Copper Canyon, Mexico, by reading
Copper Canyon, Mexico –
Adventure in the Wilderness by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel
Writer. It features a mini, but thorough tour of the
destination, plus all you'll need to know to plan your trip
including getting there, objective information on places to stay
and eat, and things to do. At the end of the article, we've
provided a summary of the contact information for your easy
Copper Canyon, Mexico - Adventure in the Wilderness!
by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer
Tarahumara Indian with baby
At Copper Canyon,
Mexico, the train is not just transportation; it is “the stage” for
nature’s extraordinary show! The drama unfolds as each turn of the
tracks leads to new surprises. The train continues twisting and
climbing as it moves deeper and deeper into the untamed wilderness.
You are afraid to look away, trying not to miss a moment of this
spectacle. Your journey travels from sea level to 8,000 feet, through
5 climatic zones, 86 tunnels, 37 bridges, 6 canyons, cascading
waterfalls, rivers, and over 408 miles of rugged terrain. This is a
ride like no other, one which you will never forget!
Here among the
wilderness, Baldarrama’s Posada Barrancas Mirador Hotel is as exciting
as it’s colorful name! Set within the mountainside, the Mirador is
like a beautiful pink bird nesting on the rocks. We look at the views
of the canyon and suddenly the scenery has changed. Are we in the
Grand Canyon? The resemblance is uncanny and if their photos were
compared, people would not be able to tell them apart. The Grand
Canyon is around 1/4 the size of Mexico’s Copper Canyon and could
figuratively fit into it. The canyon’s rainbow of blues, purples,
pinks, and other hues are startling with every movement of the sun’s
rays. Everywhere you step, there is a scene to capture with your
Mirador Resort on the cliff, inside the Copper Canyon
The Mirador is
built Mexican-style with influences from the Tarahumra Indians. These
shy Indians have the ability to run long distances and even outrun
deer. They are known as “people of the swiftly running feet.” The
Indian women sit at the hotel’s entrance and around the village
selling their woodcarvings, masks, baskets, jewelry, and other
Living as their ancestors did for the past 400 years, the Tarahumra
Indians stay in caves and other primitive dwellings. Just walk the
200-step mountain path next to the hotel and you can actually see one
of their inhabited cave homes. The Tarahumara Indians perform
ceremonial dances and demonstrate their running skills for the hotel
guests. You can ride a horse around the mountain trails, hike, or take
a sightseeing bus to the balancing rock, Indian shops, and see some
Tarahumara Indian woman
The Gateway to the
Copper Canyon Also Takes Us To Some Exciting Regions
Although Los Mochis is the first stop for the Chihuahua al Pacifico
Railroad into the Copper Canyon, you can spend a day or two enjoying
the fun at the nearby Sea of Cortez. Their 2-hour yacht cruise of
Topolobampo Bay brings us close to playful dolphins and hundreds of
birds. If you want more activity, the all day tour to El Farallon Rock
Nature Sanctuary lets you thrill to the antics of sea lions and also
gives you time to go swimming and snorkeling. For a side trip, the
Grupo Sematur ferry travels from Topolobampo to Las Paz. Choose from
several first class accommodations and continental restaurants.
Experience Life As
It Was In The 1880s
entire little town of El Fuerte is like a movie set with an 18th
century church, fort, plaza, municipal palace, mansions, and other
historic buildings. This colonial city, founded in 1564 along the El
Fuerte River, was a major trading post for silver and gold miners.
Just 1-1/2 hrs from Los Mochis, El Fuerte is a popular tourist
You will be
surprised how much there is to see in this small town! Try bird
watching along the El Fuerte River on the guided rubber-style raft
tour- holds 8 passengers. Most hotels will give you a map for the
self-guided, 1-2 hour colonial walking tour of the city. The closest
petroglyph site is a 9-mile taxi or car ride to see the 1,500-year old
Nahuatl Petroglyphs. Near the Tehueco (blue sky) Mayo Indian Mission,
build in 1650, is the ancient Indian village of Capomos- around 1 hour
from El Fuerte. Travel into foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains to
the silver mining town of Alamos- 110 miles, or a 3-hour drive each
Tours usually stop
for breakfast before catching the train, or stay overnight at the
historic Posada del Hidalgo Hotel. The Hotel Posada del Hidalgo was
built in 1890 by Senor Rafael Almada, a wealthy “alcalde” (mayor). The
construction took 5 yrs and cost 100,000 gold pesos. The wooden trim,
made from 285 Canadian red pine beams, was shipped by boat from San
Francisco. His ironwork was brought from Mazatlan. Known as the
largest and most beautiful mansion in El Fuerte, its VIP guest list
includes Presidents Venustiano Carranza (1913) and Carlos Salinas de
Gortari (1991). If you have time, see the 380-year old historic
mansion, El Fuerte Lodge, restored by hunting guide Robert Brand. Its
courtyard, waterfall, and architecture are enchanting.
