A train ride across the Copper Canyon

Canyons, hanging bridges, and stunning landscapes await you in this journey across the Tarahumara Mountain Range

A train ride across the Copper Canyon
Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon) in Chihuahua – Photo: Ariel Ojeda/EL UNIVERSAL
English 27/05/2018 12:38 Samantha Michelle Guzmán Mexico City Actualizada 12:38
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In Mexico, there is a train which challenges the notion of vertigo. It twists and turns across mountain paths from which you can take a look at dramatic cliffs that seem taken from movies from its panoramic windows. Travelers here have a first-row seat to enjoy the millions of years it took nature to sculpt this rough landscape.

This is the “Chepe,” the train which has earned that nickname for crossing the route Chihuahua-Pacific.

chepe_train.jpg
(Photo: Courtesy of Chepe Express)

Every day it moves along the Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre), an extraordinary and challenging landscape, due to its uneven terrain.

And this month the company debuts its Chepe Express, a fastest and more luxurious train designed and manufactured in Mexico, offering better views of the Tarahumara Mountain Range.

The original route of El Chepe began during the second half of the 19th century, although it wasn't operational until the 70's.

El Chepe Express operates every day. In nine hours it travels from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, to the Magic Town of Creel, in Chihuahua (and vice-versa). It only makes a stop in two stations: El Fuerte – a Magic Town in Sinaloa – and in Divisadero, one of the main destinations from which to explore the Tarahumara Mountain Range.

The main difference between the Chepe Express and the Traditional Chepe is that there's almost nothing standing between you and the landscape. A whole coach has been adapted as a terrace: it has no walls, just windows from ceiling to floor with a foldable section. You can spend hours marveling at the sight before you while sipping on a cocktail from the bar car.

The train makes its way between intimidating bridges which can reach the 100 meters high and tunnels crossing Mexico's western Mountain Range.

chepe_express.jpg
(Photo: Courtesy of Chepe Express)

This isn't a common passenger's train. It was designed to offer as many panoramic view opportunities as possible, without neglecting passenger services.

The two-story dining cart features a menu devised by chef Daniel Ovadía, who got his inspiration from traditional ingredients of the North of Mexico such as Mennonite cheese and flour tortillas to add his personal touch to dishes such as chilorio wraps and grilled rib eye.

While passengers may feel like they have stepped into another age, they have all the comfort and services of modern times, like Wi-Fi.

There are several companies and hotels in the area offering tours for those seeking to expand their journey across the Tarahumara Mountain Range; from crossing hanging bridges to seeing Mexico's second highest waterfall, there is little tourists won't be able to do here.

tourism_chihuahua.jpg
(Photo: Courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism in Chihuahua)

How to get there
Mexican airlines depart frequently from Mexico City to Los Mochis, in Sinaloa. The average cost of return flights ranges from MXN$4,000 to MXN$5,000.

The train
El Chepe Express has two classes: tourist and executive. Prices depend on the extension of the trip and class. A full return trip (Los Mochis-Creel) is MXN$ 5,243 per person, tourist class, while the price for the executive class is MXN$ 8,400, per person. There are daily train departures and you can get down in two stations and board el Chepe Express the following day free of charge.

Due to demand, it's recommended to book tickets three months in advance, and we recommend that you plan your trip from 4 to 10 days to really get to know the area.

For further information, please check the following websites:

El Chepe Express
http://www.chepe.com.mx/trenes-express.html

Tour operators
http://www.ecoalternativetours.com/
https://experienciasraramuri.com/
http://www.parquebarrancas.com/
http://www.amigos3.com/
http://www.vmcoppercanyon.com/

Accommodation
http://www.hotelmirador.mx/
http://www.torresdelfuerte.com/
http://www.hotelposadadelhidalgo.com/

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