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.
However, for raw canyon rim drama, nothing beats a stop at Divisadero. Guided walking and horseback trips deep into the valleys are spectacular, but so is just sitting on your motel-style bedroom balcony at the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas, perched at the junction of two of the world's grandest canyons. From mid-summer on, brooding storm clouds most afternoons engulf the area in a fast-paced thunder and lightning show guaranteed to have every camera working itself into a nervous breakdown. Front row seats like that turn the most unlikely people into budding meteorologists!Related to:
- National/State Park
Casas Grandes is the most important archaeological zone of the northern part of the country in Chihuahua, Mexico, also known as Paquime.
Casas Grandes is found in a valley without vegetation on a surface of more than 50 hectares; its buildings and ceremonial monuments were constructed with clay using a system of percolated mud.
Our curiosity is immediately aroused by the small, T-shaped doors; we don't know if they were made this way for security or for ceremonial purposes.
Aside from the living area, another unusual feature of this site, compared to others in the region, is the presence of a ceremonial center, a funeral mound, various ball courts and El Monticulo de la Cruz, a small hill with the cardinal points of the compass sculpted in raised adobe, showing the customary variation of 11 degrees from Magnetic North.
Beautiful ceramics with geometric patterns that were found on Paquime are currently on display at the museum, designed by the renowned architect Mario Schetinan, who won an international prize for its harmonious integration with the landscape.
Near Casas Grandes you can visit the Cueva de la Olla, where human rests and paintings were found.
In Paraiso Peñitas, the peaceful waters of the Peñitas dam reflect the beauty of this mountainous landscape captured by an iridescent mountain range. This is the setting for the Hostales Paraiso Madera Peñitas tourist compound which expands six hectareas.
This tourist center is managed by 43 women who own this land. It has 11 rustic comfortable and spacious cabins with two full-sized beds each, a small living room and a fireplace. These two-level wooden cabins are strategically located around the dam.
The visitor can enjoy the view, surrounded by pine trees and healthy climate as well as go fishing for trout, carp or other fish on the dam, or walk the streets of the town of Madera which is only 10 kilometers away from this complex.
This picturesque town is at the beginning of the mountain range west of Chihuahua City and 364 kilometers from the state capital. Time has stopped in this town full of magical history. Madera used to be a sawmill center that presently combines the old west architecture with a colonial aura. The beautiful San Pedro Cathedral is just one of the attractions here. There are also restaurants with exquisite local food, discotheques, handicraft stores and museum.
Other tourist attractions in the region are the archeological ruins of Cueva Grande, Cueva del Puente, Conjunto Anasazi, La Rancheria and Cuarenta Casas or Cueva de las Ventanas. The cave belonged to the "pinineos" (short indigenous people); its main attraction is the lollipop-shaped doors no more than a meter high. Another attraction is walking through the surrounding historic haciendas such as Sirupa or San Jose de Babicora, or visiting some of the areas natural beauties such as the El Salto waterfall, the Tes Lagoon, the Canyon of the Huapoca River or the Chinacas Mirador and going into the thermal waters of the Huapoca river is a must.
San Ignacio de Arareko is located 8 km. south of Creel, on the road to Cusarare.
This prodigious area offers incredible beauty to the visitor: The Arareko lagoon, the Batosarachi waterfall, the Valley of the Gods, the Valley of the Mushrooms, the Barranca del Cobre mountain passages which are refuge four cougars and deers. But above all, Arareko is full of mysterious magnetism from the ceremonies and customs of the local raramuri people. People who love their land to such extent that they say their life has no meaning without the vital strength provided by the nature surrounding them.
In Arareko you can also hire horses, boats, bicycles and experienced guides.
For the person who wants to blend with nature, there is nothing like the more than 20 thousand hectareas (124,000 square miles) of woods in Arareko, right in the middle of the Tarahumara mountain range.
There is a beautiful lake with blue waters surrounded by grey rocks, oak and pine trees. You can rent boats, go fishing and engage in water sports.
Coyame is located 142 km. from Chuihuahua City in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico by the federal highway 16.
Coyame is famous for its mineral springs, whose water is bottled for drinking.
1 km. south, by dirt road, you can visit the Coyame Caverns, with its 15 rooms with stalactites, stalagmites and crystallizations that only compare in beauty with the Cacahuamilpa caves in the State of Guerrero.
Nearby the town you can fish in the Conchos River and hunt at the surroundings; Thirty-one km. northeast, is situated the Peguis lookout over the canyon where the waters of the Conchos river fall forming a beautiful cascade.
