Sonora is the second largest Mexican state and it’s known for its extensive desert. The Sonoran Desert is shared by the U.S. and Mexico. What you don’t know about Sonora, is that its towns not only offer you the natural beauty characteristic of a desert ecosystem, but also culture, fun, extreme sports or intimate and peaceful moments. So, book now at the Hampton Inn by Hilton Hermosillo and get ready to experience the towns of Sonora, especially the fascinating history of the Sonoran town, Tohono O’Odham.
Before escaping to the desert, we suggest you spend a day exploring the eccentricities and pleasures of the City of the Sun, Hermosillo. Walk through the historic monument of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de la Asunción) and the Plaza de Zaragoza. Next door, you will find the Museum of Popular and Indigenous Cultures of Sonora, which holds many handcrafts and works of art from various indigenous groups. The various murals tell the stories of the indigenous people across Sonora.
One hour from the historical center you can find the best view and enjoy an ecological walk. Although you can visit Cerro de la Campana by car, we recommend you do it by foot so you get to enjoy the full experience. Appreciating the sunset from this hill could easily become the best picture of your entire vacation. This is such a popular place that it has become a tradition for visitors to write messages on the floor of this viewpoint.
You and your family will love the Sonora Ecological Center. This place combines a zoo, botanical garden and observatory, allowing you to explore Sonora’s different ecosystems and observe animals from different parts of the world. It also offers an eco-safari and a farm experience for children.
Art and culture abound at the Sonora Museum of Art (MUSAS), where you will be inspired to evaluate and absorb works of art from local and national artists. If you’re a baseball fan, you’re bound to enjoy a game at the Sonora Stadium, which is home to the local team, the Hermosillo Naranjeros, and also an amazing emblem of architecture and ecology.
If you’re looking for a place to eat, Parque La Ruina is one of the busiest and most delicious places. It is also not the typical food outing, as several food trucks gather here, offering everything from hot dogs to tacos and hamburgers. There is something for everyone and you will love its wholesome and family-friendly environment.
If your vacation is not complete without going to the beach, a little less than an hour and a half from Hermosillo, you will find the ideal place to sunbathe while enjoying a stunning view and sipping on a cold beer. In Bahia Kino, you can renew your strength as you find yourself in your favorite place in the world. Come discover this beautiful beach.
They say you see mirages, experience hallucinations and see oases in the desert as a result of dehydration. Luckily, you won’t have to go through this to bear witness to the exuberance and magnificence of El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve. Its beauty can be seen from space, and it is considered the birthplace of the Tohono O’Odham indigenous people or sand dune people, as they are known.
Declared a World Heritage Site and Natural Wonder of Mexico by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), this reserve encompasses several municipalities in Sonora, including Puerto Peñasco, Plutarco Elías Calles and San Luis Río Colorado.
The Tohono O’Odham dwell in the Sierra Pinacate, a volcanic system of mountains, cones and craters north of Puerto Peñasco and surrounded by the Gran Desierto de Altar. Their history dates back to before the Spanish conquest.
The most unique thing about this group of indigenous people is that they inhabit the Sierra Pinacate on both the American and Mexican side, and yet, in spite of their geographical separation, they preserve the same language and god. This place is considered sacred by their people since it is where their god lives, therefore, it is the scene of important ceremonies.
During your visit, you will be able to tour Cráter Elegante, the largest of all, and the Tecolote Camp, where from the top of the Mayo Cone you will have a breathtaking view of the flowing lava and an unforgettable panoramic view of the reserve.
You will be amazed by all the unexpected colors in this special desert. Reds, blues, oranges, yellows, and occasionally a pink flower or cactus complement the landscape perfectly. This is especially true for the youngest crater in the reserve, Cerro Colorado Crater.
Like a scene out of a movie, you will walk through the dunes of the Great Altar Desert. This sea of sand is the largest in the Americas and its dunes are crescent- and star-shaped. It’s a more than amazing view. You will be impressed to see how something as simple as sand can be so delicate, soft and at the same time be so alive. There are no words to describe this world.
In fact, the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the renowned NASA, used this desert paradise to train their astronauts for the Apollo 14 mission to Mars. In recent years, talks have resumed between the two governments and NASA to use the dunes again as a training site. This is because the dunes resemble lunar geography, especially what the Tohono O’Odham refer to as the dunes that move “with the breath of their ancestors.”
Let yourself fall in love with these dunes, become amazed by the desert life and connect with another world during your visit to the home of the Tohono O’Odham. For this people, the Pinacate is the beginning of life, the beginning of all things. You will feel this energy flowing every time the desert stirs up, the wind blows and the sun hits you directly on your face.
For this outing, we recommend you wear comfortable clothes and shoes, sunglasses and a hat, and if possible a light scarf for extra protection from the sun. You should also bring a bottle of water and sunscreen.
San Carlos, Guaymas
Let the beach breeze, sun and bewitching magic of what National Geographic ranked as one of the top 10 ocean views in the world, relax you and fill all of your senses. Come and practice water sports, fishing or eco-tourism. There are several beaches you can take advantage of during your visit. You will find sand that looks and feels like cotton at Playa de los Algodones and you can enjoy a private escape to Playa Piedras Pintas.
In addition, between the months of November and March, you can witness one of the most incredible natural phenomena, the arrival of whales, including killer whales, gray and sardine whales, among many others, as well as dolphins, who come to the shores of San Carlos looking for food. The sea lion sanctuary will delight your children on San Pedro Nolasco island.
The wetland Estero el Soldado is a great opportunity for hiking and bird watching of migratory birds, but you can also tour it on a mountain bike or via kayak. It is worth mentioning, the lagoon is less than a meter deep, so it would really be the most peaceful and unforgettable adventure of your life.
Nacapule Canyon is a true oasis in the middle of the desert. The canyon is named after one of the many trees that create it, the Nacapule. It is a semi-tropical ecosystem, which is part of the Sierra El Aguaje. Nature will be with you during every step of this trip, which will take you to explore this beautiful canyon where you can not only hike, but also climb mountains or simply capture in pictures its exceptional natural richness. So, get ready to come connect with nature in a unique way.
This magical town boasts the most amazing music festival in January. The Alfonso Ortiz Tirado Festival (FAOL), which is focused on recovering the essence of operatic singing. La Ciudad de los Portales, as it is also known, combines the colonial and indigenous to give the city a unique touch. You will love walking its quiet and beautiful streets while you visit the Temple of the Immaculate Conception and the House of Maria Felix.
Make sure to drink a bacanora. This is the favorite drink of the Sonoran people. This liquor distilled from agave bears the name of the municipality where it originated. It is worth mentioning that it was forbidden until 1992 and at present its production is only allowed in 33 municipalities in the State of Sonora. In the municipality of Bacanora, you can visit the different haciendas where it is produced, so be sure to try this unique drink during your visit.
Deserts are archaeological vestiges of times past, and the Sonoran desert doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it is so unique that it is a natural wonder, in every sense of the word. Don’t miss out on exploring this fantastic and unreal region.