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El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico

El Fuerte, MexicoEl Fuerte is a city and El Fuerte Municipality is its surrounding municipality in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa. The city population reported in the 2010 census was 12,566 people.

El Fuerte, meaning 'The Fort', was named a Pueblo Mágico ( Magical Town ) in 2009, due to its many attractions, its historical importance and its old world appealing small-town feel.

The city was founded in 1563 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Ibarra, the first European explorer of the lofty Sierra Madre Occidental mountains.

In 1610 a fort was built to ward off the fierce Zuaque and Tehueco Native Americans, who constantly harassed the Spaniards.

For years, El Fuerte served as the gateway to the vast frontiers of the northern territories of Sonora, Arizona and California, all of which were sparsely populated by unyielding tribes of native American Indians.

For nearly three centuries it was the most important commercial and agricultural center of the vast northwestern region of Mexico.

El Fuerte was a chief trading post for silver miners and gold seekers from the Urique and Batopilas mines in the nearby mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental and its branches.

El Fuerte, MexicoIn 1824, El Fuerte became the capital city of the newly created Mexican state of Sonora y Sinaloa - which then reached up deep into modern-day Arizona.

It remained the capital for several years until the split of this state into the states of Sinaloa and Sonora.

Tourism remains a major industry in town, although it was diminished for several years by tourists being wary of Mexican drug cartel violence in other parts of Sinaloa.

El Fuerte has several holidays and local "Fiestas" which are celebrated with pageants, "Ferias" and other similar festivities. Several hotels cater to hunters and fishermen, who hunt deer, boar, wild hog, wild goat, rabbit, armadillo, a variety of snakes.

They fish in the nearby Rio Fuerte river which runs on the northwest part of the town's commercial district. There are also local petroglyphs a short distance from the downtown.

The city also serves as a gateway to the popular Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon) situated in the nearby state of Chihuahua. There are no easily travelled roads to Copper Canyon from west of the Sierra Madre Occidental.

Visitors usually take the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico railway, whose local station is a few miles south of town.

The route is on the Chihuahua-Pacific Railroad, or El Chepe, which passes through the scenic Copper Canyon, from Chihuahua, Chihuahua to the northeast, to Los Mochis, Sinaloa, near the Gulf of California, to the southwest.

El Fuerte, MexicoThe town is also served by the local El Fuerte Airport.

But, it is said that travelers prefer to board the route of the Mexican train "El Chepe" towards the Copper Canyon leaving from there - attracted by the natural beauty and cultural richness of El Fuerte.

It is a sunny town where you can hear the river, it has a fresh and unexpected cuisine, and its residents dance as euphorically as they are wise in their natural way of life.

El Fuerte encloses these and other treasures of northern Sinaloa to reveal itself only to the most adventurous travelers.

Located in the northwestern part of the state of Sinaloa; It has impressive natural, historical, architectural, cultural attractions and the deep-rooted indigenous traditions of the native Yoremes. It is located within the Ecotourism Circuit Sea of Cortez – Copper Canyon.

Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez dam, sport fishing for bass is a must, there's a rest area for migratory birds - it's a source of income for local fishermen and possesses spectacular landscapes.

The El Fuerte area has the declaration of a national Protected Nature Area. Tehueco is a place that you should visit - it is one of the seven ceremonial centers of the region.

In this place is the Jesuit Mission that tells an important chapter of the history of this country.

There is also the Church of Dolores and the Miguel Ángel Morales Ibarra Community Museum, all of them witnesses of the passage of time.

El Fuerte, MexicoThe are petroglyphs a short distance from the downtown in the Rio Fuerte basin.

These rock inscriptions were left by Nahua groups that centuries ago passed through the Sinaloan migratory corridor. Access to them is somewhat difficult.

The Cerro de la Máscara is a petroglyph complex, considered one of the main ones in the state due to the number of engravings and the diversity of contents.

It is located on the banks of the Río Fuerte, approximately 5 kilometers from the downtown area of the city.

In total, there are about 45 stones that together contain more than 100 engravings, whose antiquity is estimated between 800 and 2500 years.

In different stages of sculptural application and that, due to historical memory, must belong to Toltec and Aztec migrations. Highlighting among them: the buried Stone of the Goddess of Fertility or Parturient Woman, and The Chief.

Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre). Situated in the nearby state of Chihuahua, but this city is a good entry point - since there are no good access points from the west of Sierra Madre Occidental.

Barrancas del Cobre is one of the great natural attractions of Mexico. Beautiful scenery, hidden waterfalls, and timeless canyon villages.

El Fuerte museum there are basketry, furniture, palm weaving, pottery, cabinetmaking and textiles that make up the handicrafts of this Municipality, which has one of the richest samples in the State of Sinaloa.

El Fuerte, MexicoDisplaying beautiful handicrafts made mainly by Yoreme artisans, among which stand out: blankets and wool zarapes from Alameda; pots and earthenware made in Capomos; carved wooden figures mainly of deer and pascola dancers made in Capomos.

From Mochicahui; hats, baskets, bags and other items woven from palm in Bamicori, El Realito, Tetaroba and Lo de Vega.

Guasima chairs and tables made in Capomos; bules painted by Angelo in El Fuerte; in addition to the clothing and clothing used by the Mayans in their religious and pagan festivals such as: tenabaris, ayales, masks, coyolis.

