Day Trips to El Rosario, Sinaloa (GPS N22°45'00" W105°22'16") from Mazatlan Top rated day trip excursions and popular self-guided tours of Rural Sinaloa Communities and Pueblo Magico in the Sierra Madre mountains near Mazatlan!
El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico is located 40 miles southeast of Mazatlan, and is one of the easiest Mazatlan day trips.
Founded on August 3, 1655, El Rosario was for nearly 250 years the most important mining town in Sinaloa state, and one of the richest towns in all of Northwest Mexico.
According to legend, the El Rosario silver mines were accidentally discovered by a farmer -- Bonifacio Rojas -- looking for a lost cow.
Searching near the banks of the Baluarte River in a place now known as Loma de Santiago, he found the cow, but it was too dark to return home.
As darkness fell Rojas set a fire and settled in for the night under the shade of a tree.
Waking up the next morning he got a huge surprise: streaks of melted silver mixed with the ashes of his fire. Excited by his find, Rojas hurried back to town, marking the spot by hanging his rosary (rosario) as a marker in the tree under which he had camped.
El Rosario was a very unusual find in Sinaloa: a place where rich veins of silver and gold were located near the surface in relatively accessible, flat, terrain.
When word got out that there was a major precious metals discovery, miners came to El Rosario from all over Mexico, and El Rosario was on its way to becoming one of the wealthies communities in the Americas.
By the mid 1700s El Rosario's mining output -- along with that of Copala and Pánuco -- began to have an important impact on Mazatlan. San Blas, in Nayarit State just south of Sinaloa, was still the dominant port on the northwest coast of Mexico, but mining operations in Sinaloa wanted a port closer to home. Traffic at Mazatlan began to increase and, with it, development within the town.
Commercial mining activity in El Rosario slowed drastically after World war II, but the towns' historical prosperity is evident in houses, buildings and streets, and particularly the stunning El Rosario colonial church, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which reflects that great wealth.
Built over the years 1731-1759 in an elaborate Baroque style, the Mission of Our Lady of Rosario church has a spectacular and fantastically intricate gilded altar.
Nuestra Señora del Rosario is beautifully maintained, and has lovely shaded sitting areas around its perimeter. The church faces the central town square and is an important reason that El Rosario was designated a Pueblo Magico by the Mexican government.
Video of El Rosario, Pueblo Magico, Sinaloa, Mexico
The way that the church became located in the town square -- not its original location -- is a remarkable story, and one that those on Mazatlan day trips to El Rosario should know.
El Rosario has over 40 miles of underground tunnels that were dug over 290 years of commercial mining. Many of these tunnels were structurally unsound. As tunnels near Our Lady of Rosario began to collapse in the 1920s and 1930s the people of El Rosario, fearing that the church would be damaged, moved the entire structure -- including the amazing golden altar -- from its original location to the town square.
A must-see on any Mazatlan day trip to El Rosario, Nuestra Señora del Rosario also has a number of interesting religeous statues, as well as shrines.
Another part of El Rosario's history that makes it a popular Mazatlan day trip is that it was the birthplace of the Mexican singer Lola Beltrán (formally María Lucila Beltrán Ruiz), who made Ranchera -- a genre of the traditional Mexican music that dates from the era of the Mexican Revolution -- famous worldwide.
Lola Beltrán came from modest circumstances: her father, Pedro Beltrán was a manager at a mine just outside El Rosario.
Beltrán's singing career took her around the world and included numerous performances for world leaders. She was first ranchera singer to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), the premier concert hall in Mexico located in Mexico City, and recorded over 100 albums.
Beltrán also made fourty films between 1947 and 1982 during her prolific career.
The cultural impact that Lola Beltrán made on mid 20th century Mexican popular culture can hardly be overstated.
In a 1994 appreciation of Lola Beltrán, the Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes wrote that "passion and desire, joy and risk, tenderness and the cry for existence are the wings of this dove that is the voice of our lady Lola Beltrán." adding "I have spent my life living and writing and loving and traveling with the voice of Lola Beltrán close to me, on records, over the airwaves, but above all in the soundtrack of memory."
There is a Lola Beltrán museum in El Rosario located on Calle Benito Juarez that houses Lola Beltrán memoribilia, and a lovely sculpture of her faces Nuestra Señora del Rosario in the town square.
