There is so much to see in the Sierra Madres and this Copper Canyon trip will give you a full experience in much of it. This one is 13 days long and begins and ends in El Paso. We took this adventure recently with a group of 12 people- great fun!
Kick off date is whenever you want it if you have 6 people or more and the highlights are:
-Noritari Lodge high above San Juanito
-Batopilas at the bottom- incredible!
-Areponapuchi and the Divisadero adventure park
-Casas Grandes and the amazing Mata Ortiz pottery
Here is the complete itinerary from a recent trip:
Dec 5- Arrive in El Paso. The airport is a good place to get pesos. Use the Travelex near the spot where you turn right to go to the baggage area. Meet our van and we head for Santa Teresa NM (20 minutes) to cross into Mexico. We are off toward the big apple- Chihuahua City. Dinner together and perhaps an evening view of the gigantic cathedral in the central plaza. We check into the historic boutique hotel, the San Felipe el Real. Stroll the historic district and the vast market.
The journey- We get and introduction to Norteño food as we travel south through the high elevation of the Chihuahua Desert. Burritos and other delicious street foods will be ours to choose from in the little towns north of Chihuahua.
Chihuahua City- This bustling hub for commerce has its roots as a mining and ranching center. Several fascinating museums (including the Pancho Villa home) gather around the towering 1700s cathedral. The food here is a bit eclectic and reflects the melting pot that Chihuahua has become.
Dec 6- time for breakfast and look around town- then off to San Juanito by van through Mennonite country. (Early train is an option). Winding our way into the Sierra Madre, we drop into several little villages and then arrive at the relaxing wooded Noritari near San Juanito- a unique cabin style solar hotel with a gourmet cook. A great night to enjoy dinner, chat with the chef, and take a stroll along the stream through the mountains.
Noritari- This unique 80 hectare site is dotted with cabins with fireplaces, private baths, solar lighting- the nearby stream flows and the pines whisper. Enjoy.
Dec 7 – We are up early and this is our big day to van to Batopilas. This trip will take most of the day and will include some of the world’s greatest canyon views. Evening in the quiet and remote mining town.
Batopilas has so much to see and experience…it is a step back 300 years to the silver mining boom in Chihuahua- fascinating history and culture.
Dec 8- All day in Bato- lots to explore- we have many options and Gustavo will be our expert to get us there.
Dec 9- Plenty of time to finish up our experience in Batopilas then return to Creel- evening to relax.
Creel is a bustling little village with lots of restaurants and shops. There is also a great little museum and shop which gives loads of info on Tarahumara culture
Dec 10- Train late morning to Temoris through the heart of Copper Canyon…have your camera ready! Evening in this little mining town.
Temoris- An old mining town which has seen a recent renewal of mining activity. The town sits 3000 ft above the train and is near some of the most spectacular parts of the railway. The “pines grow near the limes” in this unusual Sierra climate….great air! Aside from the few miners, very few gringos visit this place.
Dec 11- Optional hike down to train and on to El Fuerte- evening at Rio Vista. Evening to stroll the square and relax.
El Fuerte- A small town with a quaint (and delicious!) market and lots of colonial architecture. History, Indian culture, bird watching, and a palm lined plaza make this place a favorite.
Dec 12- Petroglyphs, river trip. Perhaps evening meal with Evangelina at hacienda.
Evangelina- This lovely lady with her brother and extended family live in one of the historic mansions off the square in El Fuerte. We often dine with them and get a full taste of some genuine Copper Canyon hospitality.
Dec 13 – Board the train in the morning headed northeast for Areponapuchi (Posada Barrancas station). We arrive at this tiny town and a local lodge- above the canyon- Mansion Tarahumara. Dinner, relax as well as perhaps watch the sunset over the vast reaches of Copper Canyon. “Arepo”as we call it, is officially “nowhere Mexico”. The area around Arepo gives us a good long look at Copper Canyon, and we have plenty of time to look around.
Areponapuchi- Just call it Arepo and don’t expect the big city. This tiny place sits near the rim of some of the best views of Copper Canyon. The new gondola and ziplines are a scenic thrill, and you can walk or ride horses in and around the great canyon. Also a good place to pick up local souvenirs.
Dec 14 – All day to enjoy ziplines, gondola, hiking, etc….and relax!
Dec 15 – Sunrise at the edge of Copper anyone? Breakfast and a walk down through a Tarahumara cave dwelling. Some last views of the canyon, then we catch our van to head for Casas Grandes As the evening cools a walk through the ancient Indian ruins at Paquime. Our home this evening is the lovely hacienda, Casa de Nopal.
Casas Grandes- Right on the edge of Casas are the Paquime Indian archaeological ruins- a UNESCO World Heritage site- and nearby is the tiny village of Mata Ortiz. The pottery from this area is very special and known around the world for its intricacy and character.
Food in the Casas area- This is the high desert area and truly ranch country. We will eat at an historic hacienda and savor the local restaurants.
Dec 16 – Plenty of time to explore Paquime ruins, Mata Ortiz pottery, etc. Dinner at hacienda.
Perhaps go up to Rancho Uno- Nature Conservancy reserve for evening.
…..and yes it is safe to travel in Mexico!
Dec 17- Up and off to El Paso to catch flights…or relax (if our flights are Dec 18) and drop into Janos on the way and get a warm welcome and tour with Celso and Emma at Don Cuco sotol. Sotol is THE drink of Chihuahua and is somewhat like tequila- but better…bring some home!
Sotol- This stop at Don Cuco will give you a full introduction (including a few sips) to this fine spirit from the enchanting Chihuahua area.
Price for this trip with 6 min is $1980 USD per person. Single room, add $300.
This includes all guides, transport, food, and hotels in Mexico except your visa, 4 meals, gondola and zipline, and alcohol. I will supply an overview of expected personal expenses.
I will anchor this trip with the deposit of 5 guests. Deposit is $500 per person.
Payable to TopTrips, 514 South Edwin, Champaign, Il 61821.