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We appreciate it when our guests share their stories, comments and photos with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Linda & John Gowdy, from Poestenkill, NY, traveled with us on our Copper Canyon 8-day to the Bottom and wrote us this quick letter about their trip:

Laurie-

I wanted to thank you for all your help and arrangements for our Copper Canyon trip! We got back Saturday night after a week of very relaxing travel. Everything was exactly as planned and we were very pleased with the accommodations and the trip. We had a very good time and the scenery was spectacular. Martín was an excellent driver on the “road” to Batopilas. He even put up with my bad Spanish!

Thanks again!

Linda Gowdy
Poestenkill, NY

Tarahumara church in the Copper Canyon.

Tarahumara church in the Copper Canyon.

El Chepe train exiting one of the 86 tunnels it will pass through on it's way through Copper Canyon.

El Chepe train exiting one of the 86 tunnels it will pass through as it travels through Copper Canyon.

Spectacular Copper Canyon view!

Spectacular Copper Canyon view!

 

We appreciate it when our guests share their stories, comments and photos with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Recently, Sandy and Harry Scott, from Asheville, North Carolina, traveled with us on our Copper Canyon 11-day Independent Tour to the Bottom and had this to report:

Keep making your excellent itineraries, everything was so easy! We loved having reservations made. Not needing to get taxis was a welcome luxury to have. All our needs taken care of. Going the extra mile exceeded our expectations – example: having the driver take us to our Air BnB at the end of the trip. Laurie was particularly helpful. Participating in the Christmas Posado was very meaningful, I was very positively and emotionally impacted by the experience. We will call you again!

Sandy & Harry Scott
Asheville, NC

Sandy Scott at an overlook in Copper Canyon. Photo by Harry Scott

Sandy Scott enjoying the spectacular view of one of the many canyons in Copper Canyon. Photo by Harry Scott

Snowy covered canyon in Copper Canyon. Photo by Harry Scott

Snowy covered canyon in Copper Canyon. Photo by Harry Scott

Copper Canyon has so many amazing canyon views! Photo by Harry Scott

Copper Canyon has so many amazing canyon views! Photo by Harry Scott

We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Carol Schlafly, from Nashville, TN, wrote us about her recent escorted adventure in the Copper Canyon:

It was all just wonderful, food was great, all arrangements were just great, the hotels were great too! Rob [California Native guide] is wonderful — whatever we needed, he made it happen. Our al fresco lunch on the way to Batopilas was an unexpected and very sweet surprise.

I thought the prep work was great — wonderful info, all arrangements were very smooth, instructions were good. All the local guides and drivers were wonderful. A+ for all, lunch on the beach after petting the dolphins was great!

It was an adventure, we saw and did things I would not have ordinarily done, we saw some amazing terrain and some excitement along the way! Very exciting!

Rob Aikins is amazing. I could write a book on all the things he handled & how patient and understanding he was. His knowledge of the area and the contacts (he knows everyone) are fabulous. I would definetly recommend this tour to friends.

Carol Schlafly
Nashville, TN

Enjoying a picnic in Copper Canyon!

Enjoying a picnic in Copper Canyon!

We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Bob & Ginnie Thurler, from Brooklyn Park, MN, wrote us this short letter about their adventure with us in the Copper Canyon:

We recently returned from your Ultimate 11-Day tour of the Copper Canyon. We both agree that this was by far the greatest vacation we have been on. Everything about the tour was first class and much more than we had expected it to be. This was the first guided trip we have ever been on. The guide did everything he could so that we were always informed of the days events, times and places, which we liked. We now have so much knowledge about the history of this area especially the people. As I stated before, this was our first guided tour and we both agree that it would be pretty difficult for anyone to top.

Bob & Ginnie Thurler
Brooklyn Park, MN

 

Tarahumara Musicians

Tarahumara musicians and dancer demonstrate a traditional Tarahumara song and dance in the Copper Canyon

Lost Cathedral of Satevo

Down at the bottom of the canyon is the “Lost Cathedral” of Satevo near Batopilas.

