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9 Best Things To Do In Real De Catorce 2024

Are You Looking For The Best Things To Do In Real De Cartorce?

This guest post was crafted by Warren and Natasha, the dynamic duo behind The Nomad Hive. Having spent over three years exploring Mexico, we’ve encountered many remarkable places, but Real de Catorce stands out as a truly unique gem. We’re excited to share our experiences and insights from this special destination and hopefully inspire others to visit here as well!

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9 Best Things To Do In Real De Catorce

Real de Catorce
Real de Catorce

Real de Catorce, a hidden village nestled in the heart of Mexico, offers a unique blend of history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. As a seasoned traveller in Mexico, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring this charming town, and I’m excited to share with you my favourite things to do in Real de Catorce.

From its cobblestone streets to the sacred Huicholie ceremonies, this destination is a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic and captivating travel experience.

1. Visit Pueblo Fantasma

Pueblo Fantasma
Pueblo Fantasma

Ghost Town Pueblo Fantasma, or “Ghost Town,” is an abandoned mining village in Real de Catorce that offers a hauntingly beautiful glimpse into the area’s dark mining history. This deserted town, once bustling with miners and their families during the silver mining boom, now stands eerily silent, with its dilapidated buildings and forgotten streets telling a story of both prosperity and decline.

As you walk through Pueblo Fantasma, you’ll notice the remnants of old mining structures, which stand as silent witnesses to the town’s bygone era. The architecture, although weathered by time, showcases the typical style of the period, with some buildings dating back to the 18th century.

The arid landscape and sparse vegetation accentuate the town’s desolation, and the setting sun casts long shadows, creating a mysterious and almost surreal atmosphere. This ghost town is not just a place for photographers and history buffs; it’s a destination for anyone interested in experiencing the tangible sense of history and the stories that old walls can tell.

Whether you’re intrigued by tales of the supernatural or simply appreciate the beauty in decay, Pueblo Fantasma is a captivating stop on your Real de Catorce adventure. It’s a powerful reminder of the transient nature of human endeavours against the backdrop of time.

2. Templo de la Purisima Concepcion

Templo de la Purisima Concepcion
Templo de la Purisima Concepcion

A Majestic Symbol of Faith The Templo de la Purisima Concepcion is not only a religious landmark but also an architectural marvel in Real de Catorce. This beautiful church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, is a central figure in the town’s skyline and spiritual life. Upon approaching the church, you’ll be struck by its intricate facade, adorned with religious motifs and detailed stonework. The architecture reflects a blend of Spanish colonial and indigenous influences, a testament to Mexico’s rich cultural tapestry. The interior of the church is equally impressive, featuring ornate altars, religious art, and a serene ambience that invites contemplation and reverence. This church is more than just a place of worship; it’s a gathering spot for the community and a destination for pilgrims from all over the country, especially during religious festivals.

3. Cerro del Quemado

Cerro del Quemado
Cerro del Quemado

A Sacred Hike to Spiritual Heights Cerro del Quemado, a sacred mountain in Real de Catorce, offers a remarkable hiking experience with deep spiritual significance. Revered by the Huichol people, this trail leads through breathtaking landscapes, culminating in panoramic views from the summit. The journey is both a physical challenge and a spiritual awakening, surrounded by the serene beauty of the Mexican highlands.

At the top, you’ll find ceremonial sites and offerings, adding to the mountain’s mystique. Cerro del Quemado is an ideal destination for those seeking a connection with nature and a glimpse into indigenous cultural practices.

4. Hidalgo Square (Plaza Principal)

Plaza Principal Real de Catorce
Plaza Principal

The Heartbeat of Real de Catorce Hidalgo Square, also known as Plaza Principal, is the vibrant heart of Real de Catorce. This bustling square is where the town’s cultural and social life converges, offering a lively and authentic Mexican experience.

As you step into the square, you’ll be captivated by its lively atmosphere. The plaza is surrounded by historic colonial buildings, each telling a story of the town’s rich past. Cafes and restaurants line the square, offering a perfect spot to enjoy local cuisine or a refreshing drink while people-watching.

From traditional jewellery to colourful textiles, you’ll find various items that reflect the town’s artistic heritage. Whether you’re there to soak up the sun, enjoy a leisurely meal, or simply immerse yourself in the local culture, the square offers a snapshot of the vibrant spirit of Real de Catorce. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to connect with the town’s lively rhythm and warm hospitality.

5. Roof Top Jeep Ride

Roof top jeep ride
Roof-top jeep ride

The Roof Top Jeep Ride in Real de Catorce is an adventure that combines thrill and scenic beauty, offering a unique way to explore the town and its surroundings.

This exciting excursion allows you to ride on top of a jeep, feeling the wind in your hair as you navigate through the rugged landscapes. This open-air ride takes you through the winding streets of the town, along mountain paths, and through the breathtaking desert terrain that surrounds Real de Catorce. The elevated viewpoint from the jeep’s roof provides an unobstructed view of the stunning scenery, from arid landscapes to panoramic mountain vistas.

6. Tunel de Ogarrio – A Gateway to Mystery and History

Tunel de Ogarrio Real de Catorce
Tunel de Ogarrio

The Tunel de Ogarrio is a remarkable and historic feature of Real de Catorce, serving as the main gateway to this enchanting town.

This long, narrow tunnel, measuring over 2 kilometres, is an engineering marvel and a symbol of the town’s connection to its past. As you enter the dimly lit tunnel, you’ll feel a sense of stepping back in time. The walls of the tunnel, carved directly into the mountain, tell a story of the town’s silver mining era.

