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Santa Rosalía is a city of about 14,000 people (2015) on the Gulf of California coast of the Baja California Peninsula. It's not much of a tourist town though it has old school charm and is known for its French influenced architecture. It sees few snowbirds. The town is one of Mexico's designated Pueblos Mágicos.



Santa Rosalía has French influence, particularly in its architecture. The French company El Boleo founded the town in 1884 and exploited copper mines there until they closed in 1954. They built houses and installed the metallic Iglesia de Santa Bárbara, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel.



The town is the northernmost (and thus closest to the US border) year-round warm locale on the main peninsular highway.

Get in


By boat

  • By ferry from Guaymas, Sonora, on the other side of the Gulf of California.

By plane

  • Palo Verde Airport (SRL  IATA) (30 km south of the town in San Bruno). A paved airstrip, it receives daily from Guaymas, and twice a week from Hermosillo, Sonora.

By car


Santa Rosalía is on the Mexican Federal Highway 1:

By bus

  • Autobuses Aguila. 3½ hr. From Loreto every 4 hours. M$250-450.
  • Autobuses Aguila. 9 hr. From La Paz every 4 hours. M$700-1300.
  • 1 Baja Ferries Terminal Santa Rosalia. Ferries across the Sea of Cortez no longer depart from Santa Rosalia, but the terminal is still used for arriving and departing buses. A waiting area with bus ticket sales is available.

Get around

Map of Santa Rosalia

The historic centro is compact and easily walkable but the town stretches along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and some local sites are a long distance north of centro. You'll want to use a taxi to reach those places. Santa Rosalia borders the massive El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve and the best way to explore points of interest within the protected natural areas is by using a local tour service (particularly to reach the archaelogical sites of Sierra San Francisco), or take a bus to Guerrero Negro to visit the whale sanctuaries.


Iglesia de Santa Bárbara
Iglesia de Santa Bárbara Interior view
  • 1 Iglesia de Santa Bárbara, Álvaro Obregón 20, Centro. A prefabricated iron church that was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel in 1884, and built in 1887. It was shown at the 1889 Exposition Universelle of Paris, then acquired by the Boleo Mining Company who installed it in Santa Rosalía in late 1897. Iglesia de Santa Bárbara (Q18206576) on Wikidata Iglesia de Santa Bárbara (Santa Rosalía) on Wikipedia
  • Unlike many other mining sites, the industrial facilities which are in the middle of the town, were never dismantled. Old locomotives, mining equipment and machinery are visible everywhere. The main mining company offices (La dirección) have been converted into an industrial museum.
  • Mesa France is a neighbourhood where you can appreciate the French colonial architectural style. The French mining technicians and officials of the company lived here.
  • 2 Museo el Boleo, Mesa Francia. History of mining technology with a number of exhibits of 19th and 20th century mining technology. Guided tours available (Spanish only), though signage in the museum includes English translations. Exhibits also describe the history and culture of the town itself, revealing some surprising aspects of the town, like its affection for the American game of Baseball. M$30.


  • El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve (north of the city). It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the largest wildlife refuge in Mexico with a landmass of almost 25,000 km². The Vizcaíno is the habitat of the Baja California pronghorn,cone of the swiftest mammals on Earth, the desert bighorn sheep, Mule deer, and dozens of resident and migratory birds: the ospreys, cormorants, herons, and gulls, and four species of sea turtles. On the coastline and islets there are many marine mammals, such as northern elephant seals, California sea lions, dolphins, and gray whales.


  • 1 Playas Negras Store, Carretera Transpeninsular al Sur, +52 615 688 0433. Daily 09:00-21:00. A collective founded to represent Santa Rosalía's cultural and historical wealth through clothing and souvenirs. Great variety of local shirts, some other souvenirs like keychains and mugs; wine, salsas, dates, marmelades and jewerly.



Santa Rosalía is famous in the state of Baja California Sur for making bread. The bakeries of yesteryear are: "El Bachicha" and "Boleo"; these bakeries receive this fame for the implementation of stone ovens in the production of bread.

  • 1 El Muelle, Avenida, Constitucion esquina con Calle Plaza 10, Centro, +52 615 152 0931. Daily 08:30 - 21:30. Seafood restaurant with an open-air traditional dining room. Locals recommend the fish soup and the seafood-topped pizzas (shrimp and scallop pizza is a winner). Wide variety of beverages.
  • 2 Comida China, Mesa México, +52 615 152 3524. Daily 10:00 - 19:00. Popular Chinese restaurant known for its large portions and flavorful entrees.
  • 3 Cafe Boleriano, Calle 11 #25, Centro, +52 615 152 3020. Tu-Th 09:00 - 17:00, F-Su 10:00 - 22:00, closed M. Tourist-oriented place recommended by many travel guides, definite historic vibe but mediocre food that reminds one of U.S. grade school cafeteria cuisine.
  • 4 Tonka's Grill, Av. Manuel F. Montoya, Centro, +52 615 152 0959. Tu-Su 14:00 - 22:00, closed M. A carnivore's delight: grilled steaks and burgers with baked potatoes, salads and a full bar with excellent margaritas. M$200+.


  • 1 El 5to Patio, Calle 5, Centro, +52 615 152 3676. Daily 17:00 - 00:00. Fun bar with an outdoor seating area, karaoke at time, and DJs with dancing at other times. Bar food available (boneless wings, nachos, etc.).


  • 1 Hotel Sol y Mar, Carr. Sta. Rosalía-Loreto. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Location on a busy road next to the Malecon is scenic but tends to be noisy. Rooms are spacious and inexpensive.
  • 2 Hotel Frances, Jean M. Cousteau 15, Mesa Francia, +52 615 152 2052. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Traditional hotel with a colorful 19th century history in a quiet, safe neighborhood. Rooms are spacious, have air conditioning, and some have ocean views. On-site swimming pool. Cash only (no credit cards or electronic payments accepted).
  • 3 Hotel del Real, Av. Manuel F. Montoya 7, Centro, +52 615 152 0068. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Traditional hotel in a 19th century building that has undergone renovations. Rooms are spacious, clean and have good air conditioning. Off-street parking available. M$600+.
  • 4 Hotel T&T, De la Fundición & Reforma S/N, Cuauhtémoc, +52 615 152 0975. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Budget hotel on a busy road that can be noisy at night. Rooms are on the small side, but air conditioned. Off-street parking is available but is limited. Accepts credit cards (with extra 3% fee). M$800.

Go next

Routes through Santa Rosalia
EnsenadaGuerrero Negro  N  S  MulegéLa Paz

This city travel guide to Santa Rosalia is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.