Thirty miles northeast of Mazatlan sits the beautiful little pueblito (village) of El Quelite, population 2,000. So far this is my favorite town. As we neared the town we saw the big yellow arch proclaiming “El Quelite.” Around the bottom of the arch were pots of flowers. We drove down the main street, dodging the chickens, teenagers on ATVs and little kids on their burros and parked in front of the plaza and Church.
The first thing we noticed as we drove under the arch into town was the color. Color everywhere! Of course the buildings - homes and businesses - vivid colors. Watermelon pink trimmed with lime. Yellow, orange, eye hurting green, purple, red - every color of a crayon box. Sub-tropical plants growing along the streets, in pots on porches, bougainvilleas from white to deep purple and every shade in-between and even some cactus growing on a few of the tile roofs. The cobble stone streets are very clean, not a single stray piece of paper or trash any where. It is like walking into a fairy tale and being able to stroll around.
Some of the sights and sounds while there. Roosters crowing. A pickup truck with speaker driving around announcing very fresh fish for sale. Eventually he pulled up behind us and a couple of women came out to buy the fish. He took it out of his cooler and cut and weighed it then bagged it all in the bed of the pickup. Of course the vegetable truck and bottled water truck. Both were doing a brisk business as they drove around town.
As we walked towards a restaurant a boy on a burro came riding up the street going who knows where. Also on the street mothers with strollers and older women with their umbrellas to keep the sun off. We stopped for brunch at the restaurant.  The food was excellent, the service great and the ambiance marvelous. It was like being in a Disney Jungle World in Beverly Hills. All kinds of plants, even a live parrot - who took off out the door with the manager in hot pursuit. She got him back. The tables were set with the finest feeling cloth made in the village, a brilliant plaid material. The dinner wear was pottery made in the town. All the food was grown and or processed there. Fresh fruit, fresh cheese, eggs and ham.  A hugh bougainvillea formed the roof overhead. And the bathrooms - never have I seen anything like them. Took a picture of the ladies room.
As we continued our stroll around we met lots of interesting people. The young man in his calf high white rubber boots who told us he worked in the little cheese factory in town. He had lived in the US and spoke excellent English. Said he preferred the town to the big cities.
Then the five women sitting around an old wooden table in the granary picking the stones out of the cow feed. Stopped and talked to them for a while. They would dump a bunch of grain in the middle of the table then pull a couple of handfuls towards them. Take out the stones and put the clean grain back into another bag. They had me take a picture of them. Bill had them all laughing by the time we left.
As I looked at the old buildings and homes it kind of jogs the mind to see the really old weathered tile roofs with laundry on the line and water tanks then right next to the tank is a big satellite TV antenna.
Saw some wonderful cactus, can’t describe them you’ll have to look at the pictures. Right across the street from where I was taking pictures of the weird cactus were several cages with loudly crowing roosters in them. We walked over to check them out. They were beautiful. They seemed to glow in the sunlight. Orange chests, black bodies and iridescent green tails.  Weren’t there long when the middle aged man who owns them came out to see what we were doing. Talked to him for awhile. He reached into the cage and took one out for us to look at. Then explained they were fighting cocks. I think he expected us to make typically American comments about “How terrible.” When we didn’t he kind of relaxed and told us there is a cockfighting training ranch in town. All the roosters are fighters. Kind of an “Oh,Boy” moment for us. But it is legal in Mexico and people take it really serious. After explaining this he walked over to talk to one of his friends - all the while petting his rooster.
This information was written on the back of the menu. “This town is so lovely that it inspired Francisco Terriquez to write the famous Mexican folk song ‘Que Bonito es El Quelite.’”
Also - “The driving force behind the town’s rural tourism initiative is El Quelite’s medical doctor, Marcos Osuna Tirado. He transformed his old family home into the restaurant and a B & B. And is encouraging the young people to train as qualified guides, earn a little income and practice the English that they are learning in the local school of 250 children.”
Logo for 2008 Trip

