If you’re one of those travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path, unique, one of a kind vacation, check out the unexplored little town of Banamichi, Sonora, Mexico. Have you heard of the Route of the Rio Sonora? If not plan a trip, it is a journey worth taking.
From Rocky Point travel to Caborca, then Santa Ana, then to Banamachi. From Phoenix or Tucson, AZ you can travel south and make a stop in Bisbee or Tombstone, Arizona. If you decide to spend the night in Bisbee, a charming little artsy town, you will wake up to a 10-minute drive to a small little border crossing at Naco, Arizona and within minutes you are off to a lovely picturesque 3-3.5 hour drive to the quaint town of Banamichi. Traveling south following the Route of the Rio Sonora River you will pass several little villages that follow the river south of Cananea. Each small town offers their piece of distinctive history, architecture and natural beauty. The only problem you may encounter traveling this scenic road is agricultural equipment, horse, and cow crossings. The other problematic issue could be a wandering eye as you take in the inspiring beauty and slowness of life.
Banamichi has a peaceful ambiance and a slow pace. It is a small village with an estimated population of 1400. The town name “Banamichi”- settled in 1639- comes from the Opata language and means “where it gives to return the water”. The river is responsible for the wide range of wildlife, agriculture and pieces of the past, left behind from early settlers.
Until you’ve visited, you don’t realize what community is. Cowboys on horses, dancers in the center plaza and a celebratory parade full of children line the street. Traffic lights, rush hour commotion and unkind strangers in this town are non-existent. What you will see is smiles from locals, church bells ringing and hear, “Buenos Dias”, as you stroll down the streets. Not one souvenir or t-shirt shop exists in this town.
To try your hand at understanding the slower pace and locals of Banamichi. Stay at an old hacienda now a restored eco-friendly Bed and Breakfast such as La Posada Del Rio Sonora. Owned by an American couple from Alabama and Tennessee, these expats fell in love with this unique town full of peacefulness, agricultural and beauty. La Posada Del Rio Sonora is a hidden gem (once owned as a personal residence of the Jolly Rancher candy family). Each of the nine rooms has its theme and one-of-a-kind art. Quality bedding, artistic bathrooms, and homemade organic breakfast complete the picture. Located in the central plaza of town, the original building section of the hotel is more than 200 years old, yet offers modern conveniences such as free wi-fi to keep you connected to the rest of the world.
Within 10 minutes of the town are natural hot springs, a park, and waterfalls. Bicycles offered by the hotel are perfect for exploring, and horseback riding trips are available. An enjoyable day trip adventure to a tequila like distillery, a “Bacanora tasting” (a drink made from the agave plant) can be scheduled at a local ranch.
Massages are offered at the hotel, as well as a cantina and café on site with cooking classes. To travel from Arizona, you will have to make a stop at the beginning of the trip to get an FMT visa (free for seven-day stay) and a car permit. Go to www.riosonora.com for all the details. The website has a great map, directions and everything you need to know. Take a walk off the beaten path and explore the quieter side of Mexico. Darrin and Cheri Jones, the proprietors of the La Posada Del Rio Sonora give fair warning to off-the-beaten-path road travelers stating, “Remember, there is a danger in traveling to this part of Mexico. That danger is that you may fall head over heels in love with the people, the food, the