Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Barrancas del Cobre

Art and I had been thinking for a while that we should really visit the Copper Canyon while we were here in Mazatlán.  However, we were somewhat put off by the pricing we were finding on the internet. Looking through the archives on a local mailing list, I found several mentions of a local travel agent for setting up a trip like this, so I hopped on a bus to Gran Plaza to find Diana at Viages Coppala. She set me right up - and for about 2/3s the price of what I had been able to find myself. Even better, we could leave any day we wanted, and we wouldn't be being herded around in a group. Perfect!

Last Wednesday, we boarded a bus for the six hour trip to Los Mochis. 

Our bus

First class long distance bus travel in Mexico is pretty nice. The seats have more legroom and recline farther than on a plane - and there's even wifi (that's the password on the bulkhead to the left).

Bus interior
The bus made several stops along the way. Some were to pick up additional passengers (Culiacán, Guasave and a couple of others). There were opportunities at some of the stops to get off and buy food, and at others, vendors came aboard selling buritos and aguas frescas. We didn't buy anything, although by the end of the trip, I was wishing we had. One stop involved immigration coming aboard looking for illegal immigrants (we passed - actually, they completely ignored us, much to Art's dismay, as he was dying to flash his shiny new residency card), and another was for a fruit inspection.

Sinaloa is a big agricultural area. Mostly what we saw along the side of the road was corn and tomatoes. Judging by the trucks full of big sacks of potatoes we saw, they also grow those here.

Just before we got to Los Machis, the Federales stopped us for quite a long time. They were clearly looking for someone, and questioned two guys sitting behind us rather extensively. Apparently, these guys weren't the guys, and after about 45 minutes, they let us continue on to Los Mochis.

From Los Mochis, Diana had arranged for a driver to take us to El Fuerte. We could have transferred to another bus, but I'd figured that after six hours, we'd be bussed out, which turned out to be a good call. Since by this time we were starving, our driver took us to a palapa restaurant that we would have never found on our own, where the three of us had a very late and delicious seafood lunch. Then we hit the road for the hour and a half drive to El Fuerte. We wanted to start from El Fuerte because if you get on the train on Los Mochis, you have to be there at 5:30 in the morning.  From El Fuerte, it leaves around 8:00 - much more civilized. Plus, El Fuerte is a pretty little town in its own right.

In El Fuerte, we were booked into the Hotel Rio Vista. It had, as the name would suggest, a fantastic view of the river. It was a little funky, and somewhat under construction/renovation, but as far as we were concerned, it was perfect. The whole outside wall of our room was glass, and the balcony looked out at the river.

The view from our room
 I went into town to try to find some beer. No luck, but the town was very pretty.

Back at the hotel, we discovered we could get beer there. And tequila. They would even have fed us, but we were still stuffed from our 4:00 lunch, so we settled in on a very pretty patio for cocktail hour to watch the sun set over the river.

It was spectacular. We had the patio entirely to ourselves. Just lovely. Once the sun went down, we went to our room and crashed.

The next morning, I got up early to take a few more pictures of the town.

El Fuerte (the fort), that gave the town its name

Sunrise over the town

Rio Fuerte in the morning

The hotel made us a very nice breakfast on another patio with a view of the river. For entertainment, someone had put a blob of masa on top of a cactus. The birds were after it in droves.

Well fed, we set off for the train to Posada Barrancas, which would be our first stop in the canyon.


Crit said...

Wow what an adventure. Wish I was going. Guess it will have to be next year. The pictures are beautiful. Can hardly wait to see the next posts!! Crit

Doug and Carla Scott said...

Love all the photos and tips for the trip. Can't wait to go - one of these days!