15 Best Things to Do in El Triunfo, Mexico

Woman standing in front of a bright yellow building in El Triunfo, Mexico.

Looking for a complete guide to visiting El Triunfo, Baja Sur’s old mining town?

A visit to El Triunfo, Mexico, is a must for those looking to step off the beaten path in Baja Sur. It isn’t just an old mining town; it’s a step back in time.

Once bustling with the clamor of mines, this hidden gem now whispers tales of resilience through its winding, cobblestone streets and pastel-colored, colonial facades.

Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, or nature lover, a visit to El Triunfo (which translates to The Triumph) will not disappoint. Visit the Ruta de Plata (Silver Route) Museum, savor local cuisine, or take in the lush mountain landscapes. 

We love wandering around the tiny town, seeing its colorful plaza and church, and exploring the mining ruins. 

In this El Triunfo travel guide, we use our personal experiences, thorough research, and locals’ tips to cover the best things to do, where to stay, and what to eat in this tiny, ex-mining town. 

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In a hurry? Below are my top tips for visiting El Triunfo:

  • How to Get There: Rent a car on DiscoverCars and enjoy the scenic mountain drive or take this El Triunfo tour from La Paz.
  • Things To Do: Check out La Ramona smokestack, el mirador, and the Silver Route Museum.
  • What to Eat: Enjoy an authentic Mexican breakfast at El Meson de Carlota, fresh sourdough at Cafe El Triunfo, and a paella feast at El Minero Bar.
  • Where to Stay: Book a cozy cabin surrounded by nature at Cabañas El Triunfo or a comfy suite in the heart of town at Villa La Fortalezza
Woman walking with La Ramona smokestack in the background in the old mining town of El Triunfo.
Kristina exploring El Triunfo, an old mining town in Baja California Sur.

Where is El Triunfo?

El Triunfo is a historic town located in the Sierra de la Laguna mountains in Baja California Sur, Mexico. In 2020, this tiny town had a population of less than 400 people.

Situated at an elevation of 1,585 feet (483 meters) above sea level, it offers a blend of natural beauty and historical significance. 

It’s positioned approximately 70 miles north of the resort town of San José del Cabo and about 60 miles southwest of Los Barriles in the East Cape. Its location makes it a tranquil and easily accessible retreat for those venturing through southern Baja.

Known for its fascinating history, El Triunfo is a fascinating stop for travelers interested in exploring beyond the beaches and into the heart of the Sierra de la Laguna’s rugged landscapes.

El Triunfo, Mexico Map

The El Triunfo map below gives you a better idea of exactly where it is located within Baja California Sur in Mexico.

How to Get to El Triunfo, Mexico

The best way to get to El Triunfo is to rent a car in Los Cabos and drive there. The final stretch into the town winds through the scenic Sierra de la Laguna mountains, with beautiful vistas of the sea in the distance.

We like visiting this mountain getaway as a day trip from the coast while camping in Baja California.

By Car

El Triunfo is about a 1-hour (35 miles) drive from Los Barriles, 1 hour (35 miles) south of La Paz, and 2 hours north of San Jose Del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. 

Most visitors to Baja California Sur fly into the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). Renting a car in Los Cabos gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the southern Baja peninsula at your own pace. 

We recommend using DiscoverCars to compare rates and book a car rental for pickup at the airport when you arrive.

By Tour

Another option is to take a guided tour to El Triunfo, BCS. The town is still somewhat off the tourist radar, but tours are available from local tour agencies in La Paz, Los Cabos, Los Barriles, and Todos Santos.

If you’re in the state capital, you can book this El Triunfo tour from La Paz to visit the stunning hot springs near Santiago and El Triunfo all in one day. 

15 Best Things to Do in El Triunfo

El Triunfo, Baja California Sur, offers a variety of activities for those interested in history, culture, and the great outdoors. Visitors can explore iconic landmarks like the La Ramona smokestack and mining ruins, or take a peaceful stroll through the Cactus Sanctuary.

