Real de Catorce trip planner
Create a fully customized
day-by-day itinerary for free
Real de Catorce
Things to do: sightseeing
Real de Catorce, often shortened to Real, is a village in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí and the seat of the municipality of Catorce. It is located 160mi north of the city of San Luis Potosí, and currently has a full-time population of under 1,000 residents. This 'ghost-town' in the high and dry expanses of northern San Luis Potosí state was once a thriving silver mining settlement. Real de Catorce has long been a pilgrimage site for both local Catholics and Huichol shamanists, and is now being discovered by international tourists drawn by the desert ambience and reputed spiritual energy.GeographyThe village of Real de Catorce sits on the side of a mountain at more than 2,743 meters . It is located in the Sierra de Catorce range, one of the highest plateaus in Mexico, where summits may extend over 10000ft. These mountains lie in the arid Mexican plateau, cut off from trade winds of the Gulf of Mexico by the high peaks of the Sierra Madre Oriental.The main road to Real de Catorce leaves Highway 62 between Matehuala and San Tiburcio. This is roughly to the east of Real, near the town of Cedral. From the main highway there is a 17mi cobblestone road which rises into the sierra, then the 1.5mi long Ogarrio Tunnel which only accepts vehicles one way .HistoryReal de Catorce is named for 14 Spanish soldiers killed here in an ambush by Chichimeca warriors. Other sources tells that in the beginning the name was "Real de Álamos de la Purísima Concepción de los Catorce" . Although a town had been there for many years, silver was discovered in the local mountains in 1772 and a few years later in 1779 the village was officially founded. The parish church was built between 1790 and 1817. Real de Catorce's heyday was in the late 19th century, when it had a population of 15,000, with some of Mexico's richest silver mines and a mint, as well as a bullring and shops selling European luxury goods. It was almost completely abandoned when the price of silver plummeted after 1900; only a few people remained in this ghost town, eking out a living from mine tailings and an annual influx of pilgrims to a reputedly miraculous image of St. Francis in the parish church. Today, its main income comes from tourism.To arrange what you want to do in Real de Catorce, use our Mexico trip itinerary builder.
Create a full itinerary — for free!
Plan your trip to Real de Catorce
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Best things to do in Real de Catorce
Millions of travel reviews
Where to stay
Browse hundreds of hotels and read guest reviews on the world's leading online travel agency website.
Extend your holiday
Visit top cities near Real de Catorce:
Recently planned trips to Real de Catorce
12 days in San Luis Potosi BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 2 days in Real de Catorce BY A USER FROM MEXICO August, culture, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in San Luis Potosi BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in San Luis Potosi BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans