"The restlessness and the longing, like the longing that is in the whistle of a far away train.  Except that the longing isn't really in the whistle - it is in you."

- Meindert DeJong

EL CHEPE & THE SIERRA TARAHUMARA

A Legendary Exploration Beyond the Copper Canyon

QUICK INFO

 

 

LOCATION​

Starting & ending in Mexico City, this tour includes flight from CDMX to Los Mochis and from Chihuahua City to CDMX.

 

DATES​

We recommend Spring or Fall for smaller crowds

 

AGE GROUP

All Ages

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GROUP SIZE​

Please contact us about your group size

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HOTEL LOCATIONS​

El Fuerte x 2 Nights

Cerocahui x 3 Nights

Creel x 3 Nights

Sinforosa Canyon x 1 Night

Batopilas x 3 Nights

Chihuahua x 2 Nights

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DIFFICULTY​

This tour is easy, as hiking activities are optional.  If your group has mobility issues, please contact us so we can tweak your tour options!

TRANSPORTATION

This journey includes trains, planes and automobiles!

Amigo Trails will transport you on your four night excursion to Sinforosa Canyon and the Pueblo Magico of Batopilas.

All day tours will be by private transport, but may include other travelers unless otherwise requested.

 

 

INTO THE LANDS OF THE RARAMURI

INTRODUCTION

This fabulous exploration of the Sierra Tarahumara starts in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, concluding two weeks later in the City of Chihuahua.  Enjoy transport along the legendary El Chepe Railroad, and private van to the depths of the Batopilas and Sinforosa Canyons.

 

Please Note:  This tour can be arranged for any time, but must start on a Tuesday to coincide correctly with the train schedule. 

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS 

Day 01: Tuesday - El Fuerte 

Fly to Los Mochis ; Bus to El Fuerte

Day 02: Wednesday - El Fuerte

Bird Watch; Petroglyphs; Centro Tour; Indigenous Deer Dance

Day 03: Thursday - Cerocahui 

8:19 AM Regional Chepe to Bahuichivo; Transfer to Cerocahui

Day 04: Friday - Cerocahui

Visit Urique Canyon & Look-out point

Day 05: Saturday - Cerocahui 

Visit local Winery; Mission; Hike to Waterfall

Day 06: Sunday - Creel  

12:24 Regional Chepe to Creel; Arrive at 3:30 PM

Day 07: Monday - Creel 

Optional activites at Divisadero include cooking, weaving & zip lines

Day 08: Tuesday - Creel 

Cusarare Waterfall; Valley of Frogs; St. Ignacio Mission; Creel

Day 09: Wednesday - Guachochi Eco-Resort  

Enjoy scenic drive, 20 min flight in Cessna Plane over Sinforosa Canyon

Day 10: Thursday - Batopilas 

Hike to the waterfalls and depart for the incredible drive to Batopilas

Day 11: Friday - Batopilas

Visit the Lost Church of Satevo, aqueduct and Ex Hacienda San Miguel

Day 12: Saturday - Batopilas  

4x4 Adventure with two exciting options to choose from.

Day 13: Sunday - Chihuahua City  

Return to Creel early; Catch the 3:30 PM train for Chihuahua City

Day 14: Monday - Chihuahua City

Explore the Nombre de Dios Caverns; Pancho Villa Museum; Centro

Day 15: Tuesday - Home or Next Destination 

Fly Home through CDMX

 

COST

SHARING

Guests x 4 =  $58,000 MXN ea

If you are travelling with a large group, please contact us for a price based on cost-sharing.

 

PRICES

Prices are based on shared accommodations for 2.  If you are a group that would like to share accommodations to lower the price, contact us for a price quote based on 3 or 4 per room.  Single Supplement is $5000 MXN   

DESCEND TO THE BASE OF BATOPILAS CANYON

MEXICO'S EL CHEPE

TRAIN TO CHIHUAHUA'S

EPIC CANYONS

Snaking through the powerful mystique of six colossal, interconnected canyons is a phenomenal feat of engineering, fondly called the El Chepe train route. This 653 KM (405 Miles) scenic stretch takes 16 hours to travel in entirety, but the real adventure begins once one steps off the train platform and into the mysterious lands of the indigenous Raramuri peoples.

