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Los Mochis

If the state of Sinaloa has a characteristic feature, it is definitely agricultural wealth, due mainly to its technical progress and infrastructure, as well as to the excellent soil and a favorable weather. The Fuerte River — with the same name as the valley — irrigates an extensive region whose main crops are vegetables, corn, beans and sugarcane, and whose commercial and financial center is the city of Los Mochis. If we follow the course of the Fuerte River through the irrigated fields, we come upon an arid, barren region unhinabited by humans. From Los Mochis to the sea the area is totally flat, and where the fields end, the marshes begin. Beyond these marshes, a deep green tract of land unfolds before us: a thicket filled with mangroves, bushes and trees. At the mangrove's end, there are huge lagoons and estuaries parallel to the coast of the Sea of Cortez, teeming with groups of marine and land fauna. The port of Topolobampo, barely 14.9 miles from Los Mochis toward the west, is one of the most important in the Mexican Pacific, famous for its great fishing activities. It is well known, not only for its superb shrimp but also as a thriving commercial and industrial center.

El Fuerte

The Gateway to Copper Canyon. El Fuerte was founded in 1564 by the Spanish conquistador Don Francisco de Ibarra, the first explorer of the lofty western Sierra Madre mountains. In 1610 a fort was built to ward off the fierce Zuaque and Tehueco indians, who constantly harrased the Spaniards. El Fuerte was the gateway to the last frontiers of northern indian territories of Sonora, Arizona and California.After subduing warring Sinaloa Zuaque and Tehueco indians, the settlement fluorish. For three centuries it was the most important commercial and agricultural center of the vast northern region of Mexico. El Fuerte became a major trading post for silver miners and gold seekers from the Urique, Batopilas and Rain of Gold mines in the nearby Sierra Madre. In 1824, El Fuerte became the capital of what is now the states of Sonora, Sinaloa and part of Arizona. It remained so for several years.There is much rich history in and around El Fuerte. You can be sure that a historical walk around this picturesque colonial city of 30,000 people is very rewarding. El Fuerte Eco-Adventures:

  • Take the Colonial Walk Tour for historical delight. Visit the colonial church, the municipal palace, the plaza and various old mansions. Ask at the hotel for the booklet with the guide walking tour and map (takes about 1-2 hours).
  • Ride to the Tehueco (Blue Sky) Mayo Indian Mission, about 9 miles or 1 hour away. It is the center for Mayo religious fiestas. Tehueco was founded in 1648 and the mission church was built in 1650. The present structure - next to the 1650 ruins- was built in 1811. You can also visit the ancient Indian village of Capomos.
  • Go into an exciting raft ride through the Fuerte River, watch the birds and enjoy pure nature!
  • Take a taxi or van ride — 9 miles — to see the Nahuatl Petroglyphs, up to 1500 years old. Or you may cross the river by boat and hike 1 mile to the petroglyphs and return (3 hours) and visitBird Island on the same trip (15 minutes more)
  • White-winged Dove and Quail hunting are offered in various areas. You may ride horseback along El Fuerte River, or even go kayaking.
  • Many visitors prefer to spend the night here and then begin their Copper Canyon train journey in the morning after a hearty breakfast. You may arrive to El Fuerte by train, bus or private plane.

Temoris Train Station

The most dramatic area of the train adventure.

Bahuichivo Train station

Stop over for mision hotel at cerocahui village.

