Tumacácori National Historic Park
Tumacácori National Historic Park information
Three miles south of Tubac, this pink-and-cream edifice shimmers in the desert like a conquistador's dream. In 1691 Father Eusebio Kino and his cohorts arrived at the Tumacácori settlement and quickly founded a mission to convert the local Native Americans. However, repeated Apache raids and the harsh winter of 1848 drove the priests out, leaving the complex to crumble for decades. For self-guided tours of the hauntingly beautiful ruins (ask for the free booklet) start at the visitor center, which also has a few exhibits.
Wander through the cool church and its alcoves and the thorny gravesites. An impressive mass is held here on Christmas Eve. Check the website for dates and times for river walks (Jan-Mar) and bird walks (Feb-Mar).