The Copala-Panuco area is the oldest mining district in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. It was founded in 1565 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Ibarra, and named after the mythical golden city of Copala (also called Cibola or Quivira), for which he had spent years in a fruitless search throughout northern Mexico.
Some years ago, I helped my friend, fellow geologist and mining historian Michael Sheffer, research the area for a paper he presented to the 1994 Mining History Association conference in Golden, Colorado.
Copala is a couple of hours by paved road from Mazatlan. For tourists who want to see something of the real Mexico, Copala is a fascinating day trip.