Kevin, out for a hike in the beautiful country of Lesotho, Africa. Photo taken February 13, 2014.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Monday, March 31, 2014

El Amparo mine and ghost town

Our host here at Delia's Trailer Park is Bonnie. We're the only ones here just now, so she offered to take us in her Jeep up into the mountains south of Etzatlan to an old mining town. The El Amparo mine was one of the most successful silver mines in the state of Jalisco. The mine was originally started up in 1904, but had it's heyday between in the 1920's.

It's difficult to find all the information online, but it seems that the still productive mine was shut down around 1940 because of a combination of poor management and the unreasonable demands of the unionized miners.

All that remains are the ruins.

It's about 15 kms (9 miles) on a single track dirt road to get to the old townsite.

On the way to the mine.

The original hacienda. 

The hacienda is typically where the owners would stay and have parties and fiestas. It would have been a fancy place because this mine made a ton of money for a ten year period between 1920 and 1930. I can find only one picture online of what the hacienda used to look like...

Bonnie says that it was actually in quite good condition up until about 10 years ago when rumors went around that there may have been a hidden stash of gold in the hacienda and locals went crazy digging up floors and tearing into walls. 

I found this date engraved in a piece of the floor.
July 9, 1918.

A reference I found online says 

From 1918 to 1928 was the period of the mine's bonanza. It was a sort of paradise on earth. Because overland transportation was so poor, we had everything at El Amparo. The company store carried all kinds of meat and vegetables, clothing, liquor, shoes and even freshly baked bread. And nothing was expensive. A family of eight could live for a week on 15 pesos.
Of course, on Saturdays the miners wanted to do something different after working all week under the ground, so there would be dances in three or four houses at the same time. At Amparo there were always more than enough musicians to go around. We had a real symphony orchestra with 36 elements and it was just as good as the Guadalajara Symphonic of those days. In addition, we had two bands that played popular music and there was even an opera house.
It was another km or so to the mine itself. There are several openings and air vents and none of them are blocked off. Up to you how comfortable you feel exploring!

Ruth, at one of the mine shafts.

Hmmm. Doesn't look that strong.

Kind of felt like Indiana Jones here!

No, we didn't go any further. And the hole wasn't really  that deep, but if you fell you would have needed a rope to get out and we didn't want to take that chance.

Ruth and Bonnie.

We drove back and took Bonnie for lunch in town. Nice little restaurant where we had enchiladas and flautas and a beer and a couple of rice waters. Total bill for the three of us including tip was 180 pesos ($15.84).

Heading into town this morning to pick up Sherman's new battery. Will spend the day cleaning and getting ready for moving on tomorrow!


  1. Two points:

    1. Now that's what we like about reading your blog - learning about new things - you make history/geography fun! Man, if walls could talk, huh?

    2. KEVIN, NO more playing Indiana Jones! About had a heart attack when we saw that pic!!!

  2. Lucky you Kevin. Two lovely ladies to accompany you to the mines. I'm sure they could have fetched you out of the mine shaft had you fallen in. Well, *theoretically*.
    I was going to offer some sort of "hope nobody got the shaft" pun, but that could be taken a couple different ways. Wakka wakka!

  3. You certainly like living life on the edge! Hope your life insurance is good, and paid up, with those kind of dare devil stunts, Ruth might need it... ;c)

    1. Not really that "dare devil" I said, the hole wasn't that deep...maybe five or six feet. Ruth actually made it further across than I did!

  4. Just wanted to let you know Iried your blog this morning and your back, don't know what happened but for three days when I would click on your blog, I got an error , that they address was either changed or closed.That old mansion looks like it would have been a great place to get a beer many years ago. I agree with the others , don't take chances in old mines. Sam & Donna.

  5. I am sure that you don't want to be lectured but you should never go into old mines it is a good way to get killed or seriously injured.

    1. That is why we never went any further in. We like to explore and be adventuresome but we know the limits as well.


We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...