Mexico/Durango: Durango

Durango is and the capital city of Durango state. Not many tourists come to visit this state as it’s literally in the middle of nowhere – it’s far from US border and way north from Mexican colonial heartland. Even the road here from Zacatecas is long and lonely with desert landscapes of yucca trees and cactuses all along the way. The city was founded in 1563 when the Spanish established a mining operation here in their quest north and west across Mexico. The city was on a major trade route and its mineral riches resulted in loads of grand colonial architecture in the center (in fact, Durango has the highest concentration of historic buildings in the entire northern Mexico). The spectacular 1621 Durango Cathedral stands in one corner of the Plaza de Armas, and the other side has several museums, a theater, and half dozen churches. A pleasant pedestrian street runs through most of attractions and you can stop at one of the cowboy watering holes and try one of the local mezcals – it’s very different here – made with a local northern agava durangensis plant and with a scorpion inside (Durango is known for one of the highest concentrations of scorpions in the world).