Batopilas, Magical Town at the bottom of a ravine
This community is one of the best-kept secrets in the Chihuahua ravines. It has been a Magical Town since 2012, thanks to its intriguing mixture of architecture and nature.
Have you been to Batopilas yet?
Batopilas is Tarahumara for “Squeezed In River,” alluding to the river by the same name. The town was founded by Spaniard José de la Cruz, in 1708.
It is 235 miles from the city of Chihuahua, at the bottom of a ravine. A dirt road leads down to it.
To get there, you have to go down ravines. For the sheer experience of seeing the whimsical rocks and exotic trees, it’s well worth visiting. Pine and oak trees stand side by side with semitropical flora like flowering copalchi, sweet acacia and petiolate fig trees.
The Way Down Can Afford Fabulous Vistas of the Sierra Tarahumara. The route from Creel leads to La Bufa overlook, where you can look out at the Batopilas Ravine. Types of vegetation and climates vary, so you’ll see evergreen forests, as well as tropical plants.
The route takes in towns like Cerocachi and Urique, and visitors can get to know the Rarámuri. The best times are at public events like the ball race, or rarajípari.
Between the 18th and 19th centuries, Batopilas was famous for the wealth of its mines. It had as many as 50,000 people. Now the population is barely a thousand. Its mansions and haciendas lend the place a nostalgic atmosphere.
The town still reflects the opulence it once enjoyed. Some of the 18th- and 19th-century mansions to admire include the Casa Barffuson, Casa de Manuel Gómez Morín, the Marquis Bustamante residence, the Casa de Raya, Casa Cural and Casa Biggler.
The Virgen del Carmen Church is also worth seeing. The Jesuits built it, with a single belfry, in the 17th century. Its sedate interior displays a number of easel paintings.
Five Miles away is the Satevó Mission, also known as the Santo Ángel Custodio de Satevó Mission. Built in 1760, it is one of the most beautiful in Mexico. Since it is the sole construction in the ravine, it is often referred to as “the lost cathedral.”
You can’t leave without tasting some of the local dishes. As all over Chihuahua, the beef is luscious, but the town is also known for its potato and cheese soup, rich and creamy frijoles maneados, flour tortillas, milk candies and the refreshing corn-based drink tesgüino.
You may also get some Rarámuri handicrafts, like highly durable wali, baskets made of fiber from the sotol cactus, carved wood pieces and natural products such as chamomile blossoms, chiltepín chile and conserves.
There’s a lovely 19th-century aqueduct that was on the Silver Route. And recreational activities like mountain biking are available nearby.
Camping along the River Batopilas is common, as are such sports as motorbiking, riding four wheelers and mountain biking.
The beauty of Batopilas includes the route to get there. You can make the trip by bus or private car, but the most wonderful way is taking El Chepe, the train that goes through the canyons and takes you to this incredible spot.
Ready for the Batopilas experience?