I am often asked by travelers which is the best approach to take to Copper Canyon. The two ends of the Copper Canyon train are Los Mochis (west end near Topolobampo and the sea of Cortez) and Chihuahua City (east end). There is a ton of info on this subject on sites- much of it out of date, some of it driven by marketing (like by someone who owns a hotel in Los Mochis for example), or by a host of other factors….often profit for the tour company.
For Authentic Copper Canyon, I have tried to design trips to maximize people’s experience in Copper Canyon. So our trip designs may cost a bit more than the big bus trips or may be a bit longer. To be sure, when designing trips, I pick the starting point that is best for the guests.
Our default is to enter through El Paso, Texas and cross at St. Teresa, NM and (except when the trip includes the fantastic Baja option) to return to that point to leave Mexico. Here are the reasons:
1. The Casas Grandes area can be included. Paquime is not to be missed. The amazing pottery at Mata Ortiz is worth every moment. The ranch land in this high desert area is vast and breathtaking.
2. This route minimizes driving time. The bus rides that other companies include from Arizona to the west end and out are LOOOOOONG.
3. Flights to and from El Paso are cheap and this allows us to focus the cost of your trip there on a full immersion in the Copper Canyon scene.
4. Using this approach we often don’t take the far east and west ends of the train, but actually travel the heart of the railway twice- a real treat. The east and west ends are relatively uneventful and missing them gives focus to the trip.
This being said, here are some points about our itineraries:
1. If you want to include Baja, this plan works well. Fly into El Paso (ELP) and return from Cabo (SJD). This plan keeps airline costs down.
2. El Fuerte is a fine two night stop in the middle of the trip. There is much more of real Mexico to enjoy here than in Los Mochis. El Fuerte has a great market, neat river ride and petro glyphs, and a fine display of colonial architecture. The plaza is a nice place to sit and watch the locals stroll.
3. One can always fly into Chihuahua City and this does give a bit more focus to the journey. The prob is that the tickets are high. Chihuahua City is served by American from Dallas and United from Houston.
4. The train goes to Copper Canyon from both ends every day. First class that is. Economy is on an every other day (not Wednesday) schedule.
Remember that with Authentic Copper Canyon, our itineraries are designed just for your interests and we always travel in small groups.