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Western Canyon Explorer
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Western Canyon Explorer

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 8 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 14 people
Destination(s): Mexico  
Specialty Categories: Railway Trips  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1509 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1999 US Dollar (USD)

Day 1: Arrive Los Mochis Airport / El Fuerte

You will be transferred from the Los Mochis airport to the 16th Century colonial town of El Fuerte and the picturesque Rio Vista Lodge for 2 nights. The lodge was developed in partnership with the Gamez Family. From your panoramic hilltop setting, view the El Fuerte River and this 430-year old cobbled-street settlement. Enjoy alfresco patio dining surrounded by flowering plants teeming with humming birds and an impressive array of giant, native cacti. Stroll through the quintessential colonial plaza with its towering palms; browse the colorful local market; and view ornate architecture while learning of the past and present significance of this historic fort on the old "Camino Real." All of the Spanish expeditions that colonized California journeyed through El Fuerte and recruited local residents. Dinner features the regional specialty of fresh garlic grilled bass and shrimp, with wine or cerveza. Vegetarian and special diets are available.

Day 2: El Fuerte River Cruise and Petroglyphs

Experience the plentiful and diverse bird life amid the verdant tropical forest on a tranquil6 mile, including a stop to explore a nearby hill with ancient and well preserved Nahuatl Petroglyphs. More than 60 species of birds are frequently spotted from the boat as well as exotic flora like: Tree Morning Glory, Tree Senna, Tree Coral Bean, Tree Ocotillo, Kapok, Amapa, Palo Verde, Elephant Tree, Feather Tree, Cottonwood, Sycamore, Cypress, Strangling Fig, Ures Palm, Hecho Cactus, and Organ-pipe Cactus. Commonly spotted birds include Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Crested Caracara, Gray Hawk, Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Elegant Quail, Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-throated Magpie Jay, Elegant Trogan, Social Flycatcher, Mexican Parrolet, and Russet-crowned Motmot.

Day 3: El Fuerte – Cerocahui

The Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad traverses some of the most scenic wilderness on Earth, from the Sonoran-Sinaloan transition tropical forest; it then climbs 8,000 ft. into the Western Sierra Madre and skirts the Copper Canyon, before terminating in the Chihuahua Desert. This spectacular railway achievement required 37 principle bridges, the longest is 1,638 ft. and the highest is 335 ft. and 87 tunnels, one tunnel 5,965 ft. long and one tunnel with a 180 degree turn followed by a bridge with a 90 degree turn. The railway, with nearly 11 miles of tunneling and 2.25 miles of bridging, serpentines through some of the most biologically outstanding and diverse habitats on the planet, listed in the world's 200 most crucial areas for conservation. This morning's departure (9:05AM - 1:15PM) into the Sierra Madre today provides optimum viewing on the most spectacular segment of railway. On arrival at the depot our exclusive resident guide, and native of Cerocahui, will meet and transfer you to the Porichi Inn Lodge. This lodge is a partnership project with the Ejido of Porochi. An afternoon trek to remote Tarahumara Rancherias for a kindred visit with several Indian families engenders an authentic cultural insight uniquely available to our small groups.

Day 4: Cerocahui - Urique Canyon Descent

Morning departure on an expedition (you may hike with a guide or ride in our van)through dense ponderosa pines and past high mountain vistas en route to the Cerro Gallego rim. From this lofty precipice, look down over 1 mile into the Urique Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America, and home to the provincial Tarahumara settlement of Urique. Founded in 1690 along the banks of the meandering river, Urique was totally isolated until connected by a switchback mountain road in 1975. The descent begins in a conifer forest and continues through oak and tropical deciduous forest, ending in a riparian habitat at the canyon bottom. Opportunities abound to spot Military Macaw, Tufted Flycatcher, and the elusive Eared Quetzal.

Day 5: Cerocahui - Copper Canyon (Divisadero Area)

Visit a Tarahumara school and the 17th Century gold-domed Jesuit mission church before boarding the train (1:10PM - 2:00PM) to Divisadero. A 6 mile private road takes you to the Tarahumara owned ecolodge, the "Uno," with breath-taking and seemingly endless landscapes of canyons and mountains. From the lodge's secluded stretch of canyon rim property, gaze into the enormous gorge formed by the river 1 mile below. An afternoon walk through the dense forest around the lodge and along the rim will introduce you to this pristine wilderness area, and the only panoramic river views of any lodging in the area. Visit with nearby Tarahumara families, cooperative owners of 60,000 wilderness acres and the lodge. You may choose your level of physical activity from easy to moderate walks or guided day hikes. Spectacular views of the canyon river bottom are seen from the dining room and other room windows throughout the lodge.

Day 6: Copper Canyon

The Uno Lodge is perched at the very rim of a large promontory that extends into the canyon offering unrivaled 180 degree vistas. Participate in a walk to a nearby waterfall and study the biological richness of this major ecosystem, ranking high in biodiversity, including the worlds most varied species of pines and oaks, and its unique endemism of species found no where else. Hikers will experienceone of the most outstanding day hikes in North America viewing voluminous quantities of volcanic rocks folded over older Cretaceous and Sedimentary layers that have allbeen deeply and roughly incised by the river erosion. Also explore a cave with a Mogollan Archeological Dwelling, probably a satellite site to the great Paquime Civilization. Enjoy eveningsaround an outdoor fire and under starlit skies miles away from electric lighting - lodge is solar powered.

Day 7: Divisadero - El Fuerte (or to Chihuahua)

View and photograph the canyons from a variety of natural panoramic overlooks on a canyon rim drive as well as visit the Divisadero outdoor market where you will observe local Indians weaving their aromatic pine-needle baskets in a myriad of designs. Hikers may trek to Divisadero. This afternoon board the train to El Fuerte (2PM - 7:20PM) and the Rio Vista Lodge.
or board the train to Chihuahua City (2:15PM - 10:25PM) and a deluxe hotel.

Day 8: Depart El Fuerte/Los Mochis (or Depart Chihuahua)

Transfer to the Los Mochis airport from El Fuerte.
or Morning Chihuahua City tour (time permitting) includes Pancho Villa's military museum and other historic sites. Afternoon airport transfer. Optional executive-class motorcoach with transfer to El Paso also available.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Discounts from $100 - $300 per person available during January, February and between April 26 to September 19

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