El Rosario Sinaloa, the hometown of the great Lola Beltrán, has a mining heritage, interesting buildings, and beautiful natural landscapes that have made it grow as a tourist destination.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was one of the most opulent communities in the country under its rich silver and gold mines.
In 2012, El Rosario was incorporated into the Magical Towns system to make its past mining splendor known to tourism, as well as some valuable pieces of its cultural heritage that managed to stand the test of time, including the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the old Spanish cemetery.
Where is El Rosario, Sinaloa?
El Rosario is a small town in Sinaloa, head of the municipality of the same name, located 65 km south of Mazatlan.
Nearest major cities: Durango is 265 km away, Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa, is 280 km away, and Zacatecas is 560 km away.
From Mexico City, almost 1,000 km. from El Rosario, the most convenient way is to fly to Mazatlan and do the rest by road.
The story goes that in 1635, Bonifacio Rojas, a ranch hand in the area, missed one of his cattle and went out to look for it.
He was riding along the course of the river when he saw the lost animal at a place called Loma de Santiago.
As it was getting dark, he lit a fire and spent the night there. When he removed the fire the next day, he saw plenty of silver stuck to a rock. Before leaving to communicate the news to his employer, he marked the site with a rosary.
How did El Rosario come about?
After Rojas’ discovery, his employer began the extraction of silver from El Rosario. Then gold was found, and the exploitation of precious metals intensified.
By the end of the 18th century, El Rosario Sinaloa was the most prosperous town in northwestern Mexico. It would later become the first electrified town in the region and the seat of power of the Sinaloa Congress.
Thanks to El Rosario, as well as Cópala and Panuco, Mazatlán took off as an important port. With the end of the mining boom in the 20th century, El Rosario went into economic decline. Among its current efforts to regain prosperity is the tourist exploitation of its mining heritage.
The average temperature in El Rosario ranges from 20° C in the cooler months to 30° C in the summertime.
The hot season is between June and October, while the temperature drops to its annual lows between December and February.
What was the mining bonanza like?
The mining wealth of El Rosario was so great that every thousand grams of gold ore yielded an unbelievable 400 grams of pure gold.
Currently, there are mines in the world that operate profitably, with 3 grams of gold for every 1,000 grams of ore.
The subsoil of the town became a long and intricate network of galleries and tunnels that, over time, would weaken the ground, causing the collapse of many beautiful houses and buildings erected during the boom.
Visit the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
This 18th-century temple has a peculiar story: It was built in one place and then dismantled stone by stone and erected in its current location because its original site was damaged by the movements of the subsoil, full of mining tunnels.
It is made of carved quarry stone, and its façade is of a pure Solomonic Baroque style. The temple’s interior holds one of the fabulous jewels of Christian art in Mexico:
A gold-plated baroque-style altarpiece.
The extraordinary altarpiece of the Virgin of the Rosary is presided over by the image of the Virgin, which is surrounded by beautifully carved sculptures representing Saint Joseph, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Joaquin, Saint Dominic, Saint Anne, Saint Michael the Archangel, Christ Crucified and the Eternal Father.
The religious artwork is a mixture of Greco-Roman, Baroque and Churrigueresque styles, with a predominance of Stipite Baroque.
Mexican singer and actress Lola Beltrán, the famous Lola la Grande, an icon of Sinaloa’s popular culture, was born in El Rosario on March 7, 1932.
Her remains rest in the garden of the Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
In front of the church, there is a monument commemorating the Sinaloan diva.
In a large 19th-century mansion in the center of the town is the Lola Beltrán Museum, where the classic dresses she used to wear, accessories, records, and other objects are exhibited.
Is it true that there is an interesting cemetery?
Apart from the church that between 1934 and 1954 was moved stone by stone thanks to the tenacity of the people of El Rosario, another architectural work that was saved from the ravages caused by the weaknesses of the soil was the old Spanish cemetery.
This old pantheon has become a tourist attraction for the beautiful mausoleums of the XVIII and XIX centuries that it houses, as much for the architecture of the great tombs as for the beauty of the religious sculptures, coats of arms, and other ornaments.
There is a legend that the famous French writer of the XIX century, the author of Around the World in Eighty Days, was in El Rosario.
According to one version, Verne is said to have befriended a high-ranking Mexican military officer, visiting Mexico on several occasions, including a stop in the wealthy town of El Rosario.
This legend is fueled by Verne’s short novel “A Drama in Mexico,” but no documents exist to prove his stay in the country.
El Rosario Sinaloa natural sites
The Laguna del Iguanero is a beautiful space that was abandoned for many years until 2011, when it was conditioned for the enjoyment of locals and tourists.
The lagoon has a curious history. In 1935, in the middle of an intense cyclone, water currents were generated that flooded the entrance of the mine of El Tajo, forming a body of water that has been preserved and that, according to the villagers, extends through the system of tunnels located below the town.
It has a small island in the center, accessed by a picturesque suspension bridge, and is home to turtles, ducks, and iguanas. Another attraction is the Caimanero Lagoon.
About 30 km. from El Rosario is the beautiful coastal lagoon of Caimanero, separated from the sea by a strip of beach.
The lagoon is used for swimming, boating, and commercial and sport fishing, being one of the main shrimping centers of the state.
It is also frequented by observers of biodiversity, especially for a large number of seabirds. The lagoon owes its name to the fact that it used to be the habitat of alligators.
After feeding Australians for centuries, ostrich meat has been making its way into stews and dishes by its quality in the rest of the world.
This racer bird, which can reach 3 meters in height and 300 kilos in weight, produces meat of excellent flavor and texture, similar to turkey.
The Sinaloa territory is similar to the original ostrich habitat and is home to many farms near El Rosario.
You may have the opportunity to visit one of these breeding centers to see the most extensive and heaviest bird in existence.
El Rosario is home to indigenous communities related to xiximes, totorames, and acaxees, who preserve the handicraft practices of their ancestors.
They are skilled in pottery, rustic furniture, pyrotechnics, and weaving pieces of natural fibers, particularly mats.
These handcrafted products, which you can take home as souvenirs of El Rosario, are available in some places, such as Artesanías El Indio in the center of town.
El Rosario Sinaloa Hotels
El Rosario is consolidating hotel offers to increase the tourist flow to the town, which is mainly visited by people staying in Mazatlan.
One of these establishments is Hotel Yauco, located at km 22 of the Genaro Estrada International Highway.
Other options are Hotel Bellavista El Rosario, at km 20 on the road to Cacalotan, and Hotel San Angel, on Venustiano Carranza Avenue.
I hope this guide will be helpful for you to immerse yourself in the past mining splendor of El Rosario and get to know its architectural and natural attractions better.