2016-17 Winter Trip Pt. 1: Chihuahua, MX

Chihuahua is located at the north of Mexico. It is the largest state in the country and it is mostly popular for The Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert in North America. Though this extraordinary and biologically diverse desert is called The Chihuahuan Desert, it extends to other Mexican states such as Coahuila and Durango, and even the states of New Mexico, Arizona and Texas in the US.

This state is also popular for The Sierra Tarahumara (the Tarahumara mountain range), home of the Tarahumaras (or Rarámuris), who are well known for their crafts and their 2-day long-distance running. The Rarámuri language is still spoken and people are conscious about the importance of preserving it, we even spotted a café at Creel where you get a discount for making your order in Rarámuri. The famous Barrancas del Cobre (or Copper Canyon) and the Basaseachic Falls are located in this mountain range.

Chihuahua is also home of the largest group of Mennonites in Mexico. This Christian group of people is mainly known for their farm products, specifically: their cheese.

Oh, and Chihuahua is also popular for the people’s accent. Where, unlike where I live and most of the country, they pronounce the “ch” as “sh”. Bienvenidos a Shihuahua!

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December 18, 2016.

Hannah, Marc and I arrived to Chihuahua super early; at around 5:00 AM after taking a night bus from Saltillo. We went directly to the airport by taxi (should’ve used Uber, because that was one expensive taxi), where we waited at a restaurant until Herz was open to pick up the car we rented. The initial plan was to take the train called Chepe, but since we had little time and it was cheaper and more comfortable to rent a car, we did so.

After an express visit to downtown Chihuahua and eating a “montado” (which is just like a normal burrito but with cheese), we hit the road in the little silver Chevrolet Spark.

Halfway to Creel we made an emergency stop because Hannah was too tired to keep driving. Marc didn’t have a driver’s license and I was worried I fucked up because I don’t drive standard (I know, shame on me). So Hannah slept 20 minutes in the car while Marc and I explored the area near the road. All the landscapes you can admire on the way from Chihuahua to Creel are beautiful, so don’t worry you won’t get bored.

The staff at Hotel Posada Santa Cruz was nice, the rooms are good, you can have a hot shower and at a reasonable price (200MXN per person per night in a room for 3). There’s a kind of chimney on the hall that keeps the hotel warm (though it looks a little bit dangerous from the back of the place). Also, they have parking space for 2 cars.

After checking-in we decided to go to the viewpoint where there’s a statue of Christ (yes, there’s one here too) to watch the sunset. That night we dined pizza and corn at a lovely hut.

 

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The next day we had breakfast at a little stall on the main street that sells gorditas, quesadillas and that kind of food. We headed to Barrancas del Cobre, where we did everything. There’s a 2.5 km ZipRider (a sitting zipline), 7 ziplines (one of them is a tandem zipline and there’s 2 hanging bridges on the way) and the vía ferrata (which includes rappel, climbing, a crazy jump and hanging bridges). We paid 1,300MXN through someone who supposedly would be our guide and had a great price, but it was weird because we paid him and then we went with him to the ticket office. The website says the price is 1,500MXN so I hope we didn’t get ripped off, but if I were to visit again I’d go directly to the ticket office. There we met 2 French, Henri and Alice, who would later go back to Creel with us but we never saw again. That night Marc and I tried “taquiquesos”, which are tacos of a burnt cheese wrapped meat.

 

 

The following morning we had breakfast at a cozy café called La Troje de Adobe, right behind our hotel. We had machaca con huevo, huevos a la mexicana, some fruit and coffee. It was really delicious and well-priced. I’d recommend this place if you don’t know where to have breakfast.

Then we decided to bike our way to the Rekowata thermal springs. You have to do 6 km of paved road plus 11 km trail road to get there. There’s a point where you have to pay to enter, 15MXN for students and 30MXN normal price. Even though we only enjoyed the thermal springs for 30 minutes (because we wanted sunlight for the way back) it was an amazing experience. Getting into the thermal springs felt so good after that bike ride. At the end Marc went back to Creel alone to get the car and then picked Hannah and me up at the entrance of the trail road because he’s a lot more fit and faster than us.

 

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Our last morning at Creel we had breakfast at the same café and handed in the rental bikes a bit late. The lady charged us half the price of the day rental. If you want to rent bikes don’t go with the 3 Amigos, there’s a cheaper option (plus it’s managed by Tarahumaras) on the same street. The fee is 200MXN for the day (though it’s really from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM).

Finally we visited Lake Arareko (or Arareco), the Valley of the Frogs and Mushrooms (Valle de las Ranas y de los Hongos). The same ticket you pay can be used to enter all of these places, but it’s only valid for a day. If you’re visiting these places I’d recommend you go really early because when we were leaving there were a lot of vans full of tourists arriving. Then, on our way back to Chihuahua, we had some really good Mennonite cheese pizza at Pizzería La Sierra. The day ended with us driving Marc to a hotel in Chihuahua (he was leaving Mexico the next day), dropping off the Chevrolet Spark and traveling to Guadalajara.

 

 

The Recap

Day 1:

  • Downtown Chihuahua
  • Drive to Creel
  • Explore Creel

Day 2:

  • Breakfast at Creel
  • Barrancas del Cobre
  • Dinner at Creel

Day 3:

  • Breakfast at Creel
  • Biking to the Rekowata thermal springs
  • Dinner at Creel

Day 4:

  • Breakfast at Creel
  • Lago de Arareko (or Arareco)
  • Valle de las Ranas y de los Hongos
  • Mennonite cheese pizza at Pizzería La Sierra
  • Drive back to Chihuahua

 

P.S. It was nice meeting you Marc!

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