A Great Copper Canyon Tour Review!

The following is a testimonial from a recent visitor:

We booked our tour of Barrancas del Cobre through David Warner’s Copper Canyon Tour. David was extremely helpful both via telephone and email with making all of the arrangements we needed for a fabulous 8 day and 7 night vacation. The total cost for the entire trip was $1600 per person. This included a round trip cross-border taxi ride, round trip airfare from Tijuana to Los Mochis on Volaris Airlines, the taxi ride from the Los Mochis airport to Camp David, 3 nights with all meals at Camp David, First Class round-trip train tickets as well as rooms, meals and tours during our 4 days and nights in the Copper Canyon. You can’t beat this deal anywhere!!!

David and his wife Beranice (Berne) greeted us with open arms to their Shangri-La home in Ahome, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Camp David

Berne is a GREAT cook, the rooms are spacious with very comfortable queen beds, large private bathrooms with nice hot showers – a welcome treat after a day of travel.

Camp David

Actually the day of travel was a snap!  Charley of Transportes Terrestre whisked us through the border to the Tijuana Airport without a hitch.  By the way we’ve never seen a more spotless taxi.

Charley of Transportes Terrestre

The Tijuana Airport was beautiful and clean.  Volaris Airlines was equally nice, on time, clean and very comfortable.  In Los Mochis, David had arranged for our taxi and the driver was waiting for us outside of  Baggage Claim with a sign saying Campo David.  A short drive past field after field of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, sugar cane and so much more…

Green Fields

…and there we were at Camp David – a paradise!

Camp David

On Day two we went to La Playa and enjoyed a walk on the beautiful sandy which we had all to ourselves.  We saw dolphins playing in the waves and collected numerous shells including a sand dollar.  Berne fixed us grilled FRESH (picked that day) corn, Sea of Cortez shrimp and salad.  A beautiful relaxing day!

 La Playa

 

Day three began early so we could catch the Chepe Train to our next stop Cerocahui, Chihuahua, Mexico.  The train ride took us from the valley across the El Fuerte River   NOTE:  ASK FOR A SEAT ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRAIN!  The majority of the views are from that side and the sunlight is perfect on the trip from Los Mochis to Barrancas del Cobre.

Journey to Barrancas del Cobre

What a fantastic sights on the Chepe Train from Rio El Fuerte to the beautiful mountains surrounding Cerocahui.

Mountains surrounding Cerocahui.

 

We were greeted at the train station by Hugo who took us to the Paraiso del Oso Lodge.  On the ride from the train station we asked if there were bears in the area.  Hugo laughed and said no.  The name of the Lodge came from the rock formations looming over the site.  There he is “Yogi Bear” clear as a bell watching over us from our room.

“Yogi Bear”

This is totally a family run Lodge – built from scratch by Doug (Diego) Rhodes and his wife Maria (parents of Hugo).  It’s everything you would want a Lodge in the mountains to be!

Pariso del Oso Lodge

 

With the rooms heated by wood burning stoves, the lobby by a huge fireplace and lighting in the bar by kerosene lantern, the atmosphere was rustic and very romantic.  Hugo and his sister, who did the cooking, treated us as royalty.

The next day, Day four, Hugo took us on a grand tour of Cerocahui and Canyon Urique.  Cerocahui is a lovely Colonial town where we visited the church originally built in 1680 and refurbished in 1948.

Cerocahui

 

Across from the church was a Catholic School for the local children.  This school also look in the local Tarahumara Indian children for free and provided the girls with room and board through the 8th grade.  Without this, any education would be impossible since it’s an average of a 1 day walk each way to the school.

Rador Cerro Gallegos (Overlook) was about a 1 hour drive from Cerocahui.  We had many opportunities for spectacular views along the way including the picture of Cerocahui above and this picture of a mango tree in the foreground with gorgeous rocky views in the background.

Rador Cerro Gallegos (Overlook)

But, the views from Rador Cerro Gallegos were breathtaking.  Below is the Rio Urique and city of Urique.

