At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Copper Canyon Train - What a spectacular day!

Well, as the title says, yesterday turned out to be one heck of a day! We got up early at the hotel in El Fuerte because our driver was picking us up at 7:40am to bring us to the train station in time for our 8:15 train back into the canyon. Except by the time I finished writing yesterday's blog post, we didn't have time for breakfast, and figured that we would grab something from the snack car on the train.

The train arrived on time, and we were lucky to get seats on the right side of the train!

When you're doing the route (or part thereof) from Los Mochis to Chihuahua it is best to have seats on the right side. If you're heading the opposite direction, left side seating offers the best views.

So we got into our seats, and in the very last car. We waited for the porter to come buy and collect the money. There are no ticket booths at the stations we were at, and ticketing is done by the porter once you're on the train. Cash only!

We were hungry, but it took him about 40 minutes to come and collect our money and we didn't want to leave our seats until he did. So it was around 9:00am when we went searching for some food. We walked up through the second class cars to the snack car, but the food didn't look the best and they were making burritos using flour tortillas which we don't eat.

So we decided to bite the bullet and try and get into the dining car for breakfast. We weren't sure that would be allowed because second class passengers would have to walk through first class in order to get to the dining car, and I had read that only first class passengers were allowed in the dining car.

But nobody stopped us. It could be because we are tourist gringos and they assumed we should be in the first class car anyhow. Or perhaps they simply didn't see us. Either way, the next thing you know we are seated at a table, reading a very expensive menu.

The first class dining car menu on the Copper Canyon train.

We knew it would be expensive, but we don't splurge very often...and besides which, we had to eat!

Breakfast is served!

We each had a plate of Huevos Rancheros. Eggs, with refried beans and potatoes and salsa and tortillas. 120 pesos ($9.85 CDN) and a cup of coffee for 30 pesos ($2.50 CDN) per person. So, with a tip our breakfast cost 330 pesos ($27.00 CDN). Pretty expensive in a country where you can normally get a good breakfast for 45 pesos ($3.70 CDN) each.

However, our stomachs were full and the food was good!

Walking through first class, we went to go through the doors to second class and we were stopped by a policeman. Yes, they have several armed police on the train for security, and I expect, because the train carries a lot of cash from the ticket sales. Anyhhow, we had to explain how we had second class seats, but had only been up to have breakfast. Nope, apparently that's not allowed! But, it was done now, and we were allowed to go back to our seats.

It was a beautiful day and we decided to hang out for a while in the open section between cars. There's a half door on each side of the car both front and back that they let you stand and get some fresh air and take photos without having to try and do it through the windows.

We stood there for over three hours!

The weather was perfect and the scenery was spectacular. And, we took a lot of photos. Here are a few of the best...

Going over one of the bigger bridges.

Fantastic scenery.

This vulture was sunning himself with his wings spread.

Great sky too!

Ruth, with her hair blowing in the wind.

Great scenery and we haven't even made it into the canyon yet!

Remember, you want a seat on the right side of the train if you're heading towards Chihuahua.

Now we're getting into the mountains.

How many times can we say "wow"!


The Copper Canyon railway line began construction in 1898, but it wasn't opened until 1961. From near sea level in Los Mochis, it rises to 8,000 ft altitude near Divisadero before dropping again into the city of Chihuahua. It crosses 37 bridges and goes through 86 tunnels!

Here comes a tunnel.

And another!

Hey, look at that! No idea what he's pointing at.

We were down there just a few minutes ago!

We spent three hours standing right here!

Despite this sign, which nobody pays attention to.

Scenery.

Surprisingly, this town has a full service Pemex. Only dirt roads to get there though.

Another bridge.

At stops along the way, the Tarahumra try to sell you their goods.

We bought a basket from this girl for 30 pesos ($2.50 CDN)

This boy was watching the train go by.

Arrived at Divisadero. One of our porters. They're a friendly and helpful crew!

We arrived in Divisadero just a few minutes late at about 2:25pm. Walked over to the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas and thanked Mario the manager for allowing us to park there. It's a really nice hotel, and has fantastic views. Thanks again Mario!

Sure enough, Sherman was waiting for us and everything was fine. We drove the short distance into the park where the cable car and longest zipline in the world are done over the canyon. We had to pay 20 pesos ($1.65) each to get in, and that included the ability to park overnight...at the best boondocking spot in the world!

Stay tuned for part 2 later on today...all we can say is WOW!


30 comments:

  1. I cannot believe that after you sneaked into the dining car, you were not tossed into a Mexican prison---for failing to eat your eggs BEFORE boarding the train!

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    1. We were worried that they weren't going to let us out of first class! Guess next time we will just stick with the snack car. :-)

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  2. Replies
    1. You and Norma, definitely have to do this trip. Try to do it as you enter Mexico or when you leave, not in the middle of January, it is just a little too chilly at night.

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  3. WoW! Ya - a great day! Great pics - a neat experience for sure!

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    1. It was fantastic, we loved it and we love the area. We will certainly be back to spend more time in and around the canyon.

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  4. I've taken the train ride both directions a few times but the most memorable trip was when I asked to ride in the engine. At Divisadero I was hustled to the front of the train and clambered up. There was only one seat and the engineer sat there so I had to stand all the way to El Fuerte. If you're going to do this, wear comfortable shoes and use the bathroom beforehand as there are no amenities in the engine and it has no connection back to the passenger cars. Talk about great views!

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    1. Wow, what an amazing experience that must have been. I could do that no problem, as I stood at the window at the end of the passenger car most of the way as it was, and both ways never had to use the bathroom. Definitely a memory that you will never forget.

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  5. Thanks for the great train ride and excellent photos.

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed them George!

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  6. What beautiful country. I wonder why 2nd class cannot access the dining car. At those rates you would think they would be happy to take anyones money there. Those baskets are beautiful - I would have bought one too!

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    1. I have not idea why they don't let the 2nd class have access the dining car, I also would have thought that they would not want to turn down any extra money that they may get. Maybe it has to do more with keeping the 1st class cars secure?!

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  7. Good thing the cop got to your after breakfast and not before, or it would have been a bit of a tough morning. Nice pics.

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    1. Yep, although when we went back through the snack car we did notice that they had tamales so we would have been able to eat those but we didn't see them when we first went through the first time and they didn't have any kind of menu posted.

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  8. What an awesome ride!
    Connie & Barry in PA

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    1. It sure was, and one we won't soon forget.

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  9. Replies
    1. Thank you Peter and yes, we enjoyed every minute of it.

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  10. Replies
    1. Thank you Jackie and Joel! It is a train ride that we would highly recommend with gorgeous views.

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  11. Those are just dandy tips, right side seating on the way to Chihuaha and cash! We were in Los Mochis before on the way to Mazatlan. We should have stopped to take that train ride to the Copper Canyon. We didn't know it could be that interesting!

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    1. If you are ever back that way you definitely need to take the train ride and then book yourselves into a hotel in Creel or at Divisadero for a few days. There a number of places to visit either by yourselves or with a guide. At Divisadero you are right at the edge of the canyon with lots of trails or you can take a gondola ride over part of the canyon.

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  12. I love train journeys and this one looks lovely. Great scenery, good food and a relaxing journey - what more could you want?

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    1. It was a perfect train ride and no you couldn't ask for more!

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  13. I took the Copper Canyon train excursion a few years back and loved it. That breakfast WAS pretty expensive! Did you make up for it with a cheapo fresh food at the train station in Divisadero? Here is my trip, http://travelswithcarole.blogspot.com/search/label/Copper%20Canyon

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    1. It was expensive but it was also delicious! We did have the gorditas at Divisadero but they aren't exactly cheap there as what you would find in Creel but again they were totally delicious.

      Glad to see that you sent some time in Divisadero and the Creel area. I think we were in the area for about a week or so and loved it. We will definitely be returning. We want to go down to the bottom of the canyon next time.

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  14. Your scenery photos are lovely, but that's a pretty awesome shot of the vulture that you were able to get from a moving train. I've never been to Mexico around the Sea of Cortez and the Copper Canyon. I hope to remedy that some day.

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    1. We highly recommend spending some time in the Copper Canyon area, it is totally beautiful here. There is a lot to see, the scenery is fantastic and the air is fresh. When we were there the nights were cold (we were there in January) but the day time temperatures were perfect for hiking. I would think the best time to go would be around March to possibly May and then again in September to November or so. Less crowds then and better temperatures. They have lots of tours that you can do if that is your thing. We had our motorhome there so we did many things on our own. We will return there again and see more of what we missed and we will also make the trip to the bottom of the canyon.

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  15. We've talked about taking the train through the Copper Canyon for several years and your blog post was inspiring. What an amazing experience and your photos are lovely!

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    1. You should definitely do it, you won't regret it! The scenery is amazing. You also need to spend a few days in the Creel and Divisadero areas too.

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