Casas Grandes & Mata Ortiz

Some of the structures were 3 and 4 floors high.

Some of the structures were 3 and 4 floors high

Casas Grandes (Paquime) & Mata Ortiz


Small group tour (minimum 8 persons) led by Richard Hinkel

Wednesday, March 14.  Assemble at El Paso International Airport at 1 p.m., baggage claim area, load and board our van, driven by our guide Diana Drive west on NM Hwy 9 for 2 hours to Columbus, NM. We clear Mexican Immigration (passport needed) and Customs, then take lunch at the amazing emporium, The Pink Store. We drive 127 miles via Janos on Hwy 2 to Casas Grandes. Diana introduces us to our hosts, Spencer and Emie MaCallum, in whose adobe houses (Casa Rosa and Casa del Nopal) we will stay. Margaritas and dinner at nearby El Meson del Kiote.

Construction in adobe was sophisticated and included plumbing and defensive measures.

Construction in adobe was sophisticated and included plumbing and defensive measure

In the mid-15th century, the city ceased to exist.

In the mid-15th century,
the city ceased to exist.













Thursday, March 15. After breakfast, we drive the short distance to Paquime archeological site. We tour part of the 88 acres of impressive remains of the once-great culture dating to pre-Columbian times. We then visit the Museum of Northern Cultures, adjacent. This World Heritage Site contains an overall plan of the city, gives details of other northern cultures, and provides a variety of specific exhibits of the Paquime civilization, including exquisite jewelry, musical instruments, weapons and everyday utensils.

We drive 8 miles to Nuevo Casas Grandes for lunch at Taco Fish, popular with the local residents. In the afternoon we visit the Barreras jewelry factory, which specializes in cutting and polishing gems for retailers in Taxco, Mexico’s capital.

We return to Casas Grandes for a short walk around the village with Diana, who explains the murals on several walls. In the evening our host, Spencer MacCallum, tells us how he discovered, supported and nurtured the work of  maestro Juan Quezada, whose studio we will visit tomorrow.  Dinner at Los Colorados restaurant in Casas Grandes. Overnight at Casa del Nopal.



Pots at Laura's studio

Pots at Laura’s studio

A locally-made pot.

                                          A locally made pot.

 Friday, March 16. This morning we drive 16 miles  to the village of Mata Ortiz, formerly a lumber town called Pearson, now the center of a revival of Paquime pottery, previously forgotten. Many in the village have learned pottery-making, thanks to maestro Juan Quezada. We visit his  studio and watch a firing, and visit other homes producing splendid pots.

Next, we drive a few miles to Hacienda San Diego, a mansion owned in pre-Revolutionary times by the immensely wealthy Terrazas family. Diana’s mother, an excellent cook, gives us a tour and makes lunch for us. Next we drive to Colonia Juarez, one of two remaining Mormon settlements in Mexico. We visit the temple, store and school and admire the orderly layout of the town. Then we drive back to our rooms to freshen up, before visiting Los Pistoleros, a traditional, rustic restaurant for dinner. Overnight at Casa del  Nopal.

Hacienda San Diego, home of the Terrazas family.

Hacienda San Diego, previous  home of the Terrazas family.

Saturday, March 17. We drive to Janos, where we take lunch with Celso Jasquez at his ranch, which is also a sotol factory. This active man is engaged in competing with tequila to put sotol on the map. Chance to taste and buy. On the way back to Casas Grandes, we stop at Cerro del Diablo, a small mountain with petroglyphs. The walking distance is not far, but make sure to wear suitable shoes. In the evening we dine at Pompeii restaurant, specializing in turkey, since the family which owns it is the number one producer in Mexico. We check into the Hotel Luban in Nuevo Casas Grandes for our last night.

Sunday, March 18. After breakfast in our hotel and saying Adios! to Diana, we head north to the border. We have one more time to make purchases at The Pink Store, before crossing over to Columbus, NM, then driving back to El Paso International Airport by 1.00 p.m. End of our Mexican adventure.


Price: $895 includes

  Accommodation (sharing) in private home and hotel as detailed. Transportation in a 15-passenger van, licensed and insured to operate in Mexico. All meals on the trip, except on one occasion when in the van. Entrance to archeological site, museums and other sites on the itinerary. Services of Richard Hinkel as driver and tour leader, Diana Acosta, and local guides. (Price based on 8 paying passengers)

             Single room supplement: $110

             Not included: Tips to local guides, insurance (I will recommend an agent).

             Payment details: Deposit $200/person payable by January 1, 2018 . Balance of $695  by February 10, 2018.

 Cancellation Fee: $100 if made up to 1/1/2018. After that the full amount unless a replacement is found.


Jim Glendinning About Jim Glendinning

I am a Footloose Scot who has traveled to 136 countries. "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Robert Louis Stevenson
Read about Jim Glendinning and his book Footloose Scot: Travels In A Time Of Change


  1. Cenda Price says:

    This was for us the trip of a lifetime — to the ruins of Paquime which inspired the new pottery, to Mata Ortiz where the new pottery came into being, to a colonial estate which has rightly now belongs to its caregivers, visiting many local businesses of all sorts in the care of a “local girl” now a grown-up professional. It is not many times you visit the city hall after hours and get to meet the mayor! Each meal was great, each evening satisfying, each new day an adventure. Being able to visit with Spencer and Emmie each day was a treasure. Thanks for all you did, Jim. It was wonderful. Cenda and Charlie Price in Gadsden, Alabama

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