Santa Rosalía is a city (once a company town) located in Mulegé Municipality of northern Baja California Sur state, Mexico. It is on the Gulf of California coast of the Baja California Peninsula.
The Municipal President of Santa Rosalía, Cecilia López González, expressed that in 2016 the Magic Town designations throughout the country was placed on stand-by, but she said she was confident that her hometwon will obtain the certification this year through the Municipal Tourism Directorate that already integrated the corresponding folder in coordination with the State Tourism Secretariat.
Santa Rosalía is a port city, and a regular ferry connects with Guaymas, Sonora, on the other side of the Gulf of California. At the Palo Verde Airport daily flights are available from Guaymas and twice a week from Hermosillo, Sonora. It is located along Mexican Federal Highway 1.
The town was named after Saint Rosalia, although the reason for the name is not quite clear since the Misión de Santa Rosalía is not located by the town, but rather in Mulegé, about 100 km (62 mi) south, and the local parish is devoted to Santa Bárbara.
Santa Rosalía boasts French influence, particularly in its architecture. The French company El Boleo founded the town in 1884 and exploited copper mines there until they closed in 1954. They built houses and installed the metallic Iglesia de Santa Bárbara, which is argued to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Unlike many other mining sites, the industrial facilities which are located in the very middle of the town, were never dismantled. Of particular interest are the reverberatory furnace and the metallurgical converter, although they are currently not accessible by the public due to safety concerns. Old locomotives, mining equipment and machinery are visible everywhere. The main mining company offices (La dirección) have been converted into an industrial museum.
A mining town
The Boleo Mine is an unusual sediment-hosted copper-cobalt-zinc-manganese ore deposit. Seven large manto ore deposits have been identified.
El Boleo was mined by Compagnie du Boleo, a French company, from 1885 until 1954. To prevent the economic collapse of Santa Rosalia and surrounding communities, a Mexican state-owned company (CMSRSA) assumed control and reopened the works using basically the same (rather archaic) equipment and process used by the French. The government funded operation was never profitable, and the mine was finally closed in the 1980s, when lower-grade ore and old technology made continued operation impractical.
The Iglesia de Santa Bárbara, designed by Gustave Eiffel
Due to its location in the warm Gulf waters, which are considerably warmer than Pacific waters in the winter, the town is the northernmost (and thus closest to the US border) year-round warm locale on the main peninsular highway. Nevertheless it’s not much of a tourist town and sees few snowbirds.