camp and have your very own special encounter with nature.
Currently, entry into the crater area is located at kilometer 51 on the Sonoyta – San Luis highway, providing easy access on a dirt road leading to the area known as El Tecolote, El Elegante crater, and El Colorado hill.
Plus, along the way, you can stop to photograph signatures etched in stone believed to have been left by Apollo astronauts, who left their mark during training practices at the Reserve before venturing to the moon.
Though El Pinacate is a protected site, this unique, bio-diverse location, which has even been named a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is open to visitors so they may get to know one of the most sacred and historically rich places in the entire Sonoran desert.
To visit the Pinacate, there are also special tours offering services, including: Sierra Tours and Ecoturismo Caborca. These specially designed trips to El Pinacate include activities such as visiting the sand dunes, camping, and even up to week-long caravans. These companies also provide for special groups that prefer the “glamping” experience, offering cooks, tour guides, and highly trained staff.
The crater area can be visited by families, or small groups, by car (4×4’s are preferred). It is important to consider taking needed provisions, such as water, sun block, comfortable clothing and foot wear, as well as a camera for those special moments.
We highly recommend you visit El Pinacate with someone who knows and is familiar with the area. It is further recommended you visit during the day before 5 p.m., to ensure good visibility and appropriate safety.
If you are interested in obtaining more information about tours or regulations, we’ve provided below phone numbers and web links for tour companies. This includes the “Schuk Toak” visitors center, a modern geographical museum complete with interactive screens providing information on the volcanic shield that makes up El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve.
LOCAL TOUR OPERATORS
If you are already in Puerto Peñasco and want to visit El Pinacate, here are tour companies located in town:
Sierra Tours (Ruta del Oeste Reserva de la Biosfera / Gran Desierto de Altar) 638 388 7315 en Peñasco / (520) 288 95 80, en Arizona. www.sierratours.com.mx
Claudia Pinacate: 637 110 25 07
Israel Nava de Ecoturismo Caborca 637 104 58 87
EcoFun Rentals: 638 388 9699 US 602 635 3736 www.ecofunrentals.com
OUTSIDE TOUR OPERATORS
Whether you live in any part of Mexico, or even outside the country, contact the following providers. They will be able to provide you with information on their tours, and even recommend the best route for you to take so you can reach our destination and experience a unique adventure.