Why go on a tour, instead of going at it alone!

Why go on a tour, instead of going at it alone!

You might be considering visiting Copper Canyon and going at it alone. After all, what will you get from a tour if you already know the places you want to see?

It can certainly be fun to explore a new Country and area on your own. Getting lost in a city and just wandering around. But there is something that our tour can offer that you just won’t discover from wandering around.

 

What makes our tours special:

Our stories

On every tour, we tell stories you won’t find in a book or any other tour. You’ll hear from the people that live in the Copper Canyon and listen to the stories that have shaped their culture and history.

There is so much more than just the beautiful scenery to explore in the Copper Canyon and we take you on a journey through the stories of the Raramuri and their culture.

 

Explore the canyon and meet its people

When you do a tour with Eco-AlterNATIVE Tour you’ll see unique places and get to meet locals that are happy to meet you and share with you their customs and stories.

 

We provide you with a context that you won’t find anywhere else. We are passionate about what we do and we want you to fall in love with the Canyon and its people like we did.

The views on our tours are unparalleled too!

If you want to go a bit deeper into nature and culture we’re the ones for you!

 
 
 
Copper Canyon: 3 Reasons to visit and explore this magical part of Mexico!

Copper Canyon: 3 Reasons to visit and explore this magical part of Mexico!

The Copper Canyon is a spectacular group of canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Mexico. To this day four native indigenous groups inhabit the mountains and canyons of Copper Canyon. They are the Tarahumara, Pima, Warijo, and Tepehuanes.

I’ve witnessed countless travelers when they take their first glimpse say: “Wow, this is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.”  Today I’m sharing with you three things that make Copper Canyon an amazing and unique place to visit.

 

The Nature of the Canyon

The canyons were formed by six rivers that drain the western side of the Sierra Tarahumara. All six rivers merge into the Rio Fuerte and empty into the Gulf of California. The walls of the canyon are a copper/green color that creates the magnificent views of Copper Canyon.The Raramuri they have their own story of how they were formed. It is also an area of rich cultural and biological diversity.

Hiking the Canyons you’ll see many breathtaking views that are sure to make you gasp in awe of nature and all that it created
 

The People of Copper Canyon

Of the four tribes in the Canyon, the Tarahumara are probably most well known for their running abilities nevertheless it’s a small part of this millennial culture. The Spaniards gave the Indians the name Tarahumara, but they call themselves Rarámuri “the people”. They are the largest indigenous group in the region, with a population estimated at about 90,000.

And they have maintained their language and traditions intact, they have a strong sense of community where values such as justice, reciprocity, and respect towards one another are a common practice.

 

Discovering Yourself through the stories of the Canyon

Travel is about stories and this land has many, many, many stories to tell! If you visit the canyon then listen to its stories, without realizing it, you might just find the story that expands your consciousness, your soul, the story you didn’t know you were looking for. After all, that’s what travel is all about!

Are you ready to explore the Copper Canyon, its people, and its stories? Then take a look at our tours here.

 

P.S. – Wondering how to get to Copper Canyon? Ride in on the only passenger train in Mexico, the world famous Chepe!

 
Historias de un viajero: Roger Muskett from Run Hard & Drink Damn Good Beer

Historias de un viajero: Roger Muskett from Run Hard & Drink Damn Good Beer

Roger join us for our Kawií 7-hour Tour. You can read his full blog post on his blog Run Hard & Drink Damn Good Beer. Here’s what he had to say about his tour:



Today was a rest day. Jen told me (in no uncertain terms) that I “had” to get to the canyon. Creel, although a popular destination is not actually in the Copper Canyon.

I booked a tour through eco-alterNATIVE Tours – I booked the 7-hour tour and it was both a hike and a look at the life of the Tarahumara. I, mistakenly thought it was a 7-hour hike – no the tour was a total of 7 hours (actually it went a little faster since it was just me). Thank goodness it wasn’t a 7-hour hike – it was a relaxing 2 1/2 hour hike on the rim of the Copper Canyon. The views were amazing, stunning and awe isnspiring. My pictures don’t come close to capturing the majestic beauty of this place.

Daniela, who owns the tour company with her husband, picked me up at 9:30 and we drove for about an hour to San Luis de Majimachi which is a small village. I walked around the village for a bit and then we ate at the home of our guide for the hike. Throughout the day Daniela talked with me throughout the day about the Tarahumara. It was an extremely educational and amazing day.

