An Adventure to Find the Charcoal Ovens

It was a bright and beautiful morning. I bounced out of bed with the excitement of the day that laid before me. I had been invited by Tom Plattenberger to go on an ADVENTURE, and knowing how he loves to drive up into the mountains and seek out new and different things here in this beloved country… I WAS READY!

Lunch and drinks, cameras and accessories were loaded into the truck and AWAY WE WENT. We headed north to Tepic but not quite all the way, then we turned east toward the airport. Tom had all the calculations from his Google search. Highways and numbers were not what I remembered, but we did clock the exact distance from one road. We came across a dirt driveway… and we decided to take it. Bouncing down into this wooded area, all of a sudden, there they were… 8 hornos… BIG GIANT BEE HIVE LOOKING STRUCTURES! We stopped and just stared, neither of us spoke for a few minutes while the scene before us sunk in. Then these HUGE GRINS came across our faces! We had found the CHARCOAL OVENS. The education began.

These huge ovens are called hornos and they are used to make carbón, or charcoal. They measure 20 feet across and 10 feet high. It take 2-3 days to fill them with Roble or Incino wood.


This horno is just being filled. There is a hole at the top where the light is coming through, as well as two doors on opposite sides and holes around the bottom.


This is where the smoke and gasses evaporate. The hornos burn for three weeks and then you have carbón!


Large bags holding 50 kilos are filled by hand… dirty black hands. They size the pieces and stuff them totally full.

My new friends Asuncion y Elvira work hard and happily at this dirty task.


Tom and I had such a wonderful time discovering what this was all about! We wished them a good day and on we went.

Today was a fabulous adventure!

by Sarah Walker

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2 Reviews on “An Adventure to Find the Charcoal Ovens”

  1. :

    Sarah-That is so cool! Loved the story! bg

    1. :

      Enjoyed your adventure, beautiful structures.. wonder if they could work for raku low fire pottery.. or if the kilns for the low fire red ware used in the homes and food selling establishments in Mexico are similar to the homos. Hello to Tom from Marlena (New York state Arm of the Sea Theater). We met several years ago. We are having a tropics like summer complete with episodes of monsoon feeling rains. Garden beans and squash growing over night. Jaltemba Bay is always close to my heart!

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