Tubac Travel Guide

  • The Moose
    The Moose
    by Basaic
  • The Country Shop
    The Country Shop
    by Basaic
  • Chili Peppers
    Chili Peppers
    by Basaic

Tubac Things to Do

  • Elaborate ironwork and design

    I found this gate to adobe building of La Pinata boutique an ironwork of exceptional beauty. I've got to know that it is mostly wrought ironwork that means handmade, forged by a blacksmith using an anvil. It had to cost a lot. The gate is forced with decorative, bright blue, horizontal bean with boutique's yellow advertisement put above. There are...

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  • Lizards in art and alive

    Apart from the most common Kokopelli I could easily find a lizard used as a motif for artists in Tubac. The artistic lizards sold as gifts and decorative items in Tubac were to be supposed to follow rock carvings of Native Americans in the Southwest. Later on during my trip I saw original lizard petroglyphs as well as alive lizards in northern and...

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  • You could be the next dino discoverer!

    There are a few ironworks put on Tubac Road 22 in front of the Chile Pepper. The most interesting are metal skeletons of two fighting dinosaurus. They really lived in that area about 100 million years ago. The Sonorasaurus was discovered in 1994, by an undergraduate student close to Tubac (in Sonoita). It was 51 foot long, 27 feet high. and 35-ton...

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  • Blue Warrior

    I called this strange and mysterious, blue, metal artwork, "Blue Warrior." It stands on the main Tubac Road, close to the Chile Pepper (shop, ice-cream, cafe). Pay attention to its massive postument. Well, desert areas are usually not only hot at daytime (and often cold at night) but very windy as well.At first I thought that the Blue Warrior...

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  • Hopi art

    I could easily find some sort of very interesting silver jewelry and very beautiful pottery in numerous Indian shops of Tubac including Old Presidio Traders shop of probably the best choice. They were usually signed as Hopi jewelry and Hopi pottery. I had to ask a shop keeper who Hopi were, a tribe of artists?I got to know that Hopi tribe lived in...

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  • This car changed rural America

    I've found this red, old automobile among Mexican pottery put on the ground. It was part of the outdoor display of the Country Shop. This light pickup truck - Chevrolet 3100 - was number one in sales among all pickups in the USA during every year from 1950 till 1955. I liked a lot its old, aerodynamic and smooth body as well as its windshield cut...

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  • 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 Jelly2. Jalapeno Mint Jelly3. Pear Cactus JellyThe 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...

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  • Visit Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

    Tubac Presidio State Historic Park was Arizona's first state park. It is dedicated to preserving and studying the life revolving around the Spanish Presidio established in what was then called Primeria Alta. In 1691, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino started the Tumacacori Mission and Tubac, which was three miles north, became a mission, farm or...

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  • Shop at the Farmer's Market

    They periodically hold a farmer's market at the Plaza de Anza which features various types of arts and crafts, foods and coffees. A lot of the food is organically grown.

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  • Shop and Eat at Plaza de Anza

    On the southern outskirts of Tubac is the Plaza de Anza a small collection of shops and restaurants (see separate tips). They also have a farmer's market there periodically that offers fresh foods (many of which are organically grown), coffees, art, local plants, and other crafts. I enjoyed talking to the people there especially one nice young lady...

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  • I liked Kokopelli a lot :-)

    Strolling around Tubac I could easily find a lot of pottery and metal figures depicting a humpbacked flute player (see my pictures). I had never seen anything like that before but at first sight I liked a lot that enjoyable and mysterious flute player and I even bought one to decorate my home :-). Later on I saw this motif on prehistoric...

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  • Simple and inexpensive pottery

    I didn't go to Tubac to do any shopping. My budget at the beginning of very long drive around almost half of the country was too low to do any unnecessary shoppings. I didn't want to buy any pottery as it's uncomfortable for transportation in both a car and plane. Apart from that a very beautiful Hopi pottery I saw in Tubac cost a fortune.But in...

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Tubac Hotels

See all 5 Hotels in Tubac
  • Artist's Suite

    7 Camino Otero, Tubac, Arizona, 85646, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

  • Embarcadero

    120 Calle Iglesia, P.O. Box 4805, Tubac, Arizona, 85646, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

  • Tubac Country Inn

    13 Burruel Street, Tubac, Arizona, 85646, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

Tubac Restaurants

  • Nice Cafe; Friendly People

    The Cafe Pesidio is a nice little place with a friendly staff. The food tends toward sandwiches, soups and pizza. Great coffee.

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  • Very Popular Bistro

    One of the most popular places to eat in Tubac is Shelby's Bistro. They specialize in sandwiches, salads, pizza and pasta. They also have cocktails, beer, wine, and specialty coffees. Nice patio. Hours are 11 AM to 4 PM daily with dinner hours of 5PM to 9 PM Wednesday through Saturday. Try the French Onion Soup followed by Seafood - Saffron Pasta.

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  • Gourmet Market and Fine Dining

    This place has a touch of San Francisco and an ld world menu. There is also a market with fresh produce, a deli, take-out items, and gourmet items from around the world. If you have a taste for something different, give it a try, but bring your wallet it is not cheap. I did not eat here this trip; but may in the future.

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Tubac Transportation

  • Around Tubac and US school bus show :-)

    Tubac is a very small, easy to walk around, community with a few asphalted and a few gravel but flat streets (map here.)All streets or better to say roads are wide and lined with one-floor buildings.There is a lot of space to park a car in Tubac. There are parking lots (no parking fees!) along a few streets which form the community: at the...