We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Recently, Ted McGrath who lives in Vancouver, Canada, returned from our California Native adventure in Copper Canyon and wrote:

California Native sent Rob Aikins from San Diego as our guide, Rob was excellent. Great personality, loaded with local knowledge, an awesome wit and ability to deal calmly and politely with any off the wall situations. Rob spoke perfect Spanish and at every stop knew just about everyone we met. He worked diligently to make our trip a seamless time where all we had to do was enjoy the experience while he attended to the detail of herding cats. He left nothing to chance!

El Fuerte
Hotel Torres del Fuerte has big rooms, high ceilings, air conditioning, bottled water, wi-fi in the hotel lobby area. Each of the 25 rooms decorated uniquely. Nice large inner courtyard. Lets call the place “charming”.

El Fuerte to Divisadero
The train ride from El Fuerte to Divisdearo was as awesome a train ride as one can find. The ride through the canyon has to be seen to be appreciated. 86 tunnels, 36 bridges with interesting rock formations. The train was great. Air conditioned, good seating and the meal at lunch very tasty.

Tarahumara woman at Lake Arareko

A Tarahumara woman is selling baskets and small items at the shore of Lake Arareko.

The Hotel Mirador at Divisadero sits right on the edge of Urique Canyon and the view is stunning. We took a gondola ride across the canyon where three of the main Copper Canyon complex of canyons join – cool!

Divisadero to Creel
From Divisadero, the train on to Creel is not as scenic. The hotel (Best Western Creel) has nice rustic western themed public space. One could think you were on vacation in Montana–western themed rooms too.

Creel to Batopilas
After one night in Creel we departed to Batopilas. Along the way we stopped at a Tarahumara cave home, and then two stops at unique rock formations. One with “mushroom” like outcroppings and one (the valley of the monks) with a proliferation of tall (really tall!) rounded rocks. About noon we stopped at a roadside home for a classy picnic lunch.

Batopilas
In Batopilas we walked to Mision Del Sataveo. On the way to the mision we stopped at a Tarahumara school and handed out school supplies and visited the nearby cemetery. We also visited the local museum in Batopilas and the crumbling previous property (Hacienda) of a silver mining company.

Batopilas to Creel
On the return trip to Creel we stopped again at the roadside home for lunch and went to the waterfall near Cusarare. Nice diversion, neat waterfall.

Ruins of the Shepherd Hacienda in Batopilas.

Ruins of the Shepherd Hacienda in Batopilas, at the bottom of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. It was once one of the richest silver mining cities in the world.

Creel to Chihuahua
After leaving Creel for Chihuahua we stopped at a Mennonite home for lunch. There’s a huge Mennonite presence in Chihuahua state, they are very successful farmers and it shows in their opulent homes and ample modern farm implements. On the drive into Chihuahua we passed many fields of apple orchards. The state is the major apple growing region in Mexico. Arrived in Chihuahua around 2:30 pm, checked into the lovely Holiday Inn & Suites in Centro. Next we were given an introductory tour of the city centre–the Zocalo, cathedral and drive by Hidalgo’s museum and a gorgeous early 20th century home now belonging to the University of Chihuahua (Mansion ‘Quinta Gameros’). This was the end of the California Native tour except for a farewell dinner at a Centro restaurant, El Retablo.

The group left for El Paso the next day.

Ted McGrath
Vancouver Canada

Next Stop: Divisadero

The following story was submitted to us by Kay Gilliland who describes her experience traveling with friends through Mexico’s Copper Canyon during the Christmas holidays. Breathtaking is the word quite often associated with someone’s first view of the Copper Canyon at the area around Divisadero. Below Kay offers us a similar response.

The California Native is always thrilled to have groups of friends join our trips to this charming region of Mexico. We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and we like to add them to our blog for everyone to enjoy. Excerpts from her journal will be posted regularly, so check back often to learn more about Kay’s 11-day Copper Canyon Adventure.

