The most popular tourist areas in Mexico are its beaches and lagoons, but the state of Durango, found in northwest Mexico, is a diamond of the country! It has a wealth of natural beauty, with multiple mountain ranges, plateaus, plains, and valleys. Its capital city of Victoria de Durango, is one of the safest cities in Mexico and showcases beautiful Old World architecture. There are multiple museums, miles of trails and botanical gardens, and a wide variety of biospheres to enjoy.
Below, we'll tell you everything you'll need to know to enjoy a trip to Durango, Mexico!
Best Time To Visit Durango
Durango has a dry climate year-round and sits at a high altitude. Although Mexico is considered to be hot, Durango is rather temperate and will see snow during the winter months.
Exploring the mountains, plains, and deserts of the state are the primary attractions of Durango, so your weather preferences play a large role in deciding when you should visit. The summer months of mid-May to mid-September are the peak tourist season, but these are also the year's hottest months.
For cheaper airfare, affordable hotel rates, smaller crowds, and cooler temperatures plan to visit during the "shoulder seasons" of March to April and October through November.
Plaza de Armas
The heart and historic center of Victoria de Durango, the state capital, is the Plaza de Armas. This open square is lined with architectural wonders and historic buildings that make you feel like you're walking in an open-air museum. These buildings surrounding the Plaza light up at night, and the atmosphere is light and exciting.
Museo Francisco Villa
There are many museums in the Durango capital, and one of the most visited is the Museo Francisco Villa. This museum tells the story of Pancho Villa, a hero of the Mexican Revolution who was born in this city. He led the Northern Division to victories around Hacienda de la Loma.
If you have children (or just want to have fun yourself!), then head to the interactive Museo Bebeleche. There are displays on science, technology, culture, and the arts - and these displays are intended to be more than just to be looked at. Each exhibit is designed to be touched and interacted with you.
Catedral Basilica Menor de Durango
Mexico has a long Spanish Catholic heritage, so it's no wonder that the capital city of Durango would have an absolutely stunning cathedral! It's unique among the cathedrals in other Mexican states because it's a mash-up of many architectural styles. This Baroque-Churrigueresque-Neoclassical building is full of paintings and other art on the inside. This is far from being the only cathedral in Durango, and they are all beautiful, so head to the others as well!
For a relaxing afternoon, stroll through the Morelos Garden. This well-kept botanical garden has a wide variety of flowers, beautiful stone pathways, and large fountains. It's situated near many great locations for shopping and dining.
This archaeological site boasts of the ruins of the most northern American pyramids, and very few remains of these pyramids exist today. However, there is a small museum located on this site where you can learn more about the indigenous groups who once lived in this large territory.
Paso Tunel de Mineria
One of Durango's chief economic exports lies in its mineral deposits. Not far from the Plaza de Armas is the entrance to this underground mining museum, where visitors can experience what it was like to mine the Sierra Madre mountains for silver, gold, sulfur, tin, coal, mercury, copper, iron ore, and other minerals.
Cross Ojuela Bridge
If you're a thrill seeker, walking across this bridge should top your list of things to do! This suspension bridge located at the Ojuela gold mine was a prototype for the Golden Gate Bridge - and it takes nerves of steel to walk across! Zip lines are also available, and you can explore the abandoned mining town.
La Michilia Biosphere Reserve
A 45-mile drive out of Durango takes you out of the mountains and into plains, plateaus, and hills. This area between the Sierra Urica and Sierra Michi's mountain ranges is a protected area, home to streams, lagoons, and marshes. An abundance of wildlife can be seen here, including ocelots, wolves, and black bears.
Old West Town
Ten minutes from downtown Durango City is a movie-set-turned-theme-park called Old West Town (or Paseo del Viejo Oeste). The collection of movie sets here was used for over 150 national and international films. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy western-style cowboy shows, complete with Can-Can girls and Apache Native Americans.
Things To Do
Soak In A Hot Springs
Ever since the colonial period, Durango City has been on the map as a health resort due to its abundance of natural hot springs. The most popular hot springs are at La Joya and San Juan, and after a day of outdoor adventures, a soak in these warm waters is a great way to wind down for the evening.
Explore The Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains
Durango state is known for its natural beauty and various landscapes. The Sierra Madre mountains run through Durango and are the perfect location for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, rappelling, canyoning, and kayaking through the streams in the valley. If you'd like to explore the mountains, but hiking isn't your thing, then drive the Devil's Backbone! This road zigzags through the mountain range, getting precariously close to the edges but rewarding you with incredible views!
Take In The Feria Nacional
If you schedule your trip to Durango well, you can enjoy the Feria Nacional in July! This is a three-week festival where Durango's culture is celebrated and on display. You'll enjoy traditional music and dance, Mexican rodeos, fantastic food, art exhibitions, and general merrymaking. Think of it like a Durango state fair.
Visit The Nombre De Dios
Cascading waterfalls are found all over the sovereign state of Durango, most of which can be found in the Valle de Nombre de Dios region. The largest waterfall in the area, El Saltito, is not particularly high. Still, the surrounding landscape and the sheer number of nearby waterfalls make this region worth exploring.
Ride The Cable Car
When you visit Durango, whatever else you put on your itinerary, you have to take the cable car up to the Cerro de Los Remedios, above Durango City. It gives you a bird's-eye view of the entire town, with all of its historical buildings and architectural gems.
Durango has many different types of natural landscapes, including caves! The main one is Grutas del Rosario. A guided climb of 200 steps brings you to an ethereal view of the rock formations.
Where To Stay In Durango, Mexico
While you don't necessarily have to stay in Durango City during your visit to Durango, this capital city is where most of your landmarks are found. Suppose you intend to spend most of your time exploring the natural landscape of the Durango state. In that case, there are many budget-friendly hotels found across the city with quick access to buses and other transportation to trailheads.
In the city's historic center, many beautiful hotels blend in seamlessly with the "old town" colonial feel of the whole city. Lodging in one of these hotels adds to the charm of Durango, and most places on your itinerary will be within walking distance.
Where Is Durango, Mexico Located?
Durango is a landlocked state in northern Mexico, surrounded by Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, and Zacatecas. It's the least densely populated of the Mexican states. Durango sits on a high plain called the Valley of Guadiana, right next to the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. The main city in Durango state is Victoria de Durango. Other municipalities include Gomez Palacio, Cuidad Lerdo, and Santiago Papasquiaro.
How To Get To Durango, Mexico
Durango City, or Victoria de Durango, has an international airport named the General Guadalupe Victoria International Airport. This airport has multiple bus connections to locations all across Mexico.
Transportation Within Durango
The public bus system in Durango, both the state and its capital city, is extensive. You can take a bus nearly anywhere you want to go. Within the capital, taxis are a useful way to get from one landmark to another. Walking, of course, is another option. Driving your own vehicle, however, is only sometimes done by most tourists.
Golden Tips When Visiting Durango
Safe But be Alert
Durango is the least densely populated Mexican state, and the city of Durango has a particularly low crime rate compared to other Mexican cities. With common sense, you'll be fine to walk around and take in the nighttime scene at the Plaza de Armas.
Drink Bottled Water
You've heard that you shouldn't drink water in Mexico, and that's correct. Most restaurants and hotels have bottled water readily available.