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Introducing Northwest Mexico

The magnets for visitors to Mexico’s northwest are the inviting beaches of the Sea of Cortez, and the abundant marine life, including some 40 sea lion colonies and 27 species of whale and dolphin. Tourism here originates largely from Arizona (some towns are so easily reachable from there that they’re becoming Mexican-American communities) but the region, encompassing Sonora (by far the safest of Mexico’s border states) and northern Sinaloa, still bursts with homespun character. The strains of norteña (country) music and the inviting smell of the trademark regional snack, carne asada (marinated grilled beef), waft past cowboy-hatted ranchers on the streets.

The perfunctory towns and cities won't detain you long: Los Mochis harbors little interest except as a jumping-off point for the spectacular train ride up the Copper Canyon or for a boat to Baha. The state capital, Hermosillo, has excellent transport connections but little cultural interest. The glorious exception is delightful Álamos, a colonial jewel surrounded by peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental, that's replete with atmospheric restaurants and cafés and is well worth a diversion off Hwy 15.