Brief History of the Posada del Abuelito
The property currently housing the Posada del Abuelito was acquired by José Utrilla López, the great grandfather of José Rodrigo Alfonzo Velasco who is the current owner of the place. Since the late 1940s and during the 1950s, the house served as a place to stay for José’s many relatives coming to visit Chiapas. In spite of its modesty and scant facilities, it was always the preferred place to stay for the Alfonzo Utrilla family who made periodically the two-day trips from Mexico City to spend several weeks in Chiapas. From an early age, Armando J. Alfonzo Utrilla, one of José’s grandchildren, fell in love with the house and dreamed about owning and restoring it one day. In the early 1970s, during his years of studying at the École Nationale des Arts et Métiers in France, Armando saved money to purchase the property from his grandfather and conceived the idea of building a place for travelers wishing to discover the many facets of the state of Chiapas. He was inspired and influenced by the hostel facilities existing at that time in Europe.
The dream became a reality upon his return to Mexico. After the purchase and restoration of this colonial house, he turned it in the late 1970s into a guest house/hostel and named it “Posada del Abuelito” to honor his grandfather. The posada became the very first place in Southern Mexico offering rooms, dormitory and kitchen facilities, catering to the needs of travelers of all nationalities, ages and interests. At the time, Armando worked to bring basic education to the most remote areas of the state and supported the Guatemalan and Central American refugees fleeing conflict in their countries. Furthermore, his broad knowledge of the Mayan culture and work and volunteer experience allowed him and the staff at the posada to offer travel, cultural and historical information to guests and travelers alike not available at other facilities. This uniqueness remains to this day. Travelers and guests enjoyed the practical amenities and the very pleasant and safe atmosphere they experienced during their stay at the posada. By word of mouth alone, Posada del Abuelito became popular with many travelers and quickly begun to appear in various guide books (For instance, it was included in the 1980 first edition of the Lonely Planet, Mexico).
Years later, a significant change in the lives of Armando and his family, prompted a sudden departure from San Cristóbal de las Casas to the US. He and his three-year-old son, José Rodrigo, moved to the state of Vermont. The Posada del Abuelito gradually became a sweet memory and the property continued to be utilized by the family for other purposes. However, the dream never died out and 20 years later, J. Rodrigo who had heard so many good stories about the place where he was born as well as of the Posada del Abuelito, decided to leave the U.S. and go back to his roots in Mexico. When Rodrigo was back, the idea to reopen the Posada again occurred. It took him several attempts to spearheaded this project. In 2004 it operated for about 10 months. Rooms were rented out by the month and guests were slowly coming to stay. But the house was in need of major repairs and a lot of tender loving care was necessary. It took a few more years to come up with the money and do the required work. Finally, in 2009, through a sustained effort and with the help and support of Hileana García, Rodrigo’s wife, Posada del Abuelito was reborn and brought back to its initial glory.
Furthermore, in late 2012, when Rodrigo and Hileana acquired an adjacent part of the property that had been subdivided in the 1960s, this colonial house was restored to its original size. Today, Posada del Abuelito, in several generations, has become a place that reflects the pride of a family wishing to share its uniqueness with the many travelers wanting to stay at a special place and wishing to meet interesting people. On a regular basis, Rodrigo and Hileana continue to look for ways to improve the facilities and to enhance their guests’ experience. But it is the dedication of the staff and managers who are constantly paying attention to details that truly deserves a special mention for it has proven to be a key factor to have satisfied customers.
We thank you for your patronage and hope that you have a pleasant stay at Posada del Abuelito and a wonderful experience visiting San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Chiapas.
Here from the very beginning of Posada del Abuelito’s reopening 2009. Known as the “Abuelitos Mama” caring for guest and even providing natural remedies if they should fall sick. She does everything from setting up breakfast, cleaning rooms and even making our famous Jam.
A Veteran here at the Posada del Abuelito. You can find him as part of the afternoon team. Marco loves explorig Chiapas and is also our resident bike tour guide (best bike guide in San Cristobal). Speaks Spanish, English and Italian.
Founder of Posada del Abuelito and Rodrigo’s father. An expert of Chiapas. Every once in a while guest come back that stayed over 30 years ago!
Rodrigo and Hileana
Current owners of Posada del Abuelito. Rodrigo and Hileana were both born in San Cristóbal. Parents of Sofia and Gael future owners of Posada del Abuelito. They love exploring Chiapas and sharing their family Home with guests so they may enjoy the region as well.
Our Complete Staff!
They’re talking about Posada del Abuelito
Ian Marshall in Weekend Notes – http://www.weekendnotes.com/posada-del-abuelitos/
Travis Williams in Hostel Trail – http://www.hosteltrail.com/hostels/posadadelabuelito/
Andrew & Emily in Along Dusty Roads – http://www.alongdustyroads.com/posts/2014/8/22/hostel-review-posada-del-abuelito-san-cristobal