El Chepe – the train that runs through Mexico’s Copper Canyon.

It’s time to reveal my tentative travel itinerary. I say tentative because I never really know what my route will be. Some places, I definitely want to visit; others are potential destinations and still others are only “if I have time.” I generally have a hotel or hostel reserved for the first few nights, but after that I just go where the wind blows me and figure out travel arrangements as I go.

Sites that are high on my priority list this time around are taking the train through Copper Canyon (Barranca del Cobre) to spend time among the Tarahumara Indians and visiting the Yucatan capital of Merida, both in Mexico, as well as hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu in Peru, and visiting the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Several of my fellow digital nomads will simultaneously be doing long-term travel in South America and/or Central America and I hope to cross paths with some of them along the way; there’s even talk of a meet-up at Macchu Pichu. Since my plans are fluid, I’m open to any suggestions you may have for places along the way that are worth investigating or should not be missed, or any comments with regard to my schedule (if, for instance, a particular plan to go from one place to another by bus would be too long for a single day’s trip). So, without further ado, here’s my current travel bucket list itinerary:

  • Fly to Mazatlan Mexico (5 nights)
  • Ferry across the Sea of Cortez to Baja; stay in La Paz and Todos Santos (6 nights)
  • Ferry back across the Sea of Cortez to Los Mochis (1 day, stay overnight)
  • Take the Copper Canyon train from Los Mochis to Bahuichivo (4 nights)
  • Get back on the train to Divisadero, perched on the 9,000 ft. high rim overlooking Copper Canyon floor. Tarahumara Indians live all through the area. Women and children can be found at the train station fixing gorditas and burritos on steel drum stoves and selling handicrafts at the station and the hotels. Solitude, great hiking and breathtaking views. (2 nights)
  • Get back on the train to Creel. Day trips to an Indian reservation containing a rock formation called Valley of the Mushrooms, the tiny village of San Ignacio with a 400-year-old mission and Lake Arereco. (2 nights)

Wildlife of Galapagos Islands

  • Side trip to Batopilas, an 80 mile drive south of Creel. The area is inhabited by Tarahumara indians living in small cabins and caves in the surrounding mountains. With the Rio Batopilas flowing right through town and steep mountains along both sides of the river, there’s room for just one narrow street, made of cobblestones and lined with old stores and houses. About 1,000 people live here. Highlights include a five mile trip to to the small town and lost mission in Satevo, the ruins of the silver mining operation that dominated the region before the Mexican Revolution and the chance to walk deep into the mountains through old mind shafts nearly 100 years old. (2 nights)
  • Possible side trip to Basaseachic Falls within Basaseachic National Park, which covers a spectacular part of Candameña Canyon. The Basaeachic Cascade is the second highest waterfall in Mexico and the 28th in the world. (3 nights)
  • From Creel, make my way by bus to central Mexico via either Chihuahua, Hidalgo de Parral, or Cuauhtemoc to Zacatecas. (2 nights)
  • Aguascalientes (maybe), Ganajuato (definitely), San Miguel de Allende (definitey), Queretaro (definitely). About 2 weeks in central Mexico.
  • Bus to Mexico City, side bus trip to ruins at Teotihuacan; check to sees if it too late to see Monarch butterflies (3 nights)
  • Bus to Cordoba (overnight)
  • Bus to Xalapa/Veracruz, (2 nights)
  • Bus to Coatzacoalcos (overnight)
  • Bus to Palenque & ruins (thru Villahermosa) (2 nights)
  • Bus through Campeche, then divert inland to Uxmal Ruins 2 (nights)
  • Bus to Merida, tour Chichen Itza ruins and Il Kil Cenote. A little further east at Valladolid, see Cenote Zaci, Dzitnup Cenote, & Ek Balam. (4-5 nights)
  • Bus to Cancun, tour ruins & see the local side of the island, 3-4 nights at CasaMagna Cancun Marriott Resort. Possible side trip to Isla Mujeres. (4-5 nights)
  • Bus to Playa del Carmen; side trips to Tulum ruins & Cozumel. (3-4 nights)
  • Bus into Costa Maya, visit Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Majahual, Quintana Roo, Bacalar & Lake of 7 Colors. (5-6 nights)
  • Bus to Chetumal, overnight
  • Hire taxi to cross over into Belize to Corozal, bus to Belize City. Visit Altun Ha ruins, cave tubing, Cockcomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (world’s first jaguar preserve). (4 nights)
  • Ka’ana Resort & Spa, western Belize. (4 nights)
  • Overland to Flores, Guatemala to see Tikal Ruins (2 nights)
  • Fly to Guatemala City, onward to Antigua (4 nights)
  • Fly Guatemala City to Cusco, Peru; stay 5 nights to acclimate to altitude before hiking Inca trail to Macchu Pichu for 4 days
  • Train to Nazca, Peru, air tour to see the Nazca lines. (2 nights)
  • Bus to Paracas, Peru, see natural bay known as Galapagos of Peru. (3 nights)
  • Bus to Lima. (4-5 nights)
  • Fly from Lima to Tumbes, Peru. (4 nights)
  • Bus from Tumbes, Peru to Loja, Ecuador. Take pick-up truck taxi right from the bus terminal or off of the main square to Izhcayluma Eco-Hotel in Vilcabamba. (3 nights)
  • Fly from Loja to Guayaquil, Ecuador (2 nights)
  • Fly to Galapagos Islands. (2 nights)
  • Return to Guayaquil and fly home

Photo credits: Copper Canyon: einalem; Macchu Pichu: Brad.Stevens