 

Historias de un viajero: Roger Muskett Kawií 7 Hour Tour

Historias de un viajero: Roger Muskett Kawií 7 Hour Tour

Historias de un viajero: Roger Muskett Kawií 7 Hour Tour

Historias de un viajero: Roger Muskett Kawií 7 Hour Tour

 


 

If you’re looking for an experience like Roger’s then join us for your own Kawií tour!

La Razón Para Danzar: Semana Santa Entre Los Rarámuri Por Jesús Manuel Palma Batista Originario de Norogachi

La Semana Santa en la Sierra Tarahumara, se celebra con ritual que se combinan con las creencias rarámuri y las costumbres chabochi (mestiza); durante toda la cuaresma se escuchan los tambores; el sonido no se detiene hasta después del Domingo de Resurrección. Pareciera que imitan los latidos del corazón de la madre tierra. Muchas fiestas religiosas de los rarámuri, las realizan con elementos tradicionales propios mezcladas con tradiciones cristianas traídas por los españoles.

La Semana Santa de los rarámuri se debió mucho a la época del año; el ciclo agrícola es muy importante para realizar las fiestas en la cultura tarahumara. Hay fiestas tanto para pedir lluvia como para agradecer las cosechas. Por eso para los misioneros no les fue difícil desplazar otras manifestaciones culturales que se realizaban en ésa época y acostumbrar a los rarámuri a celebrar la Semana Santa precisamente al comienzo de las siembras.

Los gustos estéticos de los indígenas y las preferencias por las pautas de solemnidad propias de la celebración de Semana Santa, hicieron que se estableciera esta fiesta a la mejor cambiandolas por otras festividades prehispánicas que se realizaban con motivo del inicio de las siembras.

Sin duda que la celebración de Semana Santa entre los rarámuri es un gesto de su cultura. Un tanto de sus rasgos originales; más los misioneros que los convirtieron al cristianismo, para hacer una fiesta religiosa, llena de color y seriedad para llevar a cabo las Procesiones y bailes alrededor de las iglesias, las peleas simuladas (el bien contra el mal) entre otras.

La Semana Santa es una de las máximas expresiones religiosas de los rarámuri, también es el término de un ciclo agrícola para iniciar el nuevo año con las siembras. La religiosidad se manifiesta en comunidad y siempre en las fiestas comunitarias o del calendario religioso. Para el rarámuri el baile es la forma de orar, de agradecer y pedir a Dios más tiempo de vida. El indígena danza para ser merecedor de la gracia que pueda darle Onorúame (nuestro padre); como más tiempo de vida y salud, para poder seguir danzando. Las fiestas son las prácticas sociales de mucha importancia.

El cumplimiento del deber religioso, es una norma fundamental, si alguien no cumple se le considera influenciado por la cultura chabochi.

Los días santos inician el miércoles por la tarde con el encendido de lumbres en las cumbres de los cerros, en la cual participan solo unos grupos de pintos y las autoridades de encargadas de llevar a cabo las ceremonias de la Semana Santa; durante los días Santos los gobernadores no deben de ejercer como autoridades; es al Alapérisi (abanderado) a quien se le dá el mando desde el día miércoles; es el que coordina todas las actividades de esos días, como procesiones, cuidar el orden y cumplimiento de las tareas; los Gobernadores solo lo acompañan; su mandato termina con la matanza del judas.

Desde jueves santo durante la mañana se reúnen los protagonistas que son los Gobernadores, capitanes, pintos, soldados y toda la comunidad en el centro del pueblo para participar en las ceremonias que se llevaran a cabo durante esos días de sacrificio y esfuerzo físico; ésta celebración continúa el viernes y termina el sábado por la mañana.

Los pintos, van pintados de manchas blancas y llevan machete. Otros llevan sombreros que adornan con plumas de guajolotes. Estos días son de ayuno, no se come nada hasta al medio día.

El sábado por la mañana se mata al Judas, en ésta parte participan los pascoleros y las autoridades tradicionales una vez quemado el Judas todos los grupos se dispersan hacia sus comunidades para seguir con las danzas en sus comunidades y es entonces cuando empieza la verdadera fiesta rarámuri que puede durar hasta dos semanas.

Acerca del Autor Invitado: Jesus Manuel Palma Batista ha sido citado en numerosos publicaciones. Fue el primer anunciador en el radio indigena XETAR en Guachochi y es el funadador del Coro de Ninas raramuri en Norogachi con su padre compositor y musico Erasmo Palma Fernandez. Fue jefe de coordinacion para la coordinadora indigena estatal en el municipio de Guachochi y fue candidato para diputado en el mismo lugar. 

 

Photos de Semana Santa fueron tomados en la comunidad de Choguita del municipio de Guachochi. 

Historias directo de un viajero: Victor Manuel Jaquez, España

De Los Mochis a Creel en el Chepe (Extracto)

Fotos y Blog Completo Aqui

Día 3 — Creel
Mi plan en Creel era recorrer algo de las barrancas a pié de la mano de un rarámuri. Mientras planificaba el viaje tuve la suerte de encontrarme con la gente de Eco-alterNATIVE tours, un proyecto muy interesante donde una empresa familiar intenta desarrollar eco-turismo involucrando a las comunidades tarahumaras, tomando las decisiones del negocio comunitariamente.

En Creel conocí a Daniela y a Iván, quienes me llevaron en camioneta hasta una aldea tarahumara, donde nos encontramos con Don Benigno, nuestro guía.
Ante este paisaje es fácil imaginar la existencia de gigantes. Y los rarámuris así lo creen. Cuentan historias de Ganokos, una raza de gigantes anterior a la humana que vivió en estas barrancas.

Hubo un tiempo donde los ganokos convivieron y cooperaban con los rarámuris. Los ganokos ayudaban con el cultivo, preparando la tierra y, a cambio, les daban alimento y tejuino. Pero los ganokos se embriagaban y solían abusar de las mujeres y además se comían a los niños. Entonces los rarámuris se organizaron para matar al último Ganoko. Le ofrecieron comida, pero en lugar de frijoles, cocinaron capulines y el gigante, por la indigestión, murió en una remota cueva.

Los rarámuris tienen dos viviendas que alternan con las estaciones. Durante el invierno se refugian en sus casas de madera, pequeñas y sin ventanas. En el verano, prefieren vivir en cuevas, frescas y con aguajes (pequeños manantiales) a mano.

Sin embargo, está prohibido dormir muy cerca de los aguajes, porque los espíritus que allí viven raptan el alma del durmiente, quien queda como un zombie. Para que el alma regrese a su cuerpo, la familia debe organizar fiestas en todo lo alto, para que el alma perdida escuche la algarabía y retorne con los suyos.
Después de cinco horas de caminata, y ahora de subida, ya no podía respirar, mis pulmones ardían y mis pies, enfundados en gruesas calcetas y costosas zapatillas deportivas, me dolían considerablemente. Mientras tanto, Don Benigno, con sus huaraches con suela de neumático, parecía que flotaba entre nubes, levantando las rodillas al andar, sin signo alguno de fatiga.

Meet Our Native Local Guides: Ivan & Jamie join the team!

The Eco-alterNATIVE team is growing and we are so excited (and proud!) to welcome our new guides Ivan and Jamie to the family!

Ivan our new guide, with traveller.

Ivan on Left Side, Traveler on Right Side

 

Jaime our guide

Jaime

       

There Ready to Guide You and Explore copper canyon with you! 

Ivan who is originally from the Balleza region and joins the ranks of one of the few Rarámuri who has graduated with a degree in Social Anthropology (no small feat!). He’s working on a thesis about Rarámuri language use in an indigenous secondary school and is a recent first-time father!

Jaime is originally from the Norogachi region, is Rarámuri, and speaks his language. He is a former schoolteacher in his community and has participated in many conferences. He is an avid reader and defender of his culture!

 

They both love exploring and hiking the Canyon and sharing their culture!

Chunel and Daniela will continue giving tours. Daniela will continue to translate or lead our English language tours. She has a Masters degree in Social Anthropology, administrator at Eco-alterNATIVE tours, and a fluent English speaker originally from the one and only California!

It’s so exciting for us to see and share the growth of our team and we have you all to thank for it!

Eco Alternative Guides

We are all passionate guides and look forward to introducing many more travellers to the people and to these amazing places!

Eco-alterNATIVE tour with local guide

If you’re planning a trip to the Copper Canyon (or want to come back) check out our tours here!

Trekking Across The Copper Canyon Tour [Video Blog]

When we envisioned “Eco- alterNATIVE Tours” Chunel and I felt that travelers would be very interested in having access to the Tarahumara people and their way of life.

The Tarahumara are not easily accessible on your own because they live in villages in the mountains set apart from the main tourist spots of Creel and Divisadero. Also, because of the bestselling book “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall we felt travelers would be interested in the Tarahumara’s super athlete running abilities (this is how I met the Tarahumara 15 years ago!)

