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Real de Catorce

You notice the difference at soon as you take the turnoff for Real de Catorce - no more trucks, no more roadside stands - nothing but cactus and mountains along this straight pristine stone road. As the miles go by, you start to get a feeling of remoteness and to see ruins of stone and clay buildings and old churches along the road and up in the hills.

The entrance to Catorce is a half-mile-long tunnel carved into solid rock. Buses and trucks don't fit. Arriving in Catorce, I think someone asked me if I wanted to buy peyote, but I'm not sure. Maybe I was hallucinating.

The town is quiet. There are almost no cars. There are only four streets in this abandoned silver mining town. The restored hotels and restaurants are made of stone, well over a foot thick. There is not too much to do here. Try horseback riding through the countryside, hiking, jeep tours, or sitting on the sidewalk watching the world go by (my choice). There is a museum that opens on weekends.

We stayed at the Corral del Conde for $500 pesos a night for a double with a sofa and chairs, balconies, thick stone walls, terra cotta tiles, and wood ceilings. It was kind of magical. The Restauant de Abundancia serves good food and opens early for coffee and pastries. (They also have rooms.) There are many restaurants to choose from.

The only down side for me was at almost 9,000 feet I didn't have the energy to go hiking around the mountains. Real de Catorce is the place to go if you really want to get away from it all.

by Pat Cordes

REAL DE CATORCE LOCAL LISTINGS


Meson del Refugio Hotel

Hotel
Calle Lanzagorta #35
Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi
488/887-5068

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Café Lukcnow

Restaurant
Zaragoza 2, Centro
Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi
488/887-5098

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Hotel Shantiniketan

Hotel
Calle Zaragoza #2, Centro
Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi
488/887-5098

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Restaurant at Hotel Desierto

Restaurant
Libramiento Flores Magón #485 Norte, Cedral
Cedral, San Luis Potosi
488/887-0555

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Oriental Grill

Restaurant
Cordillero Real 225, Lomas 3ra Seccion
San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi
444/825-6828

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The Westin San Luis Potosi

Hotel
Avenida Real de Lomas No. 1000
San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi
444/ 825-0125

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The Mexican Collection

San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi
444/833 4158

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Hotel Real Plaza

Hotel
Av. Venustiano Carranza No. 890
San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi
(444) 814-6055

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