Join us on one of the world's great train journeys to Mexico's stunning Copper Canyon. Four times the size of the Grand Canyon, the railway line through the Copper Canyon took ninety years to build and you will soon see why. With 37 bridges and 86 tunnels, including one that makes a 180-degree turn, this railway through this system of canyons is spellbinding. In the Copper Canyon, the Tarahumara Indians live in caves as they have for over five hundred years.
We have waited to offer the Canyon since, candidly, we could not find a way to do it that was comfortable enough for our guests. It is worth the wait. We have a leisurely holday that begins in El Paso with luxury accommodations at the best hotel in town, the historic Hotel El Paso before we travel south to Chihuahua to board the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway. We have a series of short train trips within the Copper Canyon (the train is the only way to see this area) with no overnights spent on the train. Our guests enjoy FOUR full nights in the Canyon at the best available hotels and all (carefully chosen) meals are included. Complete sightseeing within the Copper Canyon is included each day and we transit the entire railway line over its complete length. Emerging on the Pacific side, we enjoy a two-night luxury hotel stay in Mazatlan in a beachfront hotel before the final segment, a specially arranged four night voyage from Mazatlan back to San Diego aboard the ms Oosterdam of Holland America Line, one of the highest rated ships afloat.
A 13-day epic journey from El Paso del Norte into Mexico’s Barranca de Cobre (the Copper Canyon) by the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway and by Holland America Line, a civilized way to see primitive splendor.
- Fully escorted by professional tour manager from start to finish.
- Overnight hotel stay in El Paso at the finest hotel in town, the historic Camino Real Hotel El Paso with welcome dinner and full breakfast.
- The Copper Canyon by train with four days in the Copper Canyon, more time than anyone else offers in this wonder of the world. We traverse the line from Chihuahua to El Fuerte with short day trips on the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway, not missing a mile of spectacular scenery.
- Four-night hotel stay in the Copper Canyon at the best available hotels in the Canyon including the acclaimed el Mirador Hotel at Divisadero.
- Complete sightseeing daily while in the Copper Canyon is included as are all meals in the Canyon.
- Two night beachfront hotel stay in Mazatlan at the Costa de Oro Beach Hotel after our Copper Canyon adventure, the perfect beautiful and relaxing coda to the Copper Canyon.
- Rare four-night voyage from Mazatlan back to San Diego with port calls in Puerto Vallarta & Cabo San Lucas en route aboard the splendid ships of Holland America Line.
- Special luxury amenities during the cruise including dinner in the swank Pinnacle Grill one evening, special cocktail parties and much more.
Day 1 - El Paso
Our guests arrive in El Paso today and transfer to the Grande dame of El Paso hotels, the historic Camino Real Hotel El Paso, a hotel so glorious it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A casual 'whenever you like' welcome dinner is included tonight in the superb Azulejos Restaurant at the hotel. (D)
Day 2 - El Paso to Chihuahua
We have a welcome breakfast this morning and are soon on the short scenic ride south to Chihuahua where we will enjoy lunch before visiting the beautiful Cathedral, the state capital building with its remarkable mural and the home of Pancho Villa before arriving at our hotel for an overnight stay. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Chihuahua to Creel
An early morning train ride to Creel, a former lumber town and the former major railroad hub in the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains. Creel is now the stopping off point for the Copper Canyon and once the center of the region inhabited by the Tarahumara Indians. All afternoon to explore this fascinating town, visit the Tarahumara museum, or take a bus ride to visit a cave dwelling and a local boarding school. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Creel to Divisadero
All morning to relax, sleep-in, or visit the sights you did not see yesterday. Late morning train ride to Divisadero where our rooms are overlooking this amazing canyon system, four times larger and 280' deeper than the Grand Canyon. All afternoon to take a walk and get a better understanding of the Tarahumara Indians who have been successful in preserving their centuries-old culture and tradition. Or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Our hotel for the next two nights is one of the most glorious in Mexico, the Hotel La Posada Barrancas Mirador, resembling a castle with views that are, simply, without equal. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Divisadero
What a fabulous treat. A full day to appreciate the beauty of the Copper Canyon from your balcony at about 7,000'. A morning ride to a different view point, the Urique Canyon, with a demonstration by the Tarahumara Indians, returning to the hotel in time for a delicious lunch. An afternoon to nap, sit on your balcony to read or enjoy the view, learn how the Tarahumara ladies make their beautiful baskets, play cards in the lobby area, or take a walk. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Divisadero to El Fuerte
After breakfast we will have a demonstration by the local Indians, followed by a short walk to the nearby view point. The rest of the morning is yours to buy one more basket or to sit on your balcony and ponder the world. After lunch we board the Chihuahua-Pacifico Train to enjoy our excursion through the spectacularly rugged scenery of this outstanding natural area. The rail line was begun in the late 19th century, envisioned as the shortest trade route between Kansas City and the Pacific coast. It took nearly 100 years to complete this engineering feat through 86 tunnels and over 37 bridges. We arrive in the colonial town of El Fuerte for dinner and the evening at the Hotel Posada del Hidalgo. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - El Fuerte to Mazatlan
After our breakfast we will tale a short walking tour of town before heading for the Pacific Ocean for our relaxing two night stay. Mazatlan is known as 'The Pearl of the Pacific' and is rich with history, the famed Cathedral, open-air markets, the Machado Plaza and colonial architecture. And, to have two full nights at our beachfront resort is quite wonderful, a chance to relax, sleep in, dawdle over breakfast and enjoy new found friends, is quite a luxury. (B, L)
Day 8 - Mazatlan
All day to enjoy our beachfront resort and a favorite treat is a ride on one of the famous 'Pulmanias', an open-air carriage along Centenario Drive and the coastal avenue. Sunsets over the Pacific are a special joy and tonight is highlighted by an outdoor cocktail party as the setting sun turns into a fiery ball. (B, R)
Day 9 - ms Oosterdam
Guests may sleep in this morning and we depart the hotel at 11am for the nearby pier and the second wonder of our holiday, the superb ships* of Holland America Line. When designing this program, we could not think of a nicer, more comfortable way to travel back to the U.S. than by ship and we made a special arrangement to board here in Mazatlan, thus avoiding long bus trips back to the U.S. border, questionable 'puddle jumper' airplanes of dubious quality and instead, we sail north on one of the higher-rated ships in the World. Tonight, a special pre-dinner cocktail party in the swank 'Crows Nest' Bar overlooking the bow. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Puerto Vallarta
There may be more wonderful towns on the Mexican Riviera but we doubt it. 'PV' as it is called is the quintessential Mexican Resort town with cobblestoned streets, beautiful bay and colorful 'Gringo Gulch'. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had great fun here in 'Night of the Iguana' and you will too. The ship remains here all day, until 10pm allowing a huge amount of time to enjoy this charming town. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - ms Oosterdam
We arrive in picturesque Cabo San Lucas this morning, situated at the very tip of Baja California and a ruggedly beautiful port of call. Aldous Huxley referred to the tip of Baja as the very end of the earth’ and while it has grown up a bit, the end of Baja at Los Arcos is still spectacular. (B, L, D)
Day 12 - ms Oosterdam
A final day at sea as we sail north along the coast of Baja California. Tonight is our farewell cocktail party and dinner and the perfect, relaxing end to our holiday, with ease and comfort. (B, L, D)
Day 13 - San Diego
We dock in San Diego after breakfast and guests travel home by air or train today or may extend their stay in this wonderful city at our special hotel rates. Welcome Home! (B)
This tour is not operating in 2012. We recommend Vacations By Rail's Mexico's Copper Canyon
tour, departing on April 28, 2012.