Situated 40 miles south of Mazatlán, El Rosario is one of the most faithfully-preserved mission towns in the region. The hometown of iconic singer Lola Beltrán, El Rosario is rich in history, its streets dotted with ancient missions and colonial manor houses with colorfully-tiled garden patios and lavish interiors.
El Rosario’s crown jewel is its majestic cathedral, Nuestra Señora de El Rosario, a baroque temple whose interior features a uniquely-crafted 17th-century altarpiece bathed in gold. The Santa Cruz chapel, dating from the 19th century, is another must-see, as is the octagonal Spanish cemetery and mausoleum, the Lola Beltrán statue, and the pristine beach at El Caimanero.
Once inhabited by the Totorames, Xiximes and Acaxes, these three ethnic groups strongly identified with fishing, pottery, and agriculture. The Totorames inhabited the region including the valley and the coast of Rio Piaxtla (Piaxtla river) to Rio De Las Cañas (Las Cañas river).
Officially founded in 1655, El Rosario owes its name to Bonifacio Rojas, who found melted silver in the morning residue of his previous night’s campfire. Gold and silver mining began at the site of his discovery, resulting in an economic boom for the picturesque town.
In the 1700’s, El Rosario was the site of the ruling powers of California, Baja California, and Sonora. Its status as a shelter city granted Mazatlán greater importance as a port of entry, and by the 1800s had become the port for all minerals produced in El Rosario, Copala, and Pánuco. El Rosario, home to copious stores of silver and gold, was the the most significant of these mining centers.
A Pueblo Mágico, or magical town, El Rosario is bordered by the Baluarte River and today has 50,000 inhabitants whose primary occupations are fishing and agriculture. A short distance from Mazatlán, it is an attractive tourist spot in which visitors can admire the vestiges of a glorious era in a historic town.