Batopilas Canyon
Batopilas Canyon
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A beautiful and seldom-seen region located along the scenic Copper Canyon route.
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vandamonium
Port Aransas, Texas5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I left Creel with all intentions of spending 2 days at Botapilas. 16 days later I reluctantly packed my stuff and headed back to the Texas border. I loved it immediately. I had taken a Banjo with me instead of my Guitar and would hike up a different canyon each day and sit and learn to strum the banjo. Ended up playing in town a little and once even played with the local town Mariachi group. One of my most pleasing and pleasant experiences in my life.
Written March 28, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pamelapal
Gilbert, AZ9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Couples
We are senior (hubby is 75, I am 69), but adventurous. We traveled to Batopilas at night due to the road being closed due to construction during the day, came across many landslides, many rocks in the road, and the road was mainly dirt, very dangerous and steep, had to cross a couple very rickety wood bridges, so the trip down the canyon is definitely not for the faint of heart. Add to that the fact that the 3rd night there, actually in the early morning we awoke to 4 bodyguards with AK47s sitting on the curb in front of the hotel (there was a narco chief staying in the hotel). One guy actually shot off his gun in the patio right in front of our room, very LOUD and frightening. We were scared and thought they were coming for us since we were the only tourists in town, were hiding in our room until morning. The maid who arrived in the morning almost laughed at us for being scared, said this kind of thing is "normal", that the narcos come down from the hills and just get drunk, stay in the hotel and have fun, nothing to be afraid of. The police station was just a few doors down but not a peep from them. When we left the hotel we had to walk in front of about 6 of these guys with their guns sitting on the curb, but they seemed friendly enough. It appears that many in the town are involved in the drug trade. One guy at the local store told us not to ask any questions, just saying "top secret". The town is lovely, but beware the trip in and out is tough and scary, we had to have the road cleared with a bulldozer around 4am as we followed a bus and combi out of town, and then just be aware it is a Narco town; however, they don't want any trouble and won't bother you as long as you don't bother them. I wouldn't go out at night or go to any bars. The people were very nice however and seemed happy to see tourists in town.
Written November 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SteveTPA
Tampa, FL17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Visitors to the Copper Canyon region who can fit some extra time in their schedule should make the side trip to Batopilas from Creel a very high priority. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Batopilas is very remote. It takes most of a day to travel to Batopilas from Creel and most of another day for the return trip, plus at least one day in Batopilas for sight-seeing. I traveled to Batopilas as part of a 10 day trip to the Copper Canyon region that I arranged with a customized itinerary through Copper Canyon Adventures in El Fuerte. I had read about the scheduled bus service from Creel, but I decided to reserve a private driver for convenience even though it was much, much more expensive than taking the bus. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made. It was well worth the expense, but it was $300 not including the hotel. Because Batopilas is so remote, the driver has to stay in Batopilas while you're there. My driver spoke excellent English. He was friendly, entertaining, and intimately familar with the Creel and Batopilas areas. He makes the drive frequently during the high tourist season. He drove an older, but very well maintained, 4WD pickup customized for off-road driving. (I don't know how to contact him directly.)

First, the drive on the paved Gran Vision highway from Creel to the turnoff for Batopilas was beautiful. It reminded me a lot of the drive on Utah state highway 12 from Bryce Canyon NP through Escalante-Grand Staircase NM to Capitol Reef NP. The drive on the gravel road to Batopilas was just spectacular. Steep drop-offs, and views across and down into the canyons. Comparable to some of the best 4WD roads in the Moab or Ouray areas, but with different scenery. Visitors pass the historic La Bufa gold mine and parallel the old El Camino Real Spanish trail across the canyon. The Raramuri ranchitos hanging precariously on the cliff-side wherever there's a small patch of land to plant corn were astounding. At the end of the drive we arrived in the small mining town of Batopilas. We stayed at the Casa Real de las Minas, a good choice (reviewed separately).

My driver seemed to know everyone in town. Across from the hotel is an "old-timey" general store. Local Raramuri, wearing their traditional clothing (both men and women), shopped at the store with their families along with the other local residents. The two local bars were loud with music and singing on Friday night.

The main nearby attraction is the "lost" cathedral of Satevo. It's a fairly long, hot walk from Batopilas but on mostly level ground. But if you have a driver and vehicle like I did, it's only a short drive from Batopilas. The cathedral's exterior has recently been restuccoed after many years of a more worn appearance. (Signs explain the debate about whether to preserve the cathedral in a state of "arrested decay" or to restore it.) The cathedral is fascinating, not to mention the mystery of why it was built in such a remote place.

