Copper Canyon in Chihuahua is one of the largest canyons in the world. Home to the Raramuri indigenous people and also among the 5 largest in the world not only does it offer great views and an interesting cultural experience but it also hosts an adventure park fit for those who like adrenaline boosts, and hopefully are not afraid of heights- unlike me.
Why would I then decide to put my life in hands of a few strangers and a cable that can snap at any moment, making me free fall to a certain death? The answer is quite simple: YOU. No, I’m not kidding. I might not know you, but when I learned that my fear of heights would be tested and that I’d be zip lining across several gorges in one of the largest canyons in the world I had to find an excuse that would keep me from chickening out- and what better reason than you, a reader of this blog? After all this blog is about travel, adventure, and stepping out of the comfort zone to overcome challenges that you won’t find everywhere, or every day for that matter.
When I described my experience in Copper Canyon I explained that one of the things that I enjoyed most was observing and learning about the Raramuris, the local indigenous people world famous for their endurance running capabilities, and fortunately the zip lining adventure also allows you to see and mingle (if ever so slightly as they are extremely reserved) with Raramuri children who reach out to observe and sometimes ask for money, without insisting or bothering at all. In fact they don’t mind having pictures taken, and if you show them after their candid smiles will warm your soul.
I had zip lined before coming here a few times, but this was by far the tallest and longest I had in my life. Unlike in other places there is only one cable per line, but you are strapped twice and gloves and helmet are provided (not that the helmet would be of much help if you fall). I was in a party of 7, and one of the members decided this was not for him, and decided to take the cable car halfway down the valley. From there we would trek another 30 minutes all the way to the bottom where we were hoping we’d be cleansed by a shaman in preparation for the marathons we’d be running the following day (yours truly decided last minute to run 21km in flip flops, twice the longest I’d ever run).
Eventually it was my turn, and no matter how hard I tried to pretend that the task at hand was a piece of cake my fear of heights began to play mind games again. But I didn’t let it win. I thought of you, dear reader, and reasoned that if none of the previous participants had died there I wasn’t going to either. I had to do this and overcome the challenge, knowing that once over I’d be happy with myself and…who knows? Maybe I would even enjoy it as I had done in the past? Following instructions I was strapped twice to the cable, leaned back, I ducked my knees… and I was pushed over the abyss. The anticipation to the cliff was the most intense of feelings, but only a few seconds into the zip line I noticed that all was good, I relaxed, and enjoyed the views and speed. Sure, there’s always some apprehension, but I did enjoy it.
The itinerary also includes crossing a couple of hanging bridges, with great views.
The Park has seven zip lines, the longest being 1113m long and requires it is crossed in tandem, reaching speeds of about 80 km/h. The reason for this is that if it is crossed individually the cross winds are stronger than the momentum you have, and you could very well come to a stop half way across. You’d then have to pull yourself the other half, a position most people don’t want to find themselves in.
Once we reached the end of the zip line itinerary we walked to the bottom of the valley looking for the shaman who was supposed to be waiting for us. Unfortunately he wasn’t, but it didn’t bother us too much because we had the chance to see how some of the Raramuri live in basic homes, and what their world is really like.
After spending a few minutes in the area we retraced our steps and walked to the cable car, which then took us back to the beginning of the itinerary.
Copper Canyon Adventure Park is a great way to enjoy a thrill in a spectacular environment, making up for some unforgettable memories. While those with fear of heights might find it daunting it is a good opportunity to test yourself and return home knowing that you have overcome a challenge and have actually had fun along the way. The tour takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete and I recommend you bring water and a cap or hat as the sun is very strong here. Don’t forget your camera and return home saying the you zip lined Copper Canyon, one of the 5 largest in the world!
Have you zip lined before? Where? Are you afraid of heights? What activities give you the biggest thrills? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, and this post too if you liked it!
My visit to Copper Canyon Adventure Park was part of a fam trip I did with the Tourism Board of Chihuahua, but I was not asked to write this post and the opinions expressed in it are entirely my own, as always.