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Cities Creel (Chihuahua)

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Creel was declared a “magic city” and I frankly don´t know why. There is not much magic here. In the neighborhood yes, but the city itself is quite ordinary. Thanks to the growing tourism there are money, so the buildings are treated, there´s a small park and good tourist infrastructure in the small city but speaking about historical treasures there are none. The bus terminal is near the center and so is the famous Chepe train stop (a sight-seeing train that runs between Chihuahua and Los Mochis). On every corner you can find a small hotel, restaurant or a souvenir shop. Colorfully dressed Raramuri women and kids sit next to the walls or in the shadow of the trees selling their native art products. Or begging. The air is friendly, most places they speak some English and you will surely meet other backpackers. There are many interesting places to go and things to see around Creel. The accommodation is accessible and won´t affect your budget. You can easily spend three or more days here.
Attention please: the people of Creel, seems to, like to sleep long, so when we wanted to leave early morning (8pm) there was not a single grocery shop open! Also, long lunch breaks (from two to four) are very popular.

During the day it could be hot (up to 30 °C), but nights are coldish and winters are white.
What here: Local tourist agencies organize many different trips (you can see the canyons, waterfalls, termal baths, visit Raramuri villages or some rather far away destinations such as Batopilas or Basaseachi fall). However, do not expect some thorough nature feast, these trips are of the kind: „get out, take the picture, jump in, lets go“. Most of them have a price of 200 pesos.

The alternative option is to rent a bike (100 pesos half day or 160 for the entire) and explore the surroundings on your own. About two kilometers from Creel, towards the cemetery, starts a nice track through Raramuri territory. You can get here by car as well, but you will enjoy it more on a bike. The dirt road (mