Canyon Travel

Valley of the Monks

Valley of the Monks

Valley of Mushrooms, Monks and Frogs, Copper Canyon

Valley of Mushrooms, Monks and Frogs, Copper Canyon

Located in the heart of the Alta Sierra Tarahumara, 15 kilometers from Creel lies Bisabirachi, also known as the Valley of the Gods or the Monks.

Composed of elongated rocks that look like giants, or monks, hence its name.

The passage of time and the action of the atmospheric elements has created, in numerous occasions and in different places of the planet, incredible landscapes of great beauty and peculiarity.

These unique and old rocks are of sedimentary origin, but its exterior is limestone. The extreme climate of the area, especially rainwater and strong winds, are responsible for slowly crumbling the outer limestone of the rocks. Thus, the rocks have been acquiring capricious and pointed forms, until one of the most strange landscapes on the planet.

It is said that the Valley of the Monks were carved by the original inhabitants 20 million years ago when the stones were still malleable after the creation of the world.

Carlos Castaneda and the influence of Copper Canyon

Carlos Castaneda and the influence of Copper Canyon

Surprisingly, Carlos Castaneda books can be found in the non-fiction section. He writes of mystical tours of the mind with works of The Teaching of Don to A Separate Reality.  His influence reaches many. For example, this is a blog of an inspirational story of a man who went upon his own journey to find more. he traveled to the Copper Canyon area, where Carlos Casteneda has found himself.

We hear unique experiences from each of our travelers. When I ask people of their “favorites”, the answers change. We like to learn about your interests, as to design an adventurous experience that suits you.

This writer describes entering the Copper Canyon as if a portal.

“Mexican towns as well as the rest of the world, disappeared behind me”.

Consequently, there are two “pueblo magico” towns serving at portals to the Copper Canyon. These being El Fuerte and Creel. These locations are so entirely different from each other.

Creel smells of growing apples and can get snow in the winters! It is a cowboy town and center for the Tarahumaran community. The landscape is diverse from monolithic skyscraping rocks, waterfalls, and lakes.

El Fuerte is a lush fertile land with petroglyphs and Mayo communities nearby. It was the center for the mining traffic and over 500 years old.

Carlos Castaneda’s work makes us consider what his personal quest in this unique land.  Copper Canyon is a special place for Shamanism, natural,  and mystical experiences. There is a living culture of the human spirit connected closely with nature. It is a place that you can find a quietness that is unique to find. People have found growth in learning about the Tarahumaran diet, use of herbs as remedies.

 

 

 

Semana Santa, spring holiday in Copper Canyon

Semana Santa, spring holiday in Copper Canyon

Semana Santa is a ten-day Easter festival where Catholicism meets Paganism.  While the dates of the event change every year, it usually takes place in late March or April. This year the holiday spans from April 9-15th. For travelers, there is a lot to see from church mass to indigenous dance ceremonies.

Throughout the week, experience an interesting blend of historic and religious rites. In the villages, you can see Semana Santa traditions taking place. For example, the Mayo Indian dress up in costume and perform the deer dance, a symbolic dance of life.  People also walk through the small towns with large crosses. Bazaars pop up in places like Cerocauhui, the closest town to Urique with games and community activities.

As the week concludes, Tarahumarans travel by foot and congregate in Urique for the final ceremonies of good versus evil.
It is an unforgettable experience of culture. Many are drunk on homemade corn
beer, or even peyote. Some of the men paint themselves with white spots all
over their body to represent the evil of this world, conflicting with the
goodness.

creel is another portal to the Copper Canyon that is popular during Semana Santa.

This is one of the busiest times to visit the Copper Canyon, so planning early is crucial. As early as December, do reservations book quickly.  It has been said that Mexico City, which is usually a bustling city is much less crowded during Semana Santa. A lot of families choose to visit the Copper Canyon during this mystical time.

If your looking for a unique travel experience and don’t mind sharing the vast canyons with other travelers, Seman Santa is a special event to experience. Some travelers book a week before, or after these dates to enjoy the canyons without the crowds.

This is a blog from a traveler who spent time in Copper Canyon during this holiday.

Spanish phrases

While traveling in a foreign country, it’s not a bad idea to have a bit of knowledge, or a cheat sheet.

English Spanish Pronunciation
Good morning. Buenos días. booEHN-os DEE-as
Good afternoon. Buenas tardes. booEHN-as TAR-dehs
Good evening. (greeting) Buenas noches. booEHN-as NO-chehs
Hello, my name is John. Hola, me llamo Juan. OH-la meh YA-mo Wahn
What is your name? ¿Cómo se llama usted? KOH-moh seh YA-mah oos- TEHD
How are you? ¿Cómo está usted? KOH-moh ehs-TA oos-TEHD
I am fine. Estoy bien. ehs-TOY bee-EHN
Nice to meet you. Mucho gusto. MOO-choh GOOS-toh
Goodbye. Adiós. ah-dee-OHS
See you later. Hasta luego. AHS-ta looEH-go
I am lost. Estoy perdido. ehs-TOY pehr-DEE-doh.

Where is the restroom? ¿Dónde está el baño? DOHN-deh ehs-TA el BAH- neeo
Excuse me. Con permiso. OR Perdóname kohn pehr-MEE-soh OR pehr- DOH-nah-meh

Please. Por favor. pohr fah-VOR
Thank you. Gracías. gra-SEE-ahs
I’m sorry. Lo siento. low see-EHN-to
Bless you. Salud. sah-LOOD
You are welcome (it was nothing). De nada. deh NA-da
How much does it cost? ¿Cuánto cuesta? kooAN-to KWEHS-ta
How many are there? ¿Cuántos hay? kooAN-tohs eye
There are many. Hay muchos. eye MOO-chohs
Do you want to buy this? ¿Quiere comprarlo usted? kee-EHR-eh kohm-PRAR-loh oos-TEHD
What time is it? ¿Qué hora es? keh OR-ah ehs
How do you say maybe in Spanish? ¿Cómo se dice maybe en Español? KOH-mo seh DEE-seh maybe ehn ehs-pahn-YOL
Yes. Sí. see
No. No. no
I do not understand. No intiendo. no in ti end o
Would you speak slower, please. Por favor, habla mas despacio.
pohr fah-VOR, AH-blah mahs dehs-phasio. Is the train on time? Es el tren a tiempo? Where is the next stop? ¿Dónde esta la próxima parada?
At what time…? A qué hora…. ah kay or-ah
Who? ¿Quièn? kee-EHN
Why? ¿Por què? pohr keh
Basic Sentence Structure
Subject + Verb + Object
Example: Yo quiero una tortilla. (I want a tortilla.)
Adjectives come after the word it describes, where in English the adjectives come before it: El libro rojo es mío. (The red book is mine.)
¿Dónde está…? – This is the building block of your “I’m lost” vocabulary; it means “Where is…?” Then it’s up to you to fill in the blank!
¿Dónde está mi hotel? – This one is useful if you’ve got una dirección (an address) or at least a name on hand; it’ll help you find your way to your hotel.
¿Dónde hay un banco? – If you’re looking for a nearby bank, this is the question to ask.
¿Dónde hay un cajero automático? – On the other hand, if you only need an ATM machine, you might want to go with this question instead.
¿Dónde hay un restaurante? – If you’re in search of a place to eat, this is how to ask for a restaurant.
¿Dónde hay un hospital? – Hopefully this one won’t be necessary, but if you need to find a hospital, this is how to do it.
¿Dónde puedo encontrar…? – This phrase means “Where can I find…?” If you’re looking for something that may not have an exact location, this is a more sensible way to phrase your question.
¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi? – If you need to find a taxi, this is a simple way to ask where to go.
¿Dónde puedo encontrar a un policía? – Hopefully this one won’t be necessary either, but if you need to talk to the authorities, this is the way to find a policeman.
Tengo una reservación. – Meaning “I have a reservation,” this can be useful whether you’ve been planning this dinner for weeks or are simply practicing your skills as a B.S. artist as well.
De tomar, quiero/quisiera… – “To drink, I would like…” Simple enough!
De entrada, quiero/quisiera… – If you’re eating out at a nice place, you’re probably starting with appetizers. This phrase means “For my appetizer, I would like…”
Como plato principal, quiero/quisiera… – Can you guess what this one means? “As a main course, I would like…” (Were you right? Great job!)
Yo soy vegetariano. – Vegetarianism throughout the Spanish-speaking world can be viewed with a bit of skepticism, so if you don’t eat meat be sure to declare “I’m vegetarian” very clearly! And then add…
No como… – “I don’t eat…” You can follow this up with carne (meat) for example, or any other dietary restriction you might have. (example: “No como carne o manteca” = “I don’t eat meat or lard”)
¡Salud! – The Spanish version of a simple “cheers,” be sure to give a hearty salud when the drinks arrive. Fun fact: this word also means “health” in Spanish.
¡Al centro y pa’ dentro! – If you’re out with friends and indulging in a few shots perhaps, this fun rhyming phrase literally meaning “to the center and gulp it down.” It’s a popular way to accompany a group toast.

