While the mining town of Santa Rosalía doesn’t always make the must-see list for many Baja travelers, the town has a distinct flavor unlike any other place in Baja. An old mining town built up by the French company El Boleo in the 1800s, most of the buildings in town are in the French style – with wooden siding and porches and balconies overlooking the streets. Walking the small streets of Santa Rosalia can sometimes feel like walking around parts of New Orleans. Many of the buildings have been restored but some of the old industrial mining structures stand in ruins, looking something like a dilapidated scene from Disneyland’s frontier land. If you enjoy architecture and history, Santa Rosalia can be full of hidden gems.
One of the most famous sites in the city is the Iglesia Santa Barbara, a church made of galvanized iron that was designed by Alexander Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel, who also has a very famous eponymous tower in Paris). The town also claims fame to Panadería El Boleo, that at one time was considered one of the best Bakeries in Mexico. The quality of the bakery has declined in recent years, but it’s still open and visitors can stop in to pick up some boleos or baguettes.
A few years ago, Baja Mining decided to work on reopening the old copper mine. Santa Rosalía has been abuzz with foreign investment and some prosperity once again. Copper production began at the beginning of 2015 and they are working on mining cobalt-zinc as well. Many Europeans and Koreans come to stay in Santa Rosalia to work on development and technology for the mines.
In addition to the mining, Santa Rosalía is also a port town. It’s located on the Sea of Cortez and has a ferry that takes passengers over to Guaymas, Sonora in Mainland Mexico (www.ferrysantarosalia.com). The beaches are not a big draw for Santa Rosalía as they tend to be gray and rocky, but there is a Malecón and it’s nice to walk along the water.
One of the most popular places to stay for travelers is Las Casitas, located on the water just south of town on Mex 1. It’s worth the stay if you can get one of the large rooms overlooking the Sea of Cortez with a lovely patio. All of the rooms have wifi, sky TV, coffee makers and air conditioning. The views of the Sea of Cortez are beautiful and it’s a quiet and comfortable place to stay.
Las Casitas has 16 rooms, but they’re often booked (in part by many of the executives staying long-term who are working on development of the mine), so try to book as far in advance as possible.
Hotel Las Casitas
Rooms range from 650 to 900 pesos (about $45 to $65 dollars)