Casas Grandes & Mata Ortiz - Fall 2009

5 days by van from El Paso - $540
departs April 1, 2009
(Fall Date: October 13, 2009)
Highlights: Paquime ruins, most famous in northern Mexico (shown below); World Heritage Museum; Buy exquisite pottery, made by the whole village of Mata Ortiz.

Copper Canyon Train

April 1-5, 2009

Small group tour led by Jim Glendinning

April 1, Wednesday.

Mata Ortiz Pot

Assemble at 1.00 pm at El Paso International Airport, west end of terminal. We board our van and drive west on NM Hwy 9 for 2 hours to Columbus, NM. We obtain Mexican tourist cards (no fee) at this little used crossing. We follow Mexico Hwy 2 and drive 127 miles south, stopping briefly at the small town of Janos which was founded in 1580 by Franciscan missionaries, to Nuevo Casas Grandes. Check in at Hotel Villa Colonial. Meet our guide, Diana Acosta, and watch a video about Mata Ortiz. Margaritas and dinner.


April 2, Thursday.

Our Travelers - Winter 2004

Thursday. After breakfast, we drive 4 miles to Paquime, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Before we visit the site, we will listen to a brief historical orientation in a restored adobe house in the old pueblo, the home of Spencer MacCallum. Mr. MacCallum is the anthropologist who has played a central role in the development of the pottery art of Mata Ortiz. At Paquime site, we start with a visit to the Museum of Northern Cultures, adjacent to the archeological zone. This new museum contains objects from the remarkable pre-Hispanic cultures from all over northern Mexico. The museum contains an overall plan of the site, and specific exhibits of many aspects of the pre-Hispanic cultures of the whole region, including exquisite jewelry, musical instruments, weapons and everyday utensils. After lunch, Diana Acosta will walk us through some of the 88-acres of the ruined city of Paquime (1250-1450), once the largest and most complex community in the Puebloan world. She will explain the history of this remarkable site which the amazed Spanish explorers called “Great Houses” (Casas Grandes) Return to Nuevo Casas Grandes for dinner at La Finca de Don Cruz. Overnight at Bed & Breakfast “Las Guacamayas”, (“ Macaws”) next to Paquime site, the home of Mayté Lujan.

April 3, Friday.

Hacienda San Diego

This morning we drive 10 miles to the small farming community of Colonia Juarez, a farming community colonized by the Mormons in the 1880s. We visit the temple, store and famous preparatory school. Seven miles farther is Hacienda San Diego, a decaying mansion owned in pre- Revolutionary times by the immensely wealthy Terrazas family.


Juan Quezada's studio

Continue to the village of Mata Ortiz, formerly a lumber town called Pearson, now the center of the revival of Paquime pottery, due to the inspiration of one man, Juan Quezada. Thanks to his far-sighted vision and teaching, for which he was awarded Mexico’s highest honor for the arts, most of the village is engaged in pottery production. Lunch. Visit the studio of maestro Quezada, and the homes where the several other artists where such splendid art is produced. Drive back to “Las Guacayamas” for a dinner of carne asada.

April 4, Saturday.

On our last day we drive to Arroyo de los Monos: a pre-historic rock-art site, which includes a spiral solstice calendar and a mouse design. Our guide Diana will interpret for us, these signs of an earlier civilization. Lunch in a seafood restaurant in Nvo Casas Grandes. In the afternoon we will hear a talk by Gordon Pierce, a local resident, entitled “Mormons and Mennonites: Migrations to Paradise”. He will explain why and when they arrived in this region, and how they have fared. Afterwards there will be sufficient time for souvenir shopping and some time to explore individually. We will dine in the garden of the Rinconada Restaurant. Our last night will again be in the old town of Casas Grandes.

April 5, Sunday.

We head north after a good breakfast of huevos rancheros, pausing at Palomas to visit the Pink Store, a café and shop, well known to regular border crossers for its ambience. Back in the USA, we head east for 2 hours to El Paso, arriving at the airport parking area by 3.00 p.m. Our adventure is over.

Included in the price:

Accommodation (sharing) in hotels and Bed & Breakfasts as detailed. Transportation in a 15-passenger van, licensed and insured to operate in Mexico. All meals on the trip, except on two occasions when in the van. Entrance to archeological site and museums. Services of Jim Glendinning as driver and tour leader. Local guides. (Price based on 10 paying passengers)

Not included:

Tips to local guides, insurance (I will recommend an agent).

Price: $540 per person.

Single room supplement $90 (if only 6 persons sign up, the price is $645 per person). Deposit of $100 per person by February 1, 2009 will secure a place. Balance of $440 due by AMRch 1, 2009. There will be a fee of $100 for cancellations made up to February 1, 2009; after that date the full amount is forfeit unless a replacement is found. Please make payments to Jim Glendinning, 904 N 11th Street, Alpine, TX 79830.

I will send out two information bulletins after receiving your deposit, with details of what to wear/bring, spending money, tourist card requirements, and insurance. Please email or call me if you have any questions at all.

Email or phone Jim Glendinning for more information and space availability.            432.837.7320