Okay so if you’re heading into the Copper Canyon, or indeed anywhere near the state of Chihuahua in Northern Mexico where this incredible natural landscape lies, you have to visit the Copper Canyon Adventure Mexico Park. The day we spent there was one of the best experiences of our travel full stop never mind in Mexico.
When I first heard about it I was little unsure about it. I mean after all there’s this vast expanse of mother natures finest work and someone has one and built an mechanical eyesore on it. But that’s just it, the Copper Canyon is so vast that unless you are actually standing in the adventure park is barely a speck on the incomprehensibly huge canyon.
Plus it is just such an incredible way to see the scenery. So what actually is it you ask? Well there’s hiking trails, rock climbing, cable cars and zip lines that take you on an adrenaline fuelled adventure quite literally over the canyon and back again. There’s a few different options but get into that in a bit.
How To Get To Copper Canyon Adventure Park
There are plenty of tour companies running tours to the Copper Canyon Adventure Park but our advice would be to just go and explore it by yourself. It’s located around 3km from a small town called Divisadero and is really easy to get to. If you visiting this area of Mexico on the El Chepe de Barrancas del Cobre or Copper Canyon Train you will stop at Divisadero station.
You can read our complete guide to taking the Copper Canyon Train here.
And you can stay in Divisadero, there is some accommodation, but in our opinion you are better carrying on to the next town along, Creel, staying there and then coming back to Divisadero by bus another day. There’s just more in Creel because its bigger, more accommodation choices, more places to eat and also its a good base for other Copper Canyon adventures.
To get the bus from Creel to Divisadero, there are two ticket offices on the main street in Creel with buses that run through to Divisadero, called Noroeste and Cuauhtémoc. The earliest bus isn’t until 10.30am so there’s no need to set your alarm too early and plenty of time to get yourself a big plate of Chilaquiles for breakfast to fuel your day.
You can just buy the ticket on the day from the ticket offices, we went with Noroeste and the tickets are $50 MXN (£1.90GBP/$2.50USD) each. You can buy a return but we’d recommend not doing because the cost is almost negligible and means on your way back you can just pay on the bus and get on whichever one come first.
From where the bus drops you, or just the main road near the market if you are staying in Divisadero it’s not even a 5 minute walk up the hill to an entrance gate where you’ll need to pay a $20 MXN (£0.75GBP/$1USD) fee. Then from there it’s around a half hour walk (depending on how much you are stopping to gawp at the scenery) to the actual Copper Canyon Adventure Park.
Entrance Fee To Copper Canyon Adventure Park
There’s loads of platform viewing points on the walk up, some with mesh bottoms if you dare to look down and a suspension bridge to cross over. There are also a few craft stalls on the way up and one of the stall holders will likely ask to check your entrance ticket. There’s no other entrance fee when you get to the Copper Canyon Adventure Park, you just pay for the activities.
It’s probably worth mentioning here too that you start off by walking on a path literally along the edge of the canyon but then where the road joins for cars to enter the park it can be a little confusing which way to go on foot. But don’t worry, we took both there and back and they both lead you the same way.
Copper Canyon Zip Line
Now this is the really fun part, and you have two options. You can either take the longest zip line ‘in the world’ (it’s currently awaiting Guinness verification apparently) straight across the Copper Canyon to the other side. Or you can choose to do a zig zag version where you do a mixture of rock climbing and zip lines to get to the other side.
The long zip line, the ‘Ziprider’ takes between 40 minutes to an hour and costs $1000 MXN (£38GBP/$51USD) per person, although they had an offer on the day we were there and so it only cost us $800 MXN (£30GBP/$40USD) each. Whizzing across the Copper Canyon by this zip line last around 4 or 5 minutes, then you have a short hike up the other side to the top to catch the teleferico or cable car back across.
The other option, ‘Tirolesa de 7’ takes between 1 and a half to 2 hours and costs $600 MXN (£23GBP/$30USD) per person. This totally depends on how many people are doing it though, because you have to wait for each other between platforms. We did the zip rider but a guy also set off on the tireless de 7 at the same time as us and got back at the same time because there was just him.
Both options include in the price the ride back over on the teleferico to where you started and you can even just do this option if you prefer. So you go over to the other side on the teleferico, have a wander around and come back the same way. The Copper Canyon teleferico costs $250 MXN (£9.50GBP/$13USD) per person. Whichever option you choose, the views over the Copper Canyon are just insane.
But if you are only feeling tentative and can pluck up the courage to do a zip line. Do it. It is hands down one of the best travel experiences that we have had to date. It literally feels like you are flying and you feel so small against such a expansive landscape. It’s just simultaneously one of the weirdest but coolest feelings ever.