 

Construction of the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway line began in 1898, but was abandoned due to landscape challenges vs the technological advances of that era. In 1953, construction was renewed and by 1961, the railroad was complete. Scaling the Sierra Tarahumara to an altitude of nearly 8000 feet at Posada Barrancas, and through a diversity of ecosystems, this railroad crosses over 36 bridges and through 87 tunnels. Today, there are two El Chepe Trains operating on this route – the El Chepe Regional, and the El Chepe Express.

EL FUERTE

ARRIVAL IN EL FUERTE, SINALOA

 

DAY 1:  Tuesday TBA

There are early flights departing CDMX airport for Los Mochis, allowing an early afternoon arrival.  From the airport, we will taxi 2 hours to the Pueblo Magical town of El Fuerte.  Upon arriving in El Fuerte, we will check into our hotel and relax, have dinner and enjoy happy hour.

Please Note:  Our trip must start on a Tuesday to coincide with the Regional Chepe Train Schedule.  This is based on the January 11, 2020 Update.  Please check with us before confirming your flights.

HOTEL LOCATION:  El Fuerte Centro

Flight to Los Mochis included - Taxi to El Fuerte Included

Meals are not included

BIRD WATCH, HIKE TO PETROGYLPHS,

INDIGENOUS DANCE OF THE DEER

 

DAY 2:  Wednesday TBA

This morning we will depart early for a birding tour by boat on the Rio Fuerte.  We will hike to visit ancient petroglyphs, enjoy a walking tour of the small city centro, and depart to a nearby village to witness an indigenous deer dance.

         

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  El Fuerte Centro

All Tour Fees included - Meals are not included

CEROCAHUI

 

EMBARK ON THE TRADITIONAL EL CHEPE REGIONAL 

FROM EL FUERTE TO BAHUICHIVO

 

DAY 3:  Thursday

There is something quaint and iconic about traveling the El Chepe line on the original Regional train.  Our train departs El Fuerte at 8:19 AM.  We must depart El Fuerte by 7:30 AM, as it is recommended to arrive about 1/2 hour early.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Cerocahui

First Class on El Chepe Regional Included - Taxi to Cerocahui included

Meals are not included

THE ADVENTURE TRULY BEGINS WITH

THE DANGEROUS DESCENT TO URIQUE

 

DAY 4:  Friday

This morning our driver will take us on a hair-raising adventure to the base of Urique Canyon, feasting on thrilling scenery as we descend into the sub-tropics.  We will enjoy a picnic here, take in some local sites, and make the return journey back for a rest.  

 

Noteworthy:  The municipality of Urique hosts the Ultra Maratón Caballo Blanco (UMCB) annually, a marathon that has gained worldwide attention since the 2011 publication "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Cerocahui

Tour is included - Meals are not included

THE TRAGIC TALE OF MEXICO'S JESUITS

& THE WINE THEY LEFT BEHIND

Local wine may not be what one expects, when arriving in the village of Cerocahui, and yet we owe thanks to 16th century Jesuits for introducing grapevines to the region, among other European plants they introduced to the Raramuri.

 

Founded by Ignatius of Loyola of Spain in 1534, the Jesuits were perfectly positioned to attain wealth and power quickly, due to their emergence coinciding with the advancement of the Protestant Church. With the promise of chastity, poverty and the self-sacrificing and unconditional vow to obey the Pope’s orders, along with a membership that was comprised of the intellectual and elite, the Jesuits were entrusted by the Roman Catholic Church to evangelize the colonies.

 

As society moved forward, and Monarchs worked to modernize, centralize and secularize society, the Jesuits became a threat and obstacle to progress due to their worldwide presence in correlation with autonomy through the papacy. Across Europe, following the French Revolution, the Jesuits began to endure widespread suppression, which included not only their expulsion from the colonies – but also the confiscation of their estates and possessions.

