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View near Mexquitic, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Guanajuato, Mexico.

Where are they going next? San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A great day trip to Real de Catorce, Mexico

We are staying with the RVs here at Matehuala. This is a common stopover for people heading south to the beach. We spoke to one couple here who have been here four or five times... and they had never heard of Real de Catorce. They're in such a rush to get to the beach that they don't look around to see what there is to see along the way. They are destination people.

But we are explorers! Nine years ago, we visited Real de Catorce and we knew that our group would enjoy it as much as we did back then. And, it's a great place to give our new camera a workout... so be warned... lots of photos to follow...

In fact, the last sentence in the blog post from nine years ago was "We found Real de Catorce to be a fascinating place. We will return another year."

And so this was the year!

We got everybody into taxis from the hotel and it was only a five minute drive to get to the station.

The day before, we had sorted out the bus to get up there. We thought there was a 10:00am but there is not. The bus departs the station by the south arch at 8:00am. It currently costs 222 pesos ($11 USD, $14.60 CAD) for the round trip ticket but you can get a substantial seniors discount if you are over 60 and have ID to prove it.

It's only a 60 km (36 mile) trip, but it takes an hour and forty five minutes start to finish. The bus takes a convoluted route just getting out of town, then a stretch of highway. And then, there is about 23 kms (14 miles) section of rough cobblestone road that brings you from 5,300 ft at Matehuala up to 9,000 ft at Real de Catorce!

On the rough cobblestone road. Bumpety bump!

Looking back at where we came from.

One of the interesting parts of visiting Real de Catorce is the entrance to the town. Other than hiking over the mountain, the only way to town is through the mountain via a 2.4 km (1.5 mile) long tunnel!

The entrance to town.

Near the tunnel entrance.

They have improved the entrance facilities.

Lots of construction ongoing at the entrance. While the town was a going concern due to silver mining, that stopped around 1905 and the population drifted from a high of about 40,000 people to it's current 5,600. Now, people live there to get away from things. However tourism is growing.

The place actually gets quite busy in July and August.

Included in the price of your ticket is a separate bus that takes you through the tunnel. There is no extra charge.

On the bus through the tunnel.

Once in town, you are on your feet. Cars and pickups are also allowed through the tunnel, however there are no taxis or public transportation. You can rent a horse or go on a jeep tour though.

Walking to the church.

Heading towards el centro.


Scenery along the way.

This building used to be the mint. 
Now it is a museum that charges 10 pesos (50 cents USD, 65 cents CAD.)

Doors to the church.

It has been nicely restored inside.

But most interesting is the wooden floor with the removable slats.
We never did find out what they were for.

Real de Catorce was founded in 1779 and so there is a lot of history here. And because it was largely abandoned for almost 50 years, there is a lot of ruins.

A shop operating in a very old building!

These people are going for a jeep tour!

And these people are going for a horseback tour!

Lots of ruins.

And great views!

Lynnette and Paul are exploring a new hotel.

Here is Ruth in front of the chapel.

And here she is back in 2009!

More scenery.

Some great views up here!

We found a place for lunch.

The various fillings for the delicious gorditas!

After lunch, Ruth and I took off with Denise and Bob to go hike up even higher for the view looking back to town. They are about the same age as us, and also fit and active. 

Following me up the hill. Hard work at over 9,000 ft!

But the view is worth it!

Zoomed in a bit.

Kevin, Ruth, Bob, and Denise overlooking Real de Catorce.

We continued on to the ruins of what looks like an old hacienda.





We could have continued on... and next time we will. There are a lot more ruins even higher up. But, we had to make it back down to catch our 4:00pm bus. We actually got there a little early, and so Ruth and I walked back to the other end of town to see some ruins that we hadn't seen yet.

Now on the other side of town.




Back with some of the group.
Bob, Denise, Sue, Roy, and Ruth.

What a great day we had! Didn't make it back to the motorhomes until after 5:30pm, so it was a long day.

Arrived there to find our friends Dan and Isabelle had made their way as well. We met Dan and Isabelle up in the Yukon this past summer, and they are making their way into Mexico alone in their RV. We spent an hour or so with them getting caught up.

Isabelle, Dan, Kevin, and Ruth.

