Ruth, whale watching in Iceland. Photo taken October 4, 2012.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Wandering around Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

We relaxed for the morning, and also brought our laundry over to the office. They said it would cost 50 pesos ($4.10 CDN) to wash, and 50 pesos to dry. They only have big industrial sized machines because it's the laundry they use for the hotel. We had a lot of stuff to do, including sheets, but we managed to get it all in to one load.

For 100 pesos ($8.20 CDN) it was worth it to have it all washed, dried, and folded.

Around 11:30am we walked in to the central area.

At first glance, I thought this was a dog lying in front of this house! How about that? A guard sheep!

Creel has a population of about 5,000 people. It's really a lumber town, but it has a lot of tourism because of it's close proximity to the Copper Canyon, and the fact that the passenger train from the city of Chihuahua to Los Mochis on the west coast stops in here twice a day. Some days, there are two trains as a second class one comes through as well.

Main street Creel.

Lots of dogs in town. Some of them hang out at the plaza.

There are two small churches.

When the train comes through, it's a big event. The local Tarahumara Indians make a lot of crafts and artwork, and they try to sell their wares to the people getting off the train. Also, the people getting off the train are often being picked up by local hotels, so there's a lot of commotion while they try to get themselves sorted out, while being asked to buy things from the natives. 

Here comes the train!

Everyone trying to get themselves sorted out.

And then the train pulls out. Only a five minute stop.

We stopped in to a little taco place for lunch.

Four tacos each, with all the fixings. Total bill, 80 pesos ($6.50 CDN).

The Tarahumara wear very colorful clothing.

They are quite quick to run up to us and try and sell something, but all it takes is once to tell them no, and they don't bother you again. We've had a couple of them come up and simply ask for money. The children are taught from a very young age, in fact we had one women and her daughter come up to us, and the daughter couldn't have been a year and a half old, yet she had bracelets and things and was being told to come up to us.

There is an actual store in town where their arts and crafts and clothing is for sale, with profits going back to support health care etc for the Tarahumara. I don't know enough about it, but I expect the government has probably sunk millions of dollars of support towards the Tarahumara, and I know there are charitable organizations that support them as well. But like in can't change a culture with money. 

We found a sign that pointed to a mirador (lookout) and so we followed the path up the hill.

Heading up to the lookout.

A little ways to go yet. Can you see the statue at the top?

Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico.

The statue at the top.

We made our way back to Sherman, after stopping to buy a few fruits and veggies. I had an afternoon nap, and Ruth spent some time on the computer. Nice to have an unlimited supply of internet for a change, after using our cell stick for the last few weeks.

As I said yesterday, the Hotel Villa Mexicana hotel and RV Park used to be a KOA quite a few years ago. The rooms and the main building are very nice, but the RV sites don't get used very much and they're not in very good shape. There are a few picnic tables, but they're all broken. Some sites have sewer, some don't. None of them have working water, and there is not even an outdoor tap to use, so you had better arrive with water of your own. I was allowed access to an indoor tap to fill up our five gallon carry bag.

Here's a few photos of the place...

Sherman, all by himself, with around 75 empty campsites!

Each site has a grill!

I bet it's nice and green during rainy season.

They have KOA camping cabins. I think there are 8 or 10 of them in total.

The main building, with restaurant and small shop is really nice. As is the playground for kids.


Ha! The view out our side window. The big empty campground is also used for grazing cattle!

We're going to stay here one more night, and then drive to Divisadero tomorrow morning, find somewhere secure to leave the motorhome for the night, and get on the afternoon train to El Fuerte, where we'll spend the night before taking the return train back Tuesday morning.


  1. Kind of too bad that RV park doesn't get more use. Did someone have big plans that didn't pan out? I haven't looked on a map, but I guess it's not on the way to anywhere where most RVers want to go? Enquiring minds and all.
    At least someone didn't come in and park right next to you. That wouldn't surprise me.

    1. Prior to 2007, you used to be able to put your RV on a flatbed rail car and take the train from Los Mochis to Creel. Many people would then stay in Creel for a few days at the RV park before either driving away, or going back on the train. Also, caravans used to stop in here, although I'm not sure if any still do. No, nobody parked right beside us...yet!

  2. last time I was in Creel I made a side trip down to the bottom of copper canyon to the town of Batopilas, lots of Indians there and most had never seen a minivan like the one I drove down the canyon...

    1. I doubt that we will make it to Batopilas this trip but we do want to make it to the bottom of the canyon. We are looking at a possible hike when we return from the train ride. I am pretty sure that most of Tarahumara or Raramuri Indians have now seen lots of minivans at the bottom of the canyon as there are lots of tours that go there now. Sounds like you had a good adventure when you were here.

  3. Cute town, I am sure the rail service helps keep it going. Looks like the RV park is almost gone:(

    1. Yes, I believe there is a lot of tourism here in the town because of the train.

  4. Replies
    1. He has us and that's all he cares about! :-)

  5. Your pictures are really terrific, so crisp and clear. I love the colorful clothing and especially the skirts. I'd buy some up if I were there. I love wearing skirts. $8.20 for laundry is about what I pay to do it myself. Sounds like a deal to me. What a loss to just let the campground deteriorate but it's nice for you that 74 of 75 sites are empty.

    1. Thanks Sherry, I think the pictures are so crisp and clear because that is exactly how the day was. Definitely on the chilly side here.

      The skirts are beautiful and we are looking forward to seeing lots more of them. You can buy them in the tourist shops but I never checked to see how much.

      It is a shame to see the campground in this state. It would be nice if they could even just keep 10 sites that would be up to grade and get rid of the rest. The train doesn't have the flat beds to transport the RV's anymore which means that very few people actually drive here like we did, so the RV park doesn't get much use anymore.

  6. I agree with heyduke having come this far you really need to have a couple of days in the canyon...the hike down, the unbelievable z ip lines well worth it my opinion les

    1. We are hoping to hike down to the bottom of the canyon after the train ride. We would love to do the zip lines but with everything else we are doing and with having to buy some new stuff for Sherman once we are back in the States, I am not sure that the zip lines will be in our budget. Also not sure if they will still do it at this time of year, it is pretty darn chilly out there!

  7. You're gonna love the train to El Fuerte! Keep warm!

    1. Thanks Chris, we are looking forward to it.

  8. Thanks for your reporting. As you know, RV parks in general have been declining for the last few years, but I believe they have reached a bottom and got an email from a man starting one in Michoacan recently. I was in Creel photographing the waterfalls (and in Basaseachi) in last November. I was glad to learn of this campground from y’all.

    My thinking is that RV'ers are not as adventurous as they used to be. It seems a different crowd than when I wrote the Sanborn's Travelogs in the 80's and 90's. So it is refreshing to run across you folks. Keep up the good work.

    IMO, after having driven down to Batopilas (and anywhere in Mexico where there is sort of a road), it is not worth the effort. No vale la pena. Sure, if you just want to say you've done it, it is good for bragging rights, but even though it is easier now, the dream is better than the reality.

    1. Yes, it is sad that the parks are declining in numbers but it seems to us that not many of the RVer's who travel to Mexico actually travel in Mexico. Most seem to set up for the winter by the beach rather than explore. We aren't like that have found that the lack of RV parks doesn't stop us, we can always find somewhere to park.

      The whole Creel, Copper Canyon and Basaseachi areas are beautiful and we look forward to going back and spending more time there in the future.

      Glad you enjoyed the blog post!


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