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RAIL AND ANCIENT WONDERS OF MEXICO
March 2-17, 2018
The Central American destination of Mexico is included in most travelers’ bucket-lists, since this country is so close to home and has a fascinating history from the Aztec and Maya civilizations, colonial architecture aplenty and dramatic landscapes in a temperate zone plus some exciting train trips. This tour is enabling one to experience the renowned travel-brochure destinations, combining these with rail travel and other items of interest to both the tourist and the railfan.
The giant pyramids at Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan are visited and the colonial city centers including Mexico City’s Zocalo, and many other must-see sights. Our rail attractions commence with the exiting train to Tequila and the distillery, then two days on the incredibly spectacular Copper Canyon Railway, followed by some scheduled train travel in the Mexico City and Puebla areas. We visit several railway museums and other locations where heritage steam and diesel locomotives are preserved. We will endeavour to look at locations where heavy rail-freight operations are active and also ride a hacienda horse-drawn railway. Our program will appeal to dedicated railfans and their partners, together with those who wish to get away from the usual glossy beach-based tour and see more of the real Mexico. We travel before the days get too hot and complete our tour prior to the Mexican Easter Week. Look at our exiting itinerary and come with us to see the real Mexico.
Day 1 Friday March 2: (L,D)
Arrive in Guadalajara and transfer to our hotel. After lunch, we visit the magnificent colonial center in this most Mexican of cities. For those with stamina after dinner there may be the opportunity to see some of the local Mariachi bands or visit the nearby salsa club!
Day 2 Saturday March 3: (B,L,D)
We board the Jose Cuevero Express train excursion to Tequila, its distillery and exquisite town center. This train is operated by Ferromex. You will have a Tequila tasting experience, free-time in the center and see a Mexican Culture show. This exiting train is a 1-way journey, and our plan is to photograph the morning train at a horseshoe loop and return on the evening train enjoying food and complementary free-flowing drinks. Lunch is a box type and provided by Jose Cuevero. 2nd night in Guadalajara.
Day 3 Sunday March 4 (B,D)
It’s a early start today with a flight north to Chihuahua, former home of the revolutionary hero Pancho Villa. Here we visit the Plaza de Armas and its fine Cathedral then, there will be some free-time, where a couple of interesting ‘Casa’ museums close to our hotel can be visited. After lunch we go to the Museo Casa de Villa, the two rail stations (where there are preserved locomotives) and the former Nacionales de Mexico roundhouse, now an arts building.
Day 4 Monday March 5: (L, D)
It’s an early start for the first day on our very comfortable Copper Canyon tourist train, called “El Chepe” and operated by Ferromex. The train departs Chihuahua at 6:00am, which will take us through several climatic zones of diverse ecology as we climb to nearly 8,000 feet. After departure from Chihuahua you can enjoy a a la carte Breakfast in the train’s dining car. Arrival in the Raramuri town of Creel is at 11:20am. After departure from Creel the rail line climbs high in the Sierra Madre Mountains and at one point makes a 360 degree spiral around and under itself to bring us to Divisadero arriving at 1:04pm. We will detrain here and transfer to our hotel which is located on the very edge of the Copper Canyon which in areas is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Railfans, you may want to photograph the eastbound train which is due at Divisadero at 2:22pm. Once this train has passed we take a sightseeing tour to this most spectacular geological attraction and visit a traditional Raramuri village. You may also enjoy taking the tramway or zip lining over a section of the canyon.
WE WILL HAVE AN ALMOST FULL MOON TONIGHT AT THE COPPER CANYON
THE COPPER CANYON OFFERS PLENTY OF ACTIVITIES SUCH AS HIKING, RIDING CABLE CAR, AND ZIP LINING
Day 5 Tuesday March 6: (B,D)
Our Copper Canyon schedule continues today with the opportunity to take a cable car over part of the canyon until we re-board “El Chepe” passenger train due at Divisadero at 1:04pm for the journey westbound down the Sierra madre Mountains to the colonial town of El Fuerte which is due at 6:23pm. After hotel check-in have dinner at our hotel. We can arrange for anyone to continue on the train to Los Mochis if the full journey is desired. Keep in mind the train arrives in Los Mochis at 8:22pm. Between Chihuahua and Los Mochis there are 39 bridges and 87 tunnels.