Great to see them again, if only for a short visit.

Today, we are hitting the road... just a short 200 km (120 mile) drive to our next stop just west of the city of San Luis Potosi.

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28 comments:

  1. After the cobblestone road Robin commented: "yeah, sure that Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts took this road everyday" (when filming The Mexican). Great pictures. We missed a lot because it was bitter cold and snowing.

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    1. Yeah, we are thinking that they either got helicoptered in each day or they stayed up there for the filming! We watched that movie after our last trip up there, Kevin has now downloaded it to watch again.

      We still have to go back there and stay overnight for a few nights. The hiking up here would be fantastic and would keep us busy for a while.

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  2. Wow! Do you have any idea how much it would cost to do the round trip by taxi?

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    1. Nope, we have no idea how much that would cost because we always take the local bus, as it is always the cheaper way to do it.

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  3. It looks like this is going to be a very nice four month treck! What a beautiful town.

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    1. We sure think so and it is definitely starting out that way! :-)

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  4. What a beautiful town! Great shots with your new camera, definitely worth the investment since you have very few possessions but lots of photo memories

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    1. It is a gorgeous town!

      Yes, Kevin is really enjoying the new camera other than he finds it a bit too big and heavy compared to the other one but he sure loves the pictures it creates. :-)

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  5. Curious to know if you saw any cactus peyote in the dessert? I heard some tourist visit for that very reason.

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    1. No we didn't see any of this type of cactus while we were there. We also weren't looking for it and we really weren't out of the town other than the hike up the hill. It would have been a pretty cactus to see, especially if it was in bloom. I can see why some people would go looking for them though. ;-)

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  6. Great comparison picture of Ruth. The new camera is great...clearly Ruth got some sun that day ;-)

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    1. Yep, not much has changed in all those years. And, yes I did get some sun, at least I didn't get burnt.

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  7. Wonderful pics and commentary -- such a beautiful town, someday it might be overrun by tourists and change dramatically !

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    1. Thank you Carol, it isn't hard when you have such a scenic place to photograph.

      You could be right about it getting overrun by tourists one day but we honestly think that would be a long time in the future. We noticed some changes after the last 9 1/2 years but they were subtle changes otherwise it pretty much hasn't changed a bit after all those years.

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  8. The caravan is off to a great start! Keep having fun!

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    1. Thank you Chris! We think we are off to a great start as well and everyone seems to be having a great time.

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  9. Wow! Love all the ruins. Great pics!! The out of the way towns & villages are most fascinating!

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    1. We really love this little town and it's remoteness and so did the rest of the group. We are so happy that we made the effort to get them all up here. :-)

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  10. Thanks for alerting us to Wandering with Serenitys blog. Its lovely to read both blogs and see 2 sets of photos.

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    1. You are welcome! It is always nice to get someone else's view and perspective as they will always see different things that catch their eye. We are glad that you are enjoying both blogs. :-)

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  11. I'd bet there are graves under the floor of that church?

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  12. The pictures are super awesome Kevin! Thanks!!!

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    1. Thank you Lynnette! It is much better seeing it in person though, isn't it?!

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  13. Wow! What a great day you had in the mountains. I really like the way you integrate your pictures with your narrative. I'm enjoying your adventure. Erik

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    1. Thank you Erik! We are happy to hear that you are enjoying the blog posts and following along on our journey.

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  14. Just joined your travels after reading Chris's last post. Will enjoy parts of Mexico we will never RV to. We'd need something smaller than our 35' toyhauler and...we travel alone. The small caravan idea is interesting but still too many people for us. So...I'll follow along remotely!

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    1. Thank you for joining us, we hope that we can show you some beautiful parts of Mexico. Yep, 35' toyhauler is a big unit to drive around the interior of Mexico with. I am sure that some people have done it and some of the campgrounds could fit you but you would pretty much need to be on the toll roads and overall we don't think it would be a fun experience. Smaller is definitely better!

      That goes for a small caravan also, we are definitely noticing the difference with this caravan compared to the one we did last year. Up until recently we have always traveled alone as well but we have been enjoying bringing people who have never driven here down to Mexico and showing them around some of our favourite places.

      We hope that you will enjoy the tour. :-)

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