Batopilas Caynon definately was the hit of our week in the Copper Canyons. We made great walks with the local guide, Manuel Gil (any of the hotels can connect you with him). The vegetation in Batopilas is tropical (mangoes and such) but just out side it is very arid with many different cactus--- some were flowering-- but as you climb up you hit regions of knarly oaks and even higher up are the pines. Incredible views of this tropical alpine region!!
We had the luck of see how locals made tequila up in the mountains (some 1000 meter higher than Batopilas) and to taste the wonderfully sweet and smokey, rather yam-like savor of cooked maguey cactus which the drink is made from. Manuel is a man who has lived in many facets of life, having worked in resturants and such but he is a man of the countryside-- many years a farmer and others a guide through out the region. Very knowledgable of life, of the vegetation and of local dynamics.
Yes, there are narcos in the region but with a local guide and prudence there should be no problem. They are after other affairs than messing with tourists. Their influence is way down compared to 2-3 years ago, there is very minimal drug crop in the region due to strong activity of the Mexican army which now only maintains a descrete presence.
The road down to the Canyon is being paved, so it will soon be different. But for the moment it is a dirt road with no shoulder obviously and it winds down an incredible and dramatic drop. We went with public transport and the two drivers-- one coming down in a van and the other going up in a revamped school bus-- were both great and very able drivers, very cautious. This transport is a nice place to get a flavor of local life-- much better than traveling in your own car where you do not know how to handle the curves and all.
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