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      Welcome to the most "non-Mexican" looking town on the Baja Peninsula! Santa Rosalia, a growing town of approximately 10,000 people located at Km. 196 on the Baja Highway, looks more like a wild-west mining town than a seaside Baja village ...and for a good reason. In 1868 Jose Rosa Villavicencio discovered copper in this desolate Baja outpost. Mining began with the Germans and then followed by the French. Sailing ships transported the copper to Europe via Cape Horn, and the harbor at Santa Rosalia was a very busy place for many decades. In the 1920's major mining operations stopped, although there were still a few smaller operations working the mines. Eventually over 375 miles of tunnels had been dug in the hills around the area.


      Today the grid-pattern streets and wood buildings still have that mining town flavor, including the large black locomotive located at the entrance to the town. The cast iron church designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (yep, same guy) is still in use. The town is clean and the locals are friendly. The cultural mix of people walking the streets is evidence of the ethnic heritage of the city's past.

      Santa Rosalia was one of the coastal gasoline stops for Carlos Fiesta on his 2,200 mile BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION. You gotta read the book!

      Santa Rosalia's harbor is now used as a ferry port, taking Mexicans and Baja travelers to Guaymas on Mexico's mainland. Ferries usually depart Santa Rosalia for Guaymas on Fridays at 11:00 P.M. and arrive in Guaymas Saturday morning. For further information you can call SEMATUR at 011-52 (112) 5-4666 or drop by the SEMATUR FERRY web site. Fares for individuals are not expensive.

      Facilities in town include the EL MORRO HOTEL (20 rooms) located just south of town on the sea of Cortez, the SOL Y MAR HOTEL (8 rooms) also just south of town, and the newer HOTEL EL INDUSTRIAL (8 rooms) just north of the town entrance, great for boaters who are at anchor across the street.

      Campers and R.V.'s can stay at the LAS PALMAS R.V. PARK located at Km. 192 on the ocean, which also features a restaurant and bar. A Pemex station is located on Baja Highway One on the west side of the street, just south of the town entrance. A good place to grab a bite to each and enjoy the ocean view is Selene Restaurant, also located just south of town about a mile, on the east side.

      For side trips check out the Tres Virgenes volcanoes north of town at Km. 31 (north side). If you are headed south towards MULEGE take a gander at the PRISON at km. 189 on the east side of the blacktop. Yikes!

      If you have a sweet tooth don't miss Santa Rosalia's famous bakery located on the main road through downtown, right side! For a truly distinct Baja destination Santa Rosalia is numero uno!

      Got gas? There is a new PEMEX station at the north end of town. The PEMEX at the south end (#1706) has a reputation for being unfair with providing the proper change for their customers. Beware!

      When it gets really windy in Santa Rosalia there are 3 point surf breaks north of town (left breaks) that can be surfed with longboards. Cowabunga!

      If you've been on the road driving the Baja Highway and you need a place to stop, stretch and grab an ocean view meal, Playa Negras Restaurant sits right above the water just past the PEMEX station near the south end of town.

      Need a ride to mainland Mexico? The ferry from Santa Rosalia makes regular runs across the Sea of Cortes. The phone number is 011-52 (615) 152-1246.



      Walking the busy streets on the north side of town is a good way to experience Santa Rosalia. Most visitors park their vehicles on the main street somewhere between the famous Eiffel steel church and the bakery, which is just 2 blocks west of the church. There are several places along this street to purchase cold drinks and food. A decent sized market is located just up the street from the bakery for Baja travelers who want to stock up on basic supplies before heading up or down the coast.



      Santa Rosalia is unique in that it is one of the few towns located on the Sea of Cortez that has few tourists. This is probably because the quaint village of Mulege and the spectacular beaches of Bahia Concepcion are less than an hour's drive south. Some visitors make the loop around town in their cars just to check out this unique town, but most don't get out and walk around. For Baja visitors who have the time it is well worth a look!



      Yes the bakery is a great place to stop and yes the Eiffel Church is cool, but one of the most interesting features you will see in Santa Rosalia is the people. The citizens who live in Santa Rosalia today are a beautiful mix of the many races of immigrants who set up camp here over one hundred years ago from many parts of the world. The mix of people in Santa Rosalia is the most diverse in all of Baja and puts a whole new meaning to the term "people watching".



      Here's a great way to enjoy Santa Rosalia! As soon as you enter town from Baja Highway One and start heading up the main street into town park your vehicle and put on a good set of walking shoes. The "loop hike" through town is easy and fun. The main road through town is much like an upside down "U" and the walking loop consists of starting at the east end of town (heading up the gradually sloping street), crossing over when you get near the top of the hill, and then meandering back down the hill towards the base of the town where your vehicle is parked. You'll see all sorts of interesting shops, people and architecture along the way. And you'll feel good knowing you just burned off a few hundred calories after sitting on your butt driving all day!



      Most Baja travelers head 45 minutes south to Mulege for lodging, but there are a few good hotels in the Santa Rosalia area. Coming in from the north the Hotel Industrial is a newer and clean hotel sitting right at the entrance to town. There is also a hotel south of town with ocean views, on the east side of Baja Highway One.


Telephone 011-52 (615) 152-2052.
Located near the center of town.
Number of rooms: 17.
Hotel amenities: Swimming pool / Restaurant El Frances / parking.
Room amenities: Air conditioning / Television.
A two story colonial-style building.
Breakfasts from 7:00 am until noon Monday through Saturday.
A Santa Rosalia tradition since 1886.
If you are tired and can't make it south to Mulege this is one of your better options.