Durango, capital of the eponymous desert state, is an immensely likable place, with an attractive, beautifully kept and laid-back city center and a friendly local populace. It is also one of Mexico’s most isolated cities: you have to travel hours through the desert or the Sierra Madre mountains from here before you hit another significant settlement. Yet isolation has fostered unique regional traits, such as the distinctive local cuisine and wry humor.
Founded in 1563, Durango’s early importance was due to nearby iron-ore deposits, along with gold and silver from the Sierra Madre. Today hundreds of maquiladoras (assembly plants) dominate the economy. For visitors, the city's striking colonial center commands attention with over 70 historic buildings and several fascinating museums, while good accommodations and restaurants are plentiful.
Note: Durango state's time zone is one hour ahead of Chihuahua and Sinaloa.