After five and a half hours on a bus that descended via narrow, rough dirt roads to the bottom of Batopilas Canyon in Mexico‘s rugged Copper Canyon complex, I was more than ready to stretch my legs. But my rush to get off the bus was less about my sore bottom and more about the need to find a hotel room. This tiny town of barely 800 residents is famously short of hotel rooms and I had arrived, as usual, without reservations. To make matters worse, it was Semana Santa (Easter) week, one of the most popular holidays in Mexico. During the ride down I had conspired with a fellow backpacker; he would get my suitcase and I would sprint for the hotels while everyone was waiting for their luggage to be unloaded.
Hotel Juanita's, Batopilas, in Mxico's Copper Canyon
My friends in Urique had recommended two potential places to stay: Hotel Mary and Hotel Juanita. Since the bus stop was across the street from Hotel Mary, I dashed into there first. It was tolerable but relatively rough, so I ran across the plaza to Hotel Juanita, where to my surprise I found sparkling clean, modern rooms with ensuite bathrooms for only $200 pesos (~$17 USD) per night. I quickly secured two rooms and ran back to the bus where my new acquaintance waited anxiously to learn the outcome. With a big grin on my face I said, “You’re gonna love this place!” Read More »
I’ve been backpacking through Mexico for about two months now, intent on discovering budget accommodations that I could share with Uptake readers. I’ve found some great hostels and economy hotels, but today I want to warn you about the worst hostel I’ve ever stayed in, Casa Margarita in Creel, Mexico. Creel is a major hub for visiting Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Casa Margarita is all the talk because of its cheap price of $100 pesos (~$8.50 USD) per night in the dorms, which includes breakfast and dinner. But trust me, you want to find alternative accommodations, regardless of the price, and here’s why, if my experience is at all indicative of the norm.
Casa Margarita Hostel, Creel, Mexico
First, there was the unlit stairway between the second and third floor. I nearly tumbled down the stairs when I turned my ankle on the uneven surface of a step that had lost a tile, but I dismissed it as the price of staying in a cheap hostel. Warning bells started to go off when my dorm mates demonstrated how to get into the room with a dinner knife that had been placed on top of the exterior door frame. Read More »
On my way to the depths of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, I detoured into the high pine forests atop the rim of Urique Canyon to see Cabanas San Isidro Lodge. I was not expecting much; this is rough terrain, where putty-colored dust coats everything in sight until summer rains arrive, and development of any kind is almost non-existent. With the nearest furniture store hours away, I assumed the lodge would be rustic at best, but bare bones furnishings would not have surprised me.
Inside one of the cabanas
Imagine my astonishment when I stepped into the main lodge and dining room and discovered tongue-in-groove wooden ceilings, authentic Mexican tile work, decorative brick work, linen tablecloths, and a gorgeous hand-painted mural of the canyon covering one whole wall. The adjacent sitting room was equally impressive, as was the sunken bar, featuring wood stove for Read More »
My latest (and perhaps best ever) budget accommodation discovery on my four month backpacking trip through Mexico and Central America is in Mexico’s stunning and remote Copper Canyon: Entre Amigos Hostel. The hostel is located in the village of Urique, at the bottom of the deepest of six canyons that comprise Mexico’s Copper Canyon complex.
Dorm room at Entre Amigos Hostel, Urique, Copper Canyon, Mexico
This is not your every day drive-to tourist destination. Just getting to Entre Amigos is an adventure. Visitors take the famous El Chepe train to Bahuichivo, where they change to a bus for a three-hour ride down into Urique canyon. The bus descends near vertical canyon walls and snakes slowly along a narrow, dirt road that is barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass. While the ride can be a bit heart-stopping, it offers some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. Primitive red rock pinnacles top heavily vegetated slopes where giant Cardon cactus trust their many limbs skyward and century plants hang from precipitous cliffs. Read More »