BUZZYWORTHY NEW EXPERIENCE
It might have only a few hundred residents, but the historic town of El Triunfo is poised to become the next big thing for visitors seeking an immersive off-the-beaten-path experience. Less than two hours north of Los Cabos, a visit to El Triunfo is a journey through time, encompassing the glory of a former mining empire that is now a small but thriving community.
Step Back in Time
Less than two hours from Los Cabos, and about 45 minutes from both La Paz and Todos Santos, El Triunfo was once the largest town in Baja California Sur, with a population of more than 10,000! With just a little exploration, the site’s fascinating history is easily uncovered.
Gold and silver were first discovered here in 1862, leading to a flood of prospectors from both Mexico and the United States who set up camp and a mining operation. But the mines closed in 1926, leaving the area virtually deserted. Tantalizing remains are left today to tell the history of this important mining town, along with a new generation of residents, guides, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs who are revitalizing the town’s history and bringing it to life for visitors with chic cafes and restored historic buildings.
One of the first new enterprises was Caffe El Triunfo, a multi-level restaurant in a lovingly restored building with courtyards, where pizza, bread and pastries come fresh from the wood-fired brick oven. In 2015, the chic Bar El Minero joined the local dining scene, in a historic building with a courtyard that features the oh-so-Instagrammable bronze sculptures of Juan Matute and the mule Sofia. Signature menu items include homemade sausages, paella, artisanal cheeses, craft Baja beers, quality wines and more.
El Triunfo is quickly becoming a favorite touring town for those in the know, with one fascinating tour led by guides dressed in the mining style of the 1890s. They accompany visitors along the town’s cobblestone streets to check out the highlights and serve up a dinner featuring local specialties, including an intro to the 59 varieties of corn in Mexico.
Set among the town’s white facades and pastel colors are historic highlights like the bright yellow Mission-style church and La Romana, the 115-foot smokestack visible from most parts of town that’s said to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame. It anchors the old mining grounds, complete with original mining equipment, fascinating ruins and the path to a lookout over the town and the surrounding mountains. The Museo de Plata showcases the town’s history, and the Museo de la Musica houses pianos and other instruments that were shipped to El Triunfo from all over the world during its booming heyday. Just outside of town, the Cactus Sanctuary features more than 100 acres of cacti and other plants only found in this part of the world.