Chihuahua, although not known as a tourist center, receives quite a number of tourists. Most are either on their way to, or from the Copper Canyon via the Chihuahua al Pacifico railway, northern Mexico's ultimate thrill ride. Chihuahua is the capital of the state with the same name and can boast of being of being the largest state in the country. This city is the main commercial hub of northwestern Mexico and has become quite prosperous because the cattle, timber and mining operations that operate nearby. Chihuahua has a colorful history in part because of once being the home revolutionary hero Francisco "Pancho" Villa and also for being the place where Miguel Hidalgo, a hero from Mexico's struggle for independence, was executed.
Although Chihuahua is not a typical tourist destination there are a few interesting sights to enjoy if you are spending the night, or visiting for a few days on business. The cathedral, located adjacent to the main square, is a beautiful baroque structure that was started in 1725 and took over one hundred years to finish. There are many other elegant buildings in the central district, you need not venture far from the plaza to find the Palacio de Gobierno, the Palacio Federal, Centro Cultural Universitario Quinta Gameros and the magnificent Centro Cultural Chihuahua, which was at one time one of the most elaborate private mansions in all of Mexico.
The fact remains that this city is one of the major stepping stones to the Copper Canyon and the various eco-tourism and adventure tourism activities that are a compliment to the nearby mountains, canyons, rivers, caves, desert and archeological sites. The geographical diversity of the the state is pretty amazing and this is actually the biggest reason visitors are drawn to Chihuahua city.
The Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
The Chihuahua al Pacifico railway is the train that takes tourists into the famous Copper Canyon and the natural wonders that are amassed there. The train trip through the Copper Canyon leaves from Chihuahua or Los Mochis, near Mazatlan. Most travel experts consider the train to be the best way to see the Copper Canyon. The tracks cover over 400 miles, rise from sea level to over 8000 feet in elevation, pass through 86 tunnels and cross 38 bridges. The route, which took over 90 years to build also crosses the continental divide three times. Most of the tours, available in both Chihuahua and Los Mochis, break up the 12+ hour journey with overnight stops at some interesting villages and strategically located hotels. This is a spectacular adventure that delivers some of the most incredible scenery you will ever see. See our Copper Canyon section further down on this page. The train offers both first and second class tickets, air conditioning and heating, has a dining car and a separate car that contains a smoking bar. You can call (614) 439-7212 (from the U.S. and Canada, first dial 011 52) for reservations and also limited information in English.