Day 1: Arrive Los Mochis Airport - El Fuerte
On arrival at the Los Mochis airport, you will be transferred to the 16th Century colonial town of El Fuerte and the picturesque RIO VISTA LODGE for 2 nights. 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 hummingbirds and an impressive array of majestic, 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." Dinner features the regional specialty of fresh garlic-grilled bass & shrimp, with cerveza or wine.
Day 2: El Fuerte - River Float And Petroglyphs
Experience the plentiful and diverse bird life amid the verdant tropical forest on a tranquil El Fuerte River float, including a stop to explore a nearby hill with ancient and well-preserved Nahuatl Petroglyphs. This afternoon, enjoy the surreal vistas of the sierra foothills en route to a secluded Mayo Indian Village to observe a private performance of their traditional "Dance of the Deer" ceremony and perhaps an open-pit firing of their pottery. Sightseeing with our exclusive native guide. 3 meals.
Day 3: El Fuerte – Cerocahui
The 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 is 5,965 ft. long and one has 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. This morning's departure (9:05AM-1:10PM) into the Sierra Madre provides optimum viewing on the most spectacular segment of railway. On arrival, our resident guide and native of Cerocahui, will meet and transfer you to the intimate Porochi 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 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 forests, ending in a riparian habitat at the canyon bottom. Opportunities abound to spot Military Macaws, Black-throated Magpie-Jays, and the elusive Eared Quetzal.
Day 5: Cerocahui - Copper Canyon Rim (Divisadero Area)
Visit a Tarahumara school and the 17th Century gold-domed Jesuit mission church before boarding the train (11:20AM-12:15PM) to Divisadero area. A 6-mile private road takes you to the Tarahumara owned eco-lodge, the "Uno," with breathtaking and seemingly endless landscapes of canyon and mountains. From the lodge's secluded stretch of canyon rim property gaze into the enormous gorge formed by the meandering river one 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 chose 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. 3 meals.
Day 6: Copper Canyon Rim (Divisadero Area)
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 world's most varied species of pines and oaks, and it's unique endemism of species found no where else. The tripod mounted powerful spotting scope is a very popular attraction in the dining area of the lodge. Hikers will experience, what has to be,one 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 influenced archeological dwelling, probably a satellite site to the great Paquime Civilization,in the northern part of the state. Enjoy eveningsaround an outdoor fire and under starlit skies miles away from electric lighting - lodge is solar powered. 3 meals.
Day 7: Copper Canyon – Cusarare
Morning drive to Divisadero. Visit an open-air market and observe Tarahumara women deftly weaving their aromatic pine needle baskets in a myriad of sizes and designs. Continue on the 1-hour drive to the pastoral Tarahumara owned Cusarare area and the Copper Canyon Sierra Lodge for 1 night. Visit the 300 year-old Cusarare Mission, with its Indian-motif interior, and take a not-too strenuous trek to the 90-foot-drop Cusarare waterfall and a nearby cave with pictographs.
Day 8: Cusarare – Batopilas
This morning begin the daylong journey to Batopilas, over a dramatic 75-mile drive descending the old silver mining route. The ride, along a rugged unpaved road, begins in dense forests, descends into the canyons past beautiful waterfalls and spectacular blue pools strewn with enormous boulders, and eventually terminates in tropical flora at the bottom of the canyon. Arrive to the Riverside Hacienda for 2 nights. Activities include a drive along the Rio Batopilas to the mysterious 17th Century Lost Cathedral of Satevo and exploration of the ruins of Hacienda San Miguel, the historic business headquarters and family residence of American expatriate and silver baron, Alexander Shepherd.
Day 9: Batopilas
Hiking opportunities abound and range from easy nearby walks to moderately difficult half and full day treks, e.g., embark on a full day of trekking to Cerro Colorado, or on a shorter hike to Camuchin, a lovely shady oasis reached by a 2 hour trek up the surrounding cliffs. Excellent birding is available along the Rio Batopilas. Or, simply relax in the plaza and observe farmers from remote ranchos, traditionally attired Tarahumara Indians from the surrounding canyons and, on occasion, local children playing basketball.
Day 10: Batopilas – Cusarare
Mid-morning departure for your return journey to Cusarare and the Sierra Lodge for 1 night.
Day 11: Cusarare - El Fuerte
Morning transfer to Creel where you will have time to visit the local museum or browse the selection of difficult-to-find books, photographs and music tapes at the Mission Store - proceeds benefit Father Luis Verplancken's Tarahumara Children's Hospital. Transfer to the depot for your final train ride (11:35AM - 7:20PM) back to the colonial town of El Fuerte. Dinner waits at the Rio Vista lodge where you return to spend the final night of your itinerary.
Day 12: Depart El Fuerte/ Los Mochis
Breakfast on the patio and at the appropriate time transfer to the Los Mochis airport for your return flight.
Also see tour packages in:
North America Mexico Local Culture Cultural Journey