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Cities Madera (Chihuahua)

Madera is a historically important city (30 000 inhabitants) situated in north Mexico. It’s where in 1965 the first conflict between Mexican army and „guerilla“ has occurred. It is also where from about 100 years ago the Pancho Villa moved with his “army” as a part of the famous Mexican Revolution. Today’s Madera is simple and not a very touristy town. Wide streets, empty houses, closed shops and not much life around. The only places you can actually see people are local ice cream shops and licquer stores. However according to locals Madera is not a dangerous town and you could trace cars without any concerns ( I rather haven‘t tried it though).
However the surrounding of the city offers some unbelievable archeological sites, cave houses that used to be inhabited by prehispanic people, beautiful nature and thermal springs. Surprisingly there is no information about those, no tourist agencies not even a simple flyer on a reception desk in your hotel. Shame.

Air in Madera is a mountain air, during summer warm, but during winter you could easily see a snowfall. That is why local hotels count with a heater. You might have troubles getting around without your own car, but it is possible.

The local specialty is dry meatcarne seca”. I wouldn´ t call it delicious, but it is nutritious and worth trying. You can order it with scrumbled eggs or mixed with veggies as a main dish.
What here: In steep canyon walls around Madera are hidden old clay houses. Indians “jovas” were living in these cave houses when the first Spanish came here. It’s known that they were used for several centuries by native American vendors travelling between Paquimé and the Pacific coast. The easiest to visit (by a local bus) is an archeological site called Cuarenta Casas (40 houses). They are not forty anymore but still totally worth seeing! Among the others are Conjunto Huápoca, Cueva Grande, Circuíto Sírupa or Embudo, where could be found in rock clefts buildings looking like massive pitcher. All sites are in beautiful nature about 1 hour from Madera, but in different directions.

Where to stay:
Hotel Parador de la Sierra. Totally number 1! This original hotel is only 3 blocks from bus terminal. The building looks like old mountain cottage. The hallways are full of black and white pictures of Mexican celebrities ( Zapata, Pancho Villa or Pedro Infante). Rooms are cozy (except in bed mattresses) and the bathroom is clean. Small TV and heating are part of the equipment. There is a wi-fi connection as well. At the backyard is newer part of the hotel. The rooms are more modern, spacious, the beds are better and the price is higher.
Price: 250-380 pesos. Corner of streets Avenida Tercera and Independencia, phone: (652)572 0277
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Hotel Mirmay. It’s on the same street like Parador de la Sierra. Just behind Banamex bank. Newly painted, purple color from outside makes up for the inside of the hotel. The facade is nice but the rooms are old and not very cozy. They have TV and a heating.
Price: 300-390 pesos. Avenida Tercera street. phone: (652) 572 0944
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Hotel María. Average hotel with average rooms (TV, heating). A restaurant is part of the hotel. The owner is currently trying to sell the hotel and I think it is a good idea. A fresh touch and a little renovation would not do harm. Otherwise it is ok.
Price : 280-430 pesos. Corner of streets Quinta and Cinco de Mayo. Phone: (652) 572 0323
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How to get here: Bus Estrella Blanca leaves twice a day from Nuevo Casas Grandes (at 12:15 pm and 2 pm). It takes 4 hours and costs 252 pesos. Next possible way is from the capital Chihuahua (269 pesos) or from a small town La Junta which is like a crossroad for many local cities.