Necesito ayuda. – Short and to the point, this phrase simply means “I need help.”
¿Usted habla inglés? – If you’re in a situation where asking for help is necessary, there’s probably some explaining that you’re going to have to do. Use this phrase to ask if someone speaks English.
¿Dónde puedo encontrar a alguien que hable inglés? – This is a longer one, but it’s included because it’s important. It means “Where can I find someone who speaks English?”

 

Canyon Travel client review March 2017

Canyon Travel client review March 2017

This is the most recent client review from a group traveling in March 2017.

“Thanks again for organizing a great trip! We had a fantastic time. Every detail of the trip was organized and executed faultlessly. Special thanks to Carla who rescheduled our taxi ride at 3am in the morning when the ferry arrived early in the morning our first day. The hotels, the tours, the food, the transfers were all executed seamlessly.
Highlights of the trip were San Isidro Lodge and the Temascal sweat lodge that we did, of course the magnificent scenery of Barrancas de Cobre, the zip line tour of the canyon, the hike to the Recowata Hot Springs, The Tarahumara lodge rooms at the top of the canyon were spectacular, the river tour of El Fuerte .. We saw 3 sets of Cara Cara Birds!, El Chepe Train, Creel sightseeing of the rock formations, the Cusarare Falls, Cave dwellings of the Tarahumara.. The list goes on.”

~Vicky

Thank you for the review! Vicky has just returned from her birthday adventure through Copper Canyon. She was the group leader for a party of six, and had an amazing time.

There were some last minute changes with the Baja ferry service, but we were prepared and got the taxi service to pick up at 3 am, three hours earlier than expected. Our clients were happy to have someone to contact to look over them through details like these.

Canyon Travel aims to be different than other companies in Copper Canyon. We strive to get the best deals, the preferred hotels, and to ensure that the itinerary is seen through the trip.

Who doesn’t like a little TLC?

This group chose a custom itinerary and traveled from La Paz BCS via ferry. They then took the train all the way to Creel, Chihuahua and back to Los Mochis.

We create custom adventures to suit your dates, activity level, budget, hotel choice and food preferences. Contact us today to inquire about your next adventure. We appreciate all of our clients comments and reviews.

Copper Canyon info, a quick look from Canyon Travel

Copper Canyon info, a quick look from Canyon Travel

Copper Canyon is a world famous destination. It is known for its awe-inspiring scenery, wildlife, renowned train route, and native culture. The Copper Canyon’s name derives from the greenish/copper color of the canyon walls was formed between 30-40 million years ago.  From the collapse of land, following a volcanic eruption, and seduction of the Farallon Plate. Six rivers carved the canyons that comprise the Copper Canyon.  It is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Not to mention, a train running through it!
The terrain varies from the high altitude Madrean Conifer Forest to sub-tropical forests in the valleys. Mexico’s second largest waterfall, Basaseachic Falls, is also located here in the Candemena Canyon. Copper Canyon has something to offer for every nature lover!Getting Here- Copper Canyon info
There are many options available for planning your trip to the Copper Canyon.
Tours can begin in Cabo San Lucas, where you have the option to take a one hour flight on  www.calafiaairlines.com You may
take the ferry from Baja Sur’s capitol city, La Paz www.bajaferries.com to Los Mochis.
Transportation from Los Mochis to El Fuerte is available. El Fuerte is a prime location to start the tour.  It is a Pueblo Magico, plus you will enjoy more time in the morning before the train arrives!
Trips are also available from Chihuahua, but more scenic from the Sea of Cortez.