 

On March 27, 1767, King Charles III of Spain issued an edict, expelling the Jesuits from Mexico. He wrote: “Motivated by grave causes related to my obligation to maintain my people in subordination, tranquility and justice, as well as other urgent, just and necessary reasons that I reserve to my Royal self: I have decided to order removed from all my dominions in Spain and the Indies, and the Philippine Islands and adjacent dominions, all members of the Company of Jesus…”

 

As the forlorn but obedient Jesuits embarked on their arduous and difficult journey to the port of Veracruz, where they would set sail for exile in Italy, the grapevines of Cerocahui were ordered destroyed. With a spring-like climate maintaining perfect conditions for the health of grape-vines, it’s a blessing that someone from the Jose Maria Sanchez family saved some cuttings and secretly planted them behind the family casa. These vines were protected for centuries until the last Sanchez passed on 25 years ago, leaving behind no descendants.

 

As fate would have it, the gardener who had worked for Sanchez and the Mision Hotel in Cerocahui knew the red grape was not only an Old World Heirloom species, but that it was dying. Planting cuttings from the vine, the gardener saved the vine, and a few short years later, The Mision has been producing Vinto Tinto ever since.

 

“When one tastes the Mision wine of Cerocahui, one tastes the mountains, the rivers, the flora and fauna of the Canyons. The wine is part of the history, mystery and magic of the region infused with memories of Old Spain, Jesuit missionaries, Tarahumara Indians and generations of Jose Maria’s familia who preserved this bouquet of life for us to enjoy today.” - The Mision Hotel

HIKE BY MORNING

WINE BY AFTERNOON

 

DAY 5:  Saturday

Today will be a more restful day, with a morning hike to the waterfalls, followed by local red wine at The Mision Hotel in central Cerocahui, right next to the antiquated church.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Cerocahui

Tour is included - Meals are not included

CREEL

 

TRAVERSE THE SIERRA TARAHUMARA TO THE

PUEBLO MAGICO VILLAGE OF CREEL

 

DAY 6:  Sunday

This morning we will depart Cerocahui for the Bahuichivo train platform, departing at 12:24 for a 3:30 arrival in the Pueblo Magico village of Creel.  With smoke-filled air and what is often a gloomy sky, Creel is a charming tourist trap set against a dense pine-forest background.  With a fine line that makes the character and authenticity difficult to separate, this small town feels like a village of only a few streets, though it extends beyond the two main streets.  Raramuri families sell their goods along the boardwalk, women weave baskets and textiles in the plaza, the local women color the tracks as they wander along them in vivid color.  Our afternoon is perfect for settling in, organizing laundry, and exploring at our own leisure.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Creel

Meals not Included

RARAMURI GASTRONOMY, BASKET WEAVING,

ZIP-LINES, GONDOLA RIDE & STUNNING VISTAS

 

DAY 7:  Monday

There are many options available for today.  We can arrange cultural activities that include cooking, weaving and storytelling, though you may be more interested in the adrenaline rush of a zip-line.  There are hanging bridges, atv's, a gondola ride, hiking along the rim and a handicraft market for shopping.  Please contact us about your main interests so we can make arrangements.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Creel

All Activities are included - Meals not included aside from Cooking Class

RARAMURI LANDS OF CUSARARE, ST. IGNACIO MISION

& VALLEY OF MUSHROOMS, FROGS & MONKS

 

DAY 8:  Tuesday

Our last day in the Creel area will be spent exploring ejido lands that belong to the local Raramuri.  This includes the stunning Cusarare Waterfall, which has a staircase so guests can descend to the base of the falls.  We will visit the old Jesuit Mision of St. Ignacio, and stop to collect baskets and see the odd shaped rock formations that resemble mushrooms, frogs and monks. 

