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Map of Terlingua Area & Additional Infomation

Once a year, on the first Saturday of November, over 10,000 chili aficionados, known as "chiliheads," descend on Terlingua for the International Chili Championship.

The Chili Championship Cook Off started in 1967 as a battle between two Texas characters, Wick Fowler and H. Allen Smith, both known for their witty humor. And their chili. Somehow Frank X. Tolbert got thrown into the chili mix, with 2 festivals sort of competing with each other in one big happy chili party.

In 1967 the Chili Appreciation Society named Terlingua the Chili Capital of the World.

Terlingua is located near the Rio Grande. The villages of Lajitas and Study Butte are close. And across the Rio Grande is the village of Santa Elena.

In the 1880s cinnabar was discovered in the Terlingua zone. Cinnabar is the thing in the ground from which Mercury is extracted. Cinnabar mining turned Terlingua into a bit of a boomtown, with a population of over 2,000.

Those mining boomtown days are long gone, though the subsequent discovery of a mineral called terlinguaite brought a bit of a new boost to Terlingua in 1900. Terlinguaite is a mineral form of Mercury formed by the weathering of other mercury containing minerals. Since it was discovered by Terlingua, it was named after the town

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Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff signAfter the mercury ran out, so did most of Terlingua's residents, turning the town into a ghost town, until Terlingua began coming back to life in the 1960s soon turning into the liveliest ghost town you will ever visit, a ghost town with good restaurants and trendy lodging and host to a huge chili festival that draws thousands to the former ghost town.

Two Terlingua attractions note to be missed sit side be side. The Terlingua Trading Company, with Starlight Theater next door. In the Terlingua Trading Company you find an impressive collection of books for sale, Mexican artwork, locally made snacks, toys and souvenirs, like t-shirts.

WHERE TO STAY IN TERLINGUA

Unless you are in Terlingua during the chili festival you should have no problem finding a room. There are several good lodging options in and around tiny Terlingua. The best place to stay is La Posada Milagro Guesthouse. This is a historic building made of stucco. The rooms have fire pits, sun decks, hammocks and Wi-Fi.

WHERE TO EAT IN TERLINGUA

The Starlight Theater in Terlingua, TexasThe aforementioned Starlight Theater is no longer a theater. Instead the historic 1930s era theater is a restaurant serving regional dishes, like chipolte glazed pork medallions. At the Starlight Theater you will also find $2 Margaritas during Happy Hour and $1 Tacos every Tuesday night. At the Phat Cafe reservations are required to enjoy the upscale Asian fusion restaurant. La Kiva Restaurant and Bar is a rustic restaurant known for it barbecue. Men's Journal named la Kiva as one of the 50 best bars in America.


 GULF COAST | PINEY WOODS | PRAIRIE & LAKES | HILL COUNTRY
SOUTH TEXAS PLAINS | BIG BEND COUNTRY | PANHANDLE PLAINS
REGIONS OF TEXAS HOME PAGE

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