The typical dishes of this region are: cocido, colachi, chilorio, machaca, caldillo, picadillo, rice, gorditas, tostadas, golden tacos, fresh panela, menudo, pozole; pineapple, meat, corn and sweet tamales; meat broth, guacabaqui and barbecue.

In the municipal seat, dishes based on bass have become customary, such as: chicharrones, tripe, meatballs, shaken, breaded or flamed fillet, as well as seafood and prawns (cauques) prepared in different ways.

In sweets we find pepitorias, rice pudding, ham, cocadas, capirotada, tacuarines (coricos), coyotas, colachi and burnt milk empanadas, semitas, marshmallow, fritters, cheese gorditas.

Typical drinks are pinole atole and corn atole, barley water, horchata and different fruit flavors of the season.

El Fuerte was originally named San Juan Bautista de Crapo - derived the current name from the fort built by Captain Diego Martinez de Hurdaide.

El Fuerte, MexicoIt became an important gateway to the Californias, Arizona and Sonora as it was situated on the Camino Real - a mule train trail from Guadalajara to Alamos and for 300 years dominated the commercial and agricultural sectors of Northern Mexico.

The chief trading house in the area for silver and gold miners. It was declared the state capital in 1824 of then Sonora y Sinaloa which also encompassed parts of Arizona.

Ask at your hotel for a local guide to take you hunting in the foothills or fishing in the El Fuerte River or in the Hidalgo or Domingez Reservoirs for big mouth bass.

"I first became aware of El Fuerte back in the early 1970's when I first traveled there to stay at a new small hotel opened by my brother-in-laws father. It was focused at fanatic fishermen."

"They would pound on the door of your room at 5am to awaken you with shouting commands that it was time for breakfast and then load up and drive to the reservoir for Black Bass fishing."

"From 7 in the morning we'd be on the lake with our own guide who would bring us in at lunch time for deep-fried catch of the day along with pappas fritas and ice-cold Cervezas before hopping back on the boat to fish until the sunset hour."

"We'd drive back to the hotel where dinner would be waiting - huge grilled steaks from my brother-in-laws father's ranch in New Mexico."

El Fuerte, Mexico"Every day was the same routine - it was a fisherman's paradise on earth."

"Since those days, El Fuerte has grown considerably, but seems to still have the same feel to it that it had around 50 years ago. If you love the outdoors and love Mexico - then El Fuerte is definitely a must go destination."

The distance El Fuerte sits is 2 hours from Los Mochis or Navojoa; 3 hours from Ciudad Obregón; 4 hours from Culiacán; and is 11 hours from La Paz.

At an altitude of only 100 meters in elevation, El Fuerte has the climate of a tropical desert and is quite warm, if not hot, throughout the year.

From November to March the average daily highs are between 27 and 32°C (81 and 89°F), while average nightly lows are between 7 and 11°C (45 and 52°F). It has dropped as low as -5°C (23°F).

From April to October the average daily highs are between 34 and 40°C (94 and 103°F), while average nightly lows are between 11 and 24°C (52 and 75°F). It has been as hot as 46°C (115°F) during the day.

July to September constitute the rainy season but it rarely rains every day. Any time of year is the best time to visit El Fuerte due to its lovely weather but if you don’t like the heat you may want to avoid visiting between June and August.

El Fuerte, MexicoTaking a bus is only an option between Los Mochis and El Fuerte. There are no bus routes between El Fuerte and Bahuichivo.

Two bus companies run routes between El Fuerte and Los Mochis: Azules del Noroeste (blue buses) and Autotransportes Norte de Sinaloa (ANS, green and white buses).

If you plan to continue immediately to Topolobampo or the airport by bus I’d recommend Azules, as they’ll drop you off at the station in Los Mochis where you can connect to the appropriate bus without lugging your bags around town.

Buses leave El Fuerte for Los Mochis from the market on Benito Juárez every 20 minutes between 5 am and 7 pm. The cost is $60-$80 Mexican Pesos per person depending on the company and the ride is 1.5-2 hours.

Buses leave Los Mochis for El Fuerte from either the Azules del Noroeste station or the Autotransportes Norte de Sinaloa (ANS) station.

Azules buses leave at least once per hour between 5 am and 8:15 pm, take about 2 hours and cost $80 Mexican Pesos.

ANS buses run regularly throughout the day, take about 1.5 hours and cost $60 Mexican Pesos.

El Fuerte has a laid-back, small-town vibe - which combined with its beautiful colonial-era architecture make it the perfect place to go for a stroll, have an ice cream and simply enjoy the weather and your surroundings. It’s a wonderful way to either start or end a journey through the Copper Canyon.

The Hotel Posada del Hidalgo, once a hacienda, is said to be the birthplace and childhood home of Don Diego de la Vega, also known as Zorro.

Each night around 8:30 the hotel puts on a short show about Zorro. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel you’re welcome to join as long as you’re consuming something from the restaurant or bar.

The hotel is beautiful and well worth a visit regardless. There is also a statue of Zorro in their courtyard and the legend is displayed on the wall.

El Fuerte, Mexico Attractions:

Hunting and Sport Fishing
Mask Hill
Church of Dolores
Legend of the Fox
The Portals
Miguel Angel Morales Ibarra Community Museum
Mirador Museum
Municipal Palace
La Galera Recreational Park
Main Square
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Dam
Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez Dam
El Fuerte River
Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
La Galera Zip Line


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