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Aduana's mines made Alamos rich. Its intimate historic church dates from 1630. The cactus growing high on the west wall is considered a miracle cactus whose shadow resembles the Virgin Mary. The stones beneath it are saturated with wax from offering candles. Aduana is quiet most of the time, its old walls crumbling among remains of the mines.
La Aduana Art and Crafts, Cooperativa Artesanos is staffed by the ladies who open their shop to the left/east of the church when they see visitors in town. They sell local handicrafts, folk art and mineral specimens. We bought a coiled snake made of wood and bottle caps, cornhusk flowers and colorful quilted pillows. A second artisan's shop is below the church and has similar crafts. Both are worth checking out.
The old-style tienda (general store) on the west side of the plaza has a wonderful patinaed wood counter with faded green paint. We were told it came from Spain 100 years ago, but quién sabe?
Casa La Aduana features French and Spanish cuisine, open for dinner, sometimes lunch, during the tourist season, call for reservations and current hours. Sam and Donna Beardsley also have a small inn centered around their garden patio, modified American plan, breakfast and dinner. Telephone from Alamos is 404-3473.
Aduana's Fiesta of Nuestra Señora de La Balvanera is in late November. The weekend before the Fiesta, the statue of the Virgin is taken from the Aduana church to the Alamos church in a Saturday procession. Before dawn on Sunday morning, the Alamos bells ring for the start of the quiet religious procession back to Aduana. During the week, pilgrims walk, some on their knees, from all over Sonora to fulfill their mandas or vows to the Virgin. The weekend of the Fiesta, Aduana is jammed with thousands of people, bands playing, food and religious artifact vendors. Take a bus to the junction or park on the highway and walk in as the road is packed with vehicles and people.
To get there, turn south off the Alamos highway at Minas Nuevas which has a small historic church, an old silver mine and temporary kilns for firing burnt adobes. Follow the winding road across the arroyo and into Aduana, about 2 miles (3 km).
See also: Our Lady of Guadalupe includes a photo from the Aduana church.
Arroyo Mentidero to Rio Cuchujaqui is a nice hike with a mix of desert and tropical birds, plants, animals and insects.
Arroyo Mentidero crossing: drive south out El Camino Real towards El Fuerte. Go a little more than 6 miles (10 km) to the Virgin of Guadalupe shrine. It is a morning's hike downstream from there to the junction with the Rio Cuchujaqui and back. We saw bare-throated tiger herons, kingfishers, orioles, a mint green tree frog, wildflowers and butterflies. Watch for families of coatimundis on the banks.
In the dry, river beds are easy walking, but in the rainy season there are sudden, deadly flash floods. Lock your car and don't leave valuables in it. Take drinking water.
Yavaros and Hutabampito are at two ends of a bay. The long white sand beach and tidal estuary between them is an important birding area.
Yavaros is a fishing port with a sardine cannery. There is also a salt works. In season, nets of clams for sale hang from ramadas. Shrimp are in season from September-March. There is a shrimp farm in Hutabampito.
Birds fill the bay and estuary. Look for pelicans, frigate birds, herons, cormorants and assorted shore birds. Stephanie Meyer arranges boat tours into the bay to see blue-footed boobies and birding drives along the estuary. See her Sonora coastal bird list.
Beach houses line a short lane on the sandy bay between Yavaros and Hutabampito. Some can be rented. Look for signs or inquire in Alamos.
Seafood restaurants open onto the beach. Las Bocas Mayo Coffee y Yoku Pizza is open on the weekends. A road from Alamos to Las Bocas is under construction. Contact Ernesto Aguero at firstname.lastname@example.org
To get there from Navojoa, take the highway to Huatabampo. The road goes through a large agricultural area with small stalls selling produce and a 7th Day Adventist school and store. In Etchojoa there is a private museum of Mexican and Mayo crafts on the left side of the road, but it's easy to miss.
In Huatabampo, pass the Plaza Juarez which has a museum about President Obregõn. Take the road to the coast. At the junction, Yavaros is to the left and Hutabampito to the right.
Stephanie customizes tours to match your interests. Travelers who rarely take tours enjoy her extensive knowledge and her passion for Sonora. Birding and natural history day trips, Mexícan and Mayo Indian crafts, the history of Alamos and Sonora. Longer trips on back roads to Creel and Copper Canyon in the Sierra Madres can be arranged. See her Sonora coastal bird list.
Solipaso Excursions and Tourist Services: river rafting, estuary tours and bird watching organized by David and Jennifer McKay, http://www.solipaso.com/
Horseback riding (guided or unguided, 2 hour minimum) in Alamos or in the surrounding countryside is available. Ask your hotel to make arrangements.
See also: Tours and attractions in Alamos
Group tours to Alamos are often available from the Audubon Society, Pima College or the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ, the Arizona Historical Society and Elderhostel. Watercolor and photography workshops taught by individual artists also come to Alamos.
(Some of these tours have stayed at Hotel La Posada de Alamos (8): 2 Calle de Abril 8 at the far end of the street. Walk up the stairway at the back of the patio to the roof for a good view of Alamos. This section of the hospital ruin was left unrestored. Some of the old names are lettered over the doorways. The building was rebuilt by Merv Larson who developed the original exhibits at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.)
Also look for tours to Sonora's colonial Spanish missions, diving trips from Guaymas/San Carlos and Copper Canyon train rides starting from El Fuerte or Los Mochis south of Alamos. Northern Sonora includes the beach resort of Rocky Point/Puerto Peñasco and the stunning volcanic craters of the Sierra Pinnacate.
Rancho Palomar Motel and RV Park:
Located on the east edge of Alamos.
Tel: 011-52 (647) 428-0182
Felipe and Cherisse Acosta's hunting lodge and restaurant specializes in white wing dove hunting during the season from November to March. Contact the Acostas for information about gun permits and other hunting/fishing related government regulations. Many hunters fly their planes into the Alamos airport which has a 4,000 ft. (1,220 m.) paved landing strip.
There is fishing at nearby Lake Mocuzari. Turn north at the junction off the Alamos highway.
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