Mexico – Baja California and the Copper Canyon
The majority of travellers to Mexico head for the Caribbean shores of the Yucatan peninsula. In contrast, our journey begins at the opposite end of the country on the second-longest peninsula in the world. Stretching for more than 1500km, Baja California is graced with wild desert landscapes punctuated by lush oases. Gray whales nurse their young in the Pacific waters and benign whale sharks peacefully filter-feed their way across the gulf.
Moving over to the mainland, we travel through the remarkable Copper Canyon. This is a land of jagged mountains and breathtaking scenery, dotted with old mission churches and home to the indigenous Raramuri.
Starting at the northern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, our trip takes us through San Quintin, where we search for wildlife in the Sonora Desert and the pine-oak forests of San Pedro Mártir. We’ll also look for the largest flying bird in North America, the Californian condor. Before moving southwards, we hike among the intriguing desert flora of Catavina, with a stop at the peculiar salt flats at Guerrero Negro.
Passing through the oasis of Mulege, we reach the stunning shores of Baja California Sur. Here we visit the beaches of Baja Concepcion, and the wildlife-rich islands of Coronado and Espiritu Santo, where we look out for sea lion colonies and Blue-footed boobies.
Taking a ferry to the Mexican mainland, we head for the historic city of El Fuerte and the Mayo Indian village of Tehueco. El Fuerte is our springboard for travel into the Copper Canyon. Taking the train from here up to Cerocahui, we then travel onwards to Posada Barrancas, where we’ll see the magnificent canyon views and find out more about the Raramuri people.
As we approach the town of Creel, we learn in depth about how the Raramuri live and we make a stop at the vivid blue Lago de Arareco. We reach Cuauhtemoc next, where the pine trees and mountains of the Copper Canyon give way to ranching country. Here we meet a Mennonite family, finding out about their unique sect of Christianity. Rounding off our trip, we explore the deeply patriotic city of Chihuahua with its attractive colonial centre.
When many people think of Mexico, they picture the built-up beaches of Cancun and the Mayan sites of the Yucatan, not to mention its famed cuisine. But dig a little deeper and there is a lot more to Mexico than its stereotypes. This is a different side of the country. Combining the indigenous cultures and raw natural beauty of the northern canyons, with the marine life and untamed coastline of Baja California, this is an adventure away from the tourist trail.