The small town in the northeast of Sinaloa is characterized by colonial and indigenous traditions of the Yoremes who once lived here.
It is best known as the gateway to the Copper Canyon (to the east) and to the Cortés Sea (to the west). El Fuerte was founded in 1564 by the Spanish captain Francisco de Ibarra as “San Juan Bautista de Carapoa”. It owes its present name to a fortress built during the reign of the viceroy Don Juan de Mendoza y Luna at the beginning of the 17th century.
When the Spanish invaded the region of the River El Fuerte, they met the indigenous groups of the Tehuecos, Zuaques, Sinaloas and Zoes. Evidence of their culture can be found in hundreds of petroglyphs, such as the Cerro de la Máscara, the hill of the Mask. Within the city, its colonial buildings are particularly worth seeing. Among the most important are the Palacio Municipal, the Plaza de Armas with its wrought-iron kiosk, the Casa de la Cultura, the church Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, the Casa del Congreso Constituyente, Los Portales and the house of the Orrantia family.