Whether you’re venturing into an old mining tunnel or a spending an afternoon savoring paella, El Triunfo caters to a wide range of interests.

Man standing next to La Ramona smokestack in the gold mining town of El Triunfo, Mexico.
Michael wandering around the old mining ruins beneath the La Ramona smokestack.

1. La Ramona Smokestack and Mining Ruins

For a journey back in time, wander through the remnants of El Triunfo’s mining zone, including vintage mining equipment, crumbling brick buildings, and original smokestacks.

El Triunfo is defined by its towering relics of the mining era, the Chimenea La Ramona and Chimena La Julia.

At about 131 feet high, the La Ramona smokestack is a testament to the town’s once-thriving silver and gold mining industry. Constructed in the 1890s by El Progreso Mining Company, the town landmark underwent a facelift in 2018 to restore it to its full glory. 

Built in the 1860s, the La Julia smokestack is a part of the first smelting and mill operations established by El Triunfo Silver Mining & Commercial Company. 

Both smokestacks serve as reminders of El Triunfo’s rich mining heritage and are popular spots for exploring the mining ruins and taking photos of these impressive landmarks.

2. Museo Ruta de la Plata (Silver Route Museum)

Opened in 2017, the Museo Ruta de la Plata, or Silver Route Museum, is your gateway to understanding the pivotal role El Triunfo played in the mining history of Baja California Sur. 

Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a range of mining exhibits, from detailed oral histories that bring the past to life to a simulated mine entrance that gives you a glimpse into the miner’s world. 

Uncover the pivotal spots along the Silver Route, including Real de Santa Ana, El Rosario, and El Triunfo, and get to know the stories behind local influential figures Manuel de Ocio, Henry S. Brooks, and Leonardo Orynski. 

It’s a deep dive into the heart of El Triunfo’s mining heritage, connecting visitors with the real stories and faces behind the Silver Route.

Don’t miss the separate mineral collection by the lower plaza. It’s a sparkling showcase of mineral specimens from Mexico and around the world, along with mining artifacts. 

3. El Mirador (Lookout Point)

For breathtaking views of El Triunfo and its surrounding natural beauty, take the hiking path to the town’s mirador, or lookout point. 

This accessible trail leads visitors to a vantage point where you can take in the views of El Triunfo below, nestled within the majestic Sierra de la Laguna mountains. 

It’s an ideal spot for reflection, photography, and appreciating the diverse beauty of the Baja California Sur landscape. 

This lookout point is a reminder that this tiny town is just a speck within the vast, untamed Sierra de la Laguna region.

The town plaza with the La Ramona smokestack in the background.
The town plaza with the La Ramona smokestack in the background.

4. Mina El Túnel de las Almas (The Tunnel of the Souls Mine)

Dive deep into El Triunfo’s mining heritage at Mina El Túnel de las Almas (The Tunnel of Souls Mine), the entrance to the town’s historic gold mine. 

This informal but enlightening tour, accessed by calling a local guide, takes you a short distance into the mine shaft, where you’ll learn about the arduous conditions miners endured and how to spot veins of gold, silver, and quartz. 

The tour privdes a rare look into the physical and emotional depths of mining life, making it a must for history buffs.

5. Ingles, Municipal, and Chino Cemeteries

El Triunfo’s story is further illuminated by Los Tres Panteónes del Triunfo – the three cemeteries that are silent narrators of the town’s diverse and multicultural past. 

The segregated panteones (cemeteries) – Ingles, Municipal, and Chino – reflect the town’s social fabric during its mining heyday.

The Panteon Ingles, or English Cemetery, is found about halfway up the hiking path to the lookout point. It’s surrounded by a brick wall and contains 13 above-ground tombs where English miners were buried.

The other two cemeteries, Panteon Municipal and Panteon Chino are located on the southern outskirts of town.

While the Panteon Chino (Chinese Cemetery) is abandoned, the Panteon Municipal is still in use today. It’s home to the Tumba de la Niña Vidente del Triunfo, dedicated to a girl from the 1930s who was rumored to have clairvoyant abilities. 

