Zimapan: A Typical Colonial Mining Town of Hidalgo

Located 1780 meters above sea level, the mining town of Zimapán has a mild climate, a rich history, and unexpectedly beautiful locations that belie its humble beginnings as a colonial outpost.

Zimapan: A Typical Colonial Mining Town of Hidalgo
Zimapán is a colonial mining town with a warm temperature, rich history, and beautiful landscapes. Credit: Zimapán Hidalgo

The architecture of some of the mines, such as La Plata, one of the first to which the mining development of the place over centuries is due, and which can be visited to tour many tunnels and the atmosphere of mineral exploitation, reflects the reminiscence of the colonial past of Zimapán, in the state of Hidalgo.

The parish church of San Juan Bautista from the XVIII century, some old mansions, the beautiful and quiet square, some hotels with green areas, and small gardens; another with the largest juniper tree in the world whose base measures 12.80 meters; and the majestic Sierra Gorda within reach of its visitors make Zimapán a tourist attraction.

On the outskirts of what is now the city of Zimapán, on the Mexico Laredo highway, is a beautiful structure: Hotel Royal SPA, with a long history dating back to the occupation of the region by the first Spaniards in 1550, but the most memorable dates back to the eighteenth century, when the place served as a stagecoach stop and shelter for its passengers under the name El Paraje, later known as Posada del Rey, now Hotel Royal SPA

It has been beautifully restored and is reminiscent of the splendor that existed in the region during the Colonial period. The outer gardens, its gorgeous and vast indoor patio, the basement with the authentic colonial tavern with the wine press dating from 1687, and big wine barrels transport visitors back in time.

The lobby features side staircases adorned with 16th-century armor, a dining room illuminated by chandeliers, authentic 16th-century furniture, and antique paintings, and the lounge, where the nights under the semi-desert sky soften the beautiful melodies of the piano, making it an extraordinarily pleasant space and the time spent here unforgettable.

To the above is added the SPA Sanus Per Aquam, or "Health Through Water", an ancient Roman treatment. And the Royal SPA Hotel, which the old Inn became, is today a major physiotherapy facility in Hidalgo, providing its visitors with an exquisite and comfortable place to rest while simultaneously strengthening their health.

The Canyon of Infiernillo

Another natural beauty, 27 kilometers from Zimapán, is the huge Infiernillo canyon, formed by the San Juan and Tula rivers. One of Mexico's greatest hydroelectric plants was built on this canyon, with a massive curtain 203 meters high, between the rugged walls of the double-height canyon. It is a true work of Mexican engineering.

The journey from Zimapán to the hydropower plant provides a panoramic view of Hidalgo's Sierra Gorda, which features several rock formations. A massive hydroelectric dam may be seen from the top of the sierra. The dam is a haven for fishermen, water sports enthusiasts, and fishing tournaments.

The Shan Adu center, located at the top of the Sierra before descending to the dam, is a magnificent tourism development unlike any other. It is a marvel placed on the verge of a deep cliff with inconceivable walls, whose scale can only be grasped and experienced by seeing it, which facilitates the lovely and cozy cottages located at its edge.

The location overlooking the canyon, surrounded by the Sierra Nevada with desert vegetation such as cacti, huizaches, and mesquites, and accompanied by birdsong, is one of a kind for nature enthusiasts. However, it is also a location to rest before partaking in sport fishing or other water sports such as kayaking.

Another destination to visit near Zimapán is the Mármoles National Park, which contains the majority of the accessible places and paths for admiring the natural environment of Sierra Gorda. That one houses the Barranca San Vicente, which is more than 600 meters deep, and the Barranca Tolimán, which is 914 meters deep and has walls that are up to 182 meters high and can be seen from the town of Encarnación.

Near this canyon, at the summit of the beautiful Sierra Gorda mountains, with elevations of 3000 meters above sea level, lies the semi-abandoned Encarnacion, a former mining town that also goes by the name Villa de las Nubes due to its regular fog cover and where you can drink good fruit liqueurs.

Imán's Cerro

Cerro Gangandhó (Cerro de la Piedra Azul, in the Otomi language) is also nearby. It is also known as Cerro Imán (Magnet Hill) because its summit is capped by a magnetic iron oxide stone, which functions as a natural magnet and attracts metallic items, hence the name "The Stone That Attracts" Piedra Imán (Magnet Stone).

The Xaljaun caverns, a region of fanciful geological formations surrounded by hot springs, are another attraction within the Marmoles National Park. From here, you can gradually descend to the bottom of a valley densely forested with subtropical vegetation and palm trees. In the Sierra Gorda of Hidalgo, Mexico, Zimapán and its environs provide numerous opportunities for adventure and touch with nature.