El Rosario is also home to the Museo de Chamtela, a cool boutique archaeology museum -- also located on Calle Benito Juarez -- devoted to preserving native Totorame Indian culture. Packed with artifacts from digs in El Rosario municipality, Museo de Chamtela is a must-see on any El Rosario day trip!
The city of El Rosario is also the birthplace of Toni Col -- Sinaloa's unique vanilla flavored soft drink that is popular throughout Mexico -- which was invented in El Rosario by Antonio Espinosa de los Montero, a Rosario native. The Toni Col bottling facility in El Rosario operated by El Manantial, Toni Col's parent company, is an important contributor to the El Rosario economy, as is -- like most of the communities included in our day trips around Mazatlan -- agriculture.
But the purpose of many Mazatlan day trips is often shopping, and El Rosario is highly recommended in this regard.
Known for its many craftsmen-artisans who produce top rated pottery, furniture, and leather products, these high quality locally produced Mexican arts and crafts are widely available in El Rosario -- at very good prices -- and are a popular reason visitors to Mazatlan make day trips to El Rosario. For larger items such as furniture, virtually all El Rosario merchants can arrange economical delivery to Mazatlan.
Today the Municipality of El Rosario -- which is larger than the town itself and encompasses surrounding Sinaloan villages -- has a population of roughly 50,000 people, the city itself 16,000.
There are two annual festivals that are unique to El Rosario: the traditional celebration of the Virgen del Rosario on the first Sunday in October, and the Spring Festival (la Feria de la Primavera) held from the 1st to the 10th May -- one of the oldest Spring Festivals in Mexico.
Outside Pueblo Magico El Rosario there are a number of rural attractions, including the beaches at Playa el Caimanero and the lagoons of Caimanero, one of the largest natural breeding grounds for shrimp and, consequently, birds.
El Rosario Day Trip Directions
To begin Mazatlan day trips to El Rosario head 40 miles southeast on Highway 15. You will drive past the Mazatlan International Airport and through Villia Union. The entrance to El Rosario will be on your left!
Recommended restaurants in El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico
Location Carretera Cacalotán 20
Hours 8 am to 7 pm
Telephone 694 952 1012
Restaurant Bellavista specializes in shrimp dishes. This spacious palapa has a pool, entertainment for kids and great family atmosphere.
Restaurant El Parador de Don Mauricio
Location Inside Hacienda el Tamarindo
Hours 10 am to 7 pm
Telephone 694 110 0518
Restaurant El Parador de Don Mauricio is located within the historic Hacienda el Tamarindo, a landmark El Rosario building. Their most popular specialty is beef tongue in green sauce (salsa verde).
Restaurant El Patio
Location Rafael Buelna 149
Hours 1 pm to 10 pm
Telephone 694 952 1653
Restaurant El Patio specializes in beef dishes. You won't miss its bright orange facade as you cruise down Rafael Buelna!
Restaurant La Palapa de Lola
Location Carretera Internacional 15, km 222
Hours 7 am to 10 pm
Telephone 694 952 1222
Restaurant La Palapa de Lola serves delicious regional Sinaloa food including shrimp, and fish entrees, special dishes like Cielo Rojo, Huapango Torero and Machaca Rosarense (dried beef El Rosario style), as well as delicious desserts and drinks. The restaurant fronts a pool, which is very popular with kids!
Restaurant Tiro de San Antonio
Location Calle Lola Beltrán
Hours 8 am to 10 pm every day except Monday
Telephone 694 952 1255
Restaurant El Tiro is bright and inviting, with the walls covered with lots of old photos, many dating from the age of Lola Beltran. The menu is traditional Sinaloa cuisine -- done very well.
Facts and figures about El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico
• El Rosario was founded on August 3, 1655.
• El Rosario is located in the municipality (municipio) of Rosario, and is its capital.
• El Rosario sits at an elevation of about 100 feet above sea level.
• The population of the city of El Rosario is just over 16,000.
• The population of El Rosario Municipality (Municipio) is just under 50,000.
• The economy of El Rosario is largely supported by agriculture, livestock production and tourism. New mining exploration and exploitation was announced in early 2014 by Sinaloa Governor Mario López Valdez at the 2014 World Convention of Mining Companies in Toronto, Canada.