Life on Mars and MexicoCuatro Cienegas has got to be one of the coolest places on the planet earth! It is certainly not like any other place or ecosystem I have ever visited and I would have never imagined you could find paradise in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert.
"Cuatro Cienegas" means "four marshes" in Spanish and at one point in history this place was a wetland. The pools, called pozas, are scattered throughout the desert around the town. Some of the pools are warm and some of them are freezing cold! They are a blast to swim and snorkel in!
Cuatro Ciénegas is an official Mexican biological reserve because the ecosystem has unique fauna and flora that can't be found any other place in the world! NASA stated that the biological reserve of Cuatro Cienegas could have strong links to discovering life on Mars, since the adaptability of bioforms in the region was unique in the world. How far out is that? Some refer to Cuatro Cienegas as the "Galapagos of Mexico".
Be sure you also check out the Gypsum Dunes that are also located here. This place is a geologist's dream!
I would recommend staying at Quinta Santa Cecilia during your visit, and although many of the pozas are mapped and marked you are better off hiring a local guide to take you to the best spots. Cecilia or the management of your hotel can assist here.
The drug battles in this part of Mexico continue to dominate the press, but we did not feel unsafe during our visit here.