December 26, Friday

Jenny made a fire in the neat little stove. We took pictures of the room and the rock high on the cliffs that resembled Yogi Bear.

Breakfast included eggs, cheese and mild chili sauce, all on a taco.  We watched our cook make tortillas de aveno, then packed and thanked our hosts. Sally, Laurie and I went off for a hike with Jessica while Jenny went horseback riding. The hikers crossed an open area near lava- and tuff-layered cliffs, then up the arroyo to a small dam. Laurie decided to sit on a rock by the water. Sally and I followed Jessica upstream where she showed us an arrowhead. I asked if I could keep it and she said, “Oh, no. I always place it back under this leaf and rock so I can find it again for the next group. It is not considered to be of local origin, probably obtained in trade.” We continued upstream to the Cave of the Crosses. Fifty-three white crosses were painted on the black wall of the cave and there were human bones on the rocks. It is believed that the people died here of disease sometime around 1890 to 1900. There was possibly a storage area against the wall and there were several examples of the mano metate used for grinding corn. We hiked back down passing many kinds of oak and pine. Jessica pointed out the Alligator Juniper—it gets its name from the bark. I had seen a flock of little birds and a large bird like a woodpecker, but we did not see them again. We continued on to where Laurie was waiting and all four of us returned to the lodge in time to see Jenny coming in on her horse.

Jessica helped hoist our bags into the van and we all piled in for a ride to the train station. We talked with various people at the station. I rode between the cars in the open window. The canyons are very deep, 6135 feet in the case of the Urique (compare that to 6030 for the deepest part of the Grand Canyon in the United States). We passed the place where three canyons came together: Tararequa, Urique, and Copper. As before, many tunnels and bridges. The train stopped at San Rafael, a very colorful spot, where I bought my fourth basket.

Jessica explained that the pink-flowered trees were called Amapa and those trees came in yellow also. The beautiful fig type trees with yellow trunks and branches were Tescalame, one of the fig tree types. We got off at Divisidero for a van ride to the Mirador Hotel. We had a little porch outside our room with a fantastic view. Every room has a similar opportunity for its occupants to marvel at the canyon.

I saw a woman weaving a beautiful basket and wanted a picture. I bought my fifth basket so I could take a picture of her working on the basket.

The Mirador Hotel knows how to take full advantage of the reason for being on the rim of the Copper Canyon area. Jessica pointed out the place where the three canyons converge, only one of which is the Copper Canyon proper. Jenny’s and I sat on our porch filling our souls with the magnificence around us.

As we entered the lodge, Felipe gave us sombreros and began to play his guitar—lots of great songs. The Hat Dance brought a few people up to dance and more joined in as other tunes were played. Dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes and carrots (standing up like sentinels in the mashed potatoes) was followed by tea and cheesecake. Another wonderful day and off to bed.

Friends and Memories to Last a Lifetime

The following story was submitted to us by Kay Gililand who describes her experience traveling with friends through Mexico’s Copper Canyon during the Christmas holidays. Here, Kay re-unites with her traveling companions and remembers an important rule-of-thumb when flying internationally.

The California Native is always thrilled to have groups of friends join our trips to this charming region of Mexico. We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and we like to add them to our blog for everyone to enjoy. Excerpts from her journal will be posted regularly, so check back often to learn more about Kay’s 11-day Copper Canyon Adventure.

December 23, TuesdayHotel Torres del Fuerte near Mexico's Copper Canyon.

It is 12:30 A. M. and I am still packing for the trip. To bed finally before the alarm rings at 6:00 am. Up to pack last-minute things and wheel my bag down to Vincent, our van. Rhea drove to Laurie Sheldon’s house and she was all ready so off we went. As Rhea pulled into the Oakland Airport, Laurie said, “We’ll get more stamps on our passports.” “Passport? Passport! I forgot my passport!” I cried. I jumped out, checked my bag at the airport, got back in the car and Rhea drove me lickety split back home. I grabbed my passport and Rhea got me back to the airport.

