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El Cielo Biosphere Reserve is the southern part of the state of Tamaulipas in northeast Mexico. It is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve[1].


Cloud forest in El Cielo Biosphere Reserve

This protected biosphere reserve is in a mountainous area of southern Tamaulipas in the Sierra de Cucharas, part of the Sierra Madre Oriental range. It is an ecologically diverse area with 14 vegetation types (mostly tropical forest), though the most important goal is to preserve the mountainous cloud forest because it is a rarer ecology in Mexico and is the furthest north example of this environment. The reserve provides habitat for a number of endemic and threatened plant and animal species. Large mammals who make their home in the reserve include black bears, tigrillos (leapardus wiedii), jaguars, and ocelots. 255 bird species have been cataloged in the reserve, along with dozens of reptile species.

The reserve covers an area of 144,530 hectares. El Cielo is a designated UNESCO biosphere reserve.


The reserve was founded in 1935 by a Canadian horticulturist named John Harrison.


Flora and fauna[edit]


Get in[edit]

Fees and permits[edit]

Get around[edit]


  • Centro Interpretivo Ecologico (open 10ː00-17ː00, closed Monday and Tuesday, phone +528342887166) - El Cielo's visitor center is a large, inviting, very modern facility with exhibits showcasing the biodiversity of the reserve and the need to preserve the earth's wild spaces. It's circular design and floor to ceiling windows provide visitors with panoramic vistas of the tropical forest.



  • Centro Local De Artesanias Tradicionales is a gift shop on state highway 58 just before the turnoff into the biosphere reserve. Odd hoursː open 24 hours Saturday and Sunday but closed Tuesday-Friday.




Several cabins and basic hotels are on state highway 58 as it passes through the town of Gomez Farias adjacent to the biosphere reserve.




Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

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