On a Mission to Deliver the Real Mexico
“We started Eco-Alternative Tours to show travelers to the Copper Canyon the real life that is hidden in these mountains, the unique culture and beliefs of the indigenous people of the Sierra, the Rarámuri. Our mission is to promote the simplistic, nature-based worldview of the Raramuri, without negatively impacting their way of life. We believe in giving back by partnering with specific families who host our tours and donating a portion of our tour proceeds to the Raramuri community.
Our tours leave you with more than memories and photos of the breathtaking landscape of the Copper Canyon. You will get an eye-opening, authentic experience of connection with nature, people and spirituality that only the Sierra Tarahumara, the Rarámuri, and Eco-Alternative Tours can provide. We can’t wait for you to experience the beauty and life that exists in the Copper Canyon.”
-Jesus Manuel Palma Aguirre (Chunel) and Daniela Ramirez
Chunel and Daniela began their mission by teaching art and identity (storytelling) workshops, called kolimi (rainbow) for native Raramuri children who had migrated to the city. Chunel, a native Rarámuri himself, saw these children losing their connection to their roots, forgetting their culture, and absorbing into the culture of the city. They were then returning to their Raramuri villages lacking appreciation for their elders and the spirit of the culture. The workshops were a way for young Rarámuri to reconnect with the simple, community and nature-based culture of their ancestry.
In order to spend more time with the community and due to limited funding opportunities, Chunel and Daniela began giving tours of the Copper Canyon from the unique perspective they, Chunel, a native Raramuri and Daniela, a Mexican-American anthropologist, provide.
Chunel and Daniela are passionate about resignifying the Raramuri culture by teaching visitors their stories and giving back to their community. They believe in portraying the Raramuri as they are, a challenged but vital people. In fact, a portion of each tour sale is given directly back to the Raramuri people.
More About Your Tour Guides Chunel and Daniela
With unique passion and perspective, Chunel provides a tour experience unlike any other in the region. Chunel is a native Rarámuri and studied anthropology to be able to gain the necessary tools to return to his native Sierra and help the Raramuri people, his community. He is married to Daniela (your other tour guide) and together they have two kids.
Chunel’s goal is to educate the people who visit the Sierra Tarahumara about the Raramuri and their culture, including their connection to nature and spirituality. He accomplishes this by telling their stories through his eyes, the eyes of a native Rarámuri. He tells the stories so beautifully and in such a way that even more so enriches the tour experience. He has hiked and has studied the Sierra and knows all the best paths and views, just like the native people.
Daniela, an anthropologist, has a passion for teaching and educating tour-takers on the exceptional and rare characteristics of the Rarámuri culture. Her Master’s degree thesis was even a perspective on the Raramuri and their development. Daniela is native to California, but was born to Mexican immigrant parents. She speaks Spanish and will translate Chunel’s captivating stories for you. She truly loves being able to show the world to the Rarámuri and the Rarámuri to the world.
Chunel and Daniela are enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable tour guides. They provide an authentic, fun, and relaxed atmosphere for your tour and encourage you to ask questions, remain open-minded, and most of all enjoy the vivid landscape and people of the Copper Canyon.