"Holidays in the Copper Canyon"

Christmas with the Raramuri,

New Years Eve in El Fuerte

December 22, 2018 - January 1st, 2019


* Roundtrip, first-class passage on Chihuahua al Pacifico train, to see the best part of the rail scenery--twice!

* Viewing of the traditional Raramuri (Tarahumara) Christmas Ceremonies in Cerocahui

* A festive New Years Eve in Colonial El Fuerte, our hometown!

* Three nights on the canyon rim at Areponapuchic (close to Divisadero)

*Three nights in Colonial El Fuerte, including the Fuerte River float and the exclusive CCA Riverside Lunch

* A full-day visit to cultural and historical sites around Creel, including the Cusarare Waterfall, the Loyola Museum, Lake Arareko and the Mission San Ignacio

* The overlook at Cerro Gallegos, considered by many the best vantage point in the Copper Canyon, and the descent to the bottom of the Urique Canyon, deeper even than the Grand.

* The village of Cerocahui, featuring the mission church and the Raramuri (aka Tarahumara) boarding school

* Time at the "Copper Canyon Adventure Park" (if desired)

NOTE:  In the spirit of the season, all participants are asked to bring lightly used children’s winter jackets/sweaters, along with a few used toys, to distribute to those in need.  Full details on what to bring will be given well before the trip. 

Christmas at the Oso

Raramuri boys and girls waiting for the dances to start by the Christmas tree at the Oso

The staff at all the hotels was exceptionally accommodating.

We loved the region, the Raramuri people, the vistas, the gondola, the hikes. The train was super relaxing and the views beautiful

Our time with Sr. Jose in El Fuerte and his family was exceptional. Would love to have done more with him. I personally fell in love with El Fuerte and would live there!!
— Jane, from New Jersey

Holidays in the Copper Canyon

An Exceptional glimpse of the Raramuri Christmas Celebration combined with Traditional Christmas Cheer.

Day 1, December 23:  Arrival

You will be met at the airport in Los Mochis by a representative of Copper Canyon Adventures and driven 1.5 hours to colonial El Fuerte, a city where you can still see old Mexico at every turn.

On arrival in colonial El Fuerte, you will settle in at the There you will settle in at the Hotel Mansion Serrano, an elegant colonial hotel very close to the central plaza. Welcome!   

To complement this wonderful hotel, take a stroll to the "Plazuela" of El Fuerte, a short distance away. This wonderfully maintained central plaza is indicative of both the pride of El Fuerte's citizens and the richness of their history.

Welcome to Mexico-Enjoy! 

Overnight (ON) @ Hotel Mansion Serrano. Meals included: Dinner (D)

 Rarmuri Matachine dancers preparing for the all night Christmas dancing. 

Rarmuri Matachine dancers preparing for the all night Christmas dancing. 

raramuri matachine dance at the oso
 Raramuri Matachine Dances with women joining in.  

Raramuri Matachine Dances with women joining in.  

 Raramuri Matachine Dances for Christmas. Everyone gets involved.  

Raramuri Matachine Dances for Christmas. Everyone gets involved.  

Day 2, December 24:  Train and Christmas Eve in the Cerocahui Area

You have reserved seats on the Copper Canyon train after breakfast today, enjoying tremendous views from one of the most scenic train rides in the world.  The three-level loop at Temoris is especially photogenic-so be sure to bring lots of film!

Your destination today is Bahuichivo (5400'/1645m), the station serving Cerocahui and the Paraiso del Oso Ranch, your hosts for the next three nights.  Members of the ranch will meet you at the station. 

If you are interested, this afternoon you will have time for a short hike to the "Cave of the Crosses", once the home of Rarámuri Indians.  Well-preserved and striking, this cave will give you an idea of one way the indigenous peoples of this area live.

After a traditional Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) dinner in front of the fireplace, enjoy a local glass of punch.  Later you can go to midnight mass in Cerocahui if you like, and, afterwards, watch traditional Raramuri “Matachine” dances--a genuine celebration of the season, NOT a contrived tourist "show". These dances go on all night, so rest up!

ON @ Hotel Paraiso del Oso  Meals included: BLD (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)


 Violin and Guitar   
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    accompaniments the Matachine Dances in Cerocahui, Copper Canyon Mexico

Violin and Guitar accompaniments the Matachine Dances in Cerocahui, Copper Canyon Mexico

 Raramuri Children anticipating hitting the Christmas Piñata at the Paraiso del Oso

Raramuri Children anticipating hitting the Christmas Piñata at the Paraiso del Oso

Day 3, December 25: Christmas Day

The festivities start early today, with young Raramuri kids busting the traditional piñata this morning.  After a hearty breakfast, enjoy the spirit of the season as you wish, perhaps with walks or horseback rides around the Oso, or just enjoying the mountain scenery, as you get ready for another special Christmas meal.