Side entrance for the Museo Ruta de Plata (Silver Route Museum) in El Triunfo, Mexico.
The Museo de la Ruta de Plata, or Silver Route Museum, in El Triunfo, Mexico.

6. Museo del Vaquero de las Californias

The Museo del Vaquero de las Californias (MUVACA), or Californias Cowboys Museum, celebrates the almost 300-year-old cowboy heritage of the Californias that still endures today.

This bilingual museum celebrates the rich heritage of ranching families who have lived in the rugged mountains for generations.

It traces the journey of these vaquero families as they migrated north to what is now known as Alta California, contributing to the development of iconic cities like San Francisco and Monterey. 

MUVACA offers an immersive experience into the values, lifestyle, and identity of these individuals, whose culture and traditions are still alive today. 

While you’re there, stop by the museum’s onsite restaurant, Las Alforjas Cafe, where you can taste traditional ranch food like birria and chimangos. 

It’s an interesting exploration of the cowboy culture that shaped much of the rural life in Baja California Sur.

7. Guided Tour of El Triunfo

For an immersive journey into the town’s storied past, take a guided tour of El Triunfo. Local tour guides bring to life the tales of the town’s mining glory days and cultural evolution.

There are a variety of tours to choose from, but most take you through El Triunfo’s cobbled streets to landmarks like the towering smokestacks, the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church, and into the heart of the town plaza. 

Visitors gain insight into the architectural nuances of historic buildings, each with its own backstory contributing to the town’s mosaic. Beyond just facts and dates, these tours provide context to El Triunfo’s development, highlighting the human stories and events that shaped the town. 

From walking tours through the arroyo to riding through town in the back of a red truck, taking a guided tour is a great way to learn more about El Triunfo, BCS. Stop by the town’s tourist information stand for more details and current rates.

8. Museo de la Musica (Music Museum)

Housed within a historic 19th-century building known as “La Vieja Casona,” the Museo de la Musica (Music Museum), also known as the Piano Museum, is a tribute to El Triunfo’s important musical heritage. 

Opened in 2003 by the renowned local pianist Omar Manuel Nicolás Carrillo Castro, or Nico Carrillo for short, this museum is a collection of pianos and instruments from the 18th to the 20th century.

With 87 original pianos, each piece tells a story of eras gone by, alongside a diverse collection of other instruments and musical memorabilia.

Beyond the instruments, the museum once buzzed with live piano performances by Carrillo himself, making history come alive through music. 

Although it has faced challenges in upkeep since Carrillo’s passing in 2012, the museum remains a cultural landmark.

A sign with a photo of a man that says "Sancho Panza"
An interesting sign in El Triunfo, Baja California Sur.

9. Margery’s Tea Room

Located on the Silver Route Museum’s upper floor, Margery’s Tea Room is a refined retreat where you can enjoy traditional English tea amidst the rustic charm of El Triunfo. 

Furnished with antiques and centered around a majestic Steinway piano, the space is decorated in a Victorian style reflecting the style during El Triunfo’s heyday.

Open only on Saturday and Sunday, visitors are treated to a traditional English tea experience, complete with a selection of fine porcelain china and delectable desserts. If you’re lucky you might catch a visit during one of the tea room’s weekend piano concerts.

If wine’s more your thing, check out the neighboring Toggle Wine Cellar. Pick up a glass of local wine to sip on under the shade of the mesquite trees in the courtyard.

10. Cactus Sanctuary

Located in El Rosario Uno, a village a few miles south of town, the Santuario de los Cactus, or Cactus Sanctuary, offers a unique opportunity to explore the natural landscape of Baja California Sur and learn more about the local flora and fauna. 

Started by Dr. Héctor Nolasco Soria in 1997, this ecological reserve showcases a surprising array of cacti, including centuries-old cardones and delicate biznagas.

As you wander through the designated paths, you’re not only greeted by these ancient cacti but also by a diverse range of local wildlife. 

Keep an eye out for hawks circling overhead, iguanas lounging in the sun, and the occasional coyote darting through the underbrush. 

