70 El Burro Ln, P.O. Box 4188, Tubac, Arizona, 85646, United States
More about Tubac
The Country Shop
Chili Peppers Along Patio
Map to Gallery
Travel Tips for Tubac
At 3,200 ft (975 m) height
Additional bags for shopping may be necessary. Pack sun glasses! Light cotton clothes (shorts, T-shirts) for warm or hot days. Sweater/pullover and/or jacket for colder evenings/nights. Tubac is situated on the high chaparral (a shrubland plant community) at 3,200 feet (975 m) thus both days and especially nights are colder than in say Tucson. Difference in day-night temperature may be high. Pretty warm days but freezing nights in winter are common!
Check weather forecast for Tubac now. Good sun protection cosmetics with high UV filter - use them BEFORE or just after you leave your car. Tourist frige with ice cubes and cold beverages inside :-).
Kartchner Caverns State Park
I drove from Tubac via Nogales, Patagonia and Sonoita towards Tombstone (Route 82 - pictures 2-4). As soon as I noticed the sign Welcome to Kartchner Caverns State Park (it was in Huachuca City - what a name!) I decided to give it a try as I love caves.
As soon as I arrived at the park gates I got to know that I was 2 (two!) days too late for Big Room Tour ($22.95 per person) which had been available October 15 - April 15 (the Big Room is a bat nursery other months). This guided tour is the main attraction of the caves and park. Rotunda/Throne Room Tour ($18.95 per person) is available all year round but it was sold out for that day, as I was warned, and I was told that it's less interesting than the Big Room Tour. There were surprisingly many cars driving that road. Well, I didn't spend $10 for the park entrance and immediatelly hit my car back towards Tombstone (picture 5). Now, I've got to know that photography is not allowed in the cave :-(. So, maybe I should transfer this tip to tourist traps.
1. If possible visit Kartchner Caverns October 15 - April 15
2. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 8 a.m. to 5 p.m +1 (520) 586-CAVE (2283)
Salvador Dali and Spanish art
Strolling around art colony of Tubac I found a human size strange sculpture depicting a woman with long neck decorated in African style and head directed 180 degrees back to front. She had raised upper limbs in shape of fish flippers. The sculpture looked like creations of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali I saw in his famous Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Spain (Catalonia). Maybe that's why this artwork was put behind an iron fence, noone to steel it :-).
Seriously speaking there is more Mexican art influenced by pre-historic cultures of the Olmec, the Maya and the Aztecs than Spanish art in Tubac galleries and boutiques. However I've found typical Spanish or Portoguese "azulejo" (painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework) advertising Clee's of Tubac, a store of Arizonian pottery. See picture 5.
Indian pottery and diabetes
I could see for the first time of my life a lot of Indian handmade pottery in Tubac. I liked most of their designs a lot but unfortunatelly this stuff, especially Hopi pottery, was very expensive for me. A few hundreds dollars for a set of a few bowls or pots was far above my budget.
But don't worry. In some stores I could find pretty designs of Indian pottery at much lower price. Look at my picture. These pieces cost only $4.95, $16.95, and $21.95 for the largest pot. They include copies of archeological findings of Hohokam and Pima Native American people: animals and geometrical drawings found either on rocks (petroglyphs) or on jewelry and pottery which Native Americans used to put into shallow Indian graves.
Pima people lived in central and southern Arizona (USA) and Sonora (Mexico). Now, US Pima live mainly in what is called Gila River Indian Community, south of Phoenix. I knew that name Pima. US Pima people have the highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes on the Earth, much more than is observed in other US populations. Thus they have been the subject of intensive study of diabetes, in part because they form a homogeneous group.
Give local jelly (jam) a try
In a few Tubac's gourmet food stores and eateries I found jars with exotic for me names:
1. Mesquite Bean Jelly
2. Jalapeno Mint Jelly
3. Pear Cactus Jelly
The jars didn't look fancy but I gave a try to Pear Cactus Jelly which cost some $5. Well, it was jam, not jelly. I've got to know in Tubac that they call jam jelly in the USA. The word "jam" is supposed to be reserved for connection with traffic, although for sure not in this empty part of southern Arizona. Anyway, Pear Cactus Jelly produced by Gerry Schultz tasted great, I loved it. Later on I was looking for that jelly in chain food stories including Wal-Mart and others and I didn't find any.