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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.

The El Chepe Train Ride from Chihuahua to Creel

Through Mexico's Copper Canyon!

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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In our first story about riding El Chepe through Mexico's Copper Canyon, we explained how we flew to the city of Chihuahua and obtained our Regional Economica tickets at the El Chepe train station before it closed.

We explained the schedule, pricing and gave you our itinerary on a map.

Below, is more of the story, as we are on board to ride from Chihuahua to the nature adventure town of Creel, Mexico.

The conductor checking off our tickets El Chepe, Copper Canyon

The conductor checking off our tickets

Everyone is all smiles, because this is a great trip, and the conductors all love their jobs.

We left the train station at 6 in the morning before the sun was up! But here you can see that daylight is upon us, and the scenery behind me is speeding by.

Notice how much room our seats have. El Chepe was pretty comfortable and clean, and I'm not squished into my seat. The ride itself is smooth enough to get up and walk around to the dining car, in between cars, or in Billy's case, to the caboose! 

Some slow, easy turns through the countryside, El Chepe Train,  Copper Canyon

Some slow, easy turns through the countryside

For me, riding on the train was far easier than any bus ride, and certainly much smoother than a Chicken Bus through Guatemala! Those can be bumpy and very winding around tight corners. Taking the bus in Ecuador was a real adventure too.

So I was very pleased to be able to enjoy the trip without the side effects of motion sickness!





The train runs closely through the scenery! El Chepe Copper Canyon Mexico

The train runs closely through the scenery!

Because this isn't a highway, with no passing of vehicles on either side, the tracks run right up to and through the scenery on both sides. You can see that there isn't much distance between the rail cars and the hill here, with dried vegetation.

Our train had 10 cars plus the engine.

Seemingly often, the train would lurch and jolt, making a huge KA-CHUNK noise that I had to talk myself out of being annoyed over. It sounded like we were going to de-couple any second... except that it happened literally hundreds of times over the full run through the canyon.

It was jarring and loud, two of my not-so-favorite things... so I had to tell myself "Akaisha, get over it."

And I did!

Wide open skies and rolling hills, El Chepe Train, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Wide open skies and rolling hills

I love large vistas of any kind, and this looks placid to me. There is nothing dramatic here, and I was anticipating some jagged cliffs coming up at some point.

You get a nice view of our train here also.

two trains on the track El Chepe, Copper Canyon Mexico

Soft, gentle plains

This could be in the center of the US somewhere, like the great plains or prairies of our own nation.

There is much in the landscape of Mexico that is similar to the United States, from Coastlines, mountains or these plains shown here with the backdrop of the mountains going forward.





Notice that we are approaching another train on our left. The conductors communicate way in advance when trains are using the same tracks, and at certain locations, there are side tracks that the trains "park" as they wait for another train to pass them by.

In fact, further on in our trip we waited 30 minutes or more before we were to get back on the tracks and continue our journey.

Farmland, mountains and a highway, El Chepe Copper Canyon, Mexico

Farmland, mountains and a highway

The weather is gorgeous, as you can see, with blue, blue skies and wispy clouds overhead.

We pass through fertile farmlands and local roads while the mountains keep their silent watch.

Safety signs on El Chepe, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Safety signs on El Chepe

There were certain areas where we were not allowed to go. This sign shows you that we must not trespass further.

It's written in both English and Spanish.

View from the caboose, El Chepe, Copper Canyon, Mexico

From the caboose!

Here's a direct shot of the tracks from the caboose from where we just came.

The view from the back of the train was one of the best, because you could see all of where you were, the whole picture, not just out one side of the train from one window.

Akaisha just hangin' out between cars, El Chepe, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Akaisha just hangin' out between cars

This doesn't look like much, but the wind is a-blowin' and in some ways, this is a very brave thing to do. Or at least sometimes it is...

As I mentioned previously, the train runs very close to nature on these tracks. While this is a still shot, the train is moving at a fairly rapid clip. See that tree behind me? In a few moments, it will be rather close to my head! Some trees are closer to the train than others, some branches so close to the train that you are able to touch them. I'm sure the train has whacked some of the branches off on those babies.

Honestly, I looked both ways before I hung my head out, thinkin' to myself "Take the shot, Billy. Take. The. Shot. You want my head knocked off?"

That's a rhetorical question, right?

He has my best interest in mind, right?

Semi-dried river running through the mountains, El Chepe, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Semi-dried river running through the mountains

We chose to go through Copper Canyon during the low season so we didn't have to make reservations months in advance. We avoided the crowds on the train, in the destination towns themselves and at the hotels in those destination towns.

High season is the rainy season when rivers, such as this one, are gushing and creeks are babbling. The sides of the hills would be green, green, green and the sounds of the water would be noticeable.

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My imagination is such that I "saw" and "heard" that all in my mind anyway.

I'm sure it would be gorgeous, but neither Billy nor I like large crowds or standing in line.

As it was, even during this low tourist time, we all had to take turns to look out between train cars.

Getting into mountain country, Copper Canyon, El Chepe, Mexico

Getting into mountain country

We are moving into the mountain country here and out of the plains. You can see the hillsides jutting up a bit and we are rising in elevation with pine trees filling up the landscapes.

Looking back towards the mountain sides, El Chepe, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Looking back towards the mountain sides

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The landscape is not as flat here as you saw in previous photos.

You might also notice that the railway ties are wooden to about halfway through this photo. The lighter colored ones are made from concrete.

At various times on this trip we would see piles of concrete ties lying on the sides of the tracks. And there would be wooden ties tossed down hillsides to return to nature in a biological manner. It's nice to know that maintenance is being done on these tracks!


Some jagged rock formations, El Chepe, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Some jagged rock formations

The colors of the rocks would change also, as we rode along. Sometimes it looked like Yosemite with El Capitan, and other times the scenery was reminiscent of Sedona in Arizona.

You can only imagine what labor it took to chop and blast through some of these natural formations in order to lay down the tracks!

Construction began on this railway in 1898. However, the engineering required to span the area was beyond the technology of the time and the project was abandoned for several years. Construction was renewed in 1953 and completed eight years later.

Heading on into the mountains, Copper Canyon, Mexico, El Chepe

Heading on into the mountains

This railway covers over 400 miles, and climbs 8,000 feet in elevation from deserts to pine forests. El Chepe passes over 36 bridges and through 87 tunnels.

The town of Divisidero has the best view of the canyon.

The view between cars, El Chepe, Mexico, Copper Canyon

The view between cars

This is what it looks like between cars. You can peer into the next car from the back of the last car. As you can see, the sun is shining on the right hand side of the photo, and we are in between cars.





There are handles in all the strategic places so when the train jolts and weaves through the journey, you have something you can grab onto to keep your balance.

My boy Billy, giving the thumbs up! El Chepe, Copper Canyon, Mexico

My boy Billy, giving the thumbs up!

Yeah... we're havin' fun.

You'll notice the dried river in the left of the photo. I imagined it all full and burbling a few months from now.

Cows are grazing in the distance.

Sign for Creel, Mexico, Copper Canyon, El Chepe

Destination: Creel!

Well, we made it!

Creel sits at over 7,640 feet, and in fact, when we arrived here, it was a bit chilly!

The types of activities in Creel are nature parks, museums and canyon tours. Everything takes a  few hours of driving, horseback riding, or bicycling, so if you want to enjoy these hikes and tours, allow time in your El Chepe schedule to be able to do them.

We decided to go on into Divisidero by bus to get the best view of the canyon.

Next stop, the towns of Creel and Divisidero!

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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, 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

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