If you’re in an exploring mood, take the dirt road east of the village to see an old hacienda once owned by the town’s first mine founder, Don Manuel de Ocio.

Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in El Triunfo.
Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in El Triunfo.

11. Casa de la Cultura

Most towns in Mexico have a local Casa de la Cultura, or Cultural Center, including tiny El Triunfo. 

The Casa de la Cultura serves as the town’s cultural hub, providing a space for exhibitions, performances, artistic and educational classes, and community gatherings.

For a small entrance fee, visitors can step in and take a peek at the town’s artistic and cultural endeavors.

It’s a testament to El Triunfo’s enduring spirit and a window into the town’s creative community.

12. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church

At the entrance to the enchanting town of El Triunfo, the Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, stands as a beacon of the town’s enduring faith. 

Established in the 19th century, during the mining boom of 1857, this church has been a pivotal gathering spot, embodying the town’s rich religious and communal life. 

The architecture, while appearing modest at first glance, reveals a sophisticated Baroque style that has maintained its original allure over the years. 

The Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe has withstood the test of time, surviving significant fires in 1924 and 1936, and continues to be a cornerstone of faith and tradition in El Triunfo. 

Painted in serene white with brick-hued accents, the church not only enhances its architectural beauty but also houses the revered Virgin of Guadalupe.

13. El Triunfo Plaza

The heart of El Triunfo pulses in its central plaza, the traditional main square where the community’s soul comes alive. 

Far from being just an open space, the plaza is where the town’s history, festivities, and daily interactions weave together, providing a window into the lives of its residents. 

It’s here, amid the gentle hum of town life, that visitors can truly connect with the spirit of El Triunfo, making the plaza an essential part of the experience.

14. Festival Artesanal El Triunfo (El Triunfo Artisanal Festival)

The El Triunfo Artisanal Festival, held annually in March, is an exciting celebration that showcases the rich cultural and artistic heritage of this historic town. 

Organized by the Baja California Sur State Tourism Department and local authorities, the festival invites families from across the region to indulge in a day filled with artisanal crafts, regional cuisine, piano concerts, and an array of artistic and cultural activities. 

The weekend festival is a unique opportunity to explore handcrafted goods, savor local flavors, and immerse yourself in the diverse artistic expressions that define El Triunfo. 

This festival not only honors the town’s traditions but also serves as a lively platform for local artisans and performers to showcase their talents, making it a must-visit event for anyone looking to experience the authentic essence of Baja California Sur’s artistic community.

15. Hiking, Mountain Biking, Ziplining, and ATV Riding

Nestled in the stunning Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, El Triunfo is an untouched paradise for outdoor adventures. 

The high-elevation region’s diverse ecosystem, characterized by lush forests and mountain views, is a stark contrast to the desert meets ocean landscapes below. 

The natural beauty around El Triunfo provides the perfect setting for hiking, mountain biking, and more.

For hiking enthusiasts, the area boasts numerous trails that for both gentle walks and challenging hikes suited to all levels of experience. These paths give hikers the opportunity for intimate encounters with the local flora and fauna, revealing the natural beauty of Baja California Sur at every turn.

Mountain biking is another popular activity, with routes that cater to both leisurely riders and adrenaline seekers. The trails wind through scenic vistas and challenging terrains, providing a unique way to explore the region’s stunning landscapes.

For a dose of adventure, ATV tours invite participants to traverse the area’s diverse landscapes in a fun and thrilling manner, suitable for all skill levels. 

Meanwhile, ziplining offers a bird’s-eye view of the ecosystem below, delivering an unmatched adrenaline rush as you glide over the canopy.

Contact Pico y Pala Tours or Cabañas El Triunfo to inquire about booking the activities above.

A cobblestone street and yellow building in El Triunfo, BCS.
The cobblestone street leading to the El Triunfo bakery selling freshly-baked sourdough.

Where to Eat: El Triunfo Restaurants

For being such a small town, El Triunfo boasts a surprising range of dining options. 

