The Historical Park
Little remains of the Guevavi and Calabazas settlements, which were added to the then Tumacacori National Monument in 1990, but the main site has a varied collection of buildings over an area of 5 acres, centered on the impressive adobe church, which is missing its original contents and most of the interior decor, and has a replacement timber roof, but the exterior remains substantially unchanged. The park is situated along the I-19 frontage road, a fragment of what was the main highway from Nogales to Tucson until construction of the interstate in 1972, but is now just a sleepy back route through wooded land beside the Santa Cruz valley. The closest I-19 exit is 29 (Santa Gertudis Lane). The compound is on the east side of the road, enclosed by a high whitewashed wall, in a tree-lined, residential neighborhood, and the site is quiet, peaceful, and not often visited. Admission to the historical park (2014) is $3 per person.
The Mission Site
Entry is through a large wooden door set into the wall, which opens directly into the cool, rather gloomy visitor center, quite a contrast to the usually bright blue sky and searing heat outside. The center has a good selection of local-interest books, a museum and an auditorium for video presentations about the history of the mission. The walking tour of the site leads first through several interlinked rooms with open doorways, and to the enclosed courtyard garden, filled by mature trees and Sonoran desert plants. The church is a hot, 200 foot walk away across the main quadrangle, much of which is bare soil though other parts have trees and lesser buildings such as residential quarters.
The original roof was destroyed many years ago, and a combination of effects of the weather and souvenir hunters meant that little of the original interior was left by the time preservation started in the 1920s. A replacement roof was added and the structure stabilized, though there was no extensive restoration. The interior now is cool, dark, evocative and authentic, despite continuous piped music. The main chamber has a nave, altar and remains of a choir loft, with links to smaller rooms including a baptistry, sacristy and sanctuary. A locked staircase leads up to the belltower, the only part of the church not completed because money for the project ran out before its domed roof was built. Behind the church are a granary, mortuary and a cemetery, though no original graves have been identified.
The nearest towns with hotels close to Tumacacori National Historical Park are Green Valley
(22 miles), Nogales
(18 miles) and Tucson