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  • To Tubac

    You must have a car to get to Tubac which is located in southern Arizona, 24 miles (39 km) north of Mexican border in Nogales and 50 miles (80 km) south of Tucson. I drove I-19 (Nogales - Tucson) by car and took an exit 34. Look at Santa Cruz County map here.But the first day I passed by Tubac driving I-19 along the Santa Cruz River Valley from...

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  • Tubac Hotels

    5 Hotels in Tubac

    2 Reviews and Opinions

Tubac Shopping

See all 15 Shopping in Tubac
  • All Kinds of Arts and Crafts

    At The Country Shop you can find Southwestern and Mexican Arts and Crafts in a wide variety of media at fairly reasonable prices. It is one of the biggest stores in town. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11AM to 5PM, Sunday 1PM to 5 PM. Mexican pottery, dishes, glassware, mirrors, candles, linens, lamps and patio decor.

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  • Want something hot?

    The Chili Pepper has a neat patio lined with chili peppers. Inside you can buy cappuccino and ice cream. They also have chili gifts, southwestern gourmet foods, kitchen linens, cookbooks, cards and chili jewelry. Buy the Habanero Jelly.

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  • Another Fine Gallery

    Across the street from the Karin Newby Gallery is the La Pinata Gallery. Their display out front grabbed my attention.

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Tubac Warnings and Dangers

  • Southern approach to time :-)

    A lot of sun makes people amuzing and happier. A lot of heat makes them slower. It's well seen in Tubac. When I was in Tubac on a lazy, sunny, business day in April 2003 there were probably more shop keepers than visitors in town. Hmm... there are almost 1,000 Tubacans (is it correct name?), where did they hide? Twice I was very surprised to stroll...

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  • FAQs and warnings on shopping

    HEAVY SHOPPINGIf you are a visitor to Tubac and especially if you are non-American and travel by air keep in mind how large and heavy shopping you do. I travelled by car and air but despite that Urszula, my wife, wanted to buy a huge, almost as tall as I, pottery in shape of round-bottom laboratory flask (see picture) but with a large hole in...

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  • 1,000 Tubacans and no ATM?

    I haven't found ATM in Tubac but all major cards (see picture) are accepted in each shop and restaurant. Well, I think it has to be at least one ATM in Tubac. Believe or not, there are almost 1,000 Tubacans; is it correct name? At least Tubac is a civilized town :-). No, no, it is not a town, it's a CDP! It's an American invention: a...

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Tubac Tourist Traps

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    I-19: NOGALES - TUMACACORI - TUBAC 4 more images

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I always feel very uncomfortable when I get to know that I skipped something very unique or interesting on my way especially when I travel very far from my home. Due to lack of both time and information it happened to me in Tubac. I didn't visit Tubac Cemetery located at northeastern end of the community.

    But first of all I skipped Tumacacori National Historical Park that is located at exit 29 of I-19 that is only 5 miles south of Tubac (exit 34). It’s the site of a Franciscan mission built in 1795 that was regularly besieged by the Apache Indians. The park is open 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The entrance fee is $3.00 per person.

    I have also never heard of Titan Missile Museum 35 miles north of Tubac (exit 69 off I-10 to W. Duval Mine Rd in Sahuarita). It's the only publicly accessible Titan II missile site in the USA, a base restored from the Cold War times: a museum + one hour guided tour including a simulated launch of the missile at the launch control center ($17.95 per person).



    Unique Suggestions: Well, you may visit only ruins of the Franciscan church at Mission San Jose de Tumacacori. The ruins of the two other nearby missions can be visited only as part of a reserved ranger guided tour during the fall and winter months. So, mayve I didn't loose that much.



    Fun Alternatives: Keep smiling and drive to Tombstone and Bisbee as I did. It's a fascinating drive with great places to visit on the way. Or don't follow me and visit the above mentioned sights I skipped.

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Tubac What to Pack

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    AT 3,200 FT (975 M), SCENERY CLOSE TO TUBAC 4 more images

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 15, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Additional bags for shopping may be necessary.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 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.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Good sun protection cosmetics with high UV filter - use them BEFORE or just after you leave your car.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Tourist frige with ice cubes and cold beverages inside :-).

    Related to:
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Tubac Off The Beaten Path

  • Patagonia and watching wildlife

    Patagonia is a little, lazy southern town (pop. below 900) where I stopped for a while driving Route 82 from Nogales towards Tombstone. Well, I noticed only a few stores, gas station and restaurant/bar along the main road. Hmm... I was still at the beginning of my US long trip and entering Arizona I skipped Arizona Welcome Center. Thus I had no...

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  • 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...

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  • Desert valleys and mountains

    After visit to Tubac I was going to visit legendary Tombstone. So, I had to drive I-19 back southwards to Nogales and then Route 82 northeast to Patagonia. For someone living far from deserts and sunny rocky formations like me, this was a very scenic 20 miles drive to Patagonia. This is so called the Basin and Range Province that covers much of the...

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Tubac Favorites

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    SILVER-TURQUOISE RING OF MY WIFE BOUGHT IN TUBAC 4 more images

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 19, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Strolling around Tubac with its Presidio (Spanish fortress) and over 90 shops, galleries and boutiques is like walking around art and history museum. You easily find a lot of beautiful art of four different cultures which influenced that area: Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American, both modern and old style art. I think, this unique, creative and old community has its own soul. It's a must see whenever you get to southern Arizona.



    Fondest memory: My foundest memory is a large silver-turquoise ring my wife bought in Tubac and quite often wears it until now. Whenever I look at her hand with this ring I have to remember Tubac, Arizona and the USA. Sweet memories :-)

    Both silver and turquoise are local materials in southern Arizona. Tubac once was the largest city in Arizona thanks to nearby silver mines. The Southwest United States, including southern Arizona, has been a significant source of turquoise since pre-Columbian times.

    Related to:
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    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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