Traveling to Mexico Again  in 2008
Nav Buttons 2008 Trip

Visiting the little towns around Mazatlan, Mexico - La Noria and El Quelite

For photographs of La Noria, Mexico  Click here
La Noria was established in the late 1500s. It is about 20 miles east of Mazatlan.
The first thing we visited was the church built 250 years ago. It is painted yellow with pink trim. There is a bell tower with some circular steps leading up to the bells. Got claustrophobic just looking up them.
We drove around some after leaving the church just checking out the town. Only a couple of the roads were paved with cobblestones, the rest were dirt and rocks. As we were getting ready to turn one corner the road narrowed and two older women were standing there visiting. One was wearing a black and blue sweat suit with a straw hat the other a light colored flowered house dress and sensible shoes. Bill slowed way down and started to creep past them. Then he stopped as they spoke, “Buenos Dias.” Spent a while talking to them. The lady in the dress proudly showed us her three week old grandson. Beautiful baby with long straight honey colored hair and big brown eyes. As we continued on we saw another young woman in jeans watering the street to keep down the dust. Her little boy in his bright red pants and gray t-shirt was standing on the steps watching her. One thumb in his mouth the other hand holding his bottle. He shyly waved to us as we drove past.
Most of the buildings have been kept in good repair, their fronts painted in vivid colors and their roofs warped with the tiles blackened by age. A couple of roofs even had cactus growing on them. I mention that the fronts are painted because that is usually the only part painted. The sides and backs are gray cement or old worn red bricks. Some of the houses had cows and/or chickens in the back or side yards. The fences built of kind of straight limbs tied together with barbed wire and twine. Flowers and flowering trees were every where. Bougainvilleas of every color, some almost as big as the house they are next to.
On the main street a couple of young men were cooking slabs of meat. They use half a big drum on legs with a grill on top. Get the coals going good then place the meat on the grill. This is then chopped up and put in tortillas - called Machaca. Must be really good as they were fixing a lot of it. It smelled good.
On one corner was a shop where leather goods are made. Belts, saddles, Huaraches (leather sandals) and various tourist trinkets. It was just a small room painted in a dingy shade of green paint that was peeling in places. The ceiling looked like it had been painted white in maybe the early 1900s. Pieces of leather were hung over a work bench and scattered on the floor, a purse hung from a big floor fan and sandals for sale were strung on a wire above the counter. The beginnings of a saddle sat on the floor.  Stayed in there quite a while. Bill picked out a nice piece of leather to buy. After he put it in the car we continued to walk around.
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La Noria, Mexico
El Quelite, Mexico
For fotos of El Quelite, Mexico  Click here
On the way back we stopped at the Vinata Los Osuna Tequila Distillery. According to the guide book this is the only place in the world where Tequila is grown, harvested and distilled all at one place. We passed through a couple of kilometers of blue agave plantation before arriving at the distillery that dates back to the 18th century.  We took a tour of the distillery and talked to the present owner - it has always been in his family. Very interesting and such a good smell. Got to taste the agave after it had been cooked and turned a dark caramel color, very sweet. Didn’t buy any bottled tequila though.
The grounds themselves made the trip worthwhile. Flowers and humongous bougainvilleas of every color were all over. As were cactus and flowering trees I can’t name. Also several jacarandas that were over 200 years old with trunks five feet across. Back to the campground with another little town to visit the next day.
As we continued walking up the hill we saw a very old looking house that appeared to be abandoned and I stopped to take pictures. An older woman with her gray hair in a long braid was coming down the hill towards us. She stopped to tell us about the house. She said it was very, very old and had last been lived in by an “old American man.” And since he passed away it has been empty. She also told us that at one time she had the plaque that originally was over the door of the house describing when it was built and who it was built for. She said it was one of the Spanish Conquistadores. There are so many friendly people and so much history in these small towns.
Saw another building that was beautiful on the outside, painted a bright orange trimmed in yellow but when I looked in an open door I discovered a big room with peeling plaster walls and a high wood beamed ceiling. I could see several different coats of plaster of different colors where it was peeling. Except for a couple of bales of hay, a modern looking scale and some empty buckets and a wheelbarrow it was empty. Looked like it must have looked 200 year ago. Beyond that we found a tiny grocery store. Went in to visit with the ladies working in it. As we got inside we could see that the store was actually a room in the front of their home. One lady was scooping white beans out of a big burlap bag with a sauce pan and pouring them on a piece of newspaper. The other was then taking the paper and wrapping the beans up and sealing the paper with tape. It was one kilo of beans, cost 30 Pesos. She said that with the beans, one kilo of tortillas - 10 Pesos and a half a Kilo of cheese - 20 Pesos a woman could feed her family a couple of days.