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Real de Catorce

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Real de Catorce

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Real de Catorce is a town in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.


Real de Catorce is a town nestled between the dramatic and austere mountains of the Sierra de Catorce range. Formally a prosperous silver mining town, the area became deserted after a crash in the price of silver at the end of the 19th century. A hundred years later, the town is gradually being restored and is reinventing itself as a tourist destination. The area has long attracted pilgrims and has now caught the attention of tourists both domestic and foreign. The town and surrounding region are stunning and the area possesses a unique atmosphere that requires several days to soak up.

Get in[edit]

Matehuala, around eight hours from the D.F. and around four from Monterrey, while Matehuala SLP is the nearest transport hub. Real de Catorce is under two hours (approx M$77.00 single) from there. To enter the town, you must pass through a tunnel and in high seasons (Oct. and Apr.) expect long delays as the tunnel can only accommodate one-way traffic.

The nearest airport is San Luis Potosí (SLP). From the airport the "Central de autobuses" is a 15-20 minute drive. A bus ride from San Luis Potosí to Matehuala took 2.5 hours and was $265MXN (~15USD) as of 2017. Once in Matahuala, buses leave to Real de Catorce at 7:45, 9:45, 11:45, 13:45, 17:45.

A private driver offered direct service for $9MXN per km. From San Luis Potosí it is about ~250km which would be around $2,250MXN (~125USD) which may make sense for groups.

Get around[edit]

The town is compact and despite some steep roads, is easy to explore by foot. For the surrounding area, horse rides are easy to arrange in town. You can also hike the surrounding hills by foot if you are reasonably fit. Keep to the paths and leave enough time to find your way back to town, as the temperature drops dramatically at night.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Quemado hill (Cerro el Quemado) is around a two or three hour round hike from town. The best time to go is sunset but factor in the time it takes to return to town. Take cash to pay the small entrance fee.
  • Las Ruinas - various deserted villages and mines scattered around within hiking distance from town.
  • The graveyard
  • Purisima Concepcion Church
  • Ogarrio Tunnel
  • Palenque
  • Coin House

Do[edit][add listing]

Just explore the town and soak up the atmosphere or take to the hills, either by foot, horse or mountain bike (you can rent bikes near the main square). In spring time, Real de Catorce is a popular place to celebrate Semana Santa (Holly Week). During this time, expect accommodation options to be fewer and more expensive as the town's typical quiet ambiance is transformed into something rather different.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are plenty of shops and street vendors selling homemade arts and crafts.

Eat[edit][add listing]

You can find street restaurants in the town centre that serve up cheap and tasty gorditas.

Peyote--While Real de Catorce is officially a pueblo magico, there’s another kind of magic that brings in a prominent group of foreign visitors: those with dreadlocks, tattered clothing, and lots of piercings. Peyote, the hallucinogenic cactus, grows wild in the surrounding desert. The local huichol people as well as western hippies use it in their ceremonies as a path to another world.

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are several bars and cafes ran by Europeans along the main street that serve coffee, drinks including beer and wines.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Houses can be rented in the surrounding small ghost towns (without electricity or running water) for about $100 USD monthly, it is a popular option for artists and craftsmen. There are plenty of accommodation options in town. For budget travelers, you can rent (very) basic private rooms for as little as M$100.00 per days. Otherwise, the going rate for a budget room in a posada is around M$100-150 per day and upwards.

  • Casa Ram, 488 8875154.  edit
  • Casa Sierrra Catorce, 488-887-5086, [1]. Casa Sierra Catorce has comfortable apartments centrally located one block from the Plaza.  edit
  • Hoteles Teléfono.  edit
  • Mesón Del Refugio, 488 8875068 ().  edit
  • hotel el real (, morelos # 20 (one block from main plaza), 01800-836-6006. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12pm. 28 rooms ,divided in two houses, hotel el real 1 and hotel el real 2. best social club in town ,featuring weddings,birthdayparties,live music etc. $55.-+.  edit
  • Wild camping, quemado hill. While not officially allowed, it is nonetheless possible to wild or freedom camp atop quemado hill a popular sunset vantage point. If you camp you'll not only see the sunset, you'll also enjoy the incredible starry night skies not to mention a stunning sunrise the next morning. Respect- this area is sacred to the Huichol people so show proper respect. free.  edit
  • Cemetery. Another free option is the cemetery. This is more officialy tolerated and popular than quemado hill, but you sacrifice the impressive views. Expect to share your campground with hippie travelers. free.  edit


  • Free Municipal Wi-Fi in Real de Catorce, [3]. Free Internet access throughout the pueblo. Try Cafe Azul on Calle Lanzagorta for cappucino and Internet access, featuring Asus netbooks for rent.

Get out[edit]

There are several ruined ghost towns surrounding Real14. You can explore these by foot, or hire horses and a guide in town. From near the town square, you can catch vintage jeeps (Willys) that ply the bumpy route down to the small peublo of Estación de Catorce (approx 1h, M$40.00 single). From there you can catch onward transport to Zacatecas or make a foray into the desert.

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