 

Ejido's are government designated lands for communal living by indigenous groups.  Each family is given a parcel of land to live on, though they are not permitted to sell their land.  Approximately 55% of Mexico's cultivated lands fall into ejido's, as indigenous groups continue to grow crops and raise animals.  While the concept of communal living may sound ideal to some, the creation of the ejido's is rooted in colonial oppression of indigenous peoples who were dispossessed of their traditional lands, and forced to congregate in permanent locations.  As the Raramuri subsisted between the highlands and the lowlands, in keeping with the climate, the creation of ejido's split them into two distinct groups, from one.  Due to Raramuri resistance to Christian conversion and village living, they remain in more posession of land per capita, than any other indigenous group in Mexico.  When we visit the ejido, you will have the opportunity to see first-hand, the difference between these communal farms, vs more densely populated indigenous towns common in other parts of the country.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Creel

All Activities are included - Meals not included

GUACHOCHI

JOURNEY TO KOKOYOME ECO-RESORT

IN THE SINFOROSA CANYON

 

DAY 9:  Wednesday

Our journey today begins with a scenic drive through Busahuare and Humira Canyons, to the base of the Copper Canyon where the Urique River passes through.  Entering the town of Guachochi, we will stop at the airport for a spectacular 20 min flight over the Sinforosa Canyon in a Cessna Plane.  From here, drive to a vista, where you can enjoy a 30 mins hike while your guide is busily setting up your picnic lunch.  After a scenic picnic overlooking the canyon, we are off on an adventurous and rugged road to the Kokoyame Paradise Resort.  Here, we will enjoy stunning views, a home cooked dinner and a glass of wine.  If the sky is clear, this will be an incredible location for star gazing.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Guachoachi

All fees, including plane ride, included - Lunch and dinner included

JOURNEY TO BATOPILAS

 

DAY 10:  Thursday

The cool air morning will welcome us for a gentle hike to several waterfalls before the day gets too warm.  We will depart Kokoymoe Paradise Resort for the Pueblo Magico village of Batopilas.  This is an incredible road to drive, with lots of hairpin switchbacks and spectacular vistas.  We will arrive in Batopilas on time to check in, have dinner and rest.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Batopilas

Breakfast Included

THE LOST CHURCH OF SATEVO

& HISTORICAL SILVER ROAD AQUEDUCT

 

DAY 11:  Friday

This morning, we will enjoy a short 8 KM drive to where the Church of Satevo still stands.  This church has been restored, though we will warn you the restoration was not well executed.  Still, the scenery is picturesque, and you will learn about the local history behind the church and village.   From here, we will head to the Ex Hacienda Ruins of San Miguel, which was all that remains of Alexander Shepherds mining empire here.

 

We will return to Batopilas for lunch, before heading out on a historical walk along the aqueduct, which was built to provide the town of Batopilas with electricity.  We will have the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy the Batopilas Museum where the operator there will tell you about the history of Batopilas, more about the Shepherd's.  We will also see the permanent exhibit by Ivan Fernandez, depicting the annual reenactment of the Silver Trail Ride that was done to transport silver from the mines in Batopilas to the bank in Chihuahua City over a grueling 13 days.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Batopilas

Meals are not included

4x4 ROUGH TERRAIN TO A PICNIC 

& A RARAMURI VILLAGE

 

DAY 12:  Saturday

Our last day in the Creel area will be spent exploring ejido lands that belong to the local Raramuri.  This includes the stunning Cusarare Waterfall, which has a staircase so guests can descend to the base of the falls.  We will visit the old Jesuit Mision of St. Ignacio, and stop to collect baskets and see the odd shaped rock formations that resemble mushrooms, frogs and monks. 

 

Ejido's are government designated lands for communal living by indigenous groups.  Each family is given a parcel of land to live on, though they are not permitted to sell their land.  Approximately 55% of Mexico's cultivated lands fall into ejido's, as indigenous groups continue to grow crops and raise animals.  While the concept of communal living may sound ideal to some, the creation of the ejido's is rooted in colonial oppression of indigenous peoples who were dispossessed of their traditional lands, and forced to congregate in permanent locations.  As the Raramuri subsisted between the highlands and the lowlands, in keeping with the climate, the creation of ejido's split them into two distinct groups, from one.  Due to Raramuri resistance to Christian conversion and village living, they remain in more posession of land per capita, than any other indigenous group in Mexico.  When we visit the ejido, you will have the opportunity to see first-hand, the difference between these communal farms, vs more densely populated indigenous towns common in other parts of the country.

 

HOTEL LOCATION:  Batopilas

Meals not included