Please select your home edition
Edition
Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - Leaderboard

A visit to Museo Ruta de Plata

by Greg Yellenik 29 Feb 16:02 UTC
A visit to Museo Ruta de Plata © Greg Yellenik

Like a single flower on a cactus, the Museo Ruta de Plata in El Triunfo, Baja California Sur is a gem in the middle of a desert. The area is truly beautiful. Mountainous, rocky but lush in its own desert way. The air is dry, warm and dusty, but carries the perfume of the plant life struggling to survive. Much like the town. There is no surfing; no kite boarding; no fishing; no marinas, no beach, really no water, since it is in the middle of a desert in the Cacachilias Mountains of the southern Baja. That really sets it apart from other tourist towns in the Californias.

Locals like to point out that they were called California long before the US state even existed, which is an amazing story unto itself. We visited on a Sunday, which is paella day at the award-winning restaurant that shares the beautiful lush courtyard of the century old tannery buildings. The "Funktastics", a talented La Paz band, were playing many of my favorite tunes so I have to be honest, everything was just perfect that day. From my many years working in the museum and attraction business, I can truly recommend a visit. I even contemplated settling down here as real estate is quite affordable. This is a world class museum with bilingual exhibits, funded primarily by iAlumbra, the philanthropist foundation of Christy Walton, heiress of the Walmart billions.

For me, El Triunfo was hauntingly memorable. The town reminds me of Cumberland, BC and other resource based communities of our Province. Now about 350 people live in El Triunfo, but it once boasted a population of over 10,000. Besides the Museo, there are abandoned mine tours, restored buildings and many archeological sites including the restored 47 metre tall "La Ramona", which when built was the tallest smoke stack of its glorious kind. Mining began in the late 1700s and the mines and town shut down in 1926. Without jobs, the people quickly moved away and El Triunfo became a ghost town. The forced migration was hard on the people left behind, but helped preserve the rich history of the area and a vital story of the Baja.

Snooping around, I ran into the museum curator, Juan José Cabuto. Señor Cabuto was a mining engineer and his smile and enthusiasm were infectious. We talked about many things: how awesome working in a museum is, similarities between El Triunfo and much of British Columbia, the expansion of the Museo and the two more museums slated for the town. There is already a music museum, due to the town's history as a cultural hub and a cactus sanctuary since the Baja has over 120 species, with more than half found nowhere else.

Wherever I go on the Baja, I am reminded of home. Just like Canada, a European nation conquered in search of gold and riches. Then came miners and settlers who pillaged freely and with the help of the Catholic Church, decimated the native populations and indigenous cultures. Now we share many of the same issues with multinational corporations, and don't forget who we share as a neighbor.

Just like home, the mineral rich Baja peninsula still holds valuable resources and there is international pressure to resume mining. The future is looking good for El Triunfo though, as the Mexican government is keen on boosting ecological and cultural tourism in favor of natural resource development. There is a very real fear of an accident, like the mining tailings breach at Mount Polley, in 2014.

The incredible biodiversity and cultural heritage here is spectacular. Mexico boasts an impressive list of protected areas, national parks, marine reserves, heritage and biosphere reserves. Wherever we go, we keep seeing examples of a government and people interested in fighting to save the gold they have, and I am not referring to the mineral.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of the Bluewater Cruising Association.

Related Articles

Cruising the Mediterranean Sea - Asia to Africa
Memories of a Circumnavigation: Turkey to Tunisia In the last article from 'Memories of a Circumnavigation', Hugh and Heather cruised the Eastern Mediterranean Sea from Egypt to Turkey exploring Israel and Cyprus before arriving at Kemer, Turkey where ARGONAUTA I was to pass the coming winter. Posted on 8 Oct
Weather Strategies for the Inside Passage
How to make decisions based on weather forecasts Spend two evenings online with instructor-extraordinaire, Kevin Monahan, learning about the unique weather patterns of the west coast and how to make decisions based on weather forecasts. Posted on 27 Sep
Virtual Education - Tides and Currents
How wind, waves, and currents interact Spend two evenings online with instructor-extraordinaire, Kevin Monahan, learning just how much you don't know about tides and currents! Just when you thought you might have it all figured out, along comes Kevin to show you what it's really all about. Posted on 15 Jun
Virtual Education - Rigging Essentials
Steve White shares years of experience in this online course Steve, owner of Steve White Rigging, shares years of experience in this two-hour, online course. Posted on 14 Jun
Nautical Knots with a Difference
Learn the Munter Hitch, Water Bowline on the Zoom on-line course Kit Griffin, an experienced climber, sailor and commercial diver, will take you through some basic and unusual knots during this two hour session. Some of the knots that will be covered include: Munter Hitch, Water Bowline. Posted on 18 May
Sailing in Chile: Part 4 - Laguna San Rafael
The goal for the 2019 cruising season was to make it down to the glacier Our modest goal for the 2019 cruising season was to make it down to the glacier at Laguna San Rafael, roughly 450 nm south of Valdivia. Posted on 17 Apr
Basic Marine Radar
Seminar on using radar to identify land-masses and other vessels Learn to use radar from the guy that literally wrote the book: Kevin Monahan. After completion of this seminar, you will be able to set up your radar for maximum results, and interpret the display under a variety of conditions. Posted on 26 Mar
Docking and anchoring for women by women
Theoretical and practical considerations for docking and anchoring your vessel This course will cover theoretical and practical considerations for docking and anchoring your vessel. A full keel vessel will also be available for students to learn and practice line handling. Posted on 12 Mar
The best of 9 years, 9 months and 9 days
Jordan and Judy return to VI Mid-Island Club Night Jordan and Judy Mills left Victoria in September, 2009 on their 35 ft. cutter, Sea Turtle IV, for what they expected to be a five year west-about circumnavigation. Posted on 11 Mar
Sailing in Chile: Part 4
Laguna San Rafael boasts the furthest glacier found north Our modest goal for the 2019 cruising season was to make it down to the glacier at Laguna San Rafael, roughly 450 nm south of Valdivia. Posted on 10 Mar
OLAS 2020 - FooterCyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERCruise Village 2020 - FOOTER