The Train- Copper Canyon info

El Chepe is the Chihuahua- Pacific railway of Copper Canyon. It began production in 1900, but due to terrain and expenses was not completed until 1961. The train runs among majestic landscapes of the Sierra Tarahumara area. Much of this area features the rich history and folklore of the indigenous Tarahumara culture. El Chepe climbs a seven degree grade and 2,400 meters above sea level. Copper Canyon is approximately four times as large as the Grand Canyon. It runs daily from Los Mochis to Chihuahua through 37 bridges and 86 tunnels.

 

 

Birdwatching Diversity in Copper Canyon

Birdwatching Diversity in Copper Canyon

“Birdwatching is my favorite activity, as there are over 120 species of rare birds. This includes Soldier Macaws, Cowacowa Eagles, all manner of parrots, and the elusive Vermillion Fly Catcher. The bird that will take your breath away is the Caracara. The male is a bad ass, but the female is the killer. If anything gets near her babies, they die. She has no predators other than man. Snakes that get near her eggs get a mile high ride and then are dropped in flight and when they have an unfortunate landing…she eats the pieces. She looks like she got out of a beauty parlour….he looks like he just walked out a bar looking for a fight. I have seen them both covered in blood. The Military Macaws are impressive too…especially when they are in a school.I have seen a whole flock of them take off from a river tree and it looks like a flying rainbow”.  ~Mondo

Within Copper Canyon, enjoy remarkable experiences and unusual sightings of the nearly 300 species of indigenous and migratory birds. Visit El Fuerte’s, “Mamot Alley”, a deep ravine that homes Russet-crowned Motmot.  Also, check out Divisadero’s “vista” and the deepest parts of the valleys.

Around 7,000 ft., in the mountainous coolness, Woodpeckers, Tufted Flycatchers, and hummingbirds have been seen. Fellow travelers have report of a flock of endangered thick-billed parrots have been spotted flying into the canyon below. You may even see the national emblem of Mexico, the Crested Caracares. Other birds you may encounter are the Vermillion Flycatchers, white winged Doves, Brush Finches, Five Striped Sparrows, and Black Hawks.

Expect the unexpected. This biological diverse area hosts two distinct environmental climates. It ranges from mountainous Mandrean Conifer forests to sub-tropical valleys. There is a wide variety of flora and fauna within the four different biotic communities. Of the many species, many are not found in the United States. Birdwatching will enable you to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Your guides will be able to point out species by sight and sound. Even if you are not a birder, this adventure may change your mind!

Videos of Canyon Travel You Tube channel of el Chepe and Copper Canyon

Videos of Canyon Travel You Tube channel of el Chepe and Copper Canyon

Have you seen our YouTube channel? We have videos of El Chepe train and diverse landscapes of Copper Canyon. Check us out today, or submit your Copper Canyon video for us to add to the channel.

Check out our videos of the Copper Canyon.

“All aboard el Chepe” videos

El Chepe train climbs a seven-degree grade, a mile high fro Los Mochis to Chihuahua. It passes small remote pueblos along the way, each one distinct in charm and environments. El Chepe passes over 37 bridges and through 86 tunnels. With the rivers, waterfalls, mountain peaks and mastered engineering, Nat Geo calls this the most dramatic train ride in the Northern Hemisphere.

“the loop near Creel, Chihuahua

Between Creel and Posada Barrancas is where the train turns 180 degrees into the mountain tunnel, an engineering feet.

 

Reviews of Canyon Travel in Copper Canyon, Mexico

Reviews of Canyon Travel in Copper Canyon, Mexico

Check out our recent client reviews of Copper Canyon.

