Rio Sonora Heritage Tour (Offered Exclusively to Members)
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$ 895.00


October 2019

October 26 - 28, 2019

Single Occupancy Fee: $125.00
If choosing the Double Occupancy option and would like to designate a specific roommate, please fill out this form

This special travel opportunity is offered exclusively to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum members. To purchase this trip, login as a member, or purchase a Membership and then return to this page.


Travel with us to the beautiful Río Sonora Valley.  This agrarian region is still very much as it was hundreds years ago, with farmers and ranchers thriving in the fertile valley.  Introduced by both Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries, pomegranate, quince and fig were just some of the many examples of Mediterranean species planted in the orchards. Over decades, cuttings made their way into backyard gardens, joining New World vegetables.  We’ll follow in the footsteps of legendary Jesuit missionary, explorer, cartographer, and agriculturist Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and explore the Pimería Alta where we’ll spend three adventurous days visiting missions in the region of Northern Sonora, enjoying local cuisine and spending quality time with wonderful people that share gracious hospitality.   Highlights include visits to the missions:  San Ignacio, Magdalena de Kino, Banámichi, Huépac, Aconchi, Baviácora, and Arizpe. We are also treated to a performance by a folklorico dance group and a lecture on the processing of the miraculous agave with mezcal tasting!


After the border crossing procedures in Nogales, we’ll make a brief stop in Magdalena de Kino before turning east and ascend into the Sierra to visit the community of Cucúrpe. We’ll enjoy a regional lunch and see a Sonoran style Andalusian garden in the center of this charming town. Later we arrive at Banámichi to the enchanting hotels Posada del Río and Hotel Los Arcos. There is a reception at the Posada del Río rooftop cantina before a presentation in the plaza by Cecytes Banámichi Folklorico Dance Group. (L, D)
We begin the day travelling south along the Río Sonora to the pueblos of Huépac and Aconchi. We return to Banámichi to visit a historic water powered wheat mill. Then make our way across the floodplain to Rancho La Martina. We’ll enjoy a traditional carne asada meal where rancheros continue the fine tradition of distilling Bacanora. In the late afternoon, we return to the hotel for a cocktail reception and a lecture on the various processing methods/uses of the miraculous agave including a mezcal tasting. (B, L, D)
Today we take time to visit local artisans before we make our way north to Arizpe, the capital of the Spanish province of Nueva Vizcaya in the 18th century and where Juan Bautista de Anza is buried in the church floor. We’ll enjoy lunch prepared by Lupita Madero in Bacoachi. Afterwards we depart for the border and cross in Naco. ETA Tucson 6:00 pm. (B, L)

Your Leaders

Jesús García is a Cultural Conservation Research Associate at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and one of the founders of the Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project. For the past ten years, García has been part of a group of dedicated researchers tracking and locating original stock so that these botanically and culturally significant trees can be found in Tucson backyards once again. Jesús brings a wealth of knowledge not only of the flora and fauna indigenous to the Sonoran Desert, but of the many cultures which have and still call this place home. A master storyteller, he is also a master at identifying plant and animal species, describing their preferred growing or breeding habits and explaining their environmental connections to one another and to us.

Greg Scott, Cultural Interpreter. After completing his degree and graduate work at the University of Arizona, Greg began a 30+ year career as a bilingual educator and is the current president of the Arizona Historical Society southern Arizona Chapter. He is a lifelong musician and performs traditional music throughout the West. Recently retired, he stays busy writing, lecturing for the Arizona Humanities Council and performing. He travels extensively in Mexico and Central America and is very passionate about sharing all he knows about the regions he has explored.

Stephen Bernier, Logistics is owner of South of the Border Tours. Stephen has organized and produced tours of the American Southwest and Mexico since 1993 for the University of Arizona Elderhostel/Roads Scholar Program, Arizona Historical Society, Scottsdale Sister City, Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tohono Chul, Portland Art Museum, Heard Museum Guild, as well as various other museums and universities. Stephen is also a volunteer naturalist with Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists.

Included Services

Transportation by luxury motor coach, 2 nights accommodations, and guide fees are included. (B, L, or D) in the itinerary denotes included meals.

Border Crossing

You will need a valid passport or passport card to take this trip.

Activity Level

Guests must be able to walk short distances unassisted over various uneven terrain.


This special travel opportunity is offered exclusively to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum members. To purchase this trip, login as a member, or purchase a Membership and then return to this page. For single travelers, the supplement is $125. We are accepting full payment for registration.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be in writing or email. Cancellations received at least 45 days prior to departure are refundable less a $100 per person handling fee. Those received 44-31 days prior to departure will result in a 50% forfeiture of payment unless trip is at capacity and space can be resold, in which case only the $100 handling fee will be retained. Those received within 30 days prior to departure result in no refund. These cancellation policies are strictly enforced. We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance to safeguard yourself in a medical situation before or during a tour.


This trip is jointly run by South of the Border Tours and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Should you have any questions about the itinerary or logistics, please contact Debby Bernier, Office Manager at 760-4000 or at For questions about payment or if you are a single traveler, please contact Beth Mac Farlane, Reservation Coordinator at 883-3025 or at

Chilis drying Cowboys crossing a river

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