La Noria and Puerta de Canoas
Rich in history and culture, day trips to the 19th-century villages of La Noria and Puerta de Canoas offer a view into a forgotten time.
Puerta de Canoas is a small village known for its fresh basket-style cheese and delicious caramel candy, named after the fishing canoes once made there. In its surroundings, you’ll find an agave-liquor processing site called La Vinata de Los Osuna, famous for its 100% blue agave liquor.
Contemporary La Noria fiercely holds on to its traditions, as exhibited by its authentic adobe homes and proud craftsmen, who have kept their saddlery industry intact through many generations. Take some time to admire the San Antonio de Padua church and browse its handmade local crafts. You’ll nearby find a sign indicating the location of the Tropic of Cancer, which crosses its narrow cobblestone streets.
Tucked away at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains, 22 miles northeast of Mazatlán, it is a community overflowing with historical grandeur. According to existing records, the first human settlers landed at the end of the 16th century with the first Spanish property owners in the region; it later grew to be so powerful that for a time it was its own municipality, remaining so until 1882. La Noria was also the scene of a bloody battle during the French intervention, in which Napoleon’s army was defeated. Angered by the sting of loss, the imperialist army later returned, burning the village and killing many of its residents.
Its Spanish colonial architecture, however, can still be enjoyed today; estates built with thick brick walls, high-beamed ceilings, and arched entryways with adobe roof-tiles supported by huge ebony beams bring back the nostalgia of better times. Its ample public squares fill with locals each night – who sit on heavy wooden benches to tell stories and exchange gossip – and its narrow, cobblestone streets carry the weight of witnessing history. You may get a sense of going back in time as you stroll through La Noria, which is perhaps why some say that – with the wind’s murmur and a little imagination – you might hear the distant noises of mules loaded with gold and silver, being led by drivers in the mountains from long ago.
La Noria was likewise once famous for being one of the region’s main producers of mezcal. Remains of large factories and processing plants in the form of stills, ovens, and old warehouses stand today as the artifacts of this bygone era, a time when the mountains teemed with agave plants and liquor flowed in abundance through the town.
A village that fiercely sticks to its roots, La Noria’s traditions have been handed down through generations; the secrets of their tanning process persists today, producing saddles highly sought after by riding enthusiasts. Known for their quality, locals and foreigners make special trips to this village to purchase these exquisite leather goods.
Many things may be said about La Noria, like the fact that Mammoth and pre-historic animal bones have been found in its surroundings; that deep in its hills lie hidden countless treasures yet to be discovered; and that it is a haven for happy people forever in love with their regional band music. But above all, it’s a magical place where many a woman, with her striking beauty, has made courting men sing the stanza “La Noria, my favorite town, a town where I fell in love for the first time.”
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