Surrounded by pine trees in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains, the Lodge at Norítari is a favorite relaxing place for California Native guests. In Rarámuri, the language of the Tarahumara Indians, Norítari means “Place Above the Clouds.”
The lodge is the realization of Lauro and Soledad Marquez, who live here with their daughter, Solecito, a Nahuatl Indian, whom they adopted at birth. Lauro was formerly an engineer with INEGI, the Mexican Government Institute for Statistical and Geographical Information. He met Soledad when she was working for the Acapulco city government. A few years before, she had taught in the Sierras and was enchanted by the beauty of the area and the friendliness of its people.
The couple purchased the land in 1995 and three years later began construction of the lodge. Presently they have nine log cabins (cabañas) with two rooms each, which Sol has decorated with colorful furniture and crafts from all over Mexico. Each room has a large fireplace—it gets cool at 7,800 feet in the Sierras.
Geese and turkeys clamor at visitors on the paths hiking to nearby lakes, while horses and cows graze peacefully in the meadows.
On the old-fashioned porch, which wraps around two pine trees, you can relax with cafe de olla, a cinnamon bark tea to which coffee grounds are added. Then Sol prepares a gourmet dinner: zucchini squash soup, cinnamon beef with sopes, and local baked apples in a delicious sauce. Lauro tends the bar and offers his private-label mescal.
The next day we drive to Basaseachic Falls—at 811 feet it is one of Mexico’s highest. The view of the falls is spectacular. From an observation point we enjoy picnic lunches. After lunch, hikers have the opportunity to stretch their legs, while the others chat and soak in the beautiful scenery. When the hikers return, we head back to Norítari for another fine dinner at our “place above the clouds.”