Just a few minutes outside Hidalgo’s capital, Pachuca, the quiant little town of Real del Monte looks almost… British? That’s because this was once one of the centers of mining in Mexico, and the miners of Real del Monte were Cornish immigrants who brought their food and culture to this mountain town. Here are a few facts to brush up on before you go.
It was one of the most important mining regions of New Spain
The mines of Real del Monte and Pachuca are believed to have brought to the surface 1.2 billion troy ounces of silver and 6.2 million ounces of gold. That’s 6% of the silver and gold mined in the last five centuries. The Spanish were the original owners of these mines, through which they financed their new colony. But after a series of floods and damage to mines, by the 1820s Cornish miners were brought in to save the day.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Their Cornish heritage
In order to repair the flooded mines, Cornish miners were brought over from England with their steam engines, a technology not yet available in the New World at the time. Throughout the next half century waves of Cornish miners and their families would migrate to Mexico, mainly from the Cornish towns of Camborne, Redruth and Gwennap.
They had the Americas’ first Workers’ Strike
In 1766, miners working under the control of Count de Regla, Pedro Romero de Terreros, one of the richest Spanish colonists at the time, protested wage reductions and increasingly difficult working conditions. The strike is noteworthy because it wasn’t simply a work stoppage but an attempt to renegotiate work and labor contracts.
Look out for the Giant Christ
In the 1940s a group of miners almost died on a rickety wooden lift coming out of a mine. They prayed to god to save them and when they survived, they promised to erect a monument in his name, a promise fulfilled some 40 years later, with the help of the local Catholic church. The giant Christ statue now sits atop the town, surrounded by a platform for incredible views of the surrounding landscape.
It’s Mexican soccer’s birthplace
Those same Cornish miners were the first people to introduce soccer to Mexico, now the country’s most beloved sport. The miners used to play informal games amongst themselves after their hours at the mine and eventually would be the first members of the Club Futbol Pachuca, the country’s first soccer club. The Pachuca Club joined with several other nascent soccer clubs in 1902 and hosted Mexico’s first soccer tournament.
The food has some English flair
One of the many ways that the English miners influenced Real del Monte was by bringing their pasties with them, known locally as pastes – a flaky empanada type pastry, either savory or sweet that could be eaten on the go and with little fuss, they were, after all, miners. The town has now become famous for its pastes and you can find national brands, based in Real de Monte, that supply stores and restaurants across the country.
It has its very own English cemetery
Up on a hill, overlooking the town, you will find the ancestors of many present-day locals, all with English surnames, at the Pantéo Inglès. There are 755 tombs on this plot of land donated by one of the mine’s managers, the oldest dating back to 1834. The architecture of the cemetery and tombs is faithful to the occupants’ heritage, with Cornish-style headstones and celtic and masonic symbolism on many of the graves.
It has unusual architecture
You notice the red, slant-roofed houses the minute you arrive in Real del Monte, so unlike other Mexican architecture in mountain towns across the country. Even the Acosta mine, open until 1985 was built in a style that was typical to the homeland of the miners. The engine house and high chimneys are an intense contrast to the surrounding greenery.
It has a windy side
Real del Monte and Pachuca, its sister city, have a reputation for cold mountain winds that breeze through most afternoons. Pachuca has even been nicknamed “The Windy Beauty.” Make sure you bring some warm clothes, no matter what time of the year you are visiting – that wind could whip up at any minute.
There’s a festival and museum dedicated to its favorite food
The miners’ famous meat pies, or pastes, have now developed into a cause for local pride. 2009 brought the first annual Festival Internacional del Paste to town and a few years later an interactive paste museum was built, where visitors can try their hand at creating the little delights and of course nibbling on a few samples. The Duchess of Cornwall and her husband, Prince Charles, even visited the museum in 2014.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.