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Introducing Álamos & Around

An oasis in the forested foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Álamos, with its hushed cobblestone streets, is layered in a fascinating history, much of it to do with its role as Mexico’s northernmost silver town. The silver boom days played out here and in nearby La Aduana, where there are still beautifully preserved mining buildings to see. These days are long gone, but Álamos remains a colonial idyll and the region’s culinary capital. The prettily painted buildings, many with an Andalucian slant to the architecture, include some enchanting accommodation possibilities. Little wonder that the town has been declared both a national historical monument and one of Mexico’s pueblos mágicos (magical towns).

Álamos’ charms have proven irresistible to many US retirees and creative types who, since the ‘50s, have snapped up decaying colonial buildings to renovate into second homes and hotels. The well-heeled expats comprise a small but influential segment of Álamos’ population.

The town’s lush surroundings, from tropical deciduous forest to mountains covered in pine and oak, also make it a good base for nature-lovers. The 929-sq-km Sierra de Álamos–Río Cuchujaqui Flora & Fauna Protection Area that almost encircles Álamos has great birding and wonderful walks.

More bizarrely, Álamos and vicinity is where most of the world’s jumping beans originate (beans sold as a novelty that ‘jump’ due to the presence of a larvae inside).

The nicest time to come is between mid-October and mid-April, when the air is cool and fresh. The biggest number of Mexican tourists come in the rainy months, July to September; at other times it’s far quieter.