|Posada Barrancas: Michelle loved these dropoffs along the canyon rim|
Our first stop was the cute colonial town of El Fuerte. Once the capital of Sinaloa, this old town on the river is highly recommended. Unfortunately, we arrived a little late to see much (the main square was quite lively). Also unfortunately, our pre-booked hotel was a bit of a dive.
Next morning, we caught the "El CHEPE" train. The schedule on the CHEPE website was confusing and incorrect. We wanted to take the "economico" train which runs only a few days per week (about 60% the price of 1st class, which runs daily). According to the website, it also came an hour later. NOT SO! The 1st class and economy class "trains" are the same train, same stops (on days when both are running), and same schedule as 1st class. Lucky we didn't arrive at the later, incorrect, time and miss the train.
|Sitting in "economico"|
|El CHEPE chugs north -- one of many tunnels|
Scenery along the way got better and better as went further inland and higher up. Mind you, nothing that "knocked your socks off", but pleasant. At the stop in Divisadero, everyone gets off to see the view of (one of) the canyons, as well as to buy some decent and cheap food ("gorditas"). Pretty decent views here. We stayed on the train until the town of Creel.
|Tarahumara woman looking down canyon...|
|Valley of the Mushrooms ("Hongos")|
|Valley of the Frogs (but we could only see one. Climate change?)|
|This used to called the "Valley of the Penises"... wonder why?|
|... now it is called the "Valley of the Monks" ... hmmm|
Posada Barrancas El Mirador Hotel, at C$240 per night (including meals) was a little pricey for us, but the view from the room balcony, hanging over the canyon was indeed "knock your socks off" material. We enjoyed our one night there. The food was pretty decent ('til we saw that the meals were the SAME each and every day, with NO choices...) although the staff, at best, unenthusiastic and the hotel totally lacking in any amenities (WiFi? forget it). A real treat, though, was the excellent hiking on top of/around/ down the canyons (one does NOT need to stay at the hotel to access these trails).
Many other guests took tours, went on the world's longest ziplines, took the ($65) cable car into the canyon, or went horseback riding. We simply hiked -- and enjoyed ourselves.
|Looking up at El Mirador Hotel|
|Sunset view from our hotel room|
All-in-all, a good trip, albeit a little long on the land travel. Almost all travel was comfortable and, except for the bus driver missing our stop at Posada Barrancas (and that led to a fun experience with the miners), essentially hassle free.
Highlights were: mountain biking around Creel; the view from our room at El Mirador Hotel; hiking the canyon, and yes, the miners.
We have posted many photos for this trip on FLICKR:
Pelagia's FLICKR photo album for Mexico's Barrancas del Cobre