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(Español) Hacienda de los Santos del desierto, lo mejor

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La Purisima de Concepcion Cathedral

Here is a fabulous slide show of the ‘La Purisima de Concepcion’ cathedral in Alamos. This film was created by Anders Tomlinson who has been photographing Alamos for many years and arguably may have the world’s largest collection of high quality images of the village. To see more of Anders wonderful work visit his ‘Alamos-Sonora-Mexico, Multimedia In Progress’ site at alamos-sonora-mexico

The Cathedral 3:30 from anders tomlinson on Vimeo.

Frances Shultz Blog

Hacienda de los Santos – Mexico

As promised, here is the exquisite Hacienda de los Santos in Alamos, Mexico, where we visited during New Year’s. In case you missed, here is Thursday’s Mexico Part 1. We did not stay at the Hacienda but the lovely owners are friends and we ate there every night.

It does not hurt that playing at dinner is a very handsome guitarist who I am sure prays that people like me do not sing along with him to Guantanamero. But people like me sing anyway because with enough margueritas they become Beyoncé.

The welcoming entry to Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico.

The Hacienda was glowingly featured in Architectural Digest a few years back in a piece by Patricia Leigh Brown with a passle of great photos by David O. Marlowe. See all in the January 2005 article here and read the story of Jim and Nancy Swickard, who came to Alamos 20-some years ago thinking they were retiring. Ha.

Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico.

Instead they bought and restored a 17th-century, 12-bedroom hacienda. As happens, one casa led to another over, namely two adjoining properties and a sugar mill. The result is one of the most charmingly assembled group of buildings and gardens I’ve ever seen. And that is saying something. Many more photos are on the Hacienda de los Santos website. Do take a look.

Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico.

There are several pools, three restaurants, many places to lounge and laze, and a wonderful spa. Oh, and two putting greens. Really no reason to leave… and always a member of the family around to make you feel welcome — three generations now, including two beautiful daughters, one of whom is married to the handsome guitarist. In case you were getting any ideas.

Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico.

I am fascinated by the Hacienda’s famous banyon tree that obviously has a thing for palm trees, one in particular, giving new meaning to the term “growing old together.”

This tree was planted by Cortés himself.

Not really.

But it is said to have been planted in 1548, and whoever planted had definitely heardof Cortés, who died the previous year. In case you had forgotten.

It’s a wrap: banyon and palm trees together forever.

Every room and cranny is decorated with Spanish and Latin American antiques and memorabilia the Swickard family has devotedly collected over the years.

The bar features more than 400 kinds of tequila, and the walls are hung with all manner of branding irons, spurs, hats, guns and other vaquero essentials.

The bar at Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico

I highly recommend the cheeseburger — and the margueritas of course.

A bejeweled santo inhabits a nook in the Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico

Coming up next… the lovely, private Casa de la Plata, where we stayed, just down the street from the Hacienda.

Hasta la vista, baby.

I’ve been dying to say that.






(Español) Fiestas Patrias


 15 al 16 de Septiembre 2012

Fiestas Patrias en Álamos
Hacienda de los Santos Resort & Spa


En la madrugada del 16 de septiembre de 1810, el cura Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla tocó las campanas de su parroquia en Dolores, Guanajuato, dando el famoso llamado a sus compatriotas a levantarse en contra de la autoridad virreinal de la Nueva España. Con este Grito comenzó formalmente la Guerra de Independencia de México, la cual duró diez largos años.

Hoy en día, la celebración de esta prueba tan difícil dura el mes entero de septiembre, culminando en la noche del 15. Las calles de Álamos quedan decoradas con banderas y guirnaldas en brillantes tonos patrióticos. Al caer la noche, los ciudadanos aquí y en todo el país se reúnen en sus respectivos zócalos, engalanados con ropas típicas de charro, de china poblana, o atuendos indígenas. Mínimo, expresan su sentir con blusas, faldas o camisas que despliegan los tres colores de la bandera. En el Palacio, las parejas bailan al son de la música en vivo y los mariachis cantan de corazón a su República.

Al pasar las horas, el pueblo entero se prepara para el Grito. A las 11 de la noche a través del país entero, el Presidente de la República y cada uno de los presidentes municipales repiten el ritual comenzado por el padre Hidalgo. Se lanzan los fuegos artificiales y los tronadores, suenan las campanas, vuelve a sonar la música y miles de banderas agitan el aire: ¡Viva México! ¡Viva!

La celebración continúa el día 16 con divertidos desfiles de escolares disfrazados con vestidos de época, acompañados de charros desplegando sus destrezas de equitación por las calles empedradas. Este es el día para disfrutar de las delicias típicas mexicanas: el exquisito pozole; las enchiladas verdes, blancas y rojas hechas con deliciosa pechuga de pollo con jitomate y lechuga y una deliciosa salsa sonorense; los elotes frescos; las ricas tostadas y, por supuesto, ¡mucho tequila para celebrar!

