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GET THERE AT REAL DE CATORCE

For: Jesús Cabral

If you are coming by bus, you should find your way to the town of Matehuala in the northern portion of the state of San Luis Potosí. Once you have arrived at the Central Bus Station in Matehuala, there are buses that leave from there for Real at 8 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 6 PM. Everybody gets off the bus at the entrance of the tunnel, then people walk the dark couple of miles to reach the town of Real de Catorce, so wear warm clothing... Sure, I'm kidding. But everybody gets off the bus at the entrance of the tunnel to commute to a small bus (no extra charge) that can negotiate the narrow bends of the tunnel. If you come in your own vehicle read what follows. To use this section first of all you must decide are you coming from, right? So please find out if your starting point is at A, B, C or D: once you decide where are you coming from, you just click in the corresponding letter. If you are going to cross the border at San Diego, El Paso or somewhere in between, then you are coming from A. But if you are going to cross the border elsewhere, then you are coming from B. If you are already in Mexico and are coming to Catorce from Guadalajara, Zacatecas or Durango, then click on C. Coming from Central or Southern Mexico, please click D.

 

Croquis

COMING FROM A

You must arrive to the big town of Torreón in the limits of Coahuila and Durango states. From Torreón you must take the signs that say either Saltillo or Monterrey and avoid going toward Zacatecas, Guadalajara or Mexico.

FROM SALTILLO

You have two options, the first and shorter is covered in the next section, the second is going on highway 54 towards Zacatecas (now it's ok) and you have the good opportunity to visit Concepción del Oro most commonly known as Concha (which is the nickname of women whose name is Concepción) and it's worth to stop by. It is a mining town that could have been as abandoned as Catorce but being close to a major highway has given it a different destiny. After Concha continue toward Zacatecas but only for about fifty miles, when you'll come to a junction in the middle of nowhere (but it's somewhere), and has a name: entronque San Tiburcio (Saint Tiburcio junction). Here you turn to the east, which correspond to your left (or right if you come from Zacatecas) hand side. Forty miles or so thereafter, you will find another minor junction, with more than one sign telling you (or yelling you) that you must turn to your right side to reach the quite famous town of Real de Catorce and they are right, if you really want to go to where it's supposed you are heading to, or you just wanted to see how it feels to be close to town and pass away? Don't hesitate, turn to your right and follow the excellent stone highway that in a matter of 15 miles will take you slowly, as it should be, to the tunnel Ogarrio's entrance. Way up, after you pass the village of Potrero which is worth a short visit, you come to the dark and famous tunnel which is as old as the century, or so, and you must go into it... it's just 1.5 miles long, and it is dark and scaring out (or in) there; be valiant and don't look back... close your windows, or do you like hungry bats trapped inside your cabin?... And don't be run out of gas there... yes, I'm kidding, but anyway, close your windows to avoid lose your precious clean and warm air inside your truck, or nice and new car, because that road is for all kinds of vehicles. And don't believe stories about the 200 years old this road is. It was first cobbled in the seventies (this century). I'm not kidding. After the tunnel, you are all of a sudden into the famous Real de Catorce. If you want to find something to eat or the hotel of your choice, allow kids offering themselves as guides to lead you. Fifty of your cents won't disappoint them.

COMING FROM B

You must find your way to Monterrey and then follow to Saltillo. From Saltillo you have a couple of options, the first is going towards Zacatecas and is covered in detail in the previous section. The second option is heading south as if you were going to Mexico or San Luis Potosí and in doing so, no matter what, sooner or later (I don't know how much stops you do) you will come to Matehuala. If you find yourself in Matehuala it means two things, at least: or you wanted to visit the town, which is not a bad idea or you got kind of lost, because to get to Catorce, coming from B you don't need to go that far south. Just few miles before Matehuas (such is its nickname) you should turn over your right on the junction that say Cedral and/or Real de Catorce and that will take you, after going through Cedral, into a minor junction, clearly telling you that Real de Catorce is 24 km. to the south, which there means turning to your left hand side. This beautiful cobbled stone road will necessarily take you across the Ogarrio tunnel (1.5 miles long), which is in itself an interesting one. This is a century old tunnel, one-way, dark and cold and worth go through. Keep windows closed if you still love clean and warm air. The town or el Real awaits you always on the other end...

COMING FROM C

You must find the better route to Zacatecas which very likely passes through Guadalajara or Aguascalientes, unless you are coming from Durango, you better go to Zacatecas or quite close to take highway 54 to San Tiburcio. Read what follows for details after you take hwy 54. Zacatecas is your destination for the moment. If you are coming from Guadalajara, few miles after the town of Villanueva you will find an interesting ruins in a place called La Quemada and archeologists believe the old and legendary Chicomostoc was there and those are their remainings. The place is well worth a stop, certainly. Short after that, you will arrive into one of the most beautiful town in the americas: Zacatecas which is a destination in itself. From there (are you still going to Catorce?) you need to go towards Saltillo on highway 54 and about 100 miles after Zacatecas you will be at a minor junction point called entronque San Tiburcio (entronque means junction) and from here you join the corresponding segment in section A.

COMING FROM D

VIf you are coming from D you just need to find your way through the city of San Luis Potosí which is the capital city of the state of the same name, in which Catorce is located. You are most likely to come to San Luis via Querétaro which is surely worth a stop. Down town is gorgeous and pedestrians, only over a huge part of it. Nevertheless, downtown air is polluted due to the continuous growing of this now big city. It has become a favorite for people moving out of Mexico city. The freeway that runs to the north is the Pan-American Highway, or highway 57 and now has been improved so you will never encounter cars coming south. From Querétaro, San Luis Potosí is about 120 miles to the north and then you need to keep going on the same freeway for another 100 miles to bypass Matehuala, but keep alert because short after Matehuala there is a major junction in which signs tell about Cedral and Real de Catorce where, I guess, you are still wanting to go; so turn here over your left hand side and join the corresponding segment in previous section, and you are done, hopefully. I know that to understand all that has been said is easier when you have a map handy.

 

 

© 2008, Jesús Cabral
Lanzagorta Street
Lanzagorta Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2008, Jesús Cabral
The Catorce Mountains
The Catorce Mountains

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2008, Jesús Cabral Panoramic
Panoramic

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2008, Jesús CabralView of the Cemetery
View of the Cemetery

 

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