 Raramuri boy whacking at the Piñata and spilling out candy. Copper Canyon, Mexico

Raramuri boy whacking at the Piñata and spilling out candy. Copper Canyon, Mexico

ON @ Hotel Paraiso del Oso  Meals Included: BLD

Day 4, December 26: Cerocahui, Cerro Gallegos and Urique

After breakfast, you will travel to Cerocahui, one of the oldest mountain communities in the Sierra.  Cerocahui is also home to one of the oldest (and prettiest) churches in the region—a church with a surprising Asian connection. There is also a lovely Rarámuri children’s boarding school that you can visit while there.

 Raramuri women picking out from donated clothes for their families for Christmas in the Copper Canyon, Mexico

Raramuri women picking out from donated clothes for their families for Christmas in the Copper Canyon, Mexico

From Cerocahui, you will travel past the Mesa del Arturo before enjoying great views of both the Palestine and Urique Canyons, and Rarámuri homesteads from Cerro Gallegos.  The views of the Urique canyon from Cerro Gallegos are truly epic and justifiably famous—most consider them the best views in the Copper Canyon.

 Nativity scene in Cerocahui, Mexico Copper Canyon Adventures

Nativity scene in Cerocahui, Mexico Copper Canyon Adventures

A highlight of this excursion will be your descent to the floor of the second deepest canyon in North America (deeper than the Grand Canyon)—the road is unforgettable.  You will lunch in Urique, one of the oldest mining towns in the Sierra, and have time to explore this unique town—and a nearby suspension bridge that crosses the Urique River.

Leaving the canyon will provide still more great photo opportunities, especially with the different sun angles of the afternoon. You will never forget the panoramas of the Urique Canyon! 

ON @ Hotel Paraiso del Oso  Meals include: BLD


 Santa giving out toys to the Raramuri in the Copper Canyon, Mexico

Santa giving out toys to the Raramuri in the Copper Canyon, Mexico

Day 5, December 27:  Bahuichivo to Areponápuchi

Your morning will be free before you re-board the Chihuahua al Pacifico train bound for Posada Barrancas, the station serving the small community of Areponápuchi. 

Close to Divisadero and located just below the canyon rim, Areponápuchi
is ideally situated for great excursions and unique views.  At 7200' (2200m), take your time until you are acclimated to the higher elevation.

Your lodging for the next three nights is the Hotel Mansion Tarahumara located right on the canyon rim for great views, walks and exploration. 

ON @ Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – Rim Rooms   Meals included:  BLD


Day 6, December 28: Three Canyons excursion and canyon rim exploration (horseback riding available for additional charge)

This morning you enjoy great vistas at the Copper Canyon Adventure Park, of three canyons-Urique, Copper and Tararecua-from overlooks at "Piedra Volada" (Flying Rock), with its spectacular overlook and moving stone, and Divisadero, an amazing overlook, the halfway point of the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, and home to an open-air Raramuri Indian artisan's market.
At the Copper Canyon Adventure Park you can take a tram ride for a bird’s eye view of the canyon and the river below (on your own for about $25 round trip).  

If you prefer more adventure, the park also has the second longest zip-line in the world. In this half-day excursion you will traverse several side canyons in 7 stations and walk over 2 swinging bridges.  With the longest of the lines over a kilometer long with a depth of over 1000 feet, you are sure to never forget this trip!  Of course, you are in good hands with specially trained adventure guides and state of the art equipment.  (on your own for about $60 including the tram return).

Longest zipline in the world, the new “Zip-Rider” is a thrilling zipline, which enables people who don’t want to take the time nor the energy for the 7 stations, to still get a birds eye view of the canyon.   You are harnessed into a special seat where you sit overlooking the canyon on a 2,545 meters (8,350 feet) long zipline, lasting 2 minutes and 20 seconds.  You reach the velocity of at least 104Km/Hour (64 miles/Hour), the incline is 17% with a descent of 450 meters (1476 feet).   At the end you walk up a short distance to take the tram airway back.   You will experience thrill and an amazing panoramic view of the canyons.  (on your own for $50, including the tram return)

In addition, there is the “Via Ferrata”, an obstacle course with rappelling, rock climbing and horizontal traverses that is an amazing test of outdoor skill, once again with the latest in safety equipment.  (on your own for $45) 

This evening would be a lovely time to include a quiet and private walk along the rim.  I am sure your day at the edge of the canyon will be special.

ON @ Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – Rim Rooms  Meals included: BLD


Day 7, December 29: Creel

Today you take a full day trip to Creel, a lumber town that has the largest population of Raramuri Indians in the Sierra.