“Meant to write sooner….we are still raving about the Copper Canyon trip you and Mike arranged for us. Everything about it worked perfectly….smooth operation you have going there and we loved every minute of our time both in Cabo and on the train trip.
We greatly appreciated your patience with our travel needs, and could not believe all the TLC you both lavished on us.
Thanks for making lasting memories!”
Best in the New Year, Fran and Bernie, Chicago

 

“JUST A SHORT NOTE TO LET YOU KNOW ARE EXPERIENCE WITH CANYON TRAVEL. SHARON AND I BOTH ENJOYED IT VERY MUCH. WE FOUND THE ARRANGEMENTS THAT YOU SET UP TO BE VERY TIMELY AND THE ACCOMODATIONS TO BE JUST WHAT WE HAD VISIONED. IF YOU WANT A TRUE EXPERIENCE OF MEXICO I THINK THIS IS IT! THE COPPER CANYON WAS A MORE WOW FACTOR THAN I HAD IMAGINED AND YOUR PLANNING WAS RIGHT ON ! THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK.”

JOHN & SHARON, SOUTH DAKOTA

 

Our experience was mostly good, great at times, with some exceptions.

Copper Canyon is unbelievably spectacular, the train was better than I expected, a classy, comfortable ride, and the track is an engineering marvel. Thanks for getting us seats on the canyon side for all legs!

Starting the trip on the day of our choice was awesome, a distinct difference from what I saw available from other companies.

Rio Vista is a gem, of location and service. Nacho is one delightful human being, so accommodating. We rolled in off the train and caught the last 3 innings of game 6 of the World Series, and because he knew how important it was to us, he brought dinner to our room. And then the next night, for the deciding game 7, we asked him if we could do that again and we’d go get it from him. And it was the best food of the trip. The man can cook. One of the best moles I’ve ever had, Felipe was also a pleasure, and wonderfully knowledgeable about birds, which we also love, and the raft trip was excellent.

The room at Mansion Tarahumara was w/o a doubt the best view we’ve ever had from a hotel. We looked for hours. Thanks for getting that for us!

The connections for rides at the stations were all excellent, so no wondering where we were going or how to get there. Thanks again!

Mario is a great guy, we liked him and he answered our every question and need, but the answers were often only one word, or a short phrase, occasionally a sentence or two. He volunteered little and was preoccupied with other business, mainly organizing a race right after we left. That’s cool, but we felt like afterthoughts much of the time. The canyon excursion, which just I took, was good, but a long ride under those circumstances. This, and the absence of much else in particular to do made 2 days at the ranch seem rather long, especially the hours between dinner and breakfast. We don’t mind decompressing from normal busyness, but it shouldn’t be by the absence of any other choice. Also, I don’t think I am in the minority of tourists who like good coffee early. I get up ~6, coffee was promised at 7, but wasn’t ready either morning until 7:45. Local customs are one thing, but if a business depends on tourism, it has to accommodate for the needs of its clients. The food at Rancho Ysidro was very ordinary.

 

All of this made 2 days in Creel too much also. We actually like settling into a place more than one night, rather than moving from place to place continually, but only if there’s enough attractive enough to support it. Creel doesn’t have it.

The food at Mansion Tarahumara was also very ordinary, though slightly better than the other places. I appreciate that all the food was included in the trip cost, and that this is how people seem to eat in northern Mexico, but gawd, no wonder so many of them look depressed.

I realize you guys did your best, so I’m not faulting you for the downsides, just reporting what we experienced. The area itself has limitations which you must deal with too, and our informed choices make us responsible for things too.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give our trip a 7.5.

Thank you for facilitating our exploration of a truly amazing part of the world. We enjoyed it!

Perfection is often boring, probably like the insulated experience many tour companies offer. Jan and I look at those large groups and say to one another, “Let’s go the other way!” No refund necessary. I’m a stickler for unadorned honesty, and so wanted to be clear, not only for you, to make any improvements you can, but for myself. The trip was totally worthwhile, we’re glad we picked Canyon Travel, and you guys are cool.

Salud,
Steve, Oregon