Viva Terlingua

Viva Terlingua

Located near Big Bend National Park, Terlingua is anchored by the remains of the Chisos Mining Post known as Ghost Town. Once a flourishing cinnabar mining operation, nowadays Ghost Town is a collection of ruins, mine shafts and mysteries. Terlingua is also home to the World-Famous Terlingua Chili Cook Off and quite a few quirky attractions.

Historic Terlingua Ghost Town

The discovery of cinnabar, the material that produces Mercury, brought about 2,000 miners and their families to the area in the mid-1800’s. After the Mercury market crashed and a flu-epidemic broke out, residents abandoned the town leaving their homes and businesses behind.

Terlingua Texas Ghost Town Cemetery

The Terlingua Texas Ghost Town Cemetery

The empty ruins left are referred to as Ghost Town. Visitors flock to this eerie destination where rattlesnakes are probably more prevalent than actual ghosts. A self-guided walking tour allows guests to visit some of the more notable structures including the graveyard.

Where to Sleep in Terlingua

There are several unique places to rest your head in Terlingua. La Posada Milagro was rebuilt atop the foundations of old ruins. This collection of adobe homes offers guests modern conveniences, while still maintaining the rustic elegance of the Big Bend.

Like most Terlingua lodging options, La Posada Milagro is a small hotel with just four rooms available. Room rates range from $145 to $210 per night.

Another inviting lodging option is the Big Bend Holiday Hotel. This sophisticated guest accommodation offers four different lodging possibilities to guests. The Cinnabar Room, El Patron Suite and Candelilla House are located in Ghost Town, just a short walk from area attractions and businesses.

The Rio Grande Rock House is a few miles down the road, but offers a perfect option for couples or small groups looking to get away from literally everything! Room rates vary according to lodging choice.

Other lodging options in Terlingua include Upstairs at the Mansion, the El Dorado Hotel, Big Bend Motor Inn, Terlingua House and the Chisos Mining Company Hotel. Terlingua Ranch Resort, Lajitas Resort and numerous options in Alpine are also available to guests who want to sleep just a short drive away.

Dining in the Desert

Several restaurants offer guests a taste of authentic Texas cuisine. The Starlight Theater and Restaurant features genuine Texas and Mexican specialties in a historic setting. Other options include:

  • Long Draw Saloon and Pizza,
  • La Kiva Restaurant & Bar,
  • High Sierra Bar and Grill,
  • Ghost Town Saloon and Restaurant,
  • and India’s Cafe.

“Viva Terlingua”

It is hard not to compare Terlingua to Las Vegas when you see the numerous roadside attractions located in the area and locals often sport “Viva Terlingua” bumper stickers to commemorate the comparison. You will find everything from a pirate ship to a replica of the Statue of Liberty in this eccentric town.

The Terlingua Trading Post is the unofficial hangout for visitors and locals alike. Located in the original company store of the Chisos Mining Company, this gift shop is more famous for the always interesting front porch than for the souvenirs located inside.

Guests looking for a true representation of Terlingua shouldn’t miss the porch at the Trading Post.

Terlingua and the surrounding area are sparsely populated and guests and residents are usually fairly low key. However, on the first weekend of November each year, this sleepy town erupts as visitors swarm the area for the Annual Terlingua Chili Cookoff.

Terlingua Texas Chili Cookoff

The Terlingua Texas Chili Cookoff

Described as one of the best parties in the country, over 10,000 “chiliheads” gather in the city to sing, dance, celebrate and of course, eat chili. This colorful event is an experience that visitors will not soon forget.

Terlingua is truly a city that marches to its’ own beat. Local residents are definitely free spirits and that attitude is prevalent in businesses, attractions and events across the area. If you’re looking to escape Wal Mart, McDonalds and pretty much every other brand name that surrounds you on a daily basis, Terlingua is the place for you.

Photo by gohomekiki, Fuzzy Gerdes, and by wadeferd

12 thoughts on “Viva Terlingua

  1. bonnie

    Pls have your Dad, Craig, call me. I found a part to the tractor that he got from me.

  2. Jon Blackmon

    Several businesses listed are no longer functioning. Los Jalapenos Cafe moved to Alpine, next door to the Raspa Company. Phat Cafe went out of business two years ago. Dos Paisanos is not there either. Be aware that Long Draw Saloon and Pizza has the best pizza and coldest draft beer in town, but they don’t allow cell phones!
    India’s Cafe has really good home style food and baked goods. Don’t forget the High Sierra Bar and Grill or the newest business in town, the Ghost Town Saloon and Restaurant. Maybe you guys should take a day trip south and see what you’re missing!

  3. Peter Uzelac

    I would like to do a story about the Terlingua Chili Cookoff. I am very familiar with the event but if you’d like to publish one of your articles on the subject on my site I will link it back to your site?


  4. joe guevara

    we are a paranormal research team based out of MidlandTx. and we are very interested in visiting this lovely locale. we will visit the cemetery but would love to investigate other buildings for possible paranormal activity….any ideas guys?….any contact names perhaps?…any help will be greatly appreciated…please visit us on facebook GHOST TRAX PARANORMAL OF WEST TEXAS or email us at….
    thank you
    joe guevara

  5. Heather

    Hi Joe,

    Thank you for visiting our site! I am looking into some good contact numbers for you. I will shoot you an e-mail tomorrow!


  6. David Lawson

    Dear Terlingua Friends, I would like to thank everyone for your kindness and generosity at the recent surprise fundraiser that my good friend Ruth Staton orchestrated on my behalf. Also, a special thanks to the prompt and professional way that our local E.M.S. staff transported me to Alpine. It’s a blessing to be surrounded by such good people. My sincere thanks to you all. David Lawson

  7. Local resident and visitor of other areas

    Terlingua has the real West Texas Feel. Located near the big bend national park , so much to do and see. UNLIKE MARFA, Terlingua is real. Wanna go to authentic West Texas ? Go to Terlingua, wanna goto California or New York? go to Marfa.

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