Ted’s Travels – Latin America’s Canyons
Did you know that there are two canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon in Latin America?
Copper Canyon, Mexico
Las Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon) located at the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua spans an impressive 59,545km. Its name derives from the stunning hue of its walls that can be easily admired from the Chepe train, a 64 carriage train that crosses the area in a 14 hour journey. The Chepe train runs for 628km between Chihuahua city and Los Mochis, in the neighbouring state of Sinaloa. It crosses the mighty Sierra, winding through tunnels and bridges along the way.
The Copper Canyon is home to a vast and colourful biodiversity. You can hike in the woods, bird watch and even camp in this area. Popular activities include horseback riding to the indigenous communities of the Raramuris (also called Tarahumaras), famous for being able to run nonstop for hours covering long distances of territory. Given the remoteness of the region, their way of life has been preserved throughout centuries.
Come prepared since climate in the Canyon varies greatly – with low temperatures in the highlands and very hot temperatures along the banks of rivers. Pack clothing for weather extremes, but most importantly, don’t forget your camera!
Most travellers that make their way to Machu Picchu are oblivious to the fact that within a bus ride of the ruins lies a canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Colca Canyon is home to soaring condors, endless trekking routes, green terraces and little-altered Inca and Pre-Inca traditions that date back to the 1570s.
More than 100km in length, the canyon is approximately 3,400m at its deepest point. With a few days extra in your itinerary you can squeeze in some amazing experiences in the region. You can access Colca Canyon via Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city, where you can either hire a car or hop into a bus that runs daily to various villages along the Canyon.
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au