Time has surpassed the veritable mining town of Cosalá. Nestled amid the auburn canyons of Western Sinaloa, it's hard to believe the halcyon municipal seat was once the most economically thriving area in North Western Mexico. Today, the leafy flagstone streets decorated with white (or blue) washed villas convey little of the bustle once commonplace, yet allude to a time when Cosalá truly was, one of the richest towns in Mexico.
Dubbed by locals the “fortifications of nature”, it is the eminent mountains forming the spine of Cosalá that draws many to its quiet solitude. A base for all manner of adventurous expeditions, Cosalá offers a romantic idyll within which to prepare for hikes into the cavern rich hills of the Sierra Madre mountain range. An ancient landscape formed by the violence of volcanic eruptions, each mountainside bears a different topography to the last. Some are gently sloping with long expanses of flat greenery, whereas others are so sheer you'd need a native to guide you along the precarious cliff paths. Gruta Mexico is the largest of the cavern chambers, nestling upon the mountainside just East of Cosalá. Legend tells of a cursed sprite-like creature said to be imprisoned within the chamber at the will of the Gods. With little else to occupy his time, he began carving passages and tunnels through the hillside – his efforts still there today, in the form of dagger-sharp stalagmites and stalactites.
The Vado Hondo Waterfall sits at a confluence of two streams, within a great mountain chasm around 12 km from the town. With a height in excess of 40 meters – impressive is an understatement. The sheer power of the spray alone is enough to cause walkers to take a step back from the pool shore. Daring adventurers have flocked to the falls since the 1990's, when a local company built a zip-wire and string bridge system for adrenaline junkies. Vado Hondo lies within an area known as Ecological Reserve Mineral de Nuestra Señora – a sanctuary for the native green macaw among many species. Twin reservoirs “El Salto” and “Comedero” attract an abundance of nature lovers, along with local restaurateurs fishing for the native Mountain Bass.
Devoting itself to the preservation of its interior marvels, Cosalá remains one of the best maintained Pueblos Magicos to be included on the Tourism Secretariat's program. Whether vacant or domesticated, every property within the town benefits from an annual, colorful lick of paint in the trademark white, pink or yellow hues. The Municipal Palace facing the town plaza smacks of imperial elegance and is not dissimilar in style to that of Alamos in Sonora state. Nearby sits the Parroquia Patrona de Cosala, Santa Ursula. Resplendent with a stuccoed white limestone finish and classic red tile trim, the Parroquia differs slightly to most in Sinaloa, for it features a stately copula beside the single bell tower.
Beneath the romance and enchantment lies a history Cosalá is keen to impress upon its visitors. Not for pleasure was this beautiful town devised and constructed. The Museo de Minería e Historia (Museum of Mining and History) conveys the rags to riches tale of the diminutive mountain town, through a wide collection of exhibits, costumes and local narration. What better way to understand the magical history of Cosalá, than through the mouths of the people who have helped shape its destiny?
Attractions & Things To Do in Cosalá
Museo de Minería e Historia – one of Mexico's finest museums dedicated to the history of mineral mining in Sinaloa; the Museo de Mineria invites visitors to commence a journey through Cosalá's rise and fall as the richest town in Mexico. Open: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5pm.
Parroquia Patrona de Cosala, Santa Ursula – said to be the most significant 16th Century church in Western Sinaloa, the Parroquia dedicated to Santa Ursula houses some splendid examples of colonial architecture and a wealth of local sculptures crafted by artisans of the town. Open: Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm.