Vinos y Dinos: a Mexican tour of terroire and Triceratops

Mexico for wine-lovers and dinosaur-snobs

What connects wine-lovers and dinosaur-snobs? Mexico!

100 million+ years in the making, the Saltillo region in Mexico’s state of Coahuila offers the perfect hunting ground for delicious adult beverages and spectacular fossils.

Wait. Mexico has dinosaurs?

Of course! Mexico’s dinosaur belt runs across the northern part of the country, from Baja to Chihuahua. Fossils excavated range in age from the Jurassic (180 million years ago) to the late Cretaceous (70 million years ago, also known as T-rex time)

Mexico has wine?

Wine culture dates back to Spanish colonisation in the 1520s, when Cortez required settlers to plant grapes in the New World. Nestled in the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains, the northeastern state of Coahuila produces a variety of wines almost as diverse as its dinosaurs.

Saltillo: best of both worlds

Normally after a day of dinosaur excavating, the best one can expect is a warm can of Bud Light. Coahuila’s capital Saltillo is changing that, pairing tours of local vineyards with a stop at the Museo del Desierto. (For those who inexplicably prefer a more human-centric view of history, the museum also displays exhibits focused on the mere 12,000 years of people inhabiting the area)

For more adventurous sorts, another tour includes the Rincón Colorado ejido, which allows visitors access to the Cerro de los Dinosaurios: bone-covered hillsides littered with outcrops containing duckbills, ceratopids, and tyrannosaurids.

Tours

Based in Saltillo, Vino y Dinos offers two day-long tours: towards the desert or towards the mountains. Both include a dino museum, so the most difficult decision will be to narrow your vineyard choices to three per day. Use the very helpful information pages to guide this difficult decision. Individual and group tours are available. (Note: some vineyards have a minimum age requirement)

A note on fossil collecting

As tempting as it may be, please follow the rules! Stick to approved areas. New species of dinosaurs are being found in this region all the time. Pocketing a small bone in an unauthorised area could not only compromise the next scientific breakthrough, but could get you in trouble with the law for trespassing, theft or trafficking artifacts. Hunt with your camera, not your hands. If you must take home a souvenir, stick to the official museum gift shops, which offer properly prepared and identified fossils. Then go celebrate your new-to-you coprolite with a glass of Mexican Cabernet.

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battleface magazine editor Sasha is a writer and amateur palaeontologist from New Orleans. When not writing or digging dinosaurs, she teaches English.