Travelers should be aware of this little known Mexican city because of
its interesting attractions, business facilities, entertainment and
gourmet restaurants. When you visit Hermosillo, don’t miss the
exciting Museo Regional de Sonora. This museum served as a
penitentiary for 70 years and dates back to 1907. While walking
through the penitentiary, imagine the people who were incarcerated in
these cells and underground dungeons. The building is well preserved.
One section of the building is a museum featuring the geography,
history, and culture of the region.
There are three
historic 18th century buildings in Hermosillo - Cathedral de la
Asuncion, Palacio Municipal (city hall), and Palacio de Gobierno
(governor’s palace). Stroll around the governor’s palace to see the
murals in its tree-shaded inner courtyard.
Kino Bay, called
the pearl of the Sea of Cortez, offers fun in the sun- beaches,
swimming, diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, water skiing, kayaking,
sports fishing, shell hunting, and building sand castles. Just 65
miles west of Hermosillo, the ride should take around 45 minutes.
Museo Regional de
la Universidad de Sonora (Regional museum of the University of Sonora)
has exhibits relating to the Yaqui, Mayo, Pima, Papago and Seri Indian
Just 2 miles south
of the city, the Centro Ecologico de Sonora (Sonora Ecological Center)
is a zoological park with more than 500 species of plants and animals
of the region. This is modeled after the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
How Thick Do You
Want Your Steak?
Dine at a steak-by-the-ounce restaurant or any of the other fine
restaurants featuring regional, international, Chinese, Argentinan,
and Japanese cuisine. The city awakens at night with mariachi bands
and other entertainment.
The Best Route Into
The Copper Canyon
Choose the route from Los Mochis or El Fuerte for wild, breathtakingly
beautiful scenery. Because the scenery changes at the central point
inside the Canyon, many people return to Los Mochis to experience the
thrills again and catch their flights back to the U.S. We arrived in
Chihuahua late and left the next morning so there is no information to
add about Chihuahua.
This trip is a
thrilling eco-adventure with reasonable, first class accommodations,
delicious food, and unforgettable tours. See the Details section for
specifics that will help you plan your trip.
flights from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, and San Antonio to
Los Mochis. Daily flights from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, San
Antonio, and El Paso to Chihuahua. Aero Mexico (800)-237-6639.
from Los Angeles and Tucson (Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays)
to Los Mochis. Aero California (800)-237-6225.
Check rates and book your reservations – car and hotel – with
WTA's Online Travel Booking Service
Savings can be as much as 30% off car rentals and 65% off
Stay and Eat and Other Attractions
In Los Mochis
(pronounced los MO-chees), Sinaloa
- Santa Anita Hotel- first class hotel designed with a
European-style appearance. Restaurante Santa Anita (continental)
- $8-25, even if you don’t stay at this hotel, try their gourmet
dinners- shrimp shish kabob flambeed tableside and other
specialties. Compares to gourmet restaurants in the U. S. Bar
with entertainment, telephones and cable television in rooms,
gift shop, business services, meeting rooms. Room rates - $110.
Downtown, Ave. Gabriel Leyva and Hidalgo 81200; (800)-896-8196.
- El Dorado
Hotel and Motor Inn - coffee shop, playground, business
services, meeting rooms. $67-78. West of Mexico #15, Ave.
Gabriel Leyva and H Valdez 81200; (68)-15-1111
author has not personally reviewed this resort and restaurant
The Grupo Sematur Ferry travels from Topolobampo to Las Paz. 9
hours. Cafeteria on board (68)-62-0141.
In El Fuerte
- Hotel Posada del Hidalgo - historic motor inn built in 1890,
open-air restaurant, bar, pool, business services, meeting
rooms, gardens, courtyards. Meals are not included. Don’t worry
about staying in a historic building. This hotel is comfortable
with first class accommodations. $60-120. On Mexico #15, NE of
main plaza, downtown, Hildago 101 818200. (800)-896-8196, call
after 9 a.m. weekdays.
- Rio Vista
Lodge, on the Cerro de las Pilas, highest spot in El Fuerte.
Rustic, furnished with antiques, continental breakfast included
first night only, restaurant, and no credit cards. Under $60.
(Note: The author has not personally reviewed
this hotel and restaurant yet).
- El Fuerte
Lodge- Restored 380 year old mansion - dining room, bar,
courtyard, waterfall, jacuzzi, hot tub. $60-120. Montesclaro 37,
(Note: The author has not personally reviewed
this lodge and restaurant yet.)
Copper Canyon (Barranca de Cobre)
- Hotel Posada Barrancas Mirador - magnificent views from
their large terrace, dining room, lobby, and each of the hotel
rooms’ private balconies. Bar, large stone fireplace in lobby,
meeting room, Posada Barrancas train station stop. $162 includes
3 meals. (800)-862-9026, call after 9 a.m. weekdays.
