Tuesday, December 1, 2009

El Fuerte and the Hotel Rio Vista

El Fuerte is a very old town dating from the late 1500s.  It was a sleepy colonial town and in the 1800s it became one of the stations along the Chihuahua-Pacific railway line.  This is the train that takes a spectacular trip through the Copper Canyon. Someday we’d like to take the train trip but this time we drove up to take a look at the town.   We came in on Sunday afternoon on a little back road that wound through cultivated fields, and then undulated over hills forested with small fragrant shrubs and eucalyptus trees.  When we arrived at the town we were disappointed to see only the usual outskirts activities and crowded streets lined with low cement buildings.  Finally, just before we decided to head back to the highway, we were directed down a street and through a big arch into the historic centre.
It is really lovely with many restored colonial buildings in several blocks around a central plaza with an ornate bandstand and many tall palms.  The fountains even function here. 

We expected to see tourists but the only ones we encountered were Maureen and Earl, an elderly couple from Maine, who have been hiking and kayaking in the area.  These two are amazing; they’ve been backpacking and taking buses and the train through the area. They’ve been staying in an old hotel overlooking the square but because of the dogs we were more limited.  

We found the only hotel in town that allows dogs in the room is the Rio Vista, built up on a hill behind the stone fortress that houses the museum.

It sits at the top of a road that is so rutted and washed out that we held our breaths as we navigated up.  Harry had gone up on foot first to see if there was even space to turn around.  There is parking for one or two cars.  Here’s the van at the top of the hill.

This hotel is an eclectic, even bizarre place, with an incredible collection of rooms and oddities, much of it still under construction.  The room we chose is really quite lovely with the cement walls beautifully painted with designs, bricks and flowers.  It’s built off a stone courtyard at about the third storey level where the dogs can play and beyond it is a cement deck that overlooks the river.  No railing of course, but a lovely view.

We wandered around the plaza last night and in the morning took the dogs on a lovely hike along the river and back before leaving town.  The next part of the adventure wasn’t so peaceful.  It included a tow truck on Monday afternoon and it worked out ok, but I’ll tell you about that in my next post.
It’s now Tuesday afternoon and we’re in Mazatlan having a celebratory latte before we go to find our rental house.


  1. joanna i love that it's flowery inside and out - eclectic inside and out!!!! that's real life!!! such a lovely posting - again!!! lucky you. steven

  2. Your new header is just lovely - it so reminds me of monarch butterflies.

  3. Welcome to revisiting Mexico! I look forward to more stories!


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