Dare to Drive Cuesta de los Arrepentidos to Real de Catorce: Mexico's Ultimate Off-Road Challenge

Located in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, Cuesta de los Arrepentidos (Repentant’s Slope) ranks among the scariest roads on Earth.

Cuesta de los Arrepentidos

When was Cuesta de los Arrepentidos built?

Nestled in northern San Luis Potosí, this road leads to Real de Catorce, a ghost mining town perched nearly 9,000 feet (2,700 m) above sea level. Constructed in 1778, it served as the sole access route to the town for 200 years, prior to the construction of the Ogarrio Tunnel.

How long is Cuesta de los Arrepentidos?

Situated on a desert plateau within the Sierra de Catorce range, the road spans 10.9 km (6.77 miles), running west to east from Estación Catorce to Real de Catorce. The journey crosses ghost towns, defunct railway stations, abandoned mines, and the desolate expanses of the Wirikuta desert.

Is Cuesta de los Arrepentidos dangerous?

Venturing on the road to Real de Catorce promises to be one of the most thrilling, heart-pounding, and transformative experiences of your life. The breathtaking drive is not for the faint-hearted. The surface, completely unpaved and strewn with rocks and mine debris, offers a bumpy ride. The brutally steep inclines, the road's extreme narrowness, and the dangerous drop-offs overlooking a canyon and a dry riverbed make it a journey for 4x4 vehicles only. Motorcycles and bicycles are strictly prohibited. The highlights of the drive include the treacherous Paso del Diablo (Devil's Pass) and the haunting Socavón de la Purísima (Immaculate Conception’s Sinkhole).

Driving the ‘normal' route

The usual route is from the east side. It’s a 17-mile (27km) cobblestone road, leaving from the Highway 62. To reach the town there’s a dimply-lit tunnel called Túnel Ogarrio. It’s 2,300 meters long. The tunnel stretches nearly a mile and a half under the rock. The tunnel is only one-lane wide (with travelers in and out having to wait their turn), and there is a phone at the mouth of the tunnel where you can call to determine whether there is any traffic headed out of the city (through the tunnel). But don't bother, the phone doesn't work anymore. 
Pic: Amado Mata