"Travel Notes from Creel and the Copper Canyon" Creel by gdilieto

Creel Travel Guide: 36 reviews and 132 photos

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Creel is the gateway to the Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon), the canyon, or better the cluster of six different canyons, larger, deeper and, some say, more spectacular than the Grand Canyon though not as much renowned since not as much promoted and developed as international tourist destination. As often in my traveling, I happened to travel here by chance, and the challenge I take (I generally am not after outdoor or eco-tourism) was well paid off by the spectacular places visited.

Creel is the perfect base to explore the Copper Canyon, as far as both location and infrastructures are concerned. But Creel is also a charming little town itself, with much of the charm right in the fact that the place has not been completely developed as tourist destination and the place still retains a flavor of a little town from the "Old West". Like in the Old West (at least the one we saw in the movies), the village is developed along a crowded High Street, center of the city life, with a line up of hotels, restaurants and shops on the sides; you can still see people getting around the town horse riding and the best way to get into town is still by the old-fashioned train, two rides a day only, a kind of romantic in a North American continent which has practically banned train for passengers transportation. Last a large population of native Indians (see my paragraph below) lives around refusing the Western standards and sticking to their traditional, somewhat primitive, lifestyle.

There is a lot of charm in Creel and the Copper Canyon is an amazing tourist destination not only for those who are after eco-tourism or outdoor activities but also for those who are after cultural trips and enjoy exploring different ways and different paces of life. See my Photo Gallery of Creel and Photo Gallery of Views of the Copper Canyon for some visual representations.

A Reclusive Indigenous Group Facing Modernization

With between 50,000 and 70,000 people, Tarahumara Indians are the second largest and one of the most fascinating and reclusive Mexican indigenous group. Originally they inhabited much of the state of Chihuahua, but when the Spanish arrived in the XVI century, they retreated for the nearly inaccessible canyons of the Sierra Tarahumara, where they have lived for centuries in isolation and where they still live today, primitively, sticking to their culture and traditional lifestyle. Tarahumara's lifestyle is under threat by modernization, but I couldn't say whether this is a bad - as it is usually presented - or rather a good thing. Their poverty is overwhelming, illiteracy spread out, infant mortality and teenage pregnancy very high and expectation of life fairly short. Helping them retaining their own traditions, while enhancing their life conditions, is a challenge not easy to face ... Check out my Photo Gallery of Tarahumara Indians for some photos and additional insight.

The New Life of Old Trucks and SUVs

I have wondered for years where old cars, trucks and SUVs would end up after they have been dismissed by the US market. As a matter of fact, you hardly see riding the US streets vehicles older than a decade, when they are still operational and in fairly good conditions after all. I had figured an answer for yellow school-buses - that I found scattered all across Central America - but for other vehicles I hadn't come to a conclusion yet. In my trip to Copper Canyon I found out where many of those vehicles have been discharged! Old trucks and SUVs, Chevy, Ford, GMC, from the '90s, the '80s and even from the '70s, ploughing the dirty roads of the Canyon after they were considered not good enough for US paved freeways and tiled driveways. Eventually, at the end of their lifestime and in a foreign country, they came to be used what they were made for!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Charming Mexican Little Town with an "Old West" Flavour
  • Cons:It Takes Long to Get to/away
  • In a nutshell:A Great Base for Enchanting Excursions in the Copper Canyon
  • Last visit to Creel: Mar 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (17)

Comments (2)

  • Usctwin's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    I love that you have labeled all your tips must do, nice to do, etc. Such a great way of helping travelers with a recommendation!

  • malianrob's Profile Photo
    Sep 28, 2008 at 7:38 AM

    Hi Giuseppe, Just stopped by to checkout your pages. I had never heard of Creel. I think I would like to visit thisplace after seeing yor Pages. Take care Maria


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