The views from Rador Cerro Gallegos

The views from Rador Cerro Gallegos

During a short morning hike near the Lodge led by Hugo’s nephew we turned to go back and Yogi was showing us the way.

Yogi was showing us the way

Upon our return, Hugo took us to the train station to continue our journey to the Posada Barrancas stop.  We were now at 7,200 feet in the town of Areponapuchi which means place of the eagles in the Tarahumara language – indeed!  We were promptly picked us up at the train station and taken to the Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – El Castillo.  What an amazing place!

Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – El Castillo 1

Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – El Castillo 2

Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – El Castillo 3

Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – El Castillo 4

Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – El Castillo 5
Maria Barriga Villarreal, the owner, greeted us as family, welcomed us into her “home” and fed us lunch. Victor, the tour guide, then took us to our “Room with a View”.   What do you think?  Is this a view or what?

Is this a view or what?

Is this a view or what?

After settling in, Victor took us on a short hike near the hotel.

A short hike

A short hike

From here we could look up, and see our room!

From here we could look up, and see our room!

Our “View Room” was at 7,700 feet.  The lobby was at 7,200 feet.  So, my husband arranged to have our dinner and a bottle of wine brought to our room each night!  Our dinner overlooking the canyon at sunset became our daily romantic ritual.

What a view!

We could not have felt more welcomed by Maria and her staff at Hotel Mansion Tarahumara.  The PERFECT place to see Barrancas del Cobre.

The next morning, Day 5, we woke up before dawn in order to see sunrise over the canyon and what a sight it was.

Sunrise

 

Sunrise

Then down the mountain for our delicious breakfast of Mexican scrambled eggs & fresh fruit and off to Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico.

This lovely city also had its gorgeous views…

Creel, Chihuahua scenery

…and an ATM where we could get Pesos!  Now we were in search of items exclusive to this area – baskets, carvings, and beautifully colorful clothes.

Tarahumara Indian women

We did find several beautiful items here and also saw the beautiful “women” who make them.  The Tarahumara Indian women return to their village after 8th grade, marry and have children at 12-13 years old – Children having Children.  See the serious look of this Indian mother?  These women WORK from the time they’re a toddler until they attend school and from then on.  We saw very few Indian men in the area. Why? The men have to leave the area unless their family owns good land to farm (rare in this mountainous terrain).  Many of them take the 2nd class Chepe train to the Sinaloa valley.  There they find work as farm laborers earning $150 Pesos ($12 dollars) a day plus room and board to work the fields.  It’s a tough rough life but they always seem to migrate back to their villages and FAMILY.

From Creel we headed away from the canyons to the San Ignacio Arareko or Arareco (saw it spelled both ways) National Park.  Here we got to see a local Indian Village up close as well as many marvelous rock formations.

Ignacio Arareko National Park

The Indians very rarely own a vehicle or even a horse/mule.  They must carry everything on their backs for miles across very narrow paths on extremely rocky terrain as pointed out by our guide, Victor.

Rocky terrain

Next we drove to the Valle de Aaranas (Valley of Mushrooms) and Hongos (Frogs).

Valle de Aaranas (Valley of Mushrooms) and Hongos (Frogs)

Valle de Aaranas (Valley of Mushrooms) and Hongos (Frogs) 2

Valle de Aaranas (Valley of Mushrooms) and Hongos (Frogs) 3

We had a lovely picnic lunch at Lago Arareco (Horseshoe Lake).

Lago Arareco (Horseshoe Lake)

There,  we met up with 3 Indian children selling their wares.  We had just finished shopping in Creel and had no small change – WORD OF ADVICE:  ALWAYS HAVE A POCKET FULL OF SMALL CHANGE!  We did have plenty of food and they were all hungry so we shared our wonderful picnic of sandwiches, fruit and chicken.

Indian children

Indian children 2

What do you see?

Pedras de Elefanto

Pedras de Elefanto? Si!

