The pretty village of BERNAL, 60km east of Querétaro, hunkers under the skirts of the soaring Peña de Bernal, a 350m-high chunk of volcanic rock that towers over the plains. By wandering towards the peak (mototaxis are also on hand to drive you to the base) you’ll soon pick up a rough but clearly marked path about two-thirds of the way to the top (the ascent takes up to an hour, half that to get down), where there’s a small shrine and long views stretching out below. Only appropriately equipped rock climbers should continue up the metal rungs to the summit, passing a memorial plaque to an earlier adventurer along the way.
At weekends, half of Querétaro seems to come out here, gorging on the locally celebrated gorditas and making for a festive atmosphere, but midweek it is an altogether more peaceful place: the mountain is likely to be deserted and you’ll be just about the only thing disturbing the serenity of the plaza with its charming little church and terracotta-washed buildings, sumptuous in the afternoon light. Be forewarned, however, that many businesses are only open at the weekends and many more shut for the month of May.