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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Taking the El Chepe Train through the Copper Canyon

Chihuahua, Mexico

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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For years we had heard of the Copper Canyon in Mexico from our good friend, Captain Ray Gaines, and always wanted to to take a train ride through these series of canyons and ravines. Some say this is the most scenic railroad trip on the continent.

The tracks pass over 37 bridges and through 86 tunnels, rising as high as 7,900 ft above sea level near Divisadero, the continental divide.

So off we went!

Map of El Chepe Route and route of our trip in Mexico

Map of our itinerary

This is a map of our itinerary. We bought one-way tickets ($25USD each person) from Guadalajara and flew to the city of Chihuahua, to begin our train trip the next morning.

Aerial view of Chihuahua's mountains and ravines from our plane

Aerial view of Chihuahua's mountains and ravines from our plane

It was a short, 2+ hour flight, arriving in Chihuahua at about 3pm. We got into our hotel, and since we were leaving on the train the next morning, we needed to figure out how to get tickets.

Our trip began at 6 a.m, but the office didn't open until 8 a.m.

Ooops!

El Chepe Train station, Chihuahua, Mexico

El Chepe Train station, Chihuahua, Mexico

So off we zipped on this beautiful afternoon to the El Chepe station to see what the scoop was. It was a good thing, because by this time it was after 4 p.m. and the station closed at 6 p.m.

The schedule and pricing for El Chepe

The schedule and pricing for El Chepe

Since El Chepe is an important transportation system for locals as well as a tourist attraction, there are 3 levels of pricing.

The Regional Turista also known as El Chepe Express, is the highest price of the options offered. Apparently, all meals are included with your ticket purchase on the Express.

 

 

 

 

We decided previously that we would go on  the Regional Economica. The locals take the Economica Social.

For an example of the pricing, our first stop was Creel. On the Express, that ticket costs $83USD, on the Regional Economica, that same trip is $48USD. For the locals, the price is under $9USD.

Our El Chepe train tickets, first leg

Our train tickets, first leg

Here you see Billy's and my tickets to Creel (for 860 Pesos each), leaving Chihuahua at 6 in the morning, destined to stop in Creel. Time to arrive is 11:47a.m.

Schedule of El Chepe train stops, times and days of operation

Schedule of train stops, times and days of operation

The train goes in two directions. Beginning at the city of Chihuahua on the way to Los Mochis, and coming from Los Mochis, ending in Chihuahua.

Chihuahua to Los Mochis runs Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

From Los Mochis to Chihuahua the train runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

No trains run on Wednesday.

If our first stop is at Creel, the next time we can pick up the train going in the direction of Los Mochis is Monday at 11:47 a.m.

Cathedral in Chihuahua, Mexico

Cathedral in Chihuahua, Mexico

After getting things sorted out with our tickets for the days, times and prices, we walked around looking for someplace to eat. Past the Cathedral, we found a little taco stand who had people waiting waiting in line for their meal.

This was a good sign! 

So we cross the street and check it out.

Man at the grill making our tacos and grilled meats, Chihuahua, Mexico

Man at the grill making our tacos and grilled meats

Apparently, this is a popular hangout, so we ordered some eats.

The boys got tortas (sandwiches) and I decided on tacos.

Making a different kind of taco, gyro style, Chihuahua, Mexico

Making a different kind of taco, gyro style

We see these spinning stacks of meat all over Central America. Depending on what kind of meat is stacked, the flavors change. Meats can range from lamb, chicken, beef and pork.

This spiral is pork.

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The cook turns on the blast of fire in front of the round, and the meat sears. Then with an amazingly sharp knife, he quickly slices the crispy edges off and whacks a tiny piece of the pineapple on top for a contrasting flavor.

He catches it all in the tortilla that he holds in his left hand.

Everything was delicious and it was just what we needed, because We. Were. Hungry.

Akaisha boarding El Chepe, Chihuahua, Mexico

Akaisha boarding El Chepe

We were told to arrive at the train station at 5:30 in the morning in order to board at 6 a.m.

Here I am, roaring and ready to go!

Woooooo wooooo!! Chugga chugga chugga!

Typical train car on the Regional El Chepe, Chihuahua, Mexico

Typical train car on the Regional El Chepe

The train car was empty and in pretty good condition. Since we had no assigned seats, we could sit anywhere we chose.

 

 

 

 

Seats were comfortable and roomy and you could get up and walk around anytime during the trip.

Clean dining car, El  Chepe Train

Clean dining car

On our particular train at the Regional Economica level, we had a separate dining car. You could  purchase burritos, hot Nescafe coffee and a few other modest things to eat or drink.

During  the trip, vendors would board selling cut fruit, tamales, sodas, cold drinking water, and other foodstuffs.

Billy and Akaisha waiting for El Chepe to leave

Billy and Akaisha waiting for El Chepe to leave

Yup. This is what we look like at 6 in the morning, guys. Enthusiasm for the trip is written all over our faces.

ZZZzzzzzzzzz......

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What would the trip through the Copper Canyon be like?

Map of El Chepe route through the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa

Another map of El Chepe route through the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa

Here is another colorful map of the train route, with the cities and states of northwestern Mexico marked.

We started our trip in Chihuahua, at the top right of the map, outside the green highlighted area. Our first stop is Creel, marked in the upper center of the photo, inside the green section. This was our distance for the first day, about a 6 hour ride.

The El Chepe train in the yard at 6 a.m.

The train in the yard at 6 a.m.

It's dark at 6 a.m.! But exciting, nonetheless, to be traveling by train through mostly wilderness.

The train station was busy and full of families taking the trip. Since this train is also the main transport in the area, I am supposing that many were visiting other family members living elsewhere. It's an easy, affordable way for these locals to travel.

First stop, Creel!

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About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

contact Billy and Akaisha at theguide@retireearlylifestyle.com

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