Back in Batopilas, stop by the new state museum in the Residencia. The curator and his chihuahua are very friendly. The curator has an English script he can use to describe the historic and mining artifacts. There are several historic buildings in town, but as is typical for Mexican architecture, the most attractive parts of the buildings face the interior patio rather than the streets, and most aren't open to the public. The Alexander Shepard silver mill ruins are intersting from across the river, but when I visited they weren't really worth seeing from the inside.

The owner of the Hotel Mary was building some tourist rooms in the compound, but the ruined buildings had no description and most of the ruins were being used as livestock pens or for trash. Maybe he'll clean up the grounds before he opens the little lodge. (The museum has a model of the compound with a description of the buildings but there's nothing at the ruins themselves.) Watch for the small local shop where Luis Kollyes sells reasonably priced prints and postcards from paintings he's made. Well worth a stop.

One of the best local restaurants is Casa de Maria, where delicious truly traditional Mexican meals are prepared in a private kitchen and served at a couple of tables on the attached covered veranda. It's like eating in a private home. (Actually, Dona Maria has passed away. Her daughter (I think) prepares the food now, but I don't remember her name. The restaurant is on the old village square past the Hotel Real de las Minas, but it has no sign identifying it. In the evenings we sat on benches by the general store, talked (well, I tried to; my Spanish isn't the greatest), and watched the people and dogs wander the streets.

On the return drive to Creel we stopped to give local Raramuri kids and their parents a ride to the school at the rim of the canyon in Quirare. They would be standing by the road with a sheer cliff on one side and a steep dropoff to the river on the other. It was a mystery where they came from, and amazing to think they used to hike all the way out of the canyon. Once we had climbed back out of the canyon, we stopped at the Cusurare waterfall (not much water flow in the dry season, but nice), and the very interesting Raramuri-built Loyola Museum housing the early 18th century paintings of the life of the Virgin Mary by Miguel Correa. (There's a good museum of Raramuri life in Creel.)

(The drive to Urique from Cerocahui is a shorter alternative to Batopilas. The round trip drive can be made in less than a day. It's a beautiful drive, but it's not as spectacular as the drive to Batopilas. I did that, too.)
Written May 17, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Go32460
north carolina1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
the train ride and then the bus going down to the canyon is a thrill but the beauty of the mountain ranges is something that everyone should see at least once!! the indians are great and the handicraft that you see; the canyon is a wonderful place for one to find themselves or to enjoy with someone that they love; GO!!
Written August 12, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gary K
San Diego, California, United States46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2013 • Couples
Batopilas. 11/2013. This village is at the bottom of the Canyon, sometimes accessible by a 4 1/2 hour bus ride from Creel. They are attempting to put in a paved road for the last 10 miles which is currently dirt. The last hour will be a wild ride.

Due to a Rockslide we were not able to take the normal route. We hired a guide and his 4wd SUV to take us there via an alternative route, mainly dirt, very beautiful, 9 1/2 hours long. This route took us through Guachochi to the SE, then all dirt to Batopilas. A fun adventure. Beautiful scenery.

We stayed at the Hacienda Rio Batopilas hotel, right on the river. Very cute colonial hotel that used to be the big hacienda here. Comfortable but the promised got water never showed up. We ate at a small restaurant called Mica Restaurante a block past the square. Very reasonable and good local food. FYI the town is about 1 block wide along the river for about a mile. If you read the book "Born to Run" ask to see Caballo Blancos house.

You should plan at least a full day in the village to enjoy the local flavor. Be sure to see the museum and the Mission. walk the aqueduct. The museum was a real treat and we got a private tour with the curator Jose. The nicest man you would ever meet. As of 2013 there is no cell service but they hope to have it operational by mid 2014. They town does have electricity and water. There are several small hotels, stores and restaurants also. Population is about 1500.

This village was the second place in Mexico to have electricity because of the river and the mine needing power, so they built a small aqueduct and used that to power a Hydro electric plant.

Our trip back used the old main road that is under construction . It was only open till 6am, so we got underway at 430 to clear the construction. I must admit that this was not for the faint of heart. Landslides, rocks in road, streams and heavy equipment. But when we cleared the construction it was a much easier quicker ride back. A little under 5 hours.