Day 6 Wednesday March 7: (B,L,D)
We depart after breakfast by road for Los Mochis, where we have time to view some preserved locomotives prior to moving to the airport for a midday flight to Mexico City. Lunch today is a packed lunch from our hotel. We move to an later time zone to lose an hour before a transfer to our central hotel, our base for 5 nights.
Day 7 Thursday March 8: (B,D)
Our morning program includes some short visits to railway museums and locomotives plus the Technological Museum, and is completed with a visit to Trotsky’s House. Lunch will comprise free-time at nearby Coyoacan. In the afternoon we take a boat on the canals and floating gardens at Xochimilo. Return to Mexico City and our hotel by rail on Tren Ligero and the Metro.
Day 8 Friday March 9: (B,L,D)
Today we visit the large Aztec Pyramid and archaeological site north of Mexico City at Teotihuacan. In the afternoon we transfer to the Suburbano rail system at Cuautitlan for our return to the city. Heavy freight rail traffic will be seen on the journey and a Shay locomotive is present at the Buenavista terminus. This evening we have a ‘Mariachi’ dinner.
Day 9 Saturday March 10: (B,L)
The day commences with a visit to the Zocalo, the old colonial center of Mexico City, followed by San Juan Aragon Park, where a 2’ compressed-air locomotive operates around a circular track. Then it is to the Railway Museum with lunch taken nearby. We are now adjacent to visit the Basilica de Guadalupe and free time in the evening for dinner.
Day 10 Sunday March 11: (B,L)
We leave in the morning for a view of ancient Cholula, which is where we board a rather modern train that will take us to Puebla at the National Museum of Railways. A brief visit is made to the Ferrosur station prior to visiting the colonial center, where a full Mexican Sunday lunch is offered. We depart mid afternoon, but not before we take the opportunity to photograph the Cholula train, as it runs along the center of the city street.
NO RAILROAD TOUR OF MEXICO IS COMPLETE WITHOUT A VISIT TO THE
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF RAILWAYS AT PUEBLA
WE TAKE A PEAK AT FERROSUR
Day 11 Monday March 12: (B,L,D)
This morning we take our final internal flight to Campeche, taking lunch in the historic center shortly after arrival. We then take a tour of the city and the San Miguel Fort by imitation streetcar, after which if desired, time will be available for unguided exploration of the Yucatan Railway installations. Dinner will be at our central hotel.
Day 12 Tuesday March 13: (B,L,D)
We depart Campeche for Uxmal to visit this important Maya pyramid, before transferring to a local Hacienda for our lunch. This estate operates the only remaining horse-drawn henequen railway in the Yucatan and we take a relaxing rail journey to view the process from plant to fibre and then to rope, visiting also a typical Mayan House and a beautiful underground river. We continue by road to nearby Merida for two nights.
THE UNDERGROUND RIVER AND CAVES ARE AMAZING
Day 13 Wednesday March 14: (B,L)
In Merida, we visit the Yucatan Railway Museum. Lunch is taken in the main square of this attractive city and after a tour of the center, we have a free evening at one of the city’s many fine restaurants.
Day 14 Thursday March 15: (B,L,D)
This will be our final day of touring, and we commence with a visit to the stupendous pyramid at the Chichen Itza Archaeology Zone, where lunch is taken. After, we move to Playa del Carmen on the coast for our farewell dinner and final night.
Day 15 Friday March 16: (B)
We transfer the 1 hour to Cancun airport for homebound flights. Delightful Playa del Carmen is highly recommended for a relaxing holiday extension or as a base to visit more Maya artifacts at Tulum or the nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere.
ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$4,295
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$695
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED$1,500
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY DECEMBER 2, 2017
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT BOOK BY DECEMBER 1-$200
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2021 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.