Then it was back to our room with a view and another romantic dinner with a gorgeous sunset and a full moon over the canyon.

Another beautiful sunset

Another beautiful sunset

The next day’s adventure, Day 6, was in Parque de Adventura, Barrancas del Cobre.  This park is only 2 years old and is still under construction.  What they’ve done already is magnificent.  There’s a Reception Building with a gift shop and eating area.  In the center of the floor is a giant window to the crevice which is actually an Indian burial ground the building is over.  Attached to the building is a Tram that crosses by cable half way across the canyon and a Zip line for those that are more adventurous.  In addition there are miles of safe walkways along the canyon’s edge to capture numerous spectacular views.

Parque de Adventura 1

Parque de Adventura 2

Parque de Adventura 3

Parque de Adventura 4

Parque de Adventura 5

Upon exiting the Tram in the middle of the canyon, we were greeted by a local Indian playing one of their locally made violins or fiddles.  Victor demonstrated how to dance to the music.

Local Musicians

Dancing to the Local Musicians

Soon it was time to return back to the Canyon’s Rim.  Here you can see the building spanning the crevice.

Canyon tram

Now for those wonderful walkways and spectacular views!

Great scenery 1

Great scenery 2

Great scenery 3Great scenery 4

This is a famous “Balancing Rock”!  Though it’s forbidden, many people have stood on and rocked this bolder – quite a balancing act on the edge of a canyon.

Balancing rock

Yes!  This is the way to the next viewing area!   You can see through the floor.  I hung on for dear life to the cables as I crossed!

Scary walkway

A view well worth crossing the bridge for!

A view well worth crossing the bridge for!

Day 7, now it was time to head back to Ahome.   Victor took us to the train station where three Indian women awaiting passengers to buy their wares.  Their vibrant, colorful clothing as well as their intricately woven baskets totally captivated me,

Vibrant, colorful clothing 1

Vibrant, colorful clothing 2This baby girl captured my heart!

Sweet baby

Here comes the Chepe Train!

Chepe Train 1

Chepe Train 2

Chepe Train 3

On the return trip we did ask for a seat on the LEFT SIDE of the train to capture the views.  The sunlight however was dwindling rapidly so capturing good photos was difficult.

View from the Chepe train 1

View from the Chepe train 2

View from the Chepe train 3

View from the Chepe train 4

Though we arrived quite late, Berne was there with her niece to pick us up at the Train Station in Los Mochis and drive us to Ahome where a comfortable bed awaited.

Day 8, Our flight didn’t leave Los Mochis until 5:00pm so we had a relaxing day visiting with David, Berne & Bronson Warner and…

Visiting with David, Berne & Bronson 1

Visiting with David, Berne & Bronson 2

Visiting with David, Berne & Bronson 3

…just enjoying the weather.

Beautiful weather

They were kind enough to let us use their washer and dryer so we’d have clean clothes for our trip home – one less chore to worry about upon our return.  Then it was a quick trip to the beautiful Los Mochis Airport and an easy flight on Volaris Airlines to Tijuana.  In Tijuana we walked outside of the airport at Baggage Claim, turned right, walked a short block to the Transportes Terrestre Taxi Window and requested Charley.  They of course had our reservation and radioed for Charley.  He picked us up in no time and took us to the border.  Here we went through the turnstile and entered back into the United States.

After waiting in the Custom’s line for about 15 minutes, we made it through Custom’s without any problems.  Then it was another blocks walk to the First Bank’s parking lot where Transportes Terrestre has a reserved parking space.  Charley whisked our luggage back into the van and off we went back to the Best Western Seven Seas Hotel in San Diego.

Thank you to David Warner at Camp David, Diego Rhodes at Paraiso del Oso and Maria Barriga Villarreal at Hotel Mansion Tarahumara for giving us the trip of a lifetime!

Dennis & Dianne Walker

Dennis & Dianne Walker
Manteca, CA

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