Chihuahua (state)

Chihuahua is a state in Northern Mexico.

Regions

The state is composed of desert plains in the east, and mountainous land (the Sierra Madre) in the west. A subsection of the Sierra Madre, the Sierra Tarahumara is considered by many to be the most rugged landscape in Mexico.

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

Chihuahua is a vast area, the largest state in Mexico. Its area of 245,000km2 makes it roughly half the size of Spain or about the size of the UK. Transport costs can add up quickly in such a large rugged region.

Talk

A basic understanding of Spanish, while not necessary, will make your visit much smoother and more enjoyable. Those traveling in tour groups are often accompanied by an English-speaking guide.

Tarahumara living in remote areas will often speak only their native language and very limited Spanish. There are also other areas where Menonites live and their own language (based on German and Dutch) is used: for instance, Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, where the largest Menonite community is.

Get in

By air

Major airports are located in the cities of Chihuahua and Juarez, and in El Paso, just across the border from Juarez.

By car

From the United States

See

Ancient cave dwellings near Paquime

Do

Buy

Chihuahua is not as well known for its crafts and artisans as some of the southern states that are generally preferred by tourists. But western wear (boots, hats, and shirts) as well as saddles and tack are of high quality and fairly priced. Finding appropriate sizes may be a challenge for some visitors.

Eat

Drink

Some travellers report that tap water here is safe, but still most tourists play it safe and buy bottled water.

Stay safe

The canyonlands are intolerant of incompetence. This a harsh, rugged land with a dry climate that sees wild temperature extremes. Know your limits and abilities. Don't go out into remote areas alone. The money spent to hire local guides is nearly always well-spent. Guides can introduce you to the people living back in the remote barrancas. They can also explain the cultural history of the area and some are quite familiar with the flora and fauna of the area (note there is little remaining wild fauna other than birds).

There are military checkpoints throughout remote sections of the state. Most soldiers are young but polite, all are heavily armed. There are also narcos in most remote sections of the Sierra Tarahumara. They are also heavily armed. Guides will know which sections should be avoided.

The greatest danger is probably the terrain itself. The mountains aren't especially tall, but are very steep and rugged. It is easy to twist an ankle or break a wrist out here. Medical services are few and far between. Travel in large groups usually isn't practical because of the limited supplies available in the backcountry. Rather, the preferred mode of travel would be to form small self-supporting groups.

Go next

Take the time to continue south to Durango, another overlooked destination in the north of Mexico. Further south is Zacatecas, one of Mexico's most attractive cities.

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