Cerocahui Village

The most magnificent view of Urique Canyon. A wonderful virgin landscape setting in the middle of the mysteriously beautiful Tarahumara Indian countryside. The charming village of Cerocahui is located at the edge of Urique Canyon - the deepest canyon in the system - in a valley dotted with apple orchards. The village is about 8 miles from the Bahuichivo train station where the Chihuahua al Pacifico stops daily. The 900 local inhabitants experience a way of life many of us yearn to live. Cerocahui is an "ejido" (government-established community cooperative) dedicated to forestry. Additional occupations are ranching, farming and service businesses such as grocery stores. Mining once provided employment but the last local mine, the "Sangre de Cristo", folded in 1963. Cerocahui was first visited by outsiders in 1679 when the Jesuit Padre Pecoro stayed here for a short period and reported the Indians were not ready to accept his faith. On the 23th of November 1680 the Jesuit priest father Juan Maria de Salvatierra arrived in Cerocahui. The enthusiastic Italian priest began the teaching of Christianity and started construction of the mission church. He remained in the area for 10 years then went on to found the Church at Loreto, the first mission established in Baja California. The Jesuits continued their work in Cerocahui until 1767 when they were recalled to Spain as the result of political differences with the Spanish King. Orders to close the mission were sent out by messengers from Mexico City — the Jesuits had but one month to leave the country. We have no more recorded history until 1936 when the Jesuits returned in the form of the dynamicPadre Andres Lara, the man generally credited with founding Cerocahui. By 1940 Padre Lara had begun work on the decrepit church of Cerocahui which was - at the time - a tumble-down structure of adobe walls. Reconstruction of this church continued until its dedication in 1956. In 1941 the good Padre founded the Tarahumara Indian Boarding School which continues operation today. The school burned in 1957 and was reconstructed in 1963. The Padre died in Guadalajara in 1976 and his remains were taken to the religious cemetery in Sisoguichi. On March 11, 1997 his remains were returned to Cerocahui where they presently rest in the walls of his beloved church. On October 26, 1961 President Lopez Mateos inaugurated the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, providing the first real public transportation to Cerocahui. In 1968 the Hotel Mision was opened. Cerocahui Eco-Adventures:
  • Trek to Huicochi, Cerocahui's Waterfall. "Huicochi" in Tarahumara means "place of many trees." Experience a memorable 5 miles round-trip walk (3 hours) along the river to this beautiful waterfall at the end of a box canyon. Enjoy swimming in the summer. Moderate to difficult hike. • The old "Sangre de Cristo" gold mine is named for the red soil. There is an abundance of natural beauty along the way. Moderate to difficult hike, approximately 3 1/2 miles round trip.
  • Walk to "Las Cascaditas" (the Little Waterfalls) in rainy season. Along the way visit a sawmill, some Tarahumara ranchos and an old cemetery. There are nice swimming holes at the waterfalls. Moderate hike, approximately 2 miles round trip (90 minutes).
  • Hike to the lookout of "El Valle del Leon" (the Valley of the Lion). This moderate hike provides magnificent views of the town and valleys (2 miles or 2 hours round trip).
  • The Jesuit Mission of San Francisco was founded by Father Juan Maria de Salvatierra in 1694. Salvatierra was the first white man to reach the bottom of the canyon in 1695. The Mission church is in front of the hotel.
  • Tour a private Tarahumara Indian girls boarding school next door to the hotel. The girls will sing in the Tarahumara language for groups.
  • Ride to "Cerro del Gallego Urique Outlook", providing the most sweeping view of the Copper Canyon sytem readily available for tourists. Standing at a 7,500 feet elevation look into Urique
  • Canyon, the deepest canyon in the system. The mining town of Urique is nestled below, along the river. Also included in the tour is a cave home - now serving as "The Basket Shop" - a
  • Tarahumara rancho and the "Virgencita" (Little Virgin) Spring. 22 miles round trip (3 1/2 hours).This is a must!
  • Visit the 1724 gold and silver mining town of Urique. Tropical fruit, corn, peanuts and coffee abound. See the old kiln, church, cemetery and plaza with spectacular views along the way. Urique is at a 1,590 feet elevation.
  • Travel by bus, van or train to Posada Mirador Hotel on the rim of the actual Copper Canyon. It takes about 4 hours by bus and 1 hour by train from the nearby station of Bahuichivo.

Divisadero Train Station

Stop over for pictures for tarahumara natives and copper canyon views.

Aerial Tram

Ride the 2nd longest aerial tram in the world, only at Copper Canyon nature park

Arareko Lake

Origin: Approximately 30 million years, this area was subject to constant and major tectonic faults that caused intense fracturing in the crust as cracks, many of which fell more than 1500 meters. The rainwater and the undercurrent took grooves formed, giving rise to streams, rivers, lakes and waterfalls that flowed into the mountains.Lake Arareco is a lake high in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Chihuahua state in northern Mexico located about 14 kilometres south of Creel. It is a U-shaped lake, surrounded by unusual rock formations and a fragrant pine forest. A few kilometres away is a scenic canyon with the Cascada Cusárare waterfall drops 30 m (100 feet).

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Topolobampo Bay

The port of Topolobampo, barely 14.9 miles from Los Mochis toward the west, is one of the most important in the Mexican Pacific, famous for its great fishing activities. It is well known, not only for its superb shrimp but also as a thriving commercial and industrial center. Nearby — opposite the Sea of Cortez — there are long, flat beaches, devoid of any rocks or hills whatsoever, where absolute solitude and peace prevail. "Maviri", "Punta de Copas" and "Las Hamacas" are truly natural paradises. The sanctuaries for marine animals, where you can observe a large colony of seals and sea lions are located in the "Farallon de San Ignacio", only 45 minutes away by boat from the Topolobampo bay