Jan. 21 – 26: From Trains to Boats, Mountains to Sea (first week in Mexico)

First Mexican breakfastWe slipped easily across the border at Nogales, Arizona, with only paperwork delaying us, and tested a roadside restaurant for our first Mexican breakfast.

colonial carving

We spent our first night at a somewhat seedy Leo’s Inn along the Pacific coast at Guaymas, Sonora, but were reminded of Mexico’s colonial history in an old hotel restaurant where we enjoyed our first Mexican fish dinner.

We headed inland the next day to El Fuerte, Sinaloa, a beautiful colonial town, and the launching pad for our train trip.There we discovered a gem of a hotel, Rio Vista, an ecotourist’s dream overlooking the river.

Deb at Rio Vista

It was filled with paintings of birds, Indigenous, colonial and revolutionary figures and collectibles. The owner and self-taught naturalist, Eleazar Gamez, gave us a tour regaling us with stories of Indigenous cosmovisions, his conversations with his plants, and colourful shamanic visitors

(See hotel images below by clicking on FS in lower right corner for Full Screen, then click to move to next image or let it run automatically.)

Jan. 21-27 From Trains to Boats, Mountains to Sea


The next two days took us on a winding train trail into the mountains and through the La Barranca de Cobre, or Copper Canyon, deeper at points than the Grand Canyon. It may not be as vast but offers a more intimate view from El Chepe train, an ever-winding narrow gauge engineering marvel, which passes through 86 tunnels and over 37 bridges on the 8-hour trip to Creel, Chihuahua. Passionate (and crazy) photographers that we are, we hung out in the space between cars where we could try to capture the volcanic-formed ridges and deep valleys. Armed with his 200mm lens, John followed the train in and out of tunnels.

(See images below by clicking on FS in lower right corner for Full Screen, then click on each image for slide show or let it run automatically.)

Chepe train through Copper Canyon


Before taking the train back to El Fuerte the next day, we took a tour of the surrounding valley, home of the Rarámuri peoples, visiting a family living in a cave house, an old Jesuit mission, regional school, and amazing volcanic rock formations.

Our next adventure moved us from mountainous earth to tumultuous sea. This time our launching pad was the charming seaside town of Tolopobampo, Sinaloa. We devoured a big fish dinner on the beach with the backdrop of a fiery sunset.

Topolobampo beach sellers

Topolobampo sunset







Then we happened upon a pedestrian Sunday night on the malecón (boardwalk), complete with tailgate parties and communal exercise machines (a model for Toronto’s waterfront…?)

Exercise machines in Tolopobampo (1 of 1)  John on exercise machines in Tolopobampo (1 of 1)


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