From Mexican eateries serving specialties like barbacoa to cafes famous for their sourdough bread, this town caters to every palate.

El Minero Restaurant and Bar

El Minero Bar and Restaurant is my top recommendation for where to eat in El Triunfo, BCS. Tucked behind the Museo Ruta de Plata, the restaurant boasts an inviting courtyard dining area overlooking the smokestacks with relaxing live music on the weekends. 

Chef Felipe Geraldo specializes in showcasing regional and artisanal ingredients like housemade sausages with fermented sauerkraut, totoaba fish from the Sea of Cortez, oysters from Laguna San Ignacio, local produce and cheese from La Ventana, and craft beer from Baja Brewing Company in Cabo.

One of the main draws here is the traditional Spanish paella served only on Saturdays and Sundays. Be sure to make reservations well in advance for this highly sought-after meal.

El Meson de Carlota

El Meson de Carlota is a local favorite situated just before you enter El Triunfo from the east, perfect for stopping by for breakfast on your way into town.

Renowned for its scrumptious chilaquiles (my go-to breakfast dish) and empanadas stuffed with everything from smoked marlin to mushrooms, each dish is an homage to Baja flavors. The traditional Mexican dishware the food is served on makes for an even more authentic feel. 

The homey atmosphere and weekend specials of barbacoa, menudo, and pozole make it a popular spot for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.

Cafe El Triunfo

The El Triunfo Cafe, officially named Caffe El Triunfo, is famous throughout the region for its rustic loaves of wild-fermented sourdough, baked daily in the wood-fired oven. 

Also known as the El Triunfo bakery, it’s a popular spot among the expat community in Baja Sir, with many making a weekly trip from the coastal towns just to buy sourdough bread. 

In addition to sandwiches made with freshly baked bread, chef Marcos Spahr’s cafe also serves up a variety of times made in mesquite wood-fired ovens like pizzas, croissants, and pies. 

Hand-painted sign for El Minero Bar and Restaurant in Mexico.
El Minero serves up a paella feast with live music on Saturdays and Sundays.

El Rincón del Triunfo

For an authentic Mexican dining experience, head to El Rincón del Triunfo, a local favorite and open-air eatery known for its weekend barbacoa and menudo. Machaca burritos, bean and cheese tamales, and meat empanadas are staples on their regular menu. 

Located at the end of the road across from the church, it’s the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the area’s culture and cuisine, with regional music that adds to the local vibes.

Nieves Crunchy

No visit to El Triunfo is complete without stopping by Nieves Crunchy, the town’s local ice cream shop. 

With a variety of refreshing flavors, like pitahaya (prickly pear), it’s the perfect place to cool off and indulge in a sweet treat after exploring the town. 

Where to Stay in El Triunfo

Since it’s primarily a day trip destination, there are only a few hotels in El Triunfo, Mexico. The accommodations here range from cozy rental cabins surrounded by nature to comfortable suites in the heart of town.

The cozy cabins at Cabanas El Triunfo.

El Triunfo Hotels and Rentals

Cabañas El Triunfo Hotel Boutique: This boutique hotel provides rustic yet cozy cabins with a pool and restaurant, making it an excellent choice for travelers seeking a nature escape.

Villa La Fortalezza: Situated across the street from the famous El Triunfo Caffe, this comfortable suite features a king-size bed, air conditioning, and an entertainment area with a sofa bed, all just steps from the main attractions.

Rustic Villa Outdoor Retreat in El Triunfo: For a luxurious retreat, check in to this 6-bedroom villa in the heart of El Triunfo. This amazing property features traditional Mexican decor, a stunning courtyard, a cozy fire pit, and an outdoor cooking area.

Rancho La Ponderosa: Located about 8 miles from El Triunfo, this idyllic ranch offers guests an authentic countryside experience, blending rustic charm with the serene beauty of nature, perfect for those looking to unwind and reconnect with the outdoors.

