Why riding El Chepe through Copper Canyon is just mind-blowingly amazing

I used to have a co-worker called Pat. He drove me crazy. I worked with him for 20 years and when I quit/was fired one of the best things that came out of it was that I no longer had to work with him. I think that’s added a few years to my life.

But when you work with someone for 20 years some things stick with you. And if there is one thing Pat loved above anything else it was trains. He loved trains and even built himself a huge train set in his basement with trains, a town, hills and tunnels. It was quite impressive. My hobby was planes and at one point I had built myself an airport with all my planes on display. So in a way we shared a passion.

I’ve just completed the famous (but not well-known) El Chepe* train ride from Chihuahua, Northern Mexico to Los Mochis on the Pacific Ocean. And after not thinking of Pat in a very long time I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Because if there is one thing I could tell him it is that he HAS to take this epic train ride. If you are a train aficionado this is the Holy Grail. If you are a train aficionado you can’t die without doing this trip. Period.

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Divisadero – my favorite stopover in the Copper Canyon, Mexico

“Why are you staying over at Divisadero? It’s a train stop, it’s not even a real town”.

The question was posed by the owner of one of those companies that I had contacted about tours through the Copper Canyon.

Spending the night in Divisadero ended up being the highlight of my trip through the Copper Canyon.

It’s true that Divisadero is basically just a train stop. You get off the train and there are some little food and souvenir stalls. Walk through them (it takes about a minute) and you get to a viewpoint overlooking the canyon. The views are incredible. Next to the viewpoint, with its own great views, is the only accommodation in Divisadero – the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas. That’s where I was staying.
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Tips on visiting Creel, Copper Canyon, Mexico. And what you really have to know.

Creel is for many people the base when visiting Mexico’s Copper Canyon. It’s the tourism hub in the region. The thing however is that it is not right at the canyon. Not at all. I’ll get to that soon.

Creel is a Pueblo Magico. It’s a very small town with one main street lined with stores, restaurants, hotels, and tour outfits. It even has a bank (Santander) with a couple of ATMs. The main square is at the end of main street and is quite pretty with a bunch of little churches and a little plaza where locals sit in the park and Tarahumara women sell handicrafts. It’s a pretty enough place (but not as pretty as Patzcuaro, another Pueblo Magico town I’ve had a chance to visit). [Read more…]

Chihuahua, Mexico – a place not to avoid

Chihuahua, Mexico – a place not to avoid

How’s that for a compliment?

I really had no idea what to expect on Chihuahua, the internet being surprisingly void of information on this city in Northern Mexico. But it was the starting point of my Copper Canyon adventures and I left myself a day and a half to explore and get a feel for Chihuahua. [Read more…]

Our 60 Favorite Photos from 2016

Our 60 Favorite Photos from 2016

A couple of weeks ago I did a wrap-up of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) places visited in 2016. We took so many photos in 2016 that we decided to go through them and choose our favorites from the year.

“Favorite” photos doesn’t necessarily mean “best” photos. “Favorite” can mean a place that holds a special memory (like that dog lying at Lissette’s feet) or a place that was just overall a special place (Cape Town was for me “that special place”).  [Read more…]

Looking back at 2016…and forward to 2017. And our Travel Oscars (and losers) for the year.

signs-in-south-africa

Ah, the usual yearly wrap-ups that we travel bloggers come up with. But I’ve said it before: year end posts are about remembering what we did in the year, how far we came in fulfilling what we hoped for, and remembering how we felt about the places we visited as well as where we are in life. After all, the main goal when I set up this website was to document our travels (for ourselves).

In this post you’ll see a summary of the different places we went, our favorites and not-so-favorites, as well as some thoughts on our lifestyle as full-time (slow*) travellers. I’ll also go over some of our plans for the coming year. [Read more…]

Avoiding Europe in the summer…and other places to go instead.

avoiding-europe-in-the-summerand-other-places-to-go-instead

We’ve seen way too many tourists this summer. Europe always has a lot of tourists, there’s a reason it is most people’s favorite continent (including ours). We’ve spent the last 3 summers in Europe. But I think we’ll be taking a break from that over the next few years. It wasn’t just our recent stay in Lisbon – we were in Split (Croatia) in July and it was unbearably packed with tourists. Split is one of the places we love but, as with Lisbon, the character of a place changes when there are too many tourists at one time: prices rise dramatically, locals are suddenly not as friendly, food quality drops. Parts of Europe also get unbearably hot in summer. [Read more…]

The place to stay in San Miguel de Allende

the place to stay in San Miguel de Allende

Where to stay in beautiful San Miguel de Allende? Stay where I do – at my mom’s !  It’s private, centrally located – and the value is phenomenal ($28 USD per night).

Here is a video I shot of the patio and room. Everything that you see in this video is your private domain when you stay here (my mom lives down below). [Read more…]

Guanajuato, Mexico – the prettiest town I’ve ever seen

Guanajuato, Mexico – the prettiest town I’ve ever seen

I love Guanajuato, it’s the prettiest town I’ve seen anywhere. I was here a few years ago and had my visit ruined when I came down with a horrible case of the craps (don’t ever order a salad in Mexico). So this time around I had a mission – to come back to Guanajuato and spend the day exploring and taking photos.

I left my mom in San Miguel and took the bus to Guanajuato which is a little over an hour away. Have a look at these photos. Imagine if Guanajuato was in Italy instead of Mexico – there would be thousands upon thousands of tourists walking these streets. Luckily it’s not. [Read more…]

Morelia (Michoacán) and why even UNESCO listed world heritage sites can leave you feeling blah

Morelia (Michoacán) and why even UNESCO listed world heritage sites can leave you feeling blah

I guess it was my fault. When planning my trip to Mexico I had mentioned to my mom that we should visit Morelia. She had told me that she hadn’t heard great things about the city. “But mom, the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site”. It had to be impressive, right?

Morelia left us “feeling blah” but it’s not because of a lack of sights. There are plenty of sights, a few quite impressive. First a few photos…then I’ll go into what we just didn’t like about Morelia. [Read more…]

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