Culiacán (Culiacán Rosales) is a city in Sinaloa, Mexico. It is rarely visited by foreign tourists and is heavily underrated as a tourist destination. Almost no guide books on Mexico cover Culiacán, or if they do, they give very brief one-paragraph descriptions at most. However, Culiacán is very well-known by Mexicans for its distinct sinaloense culture.
Culiacan is a large city located almost in the geographic center of the state of Sinaloa, about 900 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Locals of Culiacán are known as culichis (Similarly, natives of Guadalajara are known as tapatios.).
Culiacán is famous for producing some of the best-known norteño and banda musical groups in Mexico, including Los Buitres de Culiacán, Los Bukanas de Culiacán, Larry Hernandez, Los Buchones de Culiacán.
Culiacán is dry for most of the year, except for the wet season which lasts from July to September.
Mexican Federal Highway 15 (Carretera Federal 15) connects Culiacán to cities in Sonora state such as Nogales, Hermosillo, Guaymas, Ciudad Obregón, and Navojoa (from north to south), as well as Los Mochis, Guasave, Guamúchil, Mazatlán, Tepic, and Guadalajara. Toll booths and checkpoints are stationed throughout the highway.
The Culiacán bus station is a major hub offering connections to various small towns around the state of Sinaloa. There are regular buses to Culiacán from Los Mochis, Mazatlán, Hermosillo, and Guadalajara.
The port of Altata is a tourist beach town directly to the west of Culiacán. By car, it is about 50 km or 1 hour from Culiacán.
Taxis are plentiful in the Centro.
- AGA Rent a Car, Av. Camaron Sabalo #312-A, Zona Dorada, . AGA Rent-A-Car has been renting vehicles to travelers and local renters since 1989. Its first location opened in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, and it has since expanded to serve Los Mochis and Culiacán, with locations both at the airport and in town.
- Plazuela Alvaro Obregón — The city's main square, the Plazuela has many acrobats, artists, and musicians entertaining passersbys.
- 1 Catedral Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Av Dr. Ruperto Paliza (Directly south of the Plazuela Alvaro Obregón). The city's main cathedral
- 2 La Lomita (Temple of Our Lady of Guadalupe). This church is situated on the top of a hill directly to the south of the Zona Centro. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Culiacán, and the sierras surrounding it. From the Plazuela Alvaro Obregón, take a bus that with a placard saying "Lomita" on its front window, and tell the bus driver to stop at La Lomita. It should take you south along Bulevar Alvaro Obregón.
- Capilla de Jesús Malverde. This is the most well-known site in Culiacán. This chapel is dedicated to Jesús Malverde, a bandit who was executed in 1909 who has since become venerated as a folk saint by locals. Narcotraffickers and migrants alike visit this shrine to pay homage to Malverde, hoping for a successful journey up north. Malverde is often called "El Santo de los Narcotraficantes," although the chapel operators will say that he is far more than that. Plaques thanking Malverde adorn the chapel. The owner and operator of the shrine is Jesús ("Chuy") Manuel González, son of Eligio González (d. 2002), the shrine's founder. Ironically, the Palacio Estatal (State Government of Sinaloa) lies almost directly in front of the chapel, on the other side of the street. A biographical booklet on Malverde is available for M$50 (pesos).
- Malecón — Playgrounds and picnic tables abound on this beautiful and carefully maintained greenbelt which runs along the banks of the Río Tamazula.
- 3 Museo de Arte de Sinaloa (MASIN), Calle Gral. Rafael Buelna. This museum has many impressionist and modern abstract art pieces produced by artists from all over the state of Sinaloa. Admission M$5.
- 4 DIFOCUR. The cultural center of Culiacán. The complex includes various exhibits and small museums. Events take place often at DIFOCUR.
- 5 Ayuntamiento de Culiacán, Calle Carl. Mariano Escobedo, ☏ . Many beautiful murals featuring street scenes in Culiacán and motifs glorifying the sinaloense spirit.
- Parque Revolución. This park has very beautiful fountains. Just to the north of it is a newly erected statue dedicated to the 75th anniversary of XEBL (710 AM, 91.9 FM), one of Sinaloa's olest radio stations, which has been running since 1936. Live music also plays from the statue.
- Puente Negro. This bridge is an iconic symbol of Culiacán, and is located at the confluence of the Humaya and Tamazula Rivers, which join together to form the Río Culiacán.  [dead link] This is comparable to the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh (forming the Ohio River).
- Culiacán Zoo
- Botanical Garden
- Presa Sanalona
There are casinos, discos and theaters.
- Musicians, consisting of norteño, banda, and mariachi bands, can be found on Bulevar Francisco I. Madero (the Mazatlán-Culiacán highway, or the 15) between General Aquilines Serdán and Venustiano Carranza. There are Pemex gas stations at both intersections. Many musicians have rented out buildings, and some of the bandas have their own trailers. The norteño bands tend to congregate around the Madero & Carranza intersection, which is easily recognizable because of the 135-degree bend that Venustiano Carranza makes at the intersection. Norteño bands can also be found at the Mercado Garmendia playing for tips.
- Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa (UAS)
- Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán (ITC) http://www.itculiacan.edu.mx/
In the centre are many little stores where you can buy anything. There are also malls.
- Mercado Garmendia
- Restaurant Huy Fong 匯豐餐館 (Rosales #5, Col. Centro; Tel. 715-78-17; 8:30AM - 8PM) is a Chinese restaurant offering very affordable meals for around M$50 or less. It is located just north of the catedral at the intersection of Alvaro Obregon (the main street that runs north-south) and General Antonio Rosales; to the left of Subway. Located in the Centro. The restaurant owners and employees are from the town of Enping in Guangdong province, China.
- 1 Restaurant China-loa, Donato Guerra 160, ☏ . Comida China & Sushi, offers an all-you-can-eat buffet for 90 pesos. Located in the Centro.
- 1 Hotel Sevilla, Jose Maria Morelos 170 Nte., ☏ . Located on Morelos Street (which runs north-south) between Escobedo and Colón, in the Zona Centro. It is in the 170's block, located on the east side of the sidewalk. The lobby room has a guest computer with Internet, free of charge. Filtered water is also free. Rooms from M$300 per night.
- [dead link] Microtel Inn & Suites. A 113-room hotel located in a new developed zone of the city adjacent to the Modern Hospital Angels of Culiacan.
- 2 Hotel La Quinta Posada Real. Located near the intersection of Francisco I. Madero & Venustiano Carranza Boulevards. From M$500 per night.
Downtown Culiacán is safe to walk around during the daytime and evenings (before midnight). Traveling around the outskirts ("colonias") of Culiacán at night is not recommended.
Traffic in Culiacán can be extremely aggressive, much more so than in many other parts of Mexico. Locals will attribute this to the "sinaloense" attitude, which is stereotypically aggressive, proud, and boisterous.
Culiacán (along with the town of Badiraguato) is notorious for being the birthplaces and residences of many drug lords and narcotraffickers. Mexicans from other states will often point out that Culiacán is very dangerous to visit. However, overall Culiacán is still much safer than Ciudad Juárez and many Central American cities. Most deaths occur only among drug cartels and federal armed forces.