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Baja and Mexican Riviera Travel Log from Oceania Regatta Cruise


5 of 8

Copper Canyon, Mexico
Copper Canyon in Mexico

Copper Canyon in Mexico

Copper Canyon (c) Linda Garrison
The El Chepe train arrived at Barrancas about 12:30 - a 5.5 hour train ride. This small settlement is at the highest point of the route. They boarded half the train into old school buses (like the ones you see all over Mexico and Panama) and bounced up a muddy road to the Hotel Mirador, where we had a buffet lunch -- chicken, fish, rice, beans, tortillas, and flan. The hotel sat on the canyon rim (Copper Canyon is actually a series of several canyons) and the views from the restaurant were breathtaking.

After lunch, we had a short outdoor show put on by the Tarahumara Indians, the indigenous tribe of the region. Two men played a homemade guitar and fiddle, and the third, (who was by far the oldest), danced. They played three songs, followed by a demonstration of a game they play. We then re-boarded the buses and rode down to Hotel Rancho, also on the canyon rim, where we had time to walk along the rim or sit on a beautiful balcony overlooking the canyon. The Indian women were all out with their babies (many of the mothers looked about 13), selling hand made baskets and trinkets. Mom and I both bought a couple of small baskets ($3 each). Those who had driven to the ship bought some much bigger since the prices were so reasonable. The other half of the group did the canyon views first and then ate lunch and had the show.

I got some great photos of the canyon, which looks a little like the Grand Canyon, only narrower and greener. The name Copper Canyon comes from the rocks, but there are no copper mines in the area. It's also deeper in some spots, and we could only see a small part from where the hotel sits. Since we were off season, they opened up some of the rooms to give the group additional restrooms. Very nice, and the rooms were lovely - each had a private fireplace since the hotel doesn't have any heat. Guess that's why they don't get many wintertime guests, although El Chepe runs daily from Los Mochis near the coast to Chihuahua. (the entire train trip takes over 12 hours; we did less than half) Many people ride the entire route and then fly out of Chihuahua or stay overnight a few days in the canyon and go on to Chihuahua or return home.

We left Barrancas at 3 pm and were shortly back on the train. I stood out on the platform again until it got too dark to make photos. They served a free margarita to everyone about 5 pm, and then dinner about 7pm. Dinner was disappointing - a dry ham/cheese sandwich, apple, potato chips, and a Snickers bar. They are also big on juice--apple juice for breakfast and peach juice for dinner. The water was the best part of dinner. Guess we were spoiled by the Regatta food.

The train made good time, and we were back in El Fuerte by 8:45 pm and at the ship by 10:15. What a long day! The staff hung a "Welcome home" sign over the railing. They also lined a red carpet and greeted us with cold washcloths, water, and juice. Some of our hungry group took off for the special buffet awaiting us upstairs. We headed for the showers.

Copper Canyon, Mexico Photo Gallery - 16 photos of Copper Canyon and the Hotel Mirador at Barrancas

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