In addition to enjoying a great museum of Tarahumara art, crafts and lifestyle, you will also visit: 

The beautiful alpine Lake Arareko, 

The fascinating rock formations in the Valley of the Mushrooms and the Valley of the Nuns, 

Indigenous cave dwellings still in use by the Raramuri Indians, 

Beautiful old Jesuit Missions in Cusarare and San Ignacio.For those interested in 17th century paintings a visit to the Loyola Religious Art Museum is included:  Visit the Cusarare Mission, one of the oldest in the area, with fascinating architecture and decorations, a bell tower you can actually climb, and perhaps the best museum in the area, exhibiting an impressive collection of 17th and 18th century religious paintings.

Great hikes available today are to the Recohuata Hot Springs, an area of great beauty and relaxation, or the Cusarare waterfall, another very scenic spot.

After today, you will certainly be able to attest to the natural beauty around Creel, but the true beauty of Creel is in its mix of Raramuri and Mestizo cultures, examples of which you will see at every turn.

ON @ Hotel Mansion Tarahumara – Rim Rooms  Meals included: BLD


Day 8, December 30:  Canyon rim and return to El Fuerte

After enjoying your morning at the edge of the canyon you will have lunch and get back on the train for the return trip to El Fuerte.

The timing of your return trip should provide some great photo opportunities, as you will be seeing the most dramatic part of the trip in the late-afternoon sun.

You will once again stay at the Hotel Mansion Serrano-your home away from home in Copper Canyon country.

ON @ Hotel Mansion Serrano. Meals included: BLD

Day 9, December 31: Petroglyphs, Ocolomito and El Fuerte New Years Eve!

After breakfast, you will take a river trip and short hike to the "Cerro de la Mascara" (Mask Hill), a little-known petroglyph site featuring carvings anywhere from 800-2000 years old-their exact age is unknown. Little else is known about these carvings, but they are incredibly interesting and thought provoking.

The exclusive Copper Canyon Adventures riverside lunch on the Fuerte River will be a special treat, combining great nature watching and a chance to examine the flora and fauna on the Fuerte River at Ocolomito with traditional cuisine served in a scenic riverside setting.

Your hosts will be Martha and Jose Luis Pina Acuna, two of the nicest people

you will ever meet, and some of the finest cooks, too!   We are sure meeting

Jose Luis and Martha will be one of the many highlights of your CCA trip.

The family will be cooking and serving their delicious BBQ lunch, the mainstay of the Mexican “Domingo Familiar” or Sunday Family gathering. 

This will be a great afternoon for naturalists, followed by a walking culture and history tour of colonial El Fuerte—450 years young! 

 Pinatas for Christmas in El Fuerte, Mexico Copper Canyon Adventures

Pinatas for Christmas in El Fuerte, Mexico Copper Canyon Adventures

Tonight will be another very traditional holiday event—New Years Eve in the El Fuerte town square.  The whole town turns out for the festivities, which feature fireworks, live bands, dancing and the breaking of many piñatas as midnight approaches.  This celebration is very typically Mexican, and will certainly be yet another highlight from your trip.

ON @ Hotel Mansion Serrano.  Meals included: BLD

Day 10/January 1:  Departure
You will be transferred to the airport in Los Mochis for your flight, and there assisted with checking in.
Thanks for sharing your holidays with us!  We look forward to staying in touch.

Meals included: B


Trip price includes:

The services of a bilingual guide throughout your trip, 

Round-trip first-class travel on the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, considered one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world,
All lodging,
All meals, as noted (BLD; including the exclusive CCA Riverside lunch)

Copper Canyon Adventure Park entrance ticket,
All excursions (including the Fuerte River trip to the Cerro de la Mascara petroglyphs, the full-day cultural, canyon rim and canyon bottom tour of Cerocahui, Cerro Gallegos, and Urique, the Three Canyons cultural and canyon rim tour at Areponápuchi and the full day of historic, cultural and natural sites around Creel),

All airport/train station/hotel transfers upon your arrival in Los Mochis, and
A detailed trip information package with maps and supporting documentation.

Trip Price: all prices are in US Dollars (arriving and departing on the same flight)

Based on 2 people traveling:  $2290    per person, double occupancy

Based on 4 people traveling:  $1895    per person, double occupancy

Based on 8 people traveling:  $1675    per person, double occupancy

Based on 12 people traveling:  $1565    per person, double occupancy

(Single Supplement additional: $315)

(maximum group size 12)


Not included in trip price:

Transportation to and from Los Mochis, where the trip begins and ends (but we can help you with airfare tips) 

Optional activities in Copper Canyon Adventure Park: tram, zip-line or via ferrata.

Tips for trip guides, drivers, servers, hotel staff, etc. 

Trip insurance

Personal purchases such as souvenirs, handicrafts, snacks and alcoholic beverages.

Travel Insurance

Mexico tourist card ($20-23 per person; normally added into the price of your airline ticket). 


Click here for our Calendar of all scheduled trips.