But, travelers are endlessly curious and asked us to guide them hiking across the Copper Canyon, something we had no tour for! After our first request, Chunel said YES to taking on this tour. They wanted to trek across the Canyon with the cultural experience too.

Chunel as a Tarahumara himself had walked the Sierra Tarahumara since he was a small boy tailing his mom Cuca’s colorful skirt on mountain trails and helping to carry his younger siblings on his back with a reboso. So in some way he had spent a lifetime preparing for this moment.

It’s a challenging hike of at least four days and three nights, but you enter the unbothered wilderness and the majesty of the Canyon that becomes quickly revealed to you. Marion who took this trek said this about it, “The landscapes are unique, the light and air so clear, but most special was the gentle, graceful company of our guide, Chunel, our donkey Shimina, who carried our tents, and her owner Benigno…” Read Marion’s complete review here.

This video is images taken from our most recent Copper Canyon Hike with Marion and Archy from England.

We hope you will be inspired as much as I was putting this video project together to trek the Copper Canyon the Eco alterNATIVE Tours way!

Our Family Hike Exploring A New Hiking Trail In The Copper Canyon [Video Blog]


Copper Canyon Hike

Testing out the awe-factor on our new hiking trails.

I went on a family hike with my 16-month-old son and 4-year old daughter and my husband, Chunel Palma. I’m usually the one in the office in front of some screen (cell phone or computer), answering calls, emails and updating our website. So it was AWEsome to get out on a new trail we’d just added to our hiking and Tarahumara tribe tours.

 

Why Take A Guided Tour? (Some) Pros and Cons to taking a tour while visiting the Copper Canyon.

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I was averse, at times, to tours in my own traveling past, usually because of my budget and what I was sure I could find and experience on my own. However, ultimately I would end up wandering around aimlessly with my trusty guidebook in hand (sound familiar!). I didn’t know what I could discover that someone else (a tour) might be able to reveal to me. Not all tours are created equal, right? The main difference, I think, between one tour and another is getting to know a place versus understanding (and connecting) with a place.

When most people think of the State of Chihuahua what might come to mind is the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, the father of independence Miguel Hidalgo, the last passenger train in Mexico “El Chepe” that takes you through the Copper Canyon (Sierra Tarahumara), and the remaining indigenous groups like the Tarahumara Tribe,— (or known as the Rarámuri—pronunciation ra-rA-moo-ree (roll your r’s!)), the greatest endurance runners on earth!

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For those fortunate souls (hopefully including you!) who have discovered the Copper Canyon and have decided to make the voyage here, this is sure to be a highlight of your trip! Countless times I’ve witnessed travelers get their first glimpse of the canyon on our tours and then heard them say, “Wow, this is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.” That never fails to put a smile on my face!

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However, figuring out how to take on this place (the logistics that is) can be a huge undertaking in itself—web search after search—and ultimately your approach will define the flavor of your trip.  As you might imagine, I don’t recommend a big bus tour hauling you around to the most common places as inevitably that’s what they do. Instead, I recommend that you take a local guided tour with a small company that can give you an experience that you can’t create on your own— one that is authentic, unique, and even adventurous!

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I often have said that this land has many, many, many stories to tell! They are stories you can’t discover in museums or by walking around and certainly not in your guidebook- no doubt there is still value in doing so. But without realizing it, you miss the story that expands your consciousness, the story that expands your soul (and personal spirituality), and the one that makes you laugh and raises your blood pressure! Undoubtedly the story you are seeking (or didn’t know you were!) and finally discovering is the story that helps you feel connected to this place.

After all, that’s what travel is all about!

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Eco AlterNATIVE Tours was built in part to reveal to you the story often not seen and often relegated—but it’s there in the canyons, mountains, and in the villages.

How do the Rarámuri learn about their territory and how are water, plants, and animals involved?

How do they live as subsistence corn farmers and when is corn sacred?

How is ceremony central to the Rarámuri people and how does it create a community that we can all learn from?

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Chunel, guide-owner and Tarahumara himself, is a native speaker with a background in cultural anthropology has designed distinctive experiences so that he can reveal to you this lands stories’.

Inevitably, he brings to life the vibrancy of his culture and its immense backdrop.

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I promise it’s more than a bus or car ride to a photo worthy place (which believe me there are lots of!). I would say it’s more like a tour experience too memorable to pass up!

 

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We donate 3% of our profit to KOLIMI art workshops a project created by our own Chunel to strengthen Tarahumara migrant youths’ cultural identity to positively impact their communities.

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