Off the tourist radar, and with an affable frontier feel, this region offers some of Mexico’s most important historic sights across a triptych of colonial cities (Chihuahua, Parral and Durango). The landscape itself is typified by the starkly beautiful Desierto Chihuahuense (Chihuahuan Desert), which covers most of Chihuahua, Mexico’s largest state – and while it rises in the west into the fertile folds of the Sierra Madre Occidental, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered into a B-grade western (Durango, incidentally, is where many famous westerns were filmed).
Tourism, unfortunately, has been ravaged by drug-gang violence, so don't venture off the beaten track without a guide. The ‘Golden Triangle’ – where Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa converge – is noted for its opium production and particularly high levels of violence. While there is some danger of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, tourists are not generally targeted.