Copper Canyon Zip Line Safety
On the ziprider you are basically strapped into a seat, they fling you off the end and you land onto a platform at the other end where someone unclips you, there’a pocket in the back of your seat so you can put the bottle of water they give you for the hike at the other side in it and your camera if you want to take it across but don’t want to hold it.
You can however keep your camera, go pro etc in your hand if you are wanting to film or take photos on your way over. The tirolesa de 7 is slightly more adventuress in the that you are actually wearing that harness that clips you onto the zip lines and safety lines with carabineers, and you need to wear a helmet. The instructors also come across with you.
Now we’re not zip line experts but everything looked safe to us, the equipment was new and the people clearly knew what they were doing. But obviously you’re flying over a depth that reaches over 1000m in some places on a metal wire so there is some risk involved, but all things considered we think it’s pretty minimal.
The only thing I will say though is that for anyone on the lighter end of the scales there is a small risk you might not make it right to the end on the zip rider. I nearly got stuck and had to shuffle my way along to the end but the girl after me stopped completely about 1/4 from the end and an instructor had to strap on a harness and climb along the wire to pull her over.
It looked pretty scary and we were worried for a couple of minutes but in reality it was totally fine so don’t panic if it happens to you – someone will come and get you. Other things, hmm…obviously you’re not allowed to wear lose fitting things like scarfs or anything that might get stuck in the mechanisms of the zip line and don’t wear shoes that are going to fly off. But they will tell you all the safety stuff anyway so I’ll leave that to them.
Copper Canyon Adventure Park Facilities
Even if strapping on a safety harness and careening across the Copper Canyon on a zip line or riding the teleferico 100’s of metres in air isn’t your thing, you should still take a trip to the Copper Canyon Adventure Park because the surrounding area is crazy beautiful and there are lots of awesome viewing points on the walk up there where you can appreciate the Copper Canyon without your feet leaving the ground.
There’s a restaurant onsite to grab something to eat or a drink or wait for a an adventuress travel partner. Even if you’re not eating slip inside because there’s a really cool part with a glass floor looking right down into the depths of the canyon. There’s also a bag store to put your stuff in at no extra charge if you are doing the zip lines, toilet facilities and a car park if you are driving there.
Onward or Return Travel From Divisadero
So the reason we choose to do the zip rider over the Tirolesa de 7 was because by the time we got the the Copper Canyon Adventure Park on the 10.30am bus from Creel, it was already nearing 1pm and the last buses back from Divisadero to Creel is between 3-4pm. So we didn’t want to risk missing it and be stuck in Divisadero, in hindsight it would have probably been okay.
But everyone we asked, from the bus company to the people who lived in Divisadero, gave a different time so we wanted to make sure we were there for the earliest time given, 3pm. The day we where there, the Cuauhtémoc bus came at 3.40pm and unless the Noroeste one had been before 3pm that one was still yet to arrive. Ticket prices back to Creel were the same, $50 MXN (£1.90GBP/$2.50USD) each.
You catch the buses right from where they drop you, on the other side of the road obviously. If you have time be sure to get a delicious snack from the market. There are all sorts, from stuffed gorditas to chili rellenos. Get a hot drink to warm you up too because it can be pretty cold waiting for the bus. The buses go through Creel and right onto Chihuahua if that’s where you’re headed.
If you’re planning a backpacking trip around Mexico you may find these posts helpful:
- Is this the most beautiful place in Mexico?
- A Guide To Mexico’s Coolest City
- Why You Need To Visit Oaxaca
- Why Mexico City Is So Awesome
- A Weird Experience For Your Mexico Itinerary
Do You Speak Spanish?
One thing to be aware outside of Mexico’s main tourism hotspots, is that not many people speak English. Unless you are staying at an international hotel chain or hire an English speaking guide, it’s rare. And as for taxi drivers and market stall holders, forget it.
You can of course usually get by, but since we started learning Spanish we found that it has hugely enhanced our travel experiences. Not to mention enabled us to travel around Spanish speaking countries more confidently.
Which is why we’d like to recommend this Travel Spanish Confidence course we took recently. It enabled us move beyond a basic level to being able to communicate effectively in Spanish.
If you don’t know a word of Spanish however, this won’t be for you yet. Better to get started with Duolingo or some basic language classes first.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
We never go anywhere without travel insurance – and neither should you. This particularly goes if you’re planning to do any of the more adventurous activities above. World Nomads is our preferred choice for great cover and a no bullshit approach, grab yourself a quick quote below:
Let us know if you found this guide helpful? And if you braved a zip line which one and what you thought of it? Also if you have any other tips for the Copper Canyon Adventure Park help your fellow travellers out and drop those in a comment too.
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