Sprawling Hermosillo, Sonora’s capital, is no beauty but it is an important transport hub and has a decent selection of museums. It’s vexingly spread-out, with the often-unbearable afternoon heat garnering it the moniker of Sun City. Central Hermosillo fans out around craggy Cerro de la Campana (Hill of the Bell): the city’s aerial-mast-festooned viewpoint.
Álamos & Around
The most civilized, architecturally-rich town in Northwest Mexico, Álamos is a cultural oasis and culinary capital. Sheltered in the forested foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, its hushed cobblestone streets and imposing colonial buildings hint at a fascinating history, much of it to do with Álamos' role as Mexico’s northernmost silver mining town.
Most travellers don't linger in Los Mochis. Despite being a transport hub, the climate is perpetually humid and there are no real sights to savor (except an excess of sleazy bars). However if you're venturing to Baha on a boat or up the Ferrocarril Chihuahua Pacífico on a train, you'll find adequate eats and sleeps here.
Until the 1920s, ‘Rocky Point’ as US citizens affectionately call this Sea of Cortez coastal resort, was just that: a landmark on naval/military maps and no more. Its location alongside one of the driest parts of the Desierto Sonorense (Sonoran Desert) deterred all would-be settlers bar intrepid fishermen until Prohibition gave the fledgling community an unexpected boost.
With its striking desert-and-bay landscape, the low-key beach retreat of San Carlos feels a universe apart from its gritty port neighbors. It's presided over by some dramatic hills – notably the majestic twin peaks of Cerro Tetakawi – that glow an impressive red-earthed hue as the sun descends. San Carlos' beaches are a mix of dark sand and pebbles.
Bahía de Kino
Laid-back Bahía de Kino, a dreamy beach paradise is named for Padre Eusebio Kino, who established a small mission here for the indigenous Seri people in the 17th century. The old part, Kino Viejo, is the original settlement. This typical Mexican fishing village fans out along the lengthy main beach, which is perfect for swimming.
With the exception of the lovely El Fuerte, Northern Sinaloa doesn’t boast colonial streets or a wealth of activities, though most travelers wind up here for one very compelling reason: it is the western gateway to one of Mexico’s most stunning natural attractions, the dramatic Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon).
Barranca Del Cobre
Of all the things to see and do in northwest Mexico, none compare in awe and wonder to the dramatic Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon). It’s a series of more than 20 spectacular canyons that altogether comprise a region that’s four times larger than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and in several parts it’s much deeper.
Río de Sonora Valley
North and east of Hermosillo stretches frontier country proper: the mountains and prairies that best convey what life would have been like for Spanish settlers centuries ago. This area is best-known for its well-preserved Jesuit missions, many of which were established by Mexico’s famed missionary, Padre Eusebio Kino.