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About santa rosalia


Santa Rosalia is a unique Baja town with a personality completely different than your average seaside town. The whole town was once dependent on the large copper mine that, even today, is a highly visible part of Santa Rosalia. Not a resort, in any sense of the word, this unique town is almost always busy and bustling with activity as a port city, with regular ferry connections to Guaymas and Sonora on the other side of the Gulf of California. Flights into Santa Rosalia are available from Guyamas from the Palo Verde Airport on a daily basis, or twice a week from Hermosillo, Sonora.

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Founded in the early 1880’s when copper was discovered, a French mining company bought the mineral rights and drilled hundreds of kilometers of tunnels, built a smelting foundry, a railroad to haul the ore and the pier form which they shipped the smelted ore to Washington state to be refined. The ships would return from Washington with loads of lumber and other supplies for the town. Very unique in Baja is the fact that most of the buildings in the downtown area are made of this wood and show, in their architecture, the French influence.

This town boasts French influence, particularly in its architecture. The French company El Boleo founded the town in 1884 and exploited copper mines there until they closed in 1954. They built houses and installed a metallic church building (The Santa Barbara parish) which is argued to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel.

Unlike many other mining sites, the industrial facilities which are located in the very middle of the town, were never dismantled. Of particular interest are the reverberatory furnace and the metallurgical converter, although they are currently not accessible by the public due to safety concerns. Old locomotives, mining equipment and machinery are visible everywhere. The main mining company offices (La dirección) have been converted into an industrial museum.

The beaches here are not a very pretty sight, and are hardly ever used by the local residents (very hot summer days, maybe) with dark gray sand . It’s way too hot here in the summer and there’s a definite chilly bite in winter.

Though you won’t find any resort qualities here, Santa Rosalia is certainly worthy of a closer look if you have a little spare time on your drive south. If you can find a parking spot, you could spend an hour or two looking around this unique town and it would not be wasted time. There are a lot of great opportunities for good photos, with the all of the old mining equipment that is scattered about and the unique architecture in the downtown area.

This is a good place to stop after your drive from San Ignacio (the last part of the drive, through some amazing assents and descents can really take it out of you) and relax for a while. There are several gas stations and some good seafood restaurants along the waterfront and of course the bakery. If you need to restock your camper or motor home, most supplies are available here, if you look around downtown. The ferry terminal (to Guaymas) is on the waterfront just south of the entrance to town, you can’t miss it.

What makes Santa Rosalia Unique?

Iglesia Santa Barbara de Santa Rosalia church – famous for being designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel who designed and built the Eiffel Tower is just a short drive into town. The prefab iron church was shipped from Europe in sections and then rebuilt in Santa Rosalia in 1897.

Come see the very old wooden buildings that are pretty much unique in Baja

The French bakery, Panadería El Boleo – that travelers and locals alike, seem to be addicted to. The baguettes are supposed to be the best in México and the pastries and other bakery items are equally delicious. The bakery has been in constant operation since 1901.

The public Library in Parque Morelos – at the east end of town near the harbor, that has an exhibit of historic photos from the town’s peak mining period.