The Tarahumara People
In their own right, the flora, fauna, geology, and dramatic weather systems are worthy of a journey into this rare natural environment. However, it is the hardy, reclusive indigenous folk that add human color, history and spiritual interest to any visit. Roughly 50,000 Tarahumara, or Rar?muri as they call themselves, survive today in scattered family units working tiny agricultural plots on ridge tops and in deep valleys. They are Amerindian descendants of those who fled into this inaccessible region to avoid Spanish rule some 450 years ago. Though always marginal agriculturalists in a challenging terrain, their enviable lung capacity and endurance allow men, women and children to tackle steep rocky paths at a run with only leather thongs on their feet. Many of today's fastest cross-country runners are Tarahumara from the Copper Canyon.
A Tarahumara festival.
Chihuahua State Tourism
A colorful mural at Divisadero's Posada Mirador Hotel honors the Tarahumara people.The Easter Week (Semana Santa) festival is a particularly colorful and moving celebration that the Tarahumara graciously share with visitors who demonstrate respect for this solemn spiritual occasion spread over a number of days. They do not share many of their ceremonies, so this is indeed a privilege to be cherished. A new interest in such quickly-disappearing customs and spiritual traditions and a growing interest in this still-pristine wilderness have encouraged small-scale tourism operators and lodgings to spring up in the past decade. Both small group tours and independent travel require advance planning because accommodations and English-speaking guides are still relatively limited.