Mansion Tarahumara - separate cabins, restaurant, indoor pool,
lake, sauna, steam room, bar, meeting room, rates include meals.
$120-170. Posada Barrancas train stop. (614)-415-4721
The author has not personally reviewed this resort and
Posada Mirador - restaurant, bar, large stone fireplace in
lobby, gift shop, no views from this hotel, rates include
breakfast only. $144 includes 3 meals. Posada Barrancas train
station stop. (800)-896-8196, call after 9 a.m. weekdays.
(Note: The author has not personally reviewed this resort and
Divisadero-Barrancas - restaurant, bar, old and new section of
hotel, views, reading room, meeting room, rates include meals.
Over $150. Divisadero train stop. (614)-415-6575.
author has not personally reviewed this resort and restaurant
- Fiesta Inn - 4 star hotel, near airport, 15 minutes from
downtown, restaurant, bar, pool, gym, cable television and
telephone in rooms, business center. $76-488. (800)-FIESTA 1.
See website for special rates: www.fiestarewards.com.
Inn Hermosillo - motor inn, hotel zone, restaurant, bar, wading
pool, gym, gift shop, business services, meeting rooms, free
airport transfer. $78-150. On Mexico #15, Blvd. Eusebio Kino Y
Ramon Corral 83010; (800)-465-4329.
(Note: The author has
not personally reviewed this resort and restaurant yet.)
Steak House - Lunch or dinner. $4-20. Dine at the colorful
Sonora Steak House Restaurant for a meal of chateaubriand, filet
mignon, or any of the other tender, juicy steaks cut and weighed
at your table. They also offer pastas, chicken, and fish
selections. Tortilla soup is served with all the ingredients on
separate plates so you can create a blend exactly to your
liking- avocado, tortilla, cheese, and chilies, with a tomato
base. On Mexico #15, hotel zone, Blvd. Eusebio Kino #914;
- Mariachismo Restaurant - Nighttime should take you to the
Mariachisimo! Restaurant for a feast of delightful carne asada
served on platters family style. Named best restaurant in
Hermosillo, they entertain with 11 piece Mariachi bands.
Periferico Poniente 325, Colonia Palmar del Sol. Periferico
Poniente # 325 Col. Palmar del Sol; 218/35-55.
- Museo Regional de Sonora - On eastern slope of Cerra de la
Campana (Hill of the Bells). Overlooks the city. Jesus Garcia
Final at Calle California, Col. La Matanza; 662/217-2714.
Regional de la Universidad de Sonora - Regional Museum of the
University of Sonora. Calles Luis Encinas and Rosales.
Ecologico - 3 miles south of the city on Mexico #15, Carretera a
Guaymas Km 35; 622/250-1225
- Hotel Sicomoro Chihuahua - Five star hotel, restaurant,
coffee shop, bar, entertainment, pools, television and
telephones in rooms, business center, meeting rooms. Blvd. Ortiz
Mena #411, Unidad Presidentes, 31230; (800)-448-6970;
Check rates with
WTA's Auto Rental Discount Program. Savings can be as much
Daily schedule: Catch the train in Los Mochis at 6 a.m. or in El
Fuerte at 7:26 a.m. Arrive in Chihuahua 15 hours later. It’s
advisable to schedule stopovers inside the canyon along the way.
First class $110 and second class tickets $56 each way. The
second-class train leaves 1 hour later.
You can drive to Chihuahua via Mexico Highway 45 from the El
Paso - Ciudad Juarez border, around 233 miles. Paved roads
connect Chihuahua City to Creel and Divisadero inside the Copper
Canyon. Take Mexico Highway 16 west to San Pedro, then State
Highway 127 south to Creel. If you drive to Los Mochis, leave
your car there because the first part of the Copper Canyon can
only be traveled by train.
If you are
not traveling on a package tour, the hotels usually can arrange
tours at each stop. Since this is an “off the beaten path”
vacation, check to see whether the tours are being offered
during the time of your stay.
Tourism Board - Copper Canyon information. (800)-44-MEXICO;
Canadian citizens are not required to have a passport to enter
Mexico. They must show a certified birth certificate accompanied
by a government issued photo I.D.
the police, fire department, or an ambulance in Chihuahua or Los
Mochis dial 060. For medical problems contact the Red Cross,
local hospital or clinic.
- Red Cross
- Los Mochis, 668/815-0808; Chihuahua, 614/411-1619.
Santa Rita - Los Mochis, 668/815-4800. Hospital del Centro del
Estado - Chihuahua, 614/415-9000.
Pharmacies: Farmacia Internacional - Los Mochis, 668/812-5556;
Farmacia Cosmos - Chihuahua, free delivery, 614/812-9660.
Notice: This information is current as of August 2003. It is
recommended that you contact the numbers, and/or visit the
above to determine any changes to the information.