El Triunfo Camping

Camping in El Triunfo lets you get up close and personal with Baja California Sur’s wild scenery and gaze at a sky full of stars. At the moment, there is only one established campground in El Triunfo, Mexico.

Cabañas El Triunfo: In addition to rental cabins, this hotel also offers camping and RV parking. It is a beautiful 2-acre property with flushing toilets, hot showers, a pool, fire pits, an outdoor kitchen, wi-fi, bikes, and outdoor games, all just a short walk from the center of town.

The colorful kiosk at the center of El Triunfo’s plaza, or town square.

FAQs About Visiting El Triunfo

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting El Triunfo, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

What is the History of El Triunfo?

Once a busy mining hub in Baja California Sur, Mexico, El Triunfo boasts a rich history that dates back to the late 1700s when Manuel de Ocio established the first mine.

Initially, the mine struggled to produce significant yields, leading to periods of abandonment and reclamation by various owners. 

The discovery of silver and gold in 1862 marked the beginning of a gold rush, transforming El Triunfo into a thriving community, attracting miners from Mexico and the United States, including veterans of the 1849 California Gold Rush. 

The town’s fortune further soared in 1878 under the British El Progreso Mining Company, making it the largest city in Baja California Sur at the time, with a population exceeding 10,000. 

El Triunfo became a cultural and technological pioneer in the region, introducing electricity and telephones, and hosting a thriving music scene now represented by its piano museum.

The closure of mines in 1926 led to a mass exodus, leaving behind a ghost town. 

In recent years, El Triunfo has experienced a renaissance thanks in part to a push by investors and the state’s tourism board to transform the town into a tourist destination.

Woman sitting under a shady palapa in the old mining town of El Triunfo in Baja California Sur.
Kristina sitting under a shady palapa in the old mining town of El Triunfo in Baja California Sur.

Is El Triunfo, Mexico Safe?

El Triunfo is generally considered safe for travelers. Like many small towns in Baja California Sur, it maintains a low crime rate and a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. 

The community is tight-knit and takes pride in their town’s history and culture, often going out of their way to make guests feel at home. 

However, as with any travel destination, it’s wise to take standard safety precautions: stay aware of your surroundings, avoid risky areas after dark, and keep valuables secure. 

The biggest concerns are usually related to navigating rural and mountain roads, so ensure your vehicle is well-prepared for the journey.

Best Time to Visit El Triunfo

The best time to visit El Triunfo is during the day on a Saturday or Sunday. For ideal weather visit from November to April, during the cooler, drier months.

This little-known town thrives on local visitors visiting on a day trip from the coastal cities, mostly on Sundays.

The town truly comes alive during the weekends and some of the attractions are closed during the week, so plan your visit during the weekend to experience everything El Triunfo has to offer.

For ideal weather visit from November to April, during the cooler, drier months. This period avoids the intense heat and humidity of Baja California Sur’s summer, making outdoor activities like hiking to the lookout point or visiting the mining ruins more enjoyable.

The windy mountain road up from the Baja coast to the Sierra de la Laguna mountains.

What to Pack for El Triunfo

When preparing for a trip to El Triunfo, consider including the following items to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience:

  • Breathable UPF Clothing: The climate can be warm during the day, so pack fabrics with built-in sun protection.
  • Layered Clothing: For cooler evenings or early mornings, especially from November to April.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: Essential for exploring the town’s historical sites and nature trails.
  • Sun Protection: A high-SPF sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield from the intense sun.
  • Waterproof Gear: Include a rain jacket or umbrella if visiting during the rainy season (July to September).
  • Camera: To capture the picturesque landscapes and architectural details of El Triunfo.
  • Binoculars: Ideal for bird watching and stargazing in the surrounding natural areas.
  • Travel Water Bottle: Stay hydrated while reducing plastic use during your outdoor adventures.
  • Basic First Aid Kit: Always handy for minor scrapes or ailments while on the go.

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Headed to Mexico’s Baja California peninsula? I’ve been traveling around Baja since I was a child and I love helping others explore this magical peninsula. Take a look at my detailed Baja guides and tips below.

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