The experience of driving through Tunel de Ogarrio is both thrilling and a little mysterious, as the light at the end slowly grows, leading you to the hidden world of Real de Catorce. Emerging from the tunnel, you’ll be greeted by the stunning sight of the town, nestled in the mountains. This transition from the shadowy confines of the tunnel to the bright, open landscape is a unique experience, symbolizing the journey from the mundane to the extraordinary.

7. Take a Walk Along Lanzagorta Street

Lanzagorta Street
Lanzagorta Street

Lanzagorta Street in Real de Catorce is a picturesque and charming thoroughfare, perfect for a leisurely walk. This street, lined with colourful, historic buildings, encapsulates the essence of the town’s rich heritage and laid-back lifestyle.

As you stroll down Lanzagorta Street, you’ll be immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of Real de Catorce. The street is adorned with traditional architecture, showcasing the town’s colonial past. Each building, with its unique design and character, tells a story of the town’s evolution over the years. This street is also a great place to experience the local culture. You’ll find small shops and boutiques selling handcrafted goods, artisanal products, and souvenirs. It’s an ideal spot for picking up a unique memento or simply browsing and enjoying the local craftsmanship.

8. 3-Hour Horse Ride Through The Desert Mountains

Horse ride through Desert Mountains
Horse ride through Desert Mountains

The 3-hour horse ride through the desert mountains around Real de Catorce is an experience that immerses you in the natural beauty and tranquillity of the region.

This adventure offers a unique way to explore the rugged landscapes that define this part of Mexico, all from the back of a gentle and well-trained horse. As you set off on your ride, you’ll be guided through a variety of terrains, from sandy desert plains to rocky mountain paths. The pace is leisurely, allowing you to fully take in the surroundings.

The stark beauty of the desert, with its cacti and sparse vegetation, contrasts beautifully with the majestic mountains in the distance. The horseback ride also provides a chance to connect with the local culture. Your guide, often a local with deep knowledge of the area, can share insights into the history and traditions of Real de Catorce, adding depth to your experience.

9. See the Sunset from the Town Lookout: La Puerta al Cielo

Sunset from La Puerta al Cielo
Sunset from La Puerta al Cielo

La Puerta al Cielo, translating to “The Gate to Heaven,” is a renowned lookout point in Real de Catorce, offering a spectacular spot to witness the sunset. This elevated location provides a breathtaking panorama of the town and its surrounding landscape, making it an ideal place to experience the day’s end.

As the sun begins its descent, La Puerta al Cielo becomes a magical place. The sky, a canvas of ever-changing colours, creates a picturesque backdrop against the historic town and the rugged mountains. The shades of the sunset here are particularly vivid, with oranges, pinks, and purples blending seamlessly into the twilight.

Visiting La Puerta al Cielo for the sunset is a highlight for any traveller to Real de Catorce. The combination of stunning views, peaceful atmosphere, and the sense of being at the edge of the world makes this experience truly unique. It’s an unforgettable way to cap off your day, filled with beauty and serenity that only a place like Real de Catorce can offer.

Real De Catorce FAQs

Is Real De Catorce Expensive?

Real de Catorce offers a range of options to suit various budgets. While it is not as expensive as some major tourist destinations, costs can vary depending on your choices of accommodation, dining, and activities.

Affordable options are available, particularly in local eateries and guesthouses, but there are also more upscale choices for those looking for a bit of luxury. See more cheap places to visit in Mexico.

How Is The Wifi In Real De Catorce?

The Wifi in Real de Catorce can be hit or miss. In the town centre, especially in hotels and cafes, you’ll find decent connectivity. However, due to its remote location and the town’s historic infrastructure, the internet might not be as reliable or fast as in more urban areas. It’s a great place to disconnect and enjoy the surroundings, but if you need consistent internet, plan accordingly.

Is Real De Catorce Safe?

Real de Catorce is considered safe for tourists. Like any travel destination, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and take standard safety precautions. The town has a laid-back atmosphere, and locals are known for their hospitality. However, when hiking or exploring remote areas, it’s wise to go with a guide or in a group. Check out other safe areas in Mexico.

How To Get To Real De Catorce?

Real de Catorce can be accessed by road. The most common route is through the Tunel de Ogarrio, a long, narrow tunnel leading into the town. You can drive or take a bus to the nearby towns and then hire a local taxi or jeep to reach Real de Catorce.

The nearest major airport is in San Luis Potosi, from where you can rent a car or use public transportation.

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Where Can You Stay In Real De Catorce?

Accommodation in Real de Catorce ranges from charming guesthouses and boutique hotels to more rustic lodgings. Many of these offer a glimpse into the town’s historical past with their colonial architecture and traditional decor.

For a more immersive experience, some travellers opt for local homestays or B&Bs. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons or festivals.

Click here for more information on available accommodation in Real de Catorce.


Real de Catorce is a destination that truly encapsulates the essence of adventure, history, and cultural richness. Each corner of this enchanting town tells a story, from the mysterious Pueblo Fantasma to the breathtaking views at La Puerta al Cielo.

Whether you’re seeking thrilling jeep rides, peaceful sunset vistas, or a walk through historical streets, Real de Catorce offers an unforgettable experience for every traveller. The magic of this town lies in its ability to seamlessly blend the echoes of the past with the vibrancy of the present. It’s a place where every experience is imbued with its own unique charm, inviting visitors to explore, reflect, and connect.

Real de Catorce isn’t just a travel destination; it’s a journey into the heart of Mexico’s hidden treasures, promising memories that will linger long after you’ve returned home.

More Mexican Travel Inspirations for your next adventure:

Palenque Travel Guide

Visit Guanajuato

Tepoztlan Travel Guide


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Real de Catorace
Real de Catorace

Real de Catorace
Real de Catorace



Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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