Day Trips: El Cosmico, Marfa

The alternative hotel of tepees, yurts, safari tents, and retro trailers is funky, fun, and functional

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

El Cosmico looks like a village of a vagabond tribe come to rest in the desert. The alternative hotel in Marfa is a tribal oasis for wandering souls, and all that wander are not lost.

Despite all its charms, the realities of the rugged accommodations can't be ignored. Only two of the antique trailers have indoor plumbing; everyone else showers outdoors and/or uses a communal bathhouse.

If you can get past that, then the tepees, safari tents, yurts, and retro trailers offer an adventuresome night's stay. From your front porch the sunset blazes across the horizon and the Milky Way in the night sky looks like it could drip into your cup. "El Cosmico is funky, fun, and functional," is how one of my fellow campers summed up the experience.

I stayed in the Battleship, a large, late-1940s trailer near Hammock Grove that was basic and comfortable. I am curious why the bedroom window was curtainless, but the heater and air conditioner worked great and there was plenty of hot water in the shower I never could figure out how to use properly.

The five tepees are heated with gas fire pits, which is extra cool. The safari tents are cool too, but are warmed with only a mattress heater. The walled tents are a shorter walk to the bathhouse and Dutch hot tubs next to the camping area.

In the morning, nothing could have tasted better in the high plains desert air than the free coffee from the lobby gift shop.

El Cosmico is about half a mile south of the stoplight in Marfa on US 67. For more info, call 432/729-1950 or go to

1,374th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at

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El Cosmico, Marfa, camping

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