The plane left and we were in Los Angeles by 10:30 A. M. Sally and Bill Stanton were at the gate so we had fun talking and catching up. The plane was scheduled to leave at 1:30 P. M. We met Jessica Jerman, our tour guide.

We are finally off on an enormous plane with the three of us seated together. Then onto an EMB-145 (whatever that is) for the flight. Aduana (customs) was a snap.

We introduced ourselves along the way. Jessica’s parents are in Wisconsin; her mother made the cookies we enjoyed during the wait in the Los Angeles Airport—very rich and delicious. Jessica studied Spanish in college and has lived in Chile. She came to the Copper Canyon area nine years ago, worked at various jobs in the nearby towns and then started with The California Native. She has been one of their guides for three years.

We arrived at the Hotel Torres del Fuerte. I should have brought my hiking poles and my binoculars. I would have been better off with my daypack instead of my purse. And of course I will never forget my passport again!

We received this letter from Robert Bolton, a photographer from Wellsville, Utah, who was delighted with his trip and the photographic opportunities in Copper Canyon.

Dear California Native,

Respecting my recent trip to Copper Canyon with your company, to begin Rob was an outstanding tour guide in all respects. He is highly competent, knows his facts and he was a pleasure to be with. Rob worked diligently to meet the various requests of tour participants. In summary, I count Rob as a new friend.

In regards to the trip itself, it was a thorough adventure. It seemed in some ways as though I was stepping back in time one hundred and fifty years – except for the modern amenities. I particularly enjoyed the cultural aspects of the sojourn, dealing with remote peoples and villages.

Batopilas was exceptional, and in my view the high point of the trip, although there were many other singular experiences as well. This remote village was a joy to visit, and, as I am a serious photographer, a pictorial feast. I spent the first afternoon there making pictures of the town and colorful facades. I would have enjoyed spending an additional day in Batopilas. Another aspect of this particular experience was observing the village inhabitants interacting with one another. They take time to enjoy one another’s company, something that is disappearing in western culture.

Further, this is the first time I have ridden a train since I was a child, other than a brief experience in Europe this past September. I thoroughly enjoyed the train and the various cultural experiences along the rails.

Our first nights stay at Torres Del Fuerte in El Fuerte was a special treat. The old world charm at this hotel was particularly memorable. I would have enjoyed spending a bit more time at this venue.

Throughout our travels the food was great. In particular, the cooking at the restaurant in Batopilas and at Diego’s – Paraiso del Oso – was outstanding. One other note: I had some of the best guacamole of my life at a small restaurant in Creel that Rob took us to.

To conclude, I’ll not soon forget this outstanding travel experience. Thank you for a wonderful adventure.
Sincerely,

Robert Bolton
Wellsville, UT

Thank you Mr. Bolton. And we invite others to share their impressions, photographs, and videos of their California Native trips.
Lee Klein

The California Native International Adventures is proud to welcome the Hotel Torres del Fuerte to their line of preferred Copper Canyon hotels. The newly restored hotel is in the colonial town of El Fuerte, the gateway to Mexico’s Copper Canyon.Hotel Torres del Fuerte in Mexico's Copper Canyon

This family-owned boutique hotel has been in the Torres family for nearly 200 years. Some of the structures date back to the time of the town’s original settlers 400 hundred years ago. This impressive property is conveniently located within a one-block stroll to the town’s plaza.

Upon stepping through the front archway, a member of the Torres family is there to greet you and show you around the hacienda. The friendly welcome and beautiful courtyard are just the beginning of a wonderful visit. There are 25 enchanting rooms, each uniquely decorated with fine art, antiques and materials from around the world (China, Morocco and Paris to name a few). The eclectic décor of the hotel gives it the feel of a home belonging to a rich silver trader who had, over the years, brought treasures back from his world travels.

The hotel’s elegant dining room offers gourmet meals and local fares including fresh caught black bass when available. The grounds are spectacular with luscious gardens and fascinating water features. A cozy cantina with an inviting patio lounge is just off the garden. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly service is a nice way to end a long day of touring.