Copper Canyon ~ Tarahumara Indians and Aerial Tram

Monday, April 10th – Aerial Tram into the Copper Canyon

Copper Canyon

There are six individual canyons in the Sierra Madre Mountains, collectively known as the Copper Canyon or Barrancas del Cobre. It is located in Northwestern Mexico in the state of Chihuahua. 

Gus joined us for breakfast, which was a generous buffet that offered up a combination of traditional and local foods.

Gus and a healthy start to our day

A brief stop on the large hotel balcony/patio to watch the oversized hummingbirds before heading out.

These were the largest hummingbirds I have seen

I wanted to try to get a shot of Gus with a hummingbird, but he just scared them off 😦

An entire day to explore the canyon starts off with an introduction to the Tarahumara (aka Rarámuri) Indians. They are a semi-nomadic tribe who have lived in this area for many generations. Being fairly remote, and a reclusive people, their way of life has changed very little over thousands of years. Their ancestors lived for generations in the caves and overhangs throughout the canyon.

Joanne with two of the Tarahumara men in traditional dress

A simple dance was performed for us by one dancer with shell adornment on his ankles that rattled as he moved. He was accompanied by two musicians, one playing a violin he had crafted himself.

Notice shells on dancers ankles and handmade violin

The women are notable for their unique baskets and other hand-made crafts.

The baskets were very intricate and beautifully made

I purchased one more small woven basket with a lid, again for $3.

Small round basket with a lid in natural colors

Known as distance runners, the men would toss a wooden ball with their feet or hit it with a bat like stick and run for miles, hour after hour. This was a combination sport and entertainment called rarajipari. Women had a similar activity, but with intertwined cloth rings and a stick.

This young lad was adorable and happy to have his picture taken

A morning visit to a local medicine woman was fascinating, and I will be writing an entire article devoted just to that experience as it deserves a post all its own.

Then, finally a visit to the rim of the Copper Canyon where we could step out onto a glass floor and peer straight down the side of the cliff to the valley far below.

Standing on the glass floor. Shoes had to have slip on covers.

The view straight down shows a walking/swinging bridge under me.

There was a lot going on here from venders selling goods, to a world-class zip line (reputed to be the longest and highest in the world), to rock climbing, to the third longest Aerial Tramway in the world at 2800 meters.

Zip line riders!

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We waited in line for a few minutes for our tram to take us across the canyon. They leave on the 1/2 hour. Descending almost 4,500 feet into the center of the canyon provides beautiful viewpoints and more opportunities to check out native artistry.

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Pictures of the valley from the end of the tram ride:

A different view of the canyon

Our hotel on the side of the cliff

Weaving and colorful clothing

Weaving a basket

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Returning to our hotel in time for a late lunch, the afternoon was ours to rest, explore further, or take a one hour hike with our guide.

At 5:00 Manuel (our guide), gave an in-depth lecture on the Tarahumara people, complete with a slide show followed by dinner at the hotel and an early bedtime.

Full moon rising over the canyon at the end of a fabulous day!

Overnight: Posadas Barrancas

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and interact with several of the Tarahumara people. They seemed to be shy, soft-spoken and rather aloof, yet not unfriendly at the same time. The basket weaving skills and speed at which they can create these intricate patterns impressed me.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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12 Responses to Copper Canyon ~ Tarahumara Indians and Aerial Tram

  1. tippysmom2 says:

    Looks like another great day! I don’t know if I would have stood on the glass overlook. I am not afraid of heights, but have found as I get older that I do seem to have a little vertigo when looking down from high places. Those ARE some really HUGE hummingbirds! Love the baskets and the one you chose. Full moon rising was a great end to your day.


  2. joylennick says:

    I applaud your lack of fear of heights. Gulp! I’m not that bad, but wow the heights you negotiated were awesome. Good for you! Great to see the hummingbirds and the local inhabitants. What an experience. Excellent photos again. Onwards and upwards…


  3. Must have been a good time when you were there. Thank you for liking my post. Copper Canyon was beautiful, wasn’t it? When I went, I got to see beauty through the entire place.


  4. curvyroads says:

    Looks lovely! Did your tour have time to zipline if you had wanted to? That looked like it would be awesome to fly over the canyon! 😲

    And gorgeous shot of the full moon!


  5. Brad Nixon says:

    Fantastic trip. I DID make it not only to Anza-Borrego this month, but to The Slot, thanks in good part to the excellent directions in your blog post. I expect to write about it next week and will give you an aknowledgement. Thank you.


  6. Barbara Yurick says:

    Tim and Joanne,

    I’m considering taking this same trip to Copper Canyon next winter with Gate1 Travel. Did you like your accommodations with them and was the trip a good value?


    • Hi Barbara, yes, Gate 1 does provide good value for the money. Our accommodations were OK but not as nice as we have had on other tours with them. We especially enjoyed our time in San Carlos and the great balcony views at the canyon.


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