¡Le invitamos a compartir esta emocionante celebración junto a la Hacienda de los Santos Resort & Spa y el pueblo entero de Álamos!

¡La Hacienda Celebra La

Paquetes de Fin de Semana Patrio:

Disfrute de 2 noches en Habitación Hacienda King

  • Una Comida para dos personas – Buffet Platillos Mexicanos
  • Dos Cupones de descuento de $250 cada uno para usarlo en el Spa La Dulce Vida
  • Margaritas de Bienvenida
  • Desayunos Completos para dos personas

Habitación Hacienda King: $3,200 pesos por pareja, más impuestos

Habitación Estate Suite: $4,000 pesos por pareja, más impuestos

Habitación Master Suite: $4,800 pesos por pareja, más impuestos

Una Noche Estancia: $2,200 pesos por pareja más impuestos. Solo incluye desayuno completo.

No Incluye Propinas. Valido solo los días 14, 15 y 16 Septiembre 2012.


Mexico’s Splendid Sonora

a sleepy colonial town hidden in a vast Mexican desert, conjures magic and beauty for SHARON SPENCE LIEB.

By Australian Times on 17 April, 2012


Mexico’s second largest state, takes her time in revealing her treasures. Arriving in Hermasillo, ‘The City of the Sun’, we spend an inspiring afternoon at the world class MUSAS, Museo de Arte de Sonora, happily wandering among stunning art by Picasso, Magritte, and Botero. Next day, we explore a bit of the vast ochreSonoranDesert, gazing at stately saguaro cactus, colourful Taco/Tecate snack stands and an endless horizon. A few hours later we arrive at Alamos, one of Mexico’s charming colonial “Pueblo Magicos”.

“Welcome to Alamos,” announces author/historian Juan Vidal Castillo, who joins our group on the bus. “Founded in 1691, Alamos is one of Mexico’s best preserved colonial towns. By 1790, we were one of the world’s most successful silver and copper producers. Today, Alamos is known for lively music and art festivals, bird watching, and restored haciendas with beautiful gardens. In 2001, we became a National Historic Landmark, and in 2005, Alamos was designated as one of Mexico’s 22 ‘Pueblo Magicos’.”


Our bus navigates the narrow cobblestone streets past Spanish colonial homes painted in eye popping magenta, lime, ivory, lavender and cobalt. We arrive at Hacienda de Los Santos, House of the Saints, where American owners Jim and Nancy Swickard usher us into a world of intoxicating beauty. Soft guitar jazz wafts across courtyards ablaze with tangerine and lipstick pink bouganvillea.
Fountains bubble next to inviting swimming pools. Centuries old guanacaste trees offer cool shade over inviting hand carved chairs sporting pink and turquoise pillows. A horse grazes quietly below a terracotta balcony. Who knew the Sonoran desert was home to such magnificent serenity?

“Please join us for lunch at our Agave Café,” the Swickards offer. Over fresh guacamole, hearty taco soup. spicy fish tacos, and piquant margaritas, we admire Nancy’s elegant decor: bright lavender walls are adorned with historic photos and colorful paintings. Whimsical piñatas hang over our tables-flirtatious angels, silly chickens, beaming suns, even Frieda Kahlo.

“Americans began moving to Alamos in 1946,” Jim tells us. “Folks wanted to restore the many Spanish colonial mansions here. We started work on Hacienda de Los Santos in 1989 and in 1998, opened as a boutique luxury hotel.”

We later learn that in 2005, Governor Napolitano of Arizona, and Sonora’s Governor Bours, honored the Swickards for their humanitarian work in Alamos with the ‘Alvaro Obregon Award’ (an award in honour of the famous revolutionary Mexican
president). Now lucky travelers from around the world come to Hacienda de Los Santos to enjoy the luxurious antique filled guestrooms, swimming pools, gardens, fabulous cuisine, and exquisite Spanish Colonial Architecture. Take a cooking or silver smithing class, relax at La Dulce Vida Spa, or just listen to the birds singing in the trees.


Throughout the year, Alamos hosts lively music and art festivals. Every January, the town bursts into song and dance with the ‘Festival Cultural Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado’, presenting world-class opera, orchestral, jazz, and Latin music.

Strolling into the warm starry evening, we meet a merry band of street performers. Called “the Estudiantina”, the musicians wear dramatic black capes and purple scarves in the style of 11th century Spanish students. Strumming guitars and cellos, they croon romantic ballads. We follow along, singing and sipping wine from a basket atop a saddle worn by a sweet grey donkey, a “burrito” trudging happily along. I tussle his mane and he nods at me, as if to say, “join in Senora, and enjoy the magic…”

Alamos is romantic and majestic at night, adorned in a tiara of sparkling lights. We veer down an alley to a huge stage near the Cathedral, which glows like a spaceship just landed from a distant galaxy. Families salsa in the street. In this “Pueblo Magico” called Alamos, magic is indeed around every corner.