1. All visitors to the Archaeological Zone of the Sierra de San Francisco must observe and respect the requirements and provisions of the Federal Law Regarding Monuments, Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Zones of Mexico.

2. All visits must be conducted by an authorized INAH guide. This guide shall be paid by the visitor in accordance with officially established rates.

3. Only authorized Archaeological Sites may be visited, these are listed at the end of these regulations. This list is subject to changes and modifications by INAH, therefore, visitors should consult an authorized guide or coordinator.

4. Visitors may invite one or two close friends from the Sierra who are not included in the rotation of guides for a given trip.

5. All visitors shall sign a waiver in which they take full responsibility for any accident which might occur to them during the trips to the various archaeological sites in the Sierra.

6. Any persons wishing to visit the archaeological sites on mule back must pay the daily rental rate per animal for each day of the trip. For every 60 kilos of luggage and equipment, one animal must be rented. If the load is very large or cumbersome and is under the 60 kilos limit, a single animal must be used. The maximum weight of any one person must not exceed 110 kilos.

7. When a visitor requires specific riding animals for a trip, the animals in the rotation schedule must also be paid for, even if these are not used.

8. Food for the guides must be provided by the visitors in accordance with regional customs and preferences. In the event that the visitors are unable to provide food for the guides, these are at liberty to negotiate an economic agreement with the visitors.

9. Campsite conditions and locations shall be designated by the head guide and all visitors must adhere to these conditions.

10. Consumption of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances of any kind is not permitted for the duration of the trip.

11. It is strictly forbidden to touch the paintings or apply water or other liquids. In the case of petroglyphs, these must also not be touched, chalked in or wet down with water or other liquids. It is forbidden to place or attach photographic scales or rulers on any painted or engraved surface. Flash may be used, but not reflectors or lights of any kind.

12. Smoking is not allowed in any of the archaeological sites.

13. Any and all trash generated by visitors must be removed from campsites and returned to the point of departure for disposal where the guides indicate.


1. All visitors and designated guides for the Archaeological Zones of Baja California Sur shall be subject to the Federal Law Regarding Monuments, Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Zones of Mexico.

2. Coordinators and guides shall prevent any person or persons from visiting any Archaeological Site if they have not first contacted the guide or guides required and paid the authorized fees.

3. The San Ignacio Visitor Center shall inform the Coordinators of San Francisco de la Sierra and Santa Martha well in advance of the number of visitors scheduled to participate on a trip to the Archaeological Zone.

4. The guides shall take anyone wishing to visit painted or petroglyph sites, charging the authorized fees for the services rendered and which have been established by the INAH Center in Baja California Sur.

5. Visiting hours for Cueva de El Ratón are from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

6. Guides will be assigned by rotation. There will be no exceptions to this rule so that the economic benefits are shared by the entire community and to prevent only a few individuals from benefiting and enjoying this income.

7. In the event a designated guide is unable to take part on a given tip, his son shall take his place but only if the son is an authorized INAH guide.

8. In the event of witnessing, or hearing by any means, of negative effects to the cultural heritage the guide or any other individual is obligated to inform the proper authorities (INAH).

9. Any project whose purpose is to discover or explore sites and archaeological monuments may only be undertaken by INAH or any recognized scientific institution with previous authorization from INAH. Individuals clearly identified as members of the project team shall receive full support and will be given the necessary assistance for their undertaking. In the event that a custodian, guide or any other person is not fully convinced as to the intent of said project, this must be communicated to the proper authorities (INAH).

10. Authorized Guides shall identify themselves by displaying a credential issued by INAH. Authorized Guides shall offer their services in the area assigned to them by INAH in Baja California Sur.

11. Designated Guides must be of legal age and are obligated to know the area assigned to then intimately. They must also know the painted and petroglyph sites as well as have the necessary knowledge for handling mules and burros.

12. The guides and visitors taking trips in the area may not, under any circumstances, camp, light fires, or remain longer than necessary for them to be able to complete their visit to the shelters, caves and open sites containing archaeological evidence.

13. In the event that a Guide receives word of a previously unrecorded site with paintings or petroglyphs, he must communicate this information immediately to INAH.

14. Salaries and rental fees for animals shall be authorized by INAH by means of an official document sent by the INAH Center in Baja California Sur to the Coordinators.

15. If the visitor's animal suffers an injury or accident, the guide must replace it with his own.

16. Coordinators shall keep a detailed list of animals, saddles and other equipment necessary for trips, as well as the number of Authorized Guides. Guides may be removed in accordance with the needs and requirements of INAH. The cancellation of any authorization to work as a Guide shall be determined by INAH and the Coordinators.

17. Trip departures shall be authorized by the Coordinator, once all the requirements of documentation and logistics have been satisfied.

18. The owner of rental animals who is unable to provide his services as a Guide, shall charge 70% of the rent corresponding to the animals which shall be distributed equitably among the guides for that trip.

19. Only Coordinators may authorize the participation of minors on all the trips. These youngsters shall only perform duties in aid of the Guides, principally as animal handlers. This is conceived as part of a strategy to create future guides. Authorization shall be given with the consent of the head guide for the trip who shall of responsible for the participation of the apprentice.

20. Apprentice guides shall be paid the same authorized wage.

21. There shall be a Coordinator in San Francisco de la Sierra and one in Santa Martha who are responsible for the enforcement of these rules and regulations as well as their implementation with regard to guides and visitors alike. Anyone arriving with the intention of visiting the Archaeological Zone must identify themselves by means of a passport, tourist card, draft card or any other document that identifies them clearly. This identification is compulsory as it is information which must be entered into a registration book.

22. The authority which shall resolve any and all disputes related to these rules and regulations shall be the Director of the INAH Center in Baja California Sur.


1. Established campsite area limits shall be respected as well as restrictions for the preparation of meals and washing of dishes and other kitchen utensils. The campsite has the relative signage posted, please help keep it clean.

2. Authorized campsites are San Francisco de la Sierra, El Granadillo, El Cacarizo and Santa Martha.

3. A maximum of 25 persons shall be allowed to camp at any one time, including guides. This number may not be increased under any circumstances.

4. The El Granadillo campsite may be occupied by a maximum of seven persons.

5. Food may not be thrown or disposed of in the water course. This a vital link to life downstream, please respect it. For the same reason, bathing is not permitted.

6. No camp fires shall be lit. Cooking shall be done on camp stoves exclusively.

7. Disposal of garbage is not allowed in the campsite or surrounding area. All refuse generated during a group's visit shall be removed from the canyon. It is strictly prohibited to bury or burn any garbage in the area.

8. Please do not feed any wild animals. Guides will ensure tthat food is stored out of reach of the local fauna.

9. No hunting of any kind is allowed in the area.

10. Please, no consumption of alcoholic beverages while at the camp or archaeological sites.


A Central Reservations System has been designed to control the flow of people to the sites and program their visits at all levels. This has become necessary in view of the extreme vulnerability of the painted sites, the limited space at campsites and the highly fragile characteristics of the natural environment. Therefore, visitors have been classified in the following manner:

-Zones open to the public with limited access and closed areas.

-Recurring visitors to the Sierra.

Category I. For persons who wish to visit Cueva de El Ratón and the petroglyph site on the road to Guadalupe, or Cuesta Palmarito.

Category II. For persons who wish to visit sites accessible from Santa Martha and San Francisco de la Sierra, such as Cañón de Santa Teresa or Arroyo del Parral.

Category III. This category includes persons who have already visited the aforementioned sites and wish to visit other areas. These include Cañón de San Gregorio and San Gregorito, El Batequi and others. In view of the fact that there is an extraordinary number of sites of great importance in these areas, it is necessary to plan and reserve these trips six months in advance in writing to the INAH Center in Baja California Sur. This is necessary to allow programming of guides and an INAH Custodian that must accompany these groups. Therefore, each person or persons must request in writing authorization for this category of trips to the INAH Center in Baja California Sur.

Category IV. Strictly for academic purposes. This category is only for researchers duly accredited by INAH and/or SEDESOL, and in the case or archaeologists, these must have authorization in writing from the Archaeological Council of INAH.

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contributed by
Justin R. Hyland