This is a story about finding our cabin in Pinal de Amoles. And more.
When I started writing this, it was the morning of Day Four in our road trip to the states of Guanajuato, Querétaro, and San Luis Potosí. The agenda for this trip is to visit twenty Pueblos Mágicos and to see some great scenery.
Pinal de Amoles is in the heart of the Sierra Gorda, a mountain range that is the home to many protected and endangered plant and animal species. I booked two nights here (the only two-night stay of our ten-day road trip) so we would be able to do some exploration of the area.
Booking the cabin
I booked the cabin on Airbnb. Here’s what the listing says (as translated from Spanish by Airbnb):
Relax with the whole family in this home where tranquility is breathed.
In the heart of the Sierra Gorda de Querétaro. Surrounded by beautiful natural postcards.
In the “Lomas del Roble” cabins, it is a unique space. We have everything necessary for a complete experience. In the evenings, you get the fire pit with wood, we have forest tours and amazing landscapes.
All kitchen utensils, a refrigerator, stove, beds, beds, blankets, etc.
We are Pet friendly!
We have the option to connect you to WiFi internet!
You can park your car or van.
Other things to note
We’re in the town of the Oak. It’s 10 minutes past the magical town of Pinal de Amoles.https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/49734635
In the very heart of the Sierra and natural attractions nearby.
It’s worth mentioning that the original Spanish for “the Oak” is “El Roble.”
Once you book on Airbnb, you get information from the host about how to get there and how to check in. What it said was “Address: La Última Morada.” And it included these directions:
Sigue derecho al pasar el Pueblo de Pinal de Amoles. En 5 min darás vuelta en la comunidad “3 cruces”. Tomarás otros 5 min de terracería. También, puedes llevar el mapa que te compartió el anfitrión en tu móvil.
(Continue straight past the town of Pinal de Amoles. In 5 minutes you will turn into the “3 cruces” community. You will take another 5 minutes of dirt road. Also, you can take the map that the host shared with you on your mobile.)
The map showed a location on a street called “La Última Morada” on the edge of town. But that clearly wasn’t right.
How we almost gave up
We drove out of Pinal de Amoles and soon encountered dense fog. We were barely able to see where we were going, and considered giving up, but eventually we came to a sign reading “Tres Cruces.” So we kept on.
Eventually we came to a turn off on the right. We turned in, and there were some people standing by the corner, so Luis asked them if they knew where “La Última Morada Cabañas” were. They didn’t know, but they said there were some cabins down this road. So we drove, and the road turned to dirt. It was twisty and dark from the fog. But we kept on.
We passed various cabins, but none of them were “La Última Morada.” (Incidentally, “La Última Morada” means “The final resting place.” Luis remarked that he felt like we were on one of those roads in horror movies where you’re watching and you want to tell the characters to turn around. Would this indeed be our final resting place?) But we kept on.
We passed a man walking along the side of the road. We stopped, and Luis asked him. He gave a long and thorough explanation. Luis told me the man didn’t know about “La Última Morada” cabins, but there are some cabins farther down the road. So we kept on.
We must have driven another ten minutes. The fog thickened. We found nothing. We were becoming stressed and angry and frustrated. Finally I said to Luis that we were going to turn around at the next opportunity where the road widened. We’d go back to Pinal, find a hotel, and write to Airbnb and insist on a refund.
How we finally found it
We eventually found a place wide enough to make a u‑turn, and we headed back the way we’d come. We passed more of the cabins we’d already passed, and at one of them I suggested we give it one more try and ask them if they know where “La Última Morada” is. The woman we met did not, but she said she would ask inside. But no one knew where to send us. So we turned around and headed down the driveway.
Then the woman called us, and an elderly man came down to the car. The woman said her father was waiting for some foreigners. He asked if I was Lane. (He pronounced it “lan.”)
It seems we stumbled on the cabin, which was called “El Roble,” without realizing. Remember that none of the directions provided on Airbnb mentioned “El Roble.”
The cabin turned out to be okay, albeit very rustic. It was cold and windy overnight, and though we had a space heater, it didn’t do much to warm the place. We had four blankets and managed to stay warm enough in bed.
In the fog last night we couldn’t see any view. But this morning we discovered what a beautiful place we’re staying.
Luis had to do some work, so I started writing this post. The wind was howling. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced such strong winds when there wasn’t a storm. Then at about 9am the power went out. So we decided to go into Pinal and find a place to have breakfast and get an internet connection.
First we took our obligatory selfie with the “letters.” Then we ate breakfast at an outdoor stand where they were making gorditas and quesadillas. The wind was blowing napkins and even plates of food away.
After breakfast we drove to some scenic spots nearby. (I’ll write about our activities later.) On the way out of town, we passed the letters again.
We made it back to our cabin around 4pm. The power was still out.
What to do???
We decided there were three options:
- Go back into Pinal and find a hotel that would have a room available and that would allow Taco to stay with us.
- Stay in our cabin, potentially without power all night.
- Drive on to Jalpan de Serra, the next Pueblo Mágico on our itinerary, about 40 km away, and hope to be able to find a hotel there.
We had to make our decision without internet, since in addition to no Wifi, neither of us had any connectivity. At this point we were both frustrated and pissed, and we were taking it out on each other. We decided on option 3, quickly packed up our stuff, and drove off, barely speaking.
Jalpan de Serra
We made it to Jalpan by 5pm, parked, and I got on Booking.com and did a quick search for pet-friendly lodging. We found a place, booked it, and drove over. It is another cabin, but it’s in town, and it’s charming. The owner, Blanca, met us and has been absolutely lovely. The cabin wasn’t ready because they weren’t expecting any guests, but she gave us a recommendation for dinner and we went and had a fabulous meal with adult beverages and a great view overlooking the town.
It’s amazing how quickly our bad moods turned to delight!
Now just waiting for our previous hosts to approve my request for a refund for the second night.