The state of Chihuahua is a lesser-known Mexican destination from the Northern part of the country. Starting with its capital town by the same name Chihuahua, also known as Pueblos Mágico, offers a diverse range of natural, cultural, and historical wonders. I was able to learn more about this gorgeous destination last week during one of their Canadian press days and was so inspired I made a mental list of reason to visit it and today I’d like to share that list with you.

Side note: If you are traveling this summer, Toronto Pearson International Airport currently hosts a stunning collection of images from the region as seen by the Take Your Seat photojournalist duo, Randy and Spencer VanDerStarren. See the exhibition in Terminal 1 now until August 31, 2024.

All images by Randy and Spencer VanDerStarren from Take Your Seat.

Sinforosa (Copper) Canyon & The scenic El Chepe train

The Sinforosa, better known as Copper Canyon, is one of the largest canyon systems in the world known for its dramatic vertical cliffs and tall waterfalls. The canyon can be explored in a multitude of ways including hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Among the activities in the canyon is a large, eco-friendly, adventure park with a 3km cable car ride, 7 astonishing zip lines, and a scenic glass-floor restaurant. 

The most popular way to see this majestic natural wonder is the El Chepe train (Chepe Express) which goes from the coastal town of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, to Creel, Chihuahua, at the top of the canyon. The train has two classes (executive and tourist), a restaurant, and two bars one of which is a covered terrace. Each stop offers a range of regional activities from beaches to cities, scenic hikes, and cultural experiences. Learn more on chepe.mx.

Food & Drink of Chihuahua

Chihuahua climate is ideal for livestock so naturally, quite a few of the regional dishes are made with beef. Due to the harsh climate and short harvest season, the basis of Chihuahuan cuisine is dehydrated vegetables, fruits, and grains. Some of the most popular local dishes are fried mojarra (fish), burritos, beef broths, chicken pies, grilled meats, chile, empanadas, and tacos. Cheese is also a common find in Chihuahua, the most typical kinds are soft, golden yellow cheese and fresh Asadero cheese. 

Typical beverages are Tejuno (corn beer), Sotol (typical alcoholic spirit), tepache (fermented pineapple), fresh chia water (Izquiate), coriander Atole, and milk with pinole (corn, cinnamon, and sugar-based beverage). The mountainous ranges also allow for grape growing so Chihuahua also has a healthy wine production spearheaded by Gilberto Pinoncély’s Bodegas Pinesque winery in Chihuahua City.

Indigenous cultures of the region

Chihuahua is home to Rarámuri, Pimas, Tepehuanes, Guarijíos, and Mennonites. The Rarámuri ethnic group, living up in the canyon, is the largest community and values the community over individuals, some of their activities are open to visitors. Take Your Seat, for example, were witness to the The Ceremony of Rain: A traditional ritual performed by the Indigenous Rarámuri (Tarahumara) people seeking to invoke rain and ensure the fertility of their lands, showcasing their deep connection to nature and ancient cultural practices in the heart of the Sierra Tarahumara”. 

Ceremony of Rain by Randy and Spencer VanDerStarren from Take Your Seat

Archeological zones

Paquimé archeological region is an ancient city considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental range it contains “ 2,000 rooms in clusters of living rooms, workshops, and stores, with patios”. This region also houses a hot spring, Laguna Rodolfo Fierro, the infamous Pot Cave built by Casas Grandes Culture, Casas Grandes River, and many operational architectural artifacts. 

Dunes of Samalayuca

Located in the Chihuahuan Desert in the northern part of the state Samalayuca is a large white Dune Fields popular with adventure visitors. Aside from taking in the breathtaking views during hikes, the visitors can go sandboarding, off-roading, and mountain biking. Fun fact, a few notable movies were filmed here including Conan the Destroyer with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and David Lynch’s Dune.

Dunes of Samalayuca by Randy and Spencer VanDerStarren from Take Your Seat

Where is Chihuahua: The state of Chihuahua is situated in Northern Mexico bordering New Mexico and Texas on the USA side and Coahuila, Durango, Sinaloa, and Sonora on the Mexico side. 

When to travel to Chihuahua: the colder Canadian months are ideal for visiting Chihuahua, this season avoids the hot summer heat but still has a lot of greenery and comfortable warm temperatures you can enjoy. 

How to get to Chihuahua: Aeromexico flies to Chihuahua from Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal daily. All flights connect through Mexico City. These are new aircrafts with Premier, AM Plus+, and Main Cabin tiers. All tears receive a complimentary on-board meal!

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