Durango state was the birthplace of Mexico’s greatest outlaw (Francisco Villa) while Durango city spawned its first president (General Guadalupe Victoria), and the easygoing capital strikes a happy medium between Wild West backwater and sophisticated metropolis. This is one of Mexico’s most isolated cities: it’s four hours through the desert or the Sierra Madre mountains from here before you’ll hit another significant settlement. Yet isolation has fostered distinctive regional traits, from the cuisine through to Durango’s celebrated role in the movie business.
Founded in 1563, Durango’s early importance was down to nearby Cerro del Mercado, one of the world’s richest iron-ore deposits, along with gold and silver from the Sierra Madre. Industries today also include agriculture and timber. The city has a striking colonial center and plentiful good accommodations and restaurants, yet is also a base for more active tourism in the nearby countryside. Pine-forest-edged canyons and mountainside or desert adventures: the choice is yours.
Note: Durango state is one hour ahead of Chihuahua and Sinaloa.