Nov 1, 2002, 8:09 AM
Post #5 of 5
REAL DE CATORCE
Re: [jadasan] Real de Catorce - hotels
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Real de Catorce is a mining town in the mountains of northern San Luis
Potosi State. There are about 1000 residents, compared to 20 or 30
thousand during it's peak, in the late 1800s. There are no longer
active mines in the area. It is a sort of ghost town, with many more
empty buildings than occupied ones.
The road in and out is 25km of cobblestones, built in the 1970s,
including a one-lane tunnel that dates from the turn of the century.
There are a few busses a day from the town of Matehuala, SLP.
We enjoyed a guided tour in Spanish from Felipe, which lasted about 2
hours, and cost 20 pesos ($2.50 US) per person.
We stayed in the somewhat surrealistic hotel Quinta La Puesta del Sol,
a relatively recent construction, near the cemetary, at the far end of
town. It looked fancy but run down. The first room that they showed
us was relatively poor, but we asked to see a better room, and ended
up upgrading twice to get a room at the end of the new wing. Our room
had a phone that did not work (the hotel does not have a phone), a TV
that did not work, a jacuzzi that did not work, and many electrical
outlets that did not work. The working parts of the electrical system
appeared to be held together with tape. There is no heat in the
rooms. Although the employees were helpful, the hotel did not appear
to be run in a businesslike manner. The owner was away, but there
were photos of him at tourism shows and with Mexico's ex-president
Salinas. The food was adequate, but limited. We have never stayed in
a stranger hotel.
We had an excellent meal at the hotel Meson de la Abundanica, which is
near the center of town. We looked at a room, and were favorably
impressed. This is an old building recently refurbished as a hotel.
It appears to be run on a professional basis. We would recommend
visitors stay there.
There are few telephones in town. Both of the above hotels use the
town's public (caseta) phone office, (488) 23733. Rather than try to
leave a message at the phone office, I suggest that you make
reservations by fax, which is also at the caseta, 24733. If you come
in the off season, reservations are probably not necessary.
(Note, the above phone number has changed, due to the conversion to ten digit dialing in 2002).
The town is relatively empty most of the time. We were the only
guests in our hotel when we arrived. The busy times include
Christmas, Easter week, July and August, and the feast day of
St.Francis, October 4th. We were there during the week in late
January; there are more visitors on weekends.
There are some resident hippies, perhaps looking for the peyote, which
is part of the Huichol Indian religion. Our guide said that the
townspeople did not look at the foreign hippies as a problem, but that
the Mexican hippies were sometimes not as well behaved.
Real de Catorce is an interesting place, and worth a stop if you are
in the area.