Balderrama Adds Rooms at Retreats

LOS MOCHIS -- Mexican hotelier Roberto Balderrama is enhancing his collection of lodges in the Copper Canyon.

His company, Balderrama Hotels and Tours, is adding rooms at three of its retreats in the region to meet a demand for soft adventure and ecotourism vacations that has sparked an increase in visitors to the Copper Canyon, he said.

The remote region, four times larger than Arizona's Grand Canyon, is serviced by trains that operate along the 400-mile Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad, which passes over 37 bridges, travels through 86 tunnels and climbs to 7,500 feet.

The area, home to the Tarahumara Indians, has become popular with travelers seeking natural beauty and culture.

Balderrama operates six properties in the region: Hotel Santa Anita and Plaza Inn in Los Mochis (a jumping-off point for excursions in the canyon); Hotel Posada Hidalgo in El Fuerte; Hotel Mision in Cerocauhi, and Posada Barrancas and its sister property, Posada Barrancas Mirador, both near Divisadero in the heart of the canyon.

Expansion projects are under way at Hotel Posada Hidalgo, Hotel Mision and Posada Barrancas Mirador, all situated at stops along the train route.

The projects are expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

Hotel Posada Hidalgo is a 41-room property housed in a former hacienda and fort built in 1890 for the territorial governor.

Eleven guest rooms are being added in an adjoining property, which Balderrama recently purchased. The property, which also dates to the 1800s, is being remodeled to feature guest rooms with wood-beamed ceilings, bathrooms and floors crafted with Mexican tiles, a Jacuzzi and gardens.

Balderrama is renovating the El Fuerte train station as part of an agreement with Ferromex, a private enterprise.

Ferromex took over the Chihuahua al Pacifico train service from the Mexican government earlier this year and signed an agreement with Balderrama to collaborate on hotel and train operations in the canyon.

Balderrama also will sell train tickets in Los Mochis and El Fuerte as part of the agreement.

At Balderrama's 36-room Hotel Mision in Cerocahuahi near the Bahuichivo train station, six additional units are being constructed.

The adobe-and-tile property is a former hacienda that has been converted into a lodge with a small vineyard and winery.

Hotel Mision sits next to a mission built in 1690.

Balderrama's 32-room Posada Barrancas Mirador, which opened in 1993, is adding 12 guest rooms, all of which will feature the property's standard balconies, which overlook the Copper Canyon.

The five-star lodge is at an elevation of 7,000 feet at the edge of a cliff and features rooms and suites with clay floors, local artwork, fireplaces and terraces with views of the canyon.

Adjacent to the Mirador is Posada Barrancas Rancho with 36 rooms.

Balderrama's properties are featured by a number of tour operators offering Copper Canyon programs.

A sampling includes Alaska Sightseeing/Cruise West, which will begin combination Sea of Cortes and Copper Canyon cruise-tours this year; Friendly Holidays; Globus & Cosmos; Maupintour; Runaway Tours; Special Expeditions; Tauck Tours, and Town & Country Tours.

Balderrama Hotels and Tours

Phone: (800) 896-8196

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI