At the Purcari Winery in the village of Purcari, Moldova. Photo taken December 7, 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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Copper Canyon train - Divisadero to El Fuerte

We got on the road fairly early from Creel. We knew the train didn't leave Divisadero until about 1:30pm, but we still had to get there about an hour away, and we didn't know for sure that we would find a secure spot to leave Sherman alone for the night.

Filled up the propane tank as we left Creel. It was a little expensive, at 8.21 pesos per litre but we knew we still had a few more chilly nights so better to have enough propane.

We didn't get a photo, but just on the outskirts of Creel is a big building project. Turns out it is a new airport runway, paved and everything. They sure had to move a lot of rocks to get it that flat for that distance. I guess a fairly major airport will bring more tourists to the Copper Canyon.

The drive from Creel to Divisadero is another twisty windy road with lots of steep uphill and downhill sections. It doesn't help that there was a heavy frost overnight and some sections of the road were still a little greasy!

Frost on the road. Yes, we were crawling down in first gear. Again, there was no traffic.

If the sun was on it, the road was fine though.

Until we came to this!

They were pulling a truck out of the ditch. I guess someone was going too fast! We only had to wait 15 or 20 minutes and we were moving again. Hey, we could have got our propane from that guy. Which is totally true actually. Here in Mexico there are a lot of propane delivery trucks, and you really can simply flag one down if you need to fill up!

We made it to Divisadero, and our first real view of the canyon.

Natives selling their handicrafts.

Divisadero is the one stop on the train line where the train sits for 20 minutes so that passengers can get off and get a view of the canyon. So it's a hive of activity for that time while people view the canyon, buy souvenirs, and get some food from the many stands ready to sell for that short period every day.

After our quick view of things, we needed to find somewhere for Sherman. We had been told about Mario, a guy who manages the hotel here, the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas. We had noticed that they have a large gated parking lot, and it was pretty much empty at this time of year. Mario, being the nice guy that he is, said Sherman would be perfectly safe, and that we were welcome to leave him for a night or two. Nice! Thanks Mario!

Sherman, parked for the night.

Ruth, overlooking the canyon.

A local lady with her basket weaving straw.

This lady has long thick hair!

Here comes the train!

Ruth, in her second class seat!

Can't for the life of us figure why anybody would choose to pay the difference for first class. It's about 50% more expensive and the only real benefit is that you can use the dining car. Our second class tickets from Divisadero to El Fuerte cost 520 pesos ($42.50) each for the five and a half hour journey.

The train was busier than I expected. This is the slow time of year for tourism, yet there were many locals who take the train, some from stop to stop, and some all the way from Chihuahua to Los Mochis...more than 12 hours journey. We spoke to one tour guide who said that it is mostly Mexican tourists at this time of year, and mostly European tourists interspersed with some American tour groups during the summer. It seems that Americans are for the most part still too afraid to come here.

There's a bridge up ahead.

On the bridge.

And another.

And a tunnel.

Part of the fun with this adventure is not only watching the amazing scenery, but wondering at the engineering that built this series of bridges and tunnels to begin with. The line took decades to complete, and was opened in 1961. Like I said, amazing!

Scenery along the way.

That's our tracks down there.

More scenery.

Heading over another bridge.

And the view we had from that bridge!

We arrived in El Fuerte at about 7:20pm. It was dark out, and the train station is actually located 7 kms (4 miles) from town. Quite a few people got on and off though so there were people getting picked up, and a few taxis around. We knew that to take a private taxi would be expensive, and we found a collectivo style that would take us for 50 pesos ($4.20) each. Not bad. 

In town, we had them drop us off at Hotel Herradura, and managed a room for 400 pesos ($32.80) for the night. Pretty basic, but it had hot water for a shower and we were happy! We went out for dinner, and before we knew it, it was time for bed. Up early this morning. The same guy is picking us up at 7:40am to take us back to the train station to get back to Divisadero today. The views are supposed to be better this morning, so we'll have more pictures for you tomorrow!

29 comments:

  1. Just lovely Kevin! Thanks for taking us with you. Love train travel anywhere -- you see locals, experience the gentle rocking, can daydream out the window or see fabulous scenery. All good stuff!
    Love the lighting on the hilltops as you passed over a bridge.
    Josie

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    1. Thank you Josie, we are happy that you enjoyed the post. We agree, train travel is wonderful. We think this is probably one of the prettiest train rides that we have ever taken.

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  2. I'll never travel to Copper Canyon so I'm living it through your blog. Thanks for taking us along.

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    1. We are so glad that we were able to bring the beauty of the Copper Canyon to you then and so happy that you enjoyed the ride.

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  3. Cool. Just as I saw that LP truck I thought, "Hey they could get their gas from that guy". Not even knowing if that were true or not. Here I thought that might be a bit far fetched. Apparently not. So I learned something.

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    1. Nope it isn't too far fetched at all!

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  4. The propane trucks are always happy to stop for you in Mexico and their prices are always competitive. We have talked to many Americans this winter up here in the US and as soon as they discover we have spent so much time in Mexico they tell us they would never go there. Either that or they think they have been to Mexico because they spent a couple of weeks in a PV all inclusive resort.

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    1. We love that they do things like that in Mexico, that's what is so much fun about this beautiful country!

      We totally agree with you Croft, we get much the same reaction when we mention that we are going to Mexico. These people just don't know what they are missing out on.

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  5. This is one train ride Paul would love to take. Gorgeous!

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    1. If you love train rides then this is definitely a must do train ride. The scenery was gorgeous and it was probably the best train ride we have ever been on.

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  6. Replies
    1. We are under the impression that it is a mixture of both.

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  7. Awesome that you were able to find a safe spot for Sherman, for free even! That is a major concern of most RVers. I love the amazing engineering that go into mountain rail lines. Cool that you are able to poke your head and camera out the windows for great shots---can't do that on Amtrak! Finally, by craftily denying yourselves the dining car with your second class tickets, you probably saved yet another 50% right there! Were there any chickens?

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    1. We had no problem at all finding a secure spot for Sherman and yes, it was even better knowing that it was free.

      When we were on the train we were marveling at the feat of engineering as well, I think that was half of the experience as well as the scenery of course. Yes, it was an added bonus being able to go to the end of the car and stick our heads out of the windows, it also made for much better pictures.

      Nope, didn't see any chickens on the train!

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  8. I am so jealous! I love train rides, I've taken them in Colorado, New Mexico and North Carolina, but never Mexico!!!

    Thanks for sharing your pictures

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    1. If you love train rides then you definitely have to consider doing this one, it was truly a beautiful journey.

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  9. Would have loved to take that copper Canyon Train when we were in Mexico, but our accident there kind of threw us off schedule , hopefully another time.

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    1. Sorry you weren't able to do the trip when you visited Mexico before. I really hope that you will consider doing it, it was amazing.

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  10. There is something so romantic about train travel. I haven't done nearly enough of it in my life!

    RV'ing in Mexico is a bit scary for me, but I've been really enjoying your travels and hope to give it a go someday as well.

    www.RVDogVentures.com

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    1. We love train travel too and hope to do some more in the future.

      If you have any questions at all about RVing in Mexico, we are more than happy to answer them. Our first year or two we were a little nervous too but you soon get over that once you realize how friendly the people are and how beautiful the country is.

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  11. Replies
    1. We had a fantastic time and even a better one on the return trip.

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  12. Awesome! The gorditas at the Divisidero station are worth the trip alone! Keep warm!

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    1. The food at Divisadero looks totally delicious!

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  13. I was hoping to see Copper Canyon when I went to the city of Chihuahua in 2012, but work meetings kept me there much later each day than I planned. Several coworkers had been to the canyon on their trips to Chihuahua. They all raved about Copper Canyon, but I finally got to see photos here on your post, thanks for sharing! I was told that you can have your RV secured on a train car and get unloaded at El Fuerte to continue your trip across Mexico. I would love to take that kind of trip some day! Did you see any RV's loaded on the train? Looking forward to upcoming posts!

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    1. Looks like liability has spelled the end for putting RV's on a flatcar on the Copper Canyon RR. http://coppercanyon.org/about/copper-canyon-train-rv-tours/

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    2. Yes they stopped putting RV's on the flatbeds back in early 2007. Even in Mexico, they eventually have to bend to the lawyers!

      I sure hope that you are able to make this trip sometime in the future, it really is a fantastic experience.

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  14. LOL!! we are just planning our return trip to Canada from Zihuatanejo AND with the Copper Canyon as part of our itinerary! I just told my husband...HEY! I LOVE these guys! we are just going to do what THEY did! We have a 91 Westy....named Bonnie. Smaller than Sherman but we love her to bits! Thanks soooo much for doing the legwork for us. Inspires ME to do some for other people,too, as we travel all over Mexico in Bonnie. BTW...we stayed at Arturo's in Michoacan..AWESOME!

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    1. I really hope that you enjoy the Copper Canyon as much as we did, we will certainly be back for a return visit one day.

      Glad to hear that you love exploring Mexico as much as us and getting to some of those out of the way places. Nice to see that you went to Arturo's, we hope that we can get others to go there as well, he has really been trying hard to attract people and hope that he can make a viable business out of it.

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