On one occasion, the French essayist Marcel Proust mentioned that the only true voyage of discovery was not to look for new landscapes, but to look at places with new eyes.
Rediscovering the wonders of a town where time seems to have stopped is what makes Real de Catorce the perfect destination to connect with our roots and open our eyes to a unique Mexico.
Located in a village on the desert plateau of the Sierra de Catorce, in the state of San Luis Potosí, this Magic Town houses among its old buildings and cobbled streets a mystical energy that makes visitors feel that they have managed to cross the barriers of time.
A treasure abandoned in battle
Its beginnings date back to the year of 1639 when Lope Díez de Aux y Armendáriz, known as the Marquis de Cadereyta – who was the first Creole viceroy of New Spain – gave the indigenous lands with some pieces of cattle and 84 cavalries they gave life to the Real people of Alamos de la Purísima Concepción de Catorce.
The growing economy and the arrival of new families made the town begin its path to prosperity; its boom came in 1767 thanks to the discovery of rich silver mines, which positioned it as one of the most important mining centers in Mexico and the world.
The exploitation of the mines caused the economic splendor of the people to prevail for a while until the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 stopped it. In the midst of the conflict, its people migrated and their wealth was lost. Thus, it went from a population of 15,000 inhabitants to only 250: the largest mining center in Mexico became a ghost town for more than 40 years.
It was until the 70s when he saw a flash of light thanks to the discovery of peyote, an abundant cactus in its territory that began to capture hundreds of tourists for its cultural and ritual value. Over the years he adopted a new economic vocation, tourism: even with a small population – it does not exceed 2,000 inhabitants – more than 15,000 visitors come together in this mythical site every year.
Activities and places
Upon arrival, 2500 meters in length of the Ogarrio Tunnel await you: the only access that connects Real de Catorce with the rest of the world. It was built between the years of 1897 and 1901; It has only one lane, so it is a suitable space for hikers.
Burned Hill (Wirikuta)
Wirikuta is a desert area considered as a sacred site for the Huichola culture. The belief that there is the wisdom of our ancestors makes the visit to Cerro Quemado a mystical experience. Here you can find the peyote in its natural habitat, connect with the indigenous rituals and breathe the magic of the area. To get there, you can go on horseback or on foot.
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Built in 1797 with a neoclassical architectural style, the parish shows the popular culture of the place. Its walls in bright colors and the frames of religious paintings made of silver, make the church one of the most visited points, which receives thousands of believers every October 4 during the patronal feast.
A unique and fun option to get to know the magical town is through a ride in a 4 × 4 truck, better known as “Willys”; In the routes, of approximately three hours, you can visit the Socavón de la Purísima mining mine, the Fourteenth Station and the peyote desert. Venturing through the sloping streets of Real de Catorce in a 4 × 4 vehicle is adrenaline and fun guaranteed.
Another attraction is the visit to the exhaust hulls and the old mining caves. The abandoned buildings transport you to the time of the Colony and cause your imagination to revive each of those places; The site has an incredible panoramic view of the entire town.
Without a doubt, Real de Catorce is one of the best hidden treasures in Mexico, experiencing each of the activities and surprises it offers is an opportunity that you cannot miss.
More for this amazing places here: visitmexico.com