How safe to travel to the Copper Canyon
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jan 24, 2013 10:00 AM Last Post By: chepe
Jan 19, 2013 8:34 PM
How safe to travel to the Copper CanyonHi We are going to be spending 6 weeks or so in Mexico and would like to visit the Copper Canyon. We are thinking of just flying in from Guadalajara or Mexico City to Chihuahua and then out of there or Los Mochis.
How safe is the area around the Copper Canyon (relative to other parts of Mexico - we recognise we need to be a bit careful anywhere)
We are seasoned travellers and spent 6 months in South America last year
Thanks for any info
Jan 20, 2013 2:44 AM
Jan 20, 2013 5:22 AM
2First of all, the time of year: If in summer, stay on the canyon rims as the bottom of the canyons in summer are beaastly hot upper 30s to 40s C). In winter the canyon rims are icy, snowy and temperatures often drop to -10 or -15 C, but canyon bottoms are temperate and comfortable.
The tourist route through the sierra (Copper Canyons) is safe. There is narco activity in the backwoods, but Creel, Divisidero, Los Mochis are safe for tourists. Chihuahua is too; there is narco activity there, but you'll be OK in the touristy areas.
Generally, the train ride is more scenic west to east (from Los Mochis to Chihuahua), but either way is fun. Plan a day at the colonial town (and pueblo magico) of El Fuerte before you get to Los Mochis - a nice place. Also, from Creel you can take all sorts of tours to waterfalls, hot springs, lakes, and to the old mining town of Batopilas on the canyon bottom (overnighter is best). At Bauchivo you can get a van down to the small town of Urique far below on the canyon bottom. There are small hotels in Batopilas and Urique and abundant tourist facilities in Creel and Divisidero.
Jan 20, 2013 10:12 AM
3Plenty safe. Wait for Keith R, the expert in that area. IMO people greatly overestimate the dangers in Mexico for tourists, I don´t think any of us foreigners has been targeted in this disgusting drug war, in fact they go to lengths to avoid hittin us.
Jan 20, 2013 3:09 PM
4I don´t think any of us foreigners has been targeted in this disgusting drug war, in fact they go to lengths to avoid hittin us
The safety question can be answered without resorting to gross exaggeration. I don't think foreigners are targeted either but the idea that cartels go to lengths to deliberately avoid involving foreigners is pure fantasy.
Jan 21, 2013 8:29 AM
5the idea that cartels go to lengths to deliberately avoid involving foreigners is pure fantasy.
It seems doubtful that someone could make such a bold statement without... erm... inside information... but yes, every indication we have is that they actively avoid involving any tourists, since doing so would bring an entirely other level of pressure/investigation down on that area.
That's just in general terms (and we've seen the evidence over the last several years: millions of tourists swarming through these areas and barely a single one suffering more than a stray bullet to the backside. OTOH, you have groups like LFM who do specifically espouse non-violence towards tourists, and innocents in general.
To exactly what degree that code is going to protect you if you get a fabulously unlucky situation is up for debate, but the idea that cartels deliberately avoid tourists is not just wishful thinking; it's how they appear to operate.
Jan 21, 2013 11:53 AM
6The bold statement is that the cartels go to "lengths to avoid hitting us." That would require the ...erm...inside information. There is plenty of empirical and anectdotal evidence that they do not coordinate their activities in order to avoid involving innocents. It's fine to put to the risks posed by narco violence in an objective perspective, but not to pull stuff out of the air in order to do that.
I was not going to weigh in on the Copper Canyon specifically, but there is certainly narco activity that occurs in the open that could potentially impact persons simply passing through the area. Whatever safety issues there are associated with Copper Canyon visiting the Copper Canyon are in getting there. This was a case that was all over the news in northern Mexico before Christmas, but I guess it didn't have enough appeal to make the US or international press. You can put this incident in whatever perspective you like, but this is not some purely random isolated incidents. Retenes are a part of the landscape in rural areas of northern Mexico and it is something that persons traveling there in their personal vehicles at least need to be aware of.
Hallan las 4 Mujeres desaparecidas en Creel
Jan 21, 2013 12:03 PM
7Cd. Chihuahua sure is a bit safer these days. We just got back from there two plus weeks ago, in all my ninth visit to that great city.
According to several locals it is much better than two years ago, though not the wisest idea to walk around some parts of town at night.
Altahabana of course knows a heck of a lot about Mexico, so take those words into consideration. I will go gladly any day of the week, but then again I am real sucker for Mexican trains and railroads.
Formerly known as GP40-2HH btw, so I am not new to this forum, and about dang time it is back!
Jan 21, 2013 12:26 PM
8If that's the case, and cartels haven't been purposely been avoiding involving foreigners in their extortions, kidnappings, and blackmail, then perhaps those foreigners have just been incredibly lucky is all. Statistically, though, that's a heck of a vast majority of people who seem to avoid all of the stuff that locals deal with.
Jan 21, 2013 12:48 PM
9Yes Altahabana, my brother-in-law works thoughout Creel, Guachohchi and in the sierra. According to him the four women killed were school teachers making it even more senseless if that is possible. Still, according to my in-laws and from travellling through both downtown Chihuahua and Juarez this Christmas, the narco-violence appears to have eased up some.
On the other hand, the rampant lawlessness seems to have emboldened non-narco related criminals (car theives, pickpockets, break-ins). This past year my nephew in Chihuahua was pickpocketed at a party by some teenage girls, a very good friend and doctor in Torreon was kidnapped at knife point for the better part of an afternoon having to withdraw money from her ATM, and another nephew in Chihuahua was carjacked right in front of his house at gunpoint.
Jan 22, 2013 7:25 AM
Jan 22, 2013 9:45 AM
11Hey Ryon! Yeah, no more PMs, BBC seems to think there must be a coup or something by the regulars. Glad to see your still afloat here. Miss all the longtime posters. my old handle somehow had technical issues because of the "dash" in it, so I just viewed as a guest and kept my big mouth shut for the past two years.
As for singletrack, was just beach riding in Isla Mujeres last month, and the railroad tracks in good ole Cd. Chihuahua, sure miss all the above now. It's a balmy 33 degrees here in Seattle.
Jan 22, 2013 10:20 AM
12This is way OT, but what the heck. At least it's about Mexico: Chepe, while you were on Isla Mujeres did you see my buddy Richie and his floating island? http://www.treehugger.com/treehugger-tv/spiral-island-update-treehugger-tv-visits-rishi-sowa.html
I've sent a lot of TTers there. Here's one of the better reports: http://www.wishfish.org/2010/06/27/a-life-afloat/ The TT's own archives aren't quite functional ATM.
Jan 24, 2013 10:00 AM
13Ryon! No, didn't see it, but then again we didn't hit the whole island. Sure wish we had done the south end, next time.
We will be headed back in the future, but next time our northern stop will be Zacatecas after Isla. Maybe the boat will still be around in five years!
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