7 July, 2020

Since I made a post about Mazatlán today, I’m going to slide this one in quietly since it’s not about Mazatlán …

I just saw a post on MexicoNewsDaily.com about El Chepe restarting operations on 17 July. If you haven’t ridden El Chepe I highly urge you to consider the trip. I rode the train a few years ago and had a blast. It’s the only remaining passenger train in México. Here’s the article: https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/coronavirus/copper-canyon-train-el-chepe-resumes-operations-july-17/

For those who don’t know, México has a canyon system that’s FOUR times bigger than the USA’s Grand Canyon – Copper Canyon/Las Barrancas del Cobre. They also have a passenger train, El Chepe, that runs from Chihuahua to Los Mochis, and makes several stops along the way – Divisadero, where you can experience the best part of Copper Canyon, is one place you have to stay at least overnight.

When I took the train, I started in Chihuahua and made my first stop in Creel. Beautiful area with several locations containing strange rock formations. I highly recommend a trip to the valley of the monks – it’s amazing. There are also two waterfalls. I saw the smaller of the two, Cascada Cusárare. Next time I’m going to see the big one, Cascada de Basaseachi!

My second stop was in Divisadero where I stayed in the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas on the rim of the canyon. There are two that I know of on the rim, the other being the Hotel Mirador Posada Barranca. Next time I’m going with the Mirador as I hear they have better food that you can get at any time (and they’re a Balderrama hotel). Hotel Divisadero Barrancas has set meal times and NOTHING in between! You will want to stay at least one full day to experience the adventure park. They have a 7 line zip-line that they claim is collectively the longest in the world. They also have a single sit-down zip line event, a rock climbing/hiking event, and a gondola you can ride. Single tickets are available, or you can purchase a do-it-all pass. The restaurant in the park has a glass floor so you can see the hikers in the canyon below! Zip lines were my favorite part. My second favorite thing was the food available where the train stops – stalls are set up and food is served when the trains arrive – the types of gorditas are varied, and all of them good! My stay here was two nights/three days – so I was there over a full day, and my executive class train ticket lined up with it’s every-other-day operation.

My third stop was in El Fuerte. I stayed at the Hotel Posada del Hidalgo – it touts itself as the home of El Zorro, and they’re supposed to have a nightly Zorro show, but weren’t doing it when I was there. I really enjoyed the hotel – it’s a beautiful property, but be VERY careful if you come up the steep entry that’s EXTREMELY slippery. Better to go around the corner and come in from their side entrance.

My last stop on El Chepe was in Los Mochis, where I grabbed a couple of hours sleep and then caught the bus down to Mazatlán. I wish I’d stayed in Los Mochis for a few days – maybe next time! The trip to Mazatlán was very uneventful, so plan on a nap or reading a book.

This was, by far, one of my favorite excursions. If you’re on your way to or from Mazatlán, take a week and give yourself an experience you won’t soon forget. If you want to save a couple of bucks, do what I did and fly into El Paso then take a bus to Chihuahua (or bus from Chihuahua to El Paso and fly from there).

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