After arranging our Mexican auto insurance with Don Smith Mexican Insurance in Nogales, we set off for the USA/Mexican border around noon. We paid for our 180-day tourist visa then it was over to the Baniceto to organise and pay for our Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for our small home. There were no problems obtaining our ten-year TIP which we will need to return upon our departure from Mexico, when and were that will be, we will see.
We drove until we reached Hermosillo where we stocked up on groceries and continued south to a secure parking area for the night. This was a truck stop which had a fenced yard with a guard. There was a couple of food venders just outside, one of which sold Carne Asada tacos with all the dressings, we ended up having 3 each for a total cost of dinner being M$144 pesos or under $10CND, and we could take our own drinks.
Next morning, we made breakfast then continued south to San Carlos which is located on the Sea of Cortez just north of Guaymas. We found a nice secluded beach and set up home for a couple of days to wind down from the dash south. The water was warm and there was snorkeling in the bay.
There was a storm heading our way and it was cooling down so we decided it was time to continue south towards Copper Canyon, we wanted to ride the train up to Creel, our destination was El Fuerte, Senora.
This drive took longer than we expected due to all the road works that appear to have been on going for months, possibly years. We stayed again in a secure yard of an elderly couple and their daughter across from the train station in El Fuerte. Next morning, we were up bright and early to catch the 8:15 am trian to Creel. You do not have to pre-purchase tickets unless you travel premium class, you can pay on the train, and that’s what we did. It is 275 kms/170 miles from El Fuerte to Creel and takes approximately 9hrs. You travel from an elevation of 95M/312ft up to just under 2300M/7546ft.
Copper Canyon (Spanish: Barrancas del Cobre) is a group of six distinct canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental in the southwestern part of the state of Chilhuahua in northwestern Mexico. The canyons were formed by six rivers that drain the western side of the Sierra Tarahumara (a part of the Sierra Madre Occidental). All six rivers merge into the Rio Fuerte and empty into the Gulf of California. The walls of the canyon are a copper/green color, which is where the name originates. (Wikipedia)
The system of canyons here is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon in the neighboring United States, although the Grand Canyon is larger overall than any of the individual canyons of the Copper Canyon system.
We passed a couple of other trains on this single track, they had pulled into sidings. There was a commercial train and two passenger trains, one our counterpart the other the Luxury Express heading back down to Los Mochis.
The train wound up and around sweeping curves, switchbacks, tunnels and over bridges.
As we passed through the various stops there were indigenous women and children in their traditional dress, all trying to sell hand made crafts to the tourists.
We arrived in Creel about 5:30pm, it was quite cold around 9C/48F, we checked into our hotel then went for dinner. We had to keep the gas fireplace on all night to stay warm.
Next morning, we did a tour of the area and the indigenous peoples, some who still live in caves.
We visited a state park with a water fall, the local lake and a bolder field with balancing rocks.
There was also a couple of odd shaped rocks, one looked like a frog the other an elephant, both are tour stops.
In the afternoon we went for a walk into the town that is a Pueblo Magico.
We visited the local church where Christenings were being performed.
We had a relative early night and were up and out in the morning to catch the local 11am buss to Divisadero.
In Divisadero the government is developing an Adventure Park at Barrancas Del Cobre (Copper Canyon). Here we decided to participate in Zip Lining, there we two options one was a single line of 2.3km/7546ft which was the most expensive. We decided on the other option which was 7 Zip Lines, the longest being 1.13km/3704ft, most of the others averaged 500M/1640ft, plus we had to cross over two rope bridges between Zips. We spent that night in the next village at a small local hotel.
After the last Zip Line, we all took the cable car back to the starting point where we returned our gear and said bye to Luz and her boyfriend who we had struck up a short friendship, they are from Mexico City.
Next day we went back to Divisadero to catch the train back to El Fuerte for the night.
After the night in El Fuerte we set off south down the coast. We found a campsite at La Cruz for a couple of nights on the coast where we met Deanna who has been travelling Mexico for 2 years by herself in her motorhome. We also had our first sunset over the Sea of Cortez.
Next: Into the Highlands