Red? Green? Christmas? It’s safe to say that Las Cruces, New Mexico is America’s epicenter of chile pepper tourism. And if you’re driving through the markets of nearby Hatch you’re going to need a place to stay. So where better to rest your head than the Big Chile Inn and Suites, in full view of the world’s largest chile pepper sculpture parked out front?
The inn actually predates the giant mimetic capsicum plopped in its parking lot. In the 1960s, the motel was a traditional Ramada Inn. Clint Eastwood once stayed there while filming Hang Em’ High, and memorabilia from the shoot can be found in the lobby. By 2010, the hotel had gone independent, and was looking for a new way to stand out. Then-owner David Girle, an engineer from Australia, had friends in the Disney scene, so they together they imagineered the 47-foot chile behemoth out of two-and-a-half tons of concrete.
The chile pepper is accessible to hotel guests and visitors alike. But if you’d like your world’s largest chile peppers to be slightly more… edible, Las Cruces still has you covered. You can head to the Chile Pepper Institute at nearby New Mexico State University to try their homegrown NuMex Big Jim chile pepper, currently the world’s largest chile pepper (actual fruit division) according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Know Before You Go
Travelers are now free to visit and snap photos of the giant chile pepper, regardless of whether or not they're staying at the inn.