In 1922, at the invitation of President Alvaro Obreg?n, 20,000 Mennonites came to Mexico from Canada to settle on 247,000 acres of land in Chihuahua's San Antonio Valley.
The immigration was profitable for both Mexico and the Mennonites. In Canada there had been friction between the Mennonites and the Canadian government?the Mennonites do not believe in educating their children past the sixth grade, else they become too worldly and stray from their religion, and they do not believe in serving in the military. The Mexican government was seeking farmers to settle the land which had previously been owned by William Randolph Hearst, who had been expelled from the country along with the other foreign landowners, following the Mexican Revolution. The two parties made an agreement whereby the Mennonites would purchase the land from the Mexican government and their children would be forever exempted from the educational laws of Mexico and from serving in its armed forces. In addition, the Mennonites were exempted from paying taxes for fifty years.
Today, there are around 50,000 Mennonites living in the vicinity of the city of Cuauht?moc, which is located about sixty-five miles west of the capital city of Chihuahua. They are known throughout Mexico for the fine cheeses they produce and for the wheat, corn, and oats which they grow.Related to:
Get to Know the Tarahumaras
Never conquered by the Aztecs and despite being defeated by Mexican armies, the Tarahumaras still consider themselves an independant nation. So strong is this conviction that in the Fifties they more than once took complaints directly to the United Nations. Perhaps the purest and most unmixed of any Indian tribe in Mexico, so little is known about them that their true name "Raramuri" was corrupted to "Tarahumara" by white men and never corrected.
Most of the world knows them only as long distance runners. Living in high altitudes, they have developed tremendous lung capacity and in more primitive times hunted deer and mountain goats, running them down on foot. In more modern times, they have run non-stop in relay teams from Chihuahua City to El Paso, a distance of 230 miles, to open the Pan-American Road Races.
However, this running ability is only one facet of their life style. The truly remarkable thing about them is an ancient religion which has bred into them a moral code so strict that they are unable to tell a lie.
Psychologists suggest that over the centuries this value system has actually caused physiological changes in their brain that preclude speaking anything but the truth. Nor can they cheat or fail to aid a fellow tribesman.
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Scenic railway tour across Central Mexico
Chihuahua el Pacifico (CHEPE) railway. This is the most scenic railway trek in the western hemisphere. It goes all the way from Chihuahua in central Mexico to Los Mochis on the west coast, taking a full day (early till sometimes LATE!) for the full trip. We opted to stop in el Divisadero (halfway or so) and stay there. The train we were on had to stop in a small town that it usually doesn't stop in, and we had a few hours to kill there. Got to have a taste (figuratively and literally) of Mexico, and loved every minute. Fantastic scenery, and even more fantastic people. This is in the Copper Canyon, which is 4 times the size of the Grand Canyon, and 1.5 times as deep. Look over the cliff at Divisadero and you'll know... We took the train to Divisadero (kind of a touristy stop, but very small) and took the bus back to Chihuahua for around 1/3 the cost ($20 or so) and it was faster than the train! If you are just trying to get there, take the bus, but the train is DEFINATELY worth it. $60 for our route, around $120 to go the whole way. All train info available on website listed below. Plan for some time in the area, there's too much to see in a few days! (Economy train fares available, around half price. Cars in 1st class are VERY comfortable, excellent seats, not crowded, etc.)Related to:
Turism Adventure Festival Chihuahua
Every summer, during the months of July an August, we celebrate an Adventure Sports Festival in the most beautiful natural scenarios in Chihuahua. Events take place in picturesque small mountain towns like Guachochi and Creel in the Tarahumara land, and in the white dunes of Samalayuca near ciudad Juarez. Competitors are also challenged in the Chihuahua Desert, near the border city of Ojinaga and by the oasis of Coyame.
Competitions are: mountain biking, triathlon, ultra marathon in 63 and 100 km. Categories, sand biking, sand boarding, rappel, and rock climbing.
World class competitors such Patricio Cabrera second place in the Sky Marathon, Jack Smith sand boarding master, Ray Molina, the sand bike inventor and the world famous Tarahumara runners are the ones to defeat.
Chihuahua World Cross Country Rally Championship
A new concept in Cross Country competition, that will reach international rank with the World Cross Country Rally Championship, starts in Mexico. The race will join Ciudad Juárez with Chihuahua, Capital City of the Big State from 1st to the 4th of may of evry year.
