Cucurpe, Sonora, Mexico

The town of Cucurpe, Sonora is located on Sonora highway 54, about 46 kilmeters (29 miles) southeast of Magdalena de Kino, Sonora.

The region was originally inhabited by the Opata and Pima indigenous peoples, and its name is derived from the Opata word “Cucupa,” which means “where the dove calls.”

Doves are abundant in Cucurpe, and the town’s crest prominently features a dove in the center, topped with a depiction of the Mission de los Santos Reyes, and below the dove are symbols of the area’s local economy – cattle and crops, a stack of forage and a pick and shovel that depict mining. Below the dove are the waters of the San Miguel River.

Cucurpe was originally established in 1647 by Jesuit missionary Marcos del Rio, as a Spanish mission named “Los Santos Reyes del Cucurpe.”

The town is also known as the “Rim of Christendom” for the region, as the location where Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino started the significant and historic work of the last 24 years of his life as he rode out of Cucurpe on March 14, 1687.

Kino established missions, explored and mapped the region, introduced and fostered animal husbandry, agriculture and other monumental accomplishments.

The town of Cucurpe is also the administrative seat of the municipality with the same name, which was formally established in 1932.

Places to visit in Cucurpe include the ruins of the Mission Los Santos Reyes, the municipal building and the local church, La Capilla de Cristo Rey. A nearby site of the former San Francisco mine is also well-known among gemstone aficionados as a source of wulfenite samples.

The River San Miguel flows through Cucurpe, and two other rivers, the Dolores and the Saracachi, join to form the Sonora River. Along the local riverbeds are locations where ancient inhabitants etched petroglyphs and painted pictographs, and more modern-day residents also created murals and other contributions to cave paintings.

Please note that the sites along the river are only accessible through the assistance of a local tour guide. If you stop at the Cucurpe municipal building, they can help you to connect with a local guide. To find the municipal building, make a turn at the big white welcome sign on the west side of Cucurpe, and drive until you see the building on your left.