Located near Del Norte — a historical stagecoach stop and supply town for miners — Mermaid Cottage is a truly extraordinary retreat in the Mystic San Luis Valley. You’ll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas of two of Colorado’s most storied mountain ranges — the San Juans and Sangre de Cristos — in the town’s peaceful backcountry.
The serene setting and welcoming hospitality are just the icing on the cake at this hand-built tiny home. Enter through curtains banded in bright hues to be greeted by a school of smiling mermaids made from every artistic medium imaginable. Hike to rocky outcroppings on the stunning property alongside ponies, goats and, if you’re lucky, pronghorn. In the morning, rise and shine with organic French press coffee, oatmeal with all the fixins and — when the hens are laying — fresh eggs.
What makes it special?
Well, that would be everything, really. But what particularly stands out is the artistry and care put into the cottage as it was built. When you stand amid the kaleidoscope of light created by colorful bottles in the wall, you can’t help noticing that each shining gem and piece of cord wood was placed intentionally. More than one guest has described Mermaid Cottage as a “magical” retreat, and there’s a reason for that.
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
The cottage is tucked away on a 35-acre solar-powered ranch and is surrounded by soul-stirring views of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges. It doesn’t get much more “Colorado” than that.
Quirkiest thing to expect
Wake-up calls in the form of whinnies from the ranch’s miniature ponies. These adorable hooved hoteliers guarantee a special start to your day. The adult swingset is a close second.
Top sensory experience you’ll encounter
It’s all about the visuals here, so brace your peepers for impact. Sunsets are like nothing you’ve ever seen before, with rich purples and cotton-candy pinks streaking across the mountaintops. Morning light is filtered through glass-bottle adornments fixed into the wall, giving you a sense of waking up in a cozy rainbow.
Our favorite traveler review
“The cottage is beautiful with amazing amenities. The animals on the property are adorable, and a quiet evening under a blanket of stars is like nothing else. Fresh eggs from the hosts’ chickens and milk from neighbors’ farms is an amazing start to a beautiful day. Nestled in prime hiking territory full of beautiful views is an experience that can't compare to the hustle of any city venue. Be prepared to have your mind blown and the experience of a lifetime!” — Alexis P. on Google reviews
Things to see & do nearby
Mermaid Cottage is conveniently located near Section 4 of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, making it a perfect stop for bikepackers or a jumping-on point for day trippers. A 15-minute cruise takes you to Penitente Canyon, where you’ll find traces of history, like ox-cart wheel ruts from the days of the Old Spanish Trail and the Virgin of Guadalupe painted high on a cliffside. Savor paninis, pizzas, pils and pale ales at Three Barrel Brewing Company in Del Norte proper — a quick 20-minute drive from the cottage.
Photos courtesy of Mermaid Cottage