Adventure in Mexico #2 – Harvesting the Prickly-Pear Cactus

Contributing Author Malcolm Callister

October 16th, 2018


It was early September and 32°C outside at 7:30 in the evening as my wife Linda and I strolled, hand in hand into the cool, spacious dining room of the Los Palmas Hotel Metehuala. What a day it had been since pulling into Mexican immigration ten hours earlier.  Heavy traffic, potholes and cupboard doors that opened allowing all of our crockery to smash on the floor inside the trailer.  This was only day twenty-one our planned three-year Adventure in Mexico.

RV Park at the Los Palmas Hotel Metehuala

After a six-hour drive, we reached the RV Park at the Las Palmas Hotel, Matehuala on Mex Hwy 57.  Entry to the RV Park is through the arch at the side of the office. There is an alternative locked gate for tall rigs.

The RV parking is on a level gravel area with back-in sites around the edges. There are laundry facilities and clean washrooms.  Each site has, full hook-up (15 amp).  As an RV guest, you have access to the hotel pool and the fine dining restaurant.

We fed our two Shih Tzu dogs, then went for a walk around the paved walkways of the hotel's shrub and cactus garden.

Harvesting Prickly-pear Cactus Pads

During this walk, we met Juan, the hotel gardener while he was harvesting Prickly-pear cactus pads in the garden.   In a mixture of English/Spanish and hand gestures, Juan explained what he was doing. As Juan reached in to hold and cut off selected cactus pads, he used a folded piece of cardboard torn from the side of a Tecate beer box to protect his hands from the sharp spikes.

He showed us what pads to pick with samples to take away and instructions on preparing the pads for eating. Prickly-pear pads are a source of moisture for the indigenous people of the desert.  After removing the spikes, the pads can be eaten raw, sliced raw in a salad, boiled or stir-fried a vegetable mix.  Prickly-pear pads washed and sliced thin have a slight lemon flavor and the consistency of pear. Not unpleasant.

Fine Dining on the RV Park

After a swim, we headed for the hotel dining room and a celebration steak dinner.  The linen tablecloths, the low individual table lighting, male waiters dressed in tuxedos helped created a relaxed atmosphere.  In the Mexican fashion, tortes and dips arrived as we sat down.  The wine glasses were polished before being placed on the table.  The cold white wine that we ordered was presented for tasting before we accepted it and then placed in an ice-filled cooler beside the table.  The attentive waiter refiled glasses as needed, and the dessert cart arrived a discrete time after we had finished eating the main course.  There was no rush, we eat, we laughed and talked of our day and our plans.

M&L's #TipOfTheWeek

If, when I had taken delivery of our trailer from 1000 Island RV Center in Gananoque I had purchased cupboard door clips, I would not have to purchase new crockery.

This is RVing we are all learning.  🙂


Anyone would like specific driving instructions from Columbia Bridge Laredo to Lake Chapala via Matehuala, please e-mail Malcolm directly at