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This Lesser-Known Passenger Train Visits Incredible Sites In Mexico And It’s Not The Maya Train

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Chances are if you have your bags packed and are ready for a trip to Mexico's Caribbean side then you are hopping aboard the most exciting new development in the country.

The Maya Train has been on travelers' wish lists for years since it was officially announced in 2018. The time has now come for travelers to hit the rails to explore some of Mexico's top destinations in a fun, new way.

But let's tap the brakes a moment and give respect where respect is due. The Maya Train is not the first passenger train in Mexico giving tourists an adventurous ride through incredible sites.

train tracks in mexico mountains

One train, in fact, has been operating since 1961, taking travelers through lesser-known, yet magical and breathtaking scenery.

While it's certainly human nature to crave the latest shiny new toy, the old-school way is just as thrilling, if not more.

All Aboard The Chepe Express!

chepe express train in desert

Let's be honest – the Maya Train is going to be phenomenal once the hiccups clear, but there are indeed hiccups during the initial launch phase.

The Chepe Express has been tried and true for over half a century yet remains relatively unknown to the average traveler.

It's time to change that, as seeing Mexico by rail should be a bucket list item. The Chepe Express doesn't pass along scenic beach destinations, which gives the nod to the Maya Train, but it does rival their new competitor in unforgettable cultural stops and stunning mountainous terrain.

chepe train in mountains

Ticket Prices

Buying tickets for the Chepe Express is relatively straightforward. All travelers have to decide is when and where they would like to go.

Rates are divvied up between seasons, so right now tickets are listed for ‘low seasons' of:

  • January 11 – March 22
  • April 8 – June 30
  • October 5 – December 30

Travelers can also go ahead and book for the ‘summer season', which is classified as August 8 – September 30.

chepe express train stop

Different routes are offered based on the season and are more limited in summer. Prices will vary by ticket class: First, Executive, or Tourist.

Rates begin as low as 1063 pesos ($62) for one-way tickets in Tourist Class up to 6200 pesos ($362) for round-trip tickets in First Class, but hey, that beats one night in a Cabo resort.

Where Will The Chepe Express Take You?

Travelers may lean toward taking the Maya Train simply based on the fact they are more familiar with the destinations.

tourist overlooking copper canyon in Mexico

The Chepe Express is more off-path taking travelers through treasured destinations not often discussed as potential getaways.

Creel? Divisadero? Bahuichivo? Ever heard of these delightful towns? Probably not. Yet, they are stops for a reason.

The most common way for travelers to hop aboard for the adventure of a lifetime is by flying into the biggest city on Chepe's itinerary – Los Mochis.

Here is where travelers start from the beginning for the full journey through El Fuerte, Bahuichivo, Divisadero and Creel in that order.

mexican woman at artisan shop in creel

The train travels through the beautiful Barrancas del Cobre, which is essentially Mexico's version of the States' famous Grand Canyon.

The small towns are an absolute must, each with their own unique vibe from cultural havens to astounding natural wonders:

  • El Fuerte – a former mining town now designated as a Pueblo Magico filled with history, adventure and charming boutique hotels
  • Bahuichivo – the perfect stop to take in stunning views and hike along a scenic waterfall
  • Divisadero – offers stunning views of 3 canyons, the Barrancas del Cobre Adventure Park and some of the longest zip lines in the world
  • Creel – another ‘Magic Town' to learn the history of the Raramuri culture and peruse local artisan shops and historic temples

The On-Board Experience

chepe train interior

The Chepe Express offers 6 cars, all with comfortable seats no matter the class, which is great to know since the full journey is 9 hours minimum.

Even better, there are two bars on board and a dining room, but Tourist Class tickets will not have access.

All the extra goodies are reserved for First and Executive Class tickets, which may be worth the splurge.

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