Elegant Spanish-style architecture graces the streets of Alamos, a favorite foothill retreat for foreigners in the northern state of Sonora. Bordered on one side by desert and on the other by forest, visitors often linger in this small city to learn Spanish, soak up some culture and enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Don't come to Alamos expecting a fast-paced adventure. A visit to the region is about lazy afternoons and a laid-back way of life. Follow the spire that pierces the skyline and find the old cathedral, or walk up one of the surrounding hills to admire Alamos from above. Take a tour of the carefully refurbished homes and gardens for a look at quiet courtyards and a glimpse of old Alamos.
While one could wile away whole days watching the world slide by, outdoor enthusiasts aren't going to want to miss some of the area's other attractions. Not just for the birds, the forest and desert around Alamos lure bird-watchers and hunters, take your camera or gun depending.
Skip town for an afternoon of swimming at one of the parks close to Alamos or head to the reservoir for fishing and a picnic. Seasonally, rafts run the Rio Mayo but if the water isn't up, try a guided horseback ride for some time in the saddle.
Alamos is a seven hour drive southeast from Nogales, Arizona.