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BARRANCAS DEL COBRE

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There is a series of flashy urban centres of colonial origins and mining roots within the hallucinated territory of the Barrancas del Cobre, which keep architectonic relics that synthesise the prosperity of long gone times.

Towns on surreal landscapes in which old traditions and customs dating back to pre Hispanic times stay fresh, a valuable legacy that the Tarahumaras, the most numerous native ethnic group, try hard to preserve in this ever more globalised world.

Amongst the towns of Barrancas del Cobre we have:

-Creel: it is the doorway to the Tarahumara Sierra and was founded in 1907 during the first stage of the construction of the railway from Chihuahua to the Pacific. It currently has an adequate and complete hotel infrastructure and tourist services.
Before the Spanish presence (XVI century) the zone was inhabited by the Tarahumaras or Rarámuris; nowadays their descendants live in communities nearby the town, the place where they come to trade their handicrafts and other products.
Creel is located at 264 kilometres from Chihuahua, the state capital, and the trip can be completed by train, air or land. Do not fail to visit the following places in this mining town:
  • House of the Handicrafts: it is a space where the creativity of the native Rarámuris is imprinted in beautiful objects (decorative and utilitarian) and in diverse works that express, somehow, their ancient conception of the world. It is located in the former train station.
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    • Arareko Lake: it is a beautiful mirror of water with a 40-hectare extension surrounded by forests of pine trees, junipers and poplars that configure the habitat of diverse bird species, such as woodpeckers, bluebirds, herons and wild ducks. There is a shelter in the place property of the Rarámuris where travellers will not only find a pleasant place to spend the night, but also motorboats, horses and bicycles that will make your stay more fun.
      It is located 5 kilometres away from Creel, in the common grounds of San Ignacio de Arareko.

    • Cascade of Rukiraso: it is a waterfall 30 metres high, with a vantage point that allows fully appreciating the cascade and the Tararecua Ravine. There are several caves on the surroundings that were anciently inhabited by the Rarámuris, as is proven by the rock paintings on its walls. It is located 10 kilometres south of Creel, at the head of the Tararecua Ravine.

    • Thermal Spring of Recowata: one of the most beautiful springs in the region is in the midst of a dense forest of pine trees, poplars and ilexes. Its average temperature is of 35º Celsius. It is located 15 kilometres south of Creel. It is indispensable to book a place with anticipation in order to visit the spring, for just 20 persons a day are admitted. Besides, it is recommendable to be in optimal physical conditions and to hire the services of a local guide. The trip lasts for more than one hour.

    • Cascade of Cusárare: here the waters fall with an unusual strength from a 30-metre height, creating an awesome natural spectacle. Cusárare (the little eagles) was the name given to the place by the Tarahumara, the first inhabitants of this area of impacting beauty located at 24 kilometres of Creel.
      In order to reach this imposing and vertiginous cascade you have to walk a 2.5-kilometre distance across a forest zone. The Mission of Cusárare, established by the Jesuits in the mid XVIII century, with its original architecture and its religious canvases painted by Tarahumara artists standing out, is within a stone's throw.
      The cascade is the starting point of the Cusárare Ravine.
    -Batopilas: it is one of the most traditional mining towns in the Tarahumara Sierra; it is on the bottom of an 1800-metre deep ravine and its origin dates back to 1708, when rich silver deposits, which fell into the hands of companies from the United States by the late XIX century, were discovered.
    Its old architecture, surged from the mining bonanza, gives Batopilas a picturesque touch, having amongst its major tourist charms the Temple of the Mission of Satevó, from the mid XVIII century and belonging to the Order of the Jesuits, who built it aiming to evangelise the Tubare natives, an ethnic group existing no more.
    It is located at 123 kilometres of Creel and has a shade of lodges ranging from Grand Tourism hotels to modest inns. Trade and tourism are currently the two main economic activities of the population, relegating mining to a secondary position.

    -El Divisadero: it is an important train station located at 50 kilometres from Creel, and also a privileged place to watch the Tarahumara Sierra from above, enjoying a fabulous vision, a panorama that stretches for 160 kilometres and allows appreciating the Copper ravines of Tararecua and Urique.
    The town has a comprehensive hotel infrastructure with lodges of rustic features and others of medieval characteristics the offer spectacular views from their rooms. Besides, in El Divisadero (2230 metres above sea level) travellers will find routes for the practice of trekking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
    If you are looking for rather modest lodges, go to the Town of Areponápuchi, located at 5 kilometres of El Divisadero.

    -Railway Chihuahua to Los Mochis: it is one of the most spectacular railways in the world, an admirable work of engineering that crosses the wild geography of Barrancas del Cobre and the Tarahumara Sierra.
    The entire trip from Chihuahua to Los Mochis (State of Sinaloa) lasts 12 hours. 86 tunnels and 39 bridges are crossed during this fascinating trip, and 12 stops are made at an equal number of towns. The average height of the trip is of 2700 metres above sea level.
    The train service has two lines, being the most amazing one the railway connecting Chihuahua and the Pacific, a feat of engineering built between 1881 and 1961, a delay explained by several factors, such as the social and political convulsion that ruined Mexico during the first decades of the XXth Century, the lack of economic resources and the technical difficulties proper of such a complicated geography.
    Although the trip is not exactly full of commodities, it is worth of trying and being one of the passengers on the fantastic adventure of discovering the Barrancas del Cobre and the Tarahumara Sierra from the window of an old car.
    Amongst the rosary of towns the train crosses we have El Fuerte and Los Mochis, and although both belong to the State of Sinaloa, they are part of the Barrancas del Cobre and the Tarahumara Sierra; therefore they are worth of visiting.
    • El Fuerte: it is a town of colonial origins with beautiful houses and pitted streets, located at 80 kilometres from Los Mochis, which was founded by Spanish conquistador Don Francisco de Ibarra in order to protect himself from the Tehuecos and Zuaques Indians.

    • Los Mochis: it is the final station of the railroad linking Chihuahua with the Pacific and one of the most important commercial and transport centres of the State of Sinaloa. Everyday hundreds of travellers arrive in order to transfer to Topolobampo, the deepest seaport in the Pacific, or to take the train going through the spectacular landscapes of the Barrancas del Cobre.


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