Travel

Marfa, TX : El Cosmico // Summer 2017

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

  • Unique camping/glamping experience
  • The teepees are not sealed – if it rains, water may drizzle in from the top, but there is a tarp provided that covers the bed
  • The bathhouse area is shared between the teepees, tents, and self-camping & the showers are communal/semi-private; trailers have private bath/shower
  • If traveling with children, consider the time of week/time of year/what happenings are scheduled, when booking
  • No restaurant on-site; restaurants and galleries in Marfa keep irregular hours

Our Experience:

My family and I recently loaded up for an end-of-summer road trip.  We started out from Austin, TX around 10 am and ended up in Marfa, TX around 4:30 pm.  As we approached Marfa, we passed through a series of late afternoon thunderstorms and wondered aloud whether we would arrive to a wet teepee at El Cosmico.  This was our first adventure to Marfa, and to El Cosmico, and I had read online that during rainstorms the interior of the teepees could be a little wet because there is not a way to close up the tops.

Upon arrival to our teepee, we were pleasantly surprised to find that a tarp placed over the queen bed had caught the light trickle from the afternoon showers. The rest of the interior was dry and quite inviting, with a stack of fresh towels, a colorful day bed, a worn-in leather love seat, and floor coverings.  Once the threat of showers passed, we removed the tarp and slept in a dry, comfortable bed.  My son slept on the day bed, which was well outside the area where rain might trickle in.  The temperature inside was cool in the evening, but not so cool that we needed to light the fire pit.

El Cosmico teepee interior
For my son, on his first camping adventure, El Cosmico provided a nice entry point to sleeping closer to the outdoors (including the occasional ant), and sleeping inside a teepee was the stuff of dreams.  The ivy-covered, shared bathhouse was also a new experience for him – we didn’t end up showering, but used the sink and toilets, which were a short walk from our teepee.  We brought along a friend’s Yeti Cooler, packed full of snacks and meals for our trip, having read online of the possibility of few or no restaurant options on a Tuesday evening in Marfa.  After exploring in town (with very few stores open), we returned to camp and spread out a meal from our cooler on the picnic table outside.  We all enjoyed sitting on the porch of our teepee to take in the sunset, moon, stars, and sunrise.  The design and pace of the grounds helped us all slowly transition into a camping mode for the week.  The moon was almost full the night of our stay, and as the moon rose between the teepees, the grounds lit up as if under a giant spotlight.

El Cosmico grounds at sunset
My son loved exploring the grounds and the freedom to run a bit.  I had some apprehensions when we booked our stay about whether the environment would be suitable for kids, knowing many friends who have visited El Cosmico for more adult-oriented getaways.  I was glad to find other families with kids on summer vacation staying at El Cosmico and a friendly attitude among all the guests and staff.  For most, it seemed like a one-night, unique experience while passing through West Texas.  For future bookings with our family, I’ll continue to check what other happenings may be booked at the same time – to consider the intended audience and consider whether to bring kids.  The grounds felt like a happy medium between a hotel and a campground; there were guests who checked-in to their teepees well after dark, which would be more difficult to do at a traditional campground, but we all slept through the night without issue, and tried to keep our noise levels low in the morning, knowing there were some around us who had arrived in the wee hours.

El Cosmico sink
The front office/gift shop includes a well-stocked, refrigerated cooler with canned and bottled drinks available for purchase.  We picked up a couple of cans of Austin Eastciders to add to our picnic dinner.  The gift shop is also filled with a selection of custom jewelry, ponchos, hats, incense, and such, along with El Cosmico branded items, and accessories geared towards camping.  My son selected an El Cosmico frisbee, a bandana with a star chart, and a solar powered lantern, all of which we used multiple times over the next week of travel.  A few friends made recommendations of “not to be missed” coffee places in Marfa proper, however we needed to get a move on in the morning, and the complimentary coffee served in the front office/commons area was more than satisfactory.

Overall, we all gave our stay at El Cosmico a thumbs up and hope to return at some point when passing through on another adventure.  The staff and grounds have a vibe and aesthetic that is in line with what we’ve experienced at other Bunkhouse Group properties, but unique in focus on a camping experience.  The guest occupancy seemed light the night we stayed, and mostly filled with families traveling during the summer, and I wonder what the shared community spaces feel like when there are more people around and on the weekends.

El Cosmico common room with flags

 

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