We always felt safe due to the cautious driving by Cesar Gonzalez, our guide. Slow and cautious. We did a local Creel tour with him the day before and really liked him so hired him for 2 more days for the long trip. He spoke English. He also speaks Spanish, French, and the Indian language of the Tarahumara. We found him at the Plaza margarita hotel in Creel. His email is cesargonzalezquintero@gmail.com. His cell is 635.456.0108. (don't forget to add the 1 in the front for cell phones I think. ) He will also do trips to all the other attractions in the canyon area. FYI we also did the Menonite/ Cuautemoc tour and loved it also.

The canyon bottom is totally different than the top. Sub tropical. The river. Cactus. Indians in lion clothes. Very local
Written November 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carlos C
20 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Couples
We had high expectations, but the reality was scary. I've traveled to Mexico 5 times, Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, France, Japan, Korea, China (twice). Of all those travels, I never felt in imminent danger. But the drunkeness at Batopilas was scary as hell. We and all the other tourists boarded ourselves into the hotel, and stayed up all night listening to the screaming and crashing, which didn't calm down until about 3PM. I was glad to leave that hellhole on the 6 AM bus. Of all the great places to travel in the world, Batopilas would rank among the absolute bottom.
Written July 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ecowan56
Ottawa, Canada32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Couples
We drove down the 140 KM from Creel to Batopilas in our VW camper van. It was a spectacular trip down but as many have said it was full of hairpin turns sharper than any you have used in your hair and fallen rocks or boulders scattered on the road making navigation extremely slow. But better to enjoy the views. We camped in the El Mango restaurant and the owner was wonderfully hospitable and generous. We spent two days scouting out the town and enjoying the colorful dress of the Tarahumara. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I recommend the walk to the church. I could have stayed a week.
Written February 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

chosroes
London, UK54 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017
Incredible views i travelled on a mule for 9 days through the many canyons comprising copper canyon and i have to say its way up there with my very best travel experiences absolutly unique and wonderful
Written August 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hayley970
Thorne, UK455 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015 • Couples
Went on a 3 day tour to the Copper Canyon and Batopilas from Creel. The descent into Batopilas Canyon from the road is amazing, we had someone driving us so we could enjoy the views. The drive itself is a big part of the experience, the road winds it way down into the canyon in a series of hairpin bend. It is mostly paved now which makes the going a lot easier. There is a small portion of the road unpaved, can't imagine what it must have been like when it was all like that, it was slow going enough at times now the road is tarmacked with all the switchbacks.

We did some walking in the Batopilas Canyon, firstly to the Lost Cathedral and secondly along the Aqueduct. It's surprisingly warm in this oasis in the desert, make sure you do some hiking to make the most of it. Both the Lost Cathedral and Aqueduct walks were fantastic. We had a picnic with a bottle of wine at the top of the canyon after the aqueduct walk, it made for a perfect Christmas Eve.
Written June 28, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Todd2PS
Greater Palm Springs, CA263 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015 • Couples
I just booked a car and driver through the hotel to drive us down to Batopilas. First, it's an amazing trip, but it is not for anyone not willing to experience the joy of traveling to a hard to reach destination.

The trip down only took about 3.5 hours. We stopped to take great pictures. The scenery all the way, every bit of the way is wonderful, but when you "go over the edge" it is truly breathtaking. You will gasp. Be prepared for rock falls. Yes, there are detours over the most basic sorts of bridges.

The town is getting a make over, so go now. Once the new bridge is built and the new road finished it's gonna be super popular. All the buildings are getting a coat of fresh paint and new doors. Don't miss the mission outside, downstream from town. I also wanted to explore the mysterious ruins on the other side of the river, but just didn't have enough time.

Coming back took about 5 hours. There was a big rock slide that took a long time to clear. There was another rock slide that also took some time to clear. But, they were working on both by the time we got to them. I'd suggest leaving early to go either direction just in case you get caught by a land slide.

Going back up we stopped at the "Papaya" stop. A beautiful location and the lady there makes papaya jam. Eaten with those bland cookies it was wonderful.

I found the young boys with big guns interesting but not at all threatening. They, the boys, paid me no attention.

There are evidently a few restaurants in Batopilas but I found only two. Mangos down along the river on the way to the mission and Carolina's right in town off of the small square.

You'll really be glad you braved the road.
Written March 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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