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Let’s celebrate the 26th anniversary of the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve.

Reserva de la Biósfera El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar (1)

Things you should know about El Pinacate

  • El Pinacate is the most biodiverse desert in the world, a wonderful destination for photography and video due to its imposing flora & fauna, its brilliant daylight, orange sunsets, and spectacular nights.
  • The desert shines with color in the spring when the flowers regain their splendor.
  • A must-visit place is the “Shuck Toak” visitors center, located 24 kilometers from Puerto Peñasco and within the actual reserve, a museum where you can get to know more about the volcanic site.
  • Thanks to its great biodiversity, the Sonoran Desert holds more protected areas than any other desert on the planet.
  • In the area you can find more than 560 plant species, 41 species of mammals, 200 birds, 43 types of reptiles, as well as a variety of amphibians and freshwater fish.
  • El Pinacate and the Greater Altar Desert is host to a great number of archaeological artifacts that have been proven to be more than 20 thousand years old; it is a culturally important site for the Tohon O’odham nation, who considers that the origin of their creation is in Pinacate Peak, where they still hold religious ceremonies.
  • El Pinacate has the highest concentration of “maar” type craters in the world. Aside from that there are also over 500 ash cones, lava flows, creek beds, and granite & tuff massifs.
  • The Greater Altar Desert has the largest area of Dunes in North America, this particular type of star dunes only exist in certain areas around the world.
  • It was declared Biosphere Reserve El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar in 1993, and declared world heritage site by UNESCO in June of 2013.
  • In 1969, personnel from NASA visited the site, due to its surface resembling that of the moons own, to have landing tests before actually visiting the moon.
  • The “Shuck Toak” visitors center is the first, and largest in Mexico, self-sustaining public building. It has 132 solar panels and an wind generator that supply electric energy from autumn to spring.
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