There are two participation types: Cross Country and Orientation Trial. The first one, according to international norm for Cross Country Rallies in Cars, Motorcycles and Quads. The second one, only for 4x4 vehicles equipped with GPS and Winch, like in the formula popularized by the Cup 180, although with an important innovation: the team is formed by only one car.
The Cross Country Rallies are carried out on daily stages with a maximum of 800 km (500 miles) of pure speed timed sections, eventually combined with regularity sections. They are run through dirt roads and tracks, at times of great technical difficulty, which makes it necessary to race in very tough cars with exceptional off-road qualities.
The route is secret, making it impossible for racers to practice and the only official route is the one that is described in the race’s Road-Book. In this Road-Book there are detailed schemes (changes in direction, road incidences, hazardous spots, nearby settlements and other references), total and partial distances and useful comments. Sometimes navigation data as GPS coordinates or directions are provided.
Admitted vehicles on the Cross Country Rally mode of the ¡ah, Chihuahua! Rally TT are Motorcycles, Quads, and Cars (some African races also take Heavy Trucks).
Orientation Trial mode will have the same starting and finish line as in Rally mode. Both races will share checkpoints, although in this mode the route is not established, but contestants will necessarily have to go through the checkpoints and accomplish each stage in a maximum time.
The competition will consist of localization of waypoints given by GPS coordinates and very difficult and technically demanding Trial Special Stages.
Walking around in Divisadero
The best way to enjoy the copper canyon is walking, even if you stay in one single point you can see the expectacular landscape. But i think is better to walk around, there are little forrests around the cliffs, and the views are very nice. You can see a lot of Tarahumara people in this place, all dressed with their traditional clothes, specially the women.
This Waterfall is the highest in Mexico, and it's on the top 10 around the world, it's located in Baseasachi town in the road that goes from Chihuahua to Hermosillo. It's inside a protected park where you can find food and cabins to stay. There are like 5 view points in the waterfall from the top, all of them have a beauty view of it. If you have good condition you can climb down to the bottom of the waterfall, where the views are great too. Be ready to speand at least 5 hours there if you go down, we did 1.5 hours to go down and 2.5 hours to go up again, plus the rest time above and below to relax. There is a view point from the top of the waterfall, where you can almost touch the falling water on the side.
Unos 25 km al suroeste de Creel, por la carretera que va a Guachochi, se encuentra la comunidad tarahumar de Cusárare. Famosa sobre todo por su hermosa cascada de 30 m de caída. Para llegar a la cascada hay que caminar por una agradable vereda de dos kilómetros; es un sencillo recorrido por el bosque, que forma parte del atractivo. La cascada es tipo catarata y una de las más bonitas de la Tarahumara.Related to:
- Theme Park Trips
- National/State Park
La Zona del Silencio (the silence zone)
Chihuahuas mysterious, magical zona del silencio--the Zone of Silence, just four hundred miles away from El Paso, Texas. Deserts are often considered to be mysterious enough without the added weirdness that this patch of earth some four hundred miles from El Paso has to offer. It is a place which gobbles up radio and TV signals, and which has of late been asociated with the UFO phenomenon.
Very little information is available about the area before 1970, but there are stories of farmers in the area reporting that "hot pebbles" falling from a clear sky pelted their land.
The area also has a reputation for attracting meteorites. The Museum of Mineralogy of the University of Rome has a sample of a type of meteorite known as a hexahedrite from the Bolson de Mapimi. This meteorite has been known since 1837 and it weighed at least 2064 kg.
The Zone's modern notoriety can be traced to July, 1970, when the U.S. base at Green River, Utah test fired an Athena missile. The missile was supposed to land on the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, but the missile mysteriously overshot White Sands and continued south until it finally crashed into the Bolson de Mapimi. The U.S. went into the area to retrieve its missile with exaggerated secrecy precautions that served more to attract attention to the search than anything. After three weeks of searching, they found it stuck nose-first into a sand dune. They built an airstrip and a spur from the nearest railroad to the site and hauled off their property.
Supposedly, a few years later, an upper stage from one of the Saturn boosters used on the Apollo project broke up over the very same area.
Since de la Pena's visit, the Mexican government built a research facility in the Bolson de Mapimi that has become known as the "Biosphere." The facility has attracted scientists from all over the world, mainly to study the geology and flora and fauna of the area.
Estado de Chihuahua Hotels
Ave Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Creel, Chihuahua, 33200, Mexico
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
Perif De La Juventud 6100, Chihuahua, Chih., 31236
Good for: Families
Paseo Triunfo de la Republica 3745, Circuito Pronaf, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, 32310, Mexico
Good for: Couples
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