Altar is a small community located on federal highway 2, near Pitiquito and Caborca and with Santa Ana, Sonora approximately 70 kilometers to the east.
The area where the town sits was originally inhabited by the Pima Alto Indians, and was founded in 1775 by Captain Bernardo de Urrea for use as a military fort.
Altar, Sonora was originally known as Santa Gertrudis del Altar, and its name was later changed to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe del Altar.
The pueblo of Altar has 8,500 inhabitants, and is known as a staging point for immigrants who gather near the town plaza to take vans northward to cross into the United States. In addition to the town of Altar there are three “ejidos,” or cooperative ranches, in the area – Ejido 16 de Septiembre, Ejido Santa Matilde, and Ejido Llano Blanco.
Virtually all of the town’s possible stopping points are along the highway as it goes through town – the church and plaza, convenience stores, motels, and the local supermarket – the Super Santa Fe, a local Sonora supermarket chain).
In addition to being a stop on the way to Caborca, Altar is also located along the Ruta de las Misiones (Route of the Mission Churches), which extends between Caborca and Magdalena de Kino, Sonora.