Rincón de Parangueo Crater – Rincon de Parangueo, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Rincón de Parangueo Crater

Rincon de Parangueo, Mexico

A dark tunnel leads to a striking white crater that seems to be from another planet. 


You enter this enigmatic lake-crater through a tunnel about 1,500 feet (500 meters) long, which local children are in charge of lighting. Most of the route is dark and narrow, until you leave the tunnel and everything is transformed.

At the other end of the tunnel you’re hit with the sensation that you’ve just reached another planet. The scenery is something completely unexpected: a white desert. If it weren’t for the inescapable heat, you could mistake it for a snowy landscape. A small reddish lake and green hill surrounding the ghostly crater provoke beautiful contrasts to the white soil.

This striking natural crater in Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato, carries with it a peculiar history that combines myth and reality. Locals legends say the lake waters turn red to announce and prevent disasters. The otherworldly pit has also been linked to UFO sightings, giant vegetables, and ancient rock paintings. It’s all part of the beauty and mystery of the crater. 

Know Before You Go

It is necessary to reach Valle de Santiago in Guanajuato and exit it in a westerly direction, towards Huanímaro. Then take the second exit to the right towards Rincón del Parangueo at the height of San Nicolás, about 7 km from Valle de Santiago. Already in the community of Rincón del Parangueo, follow the signs, (definitely insufficient) towards the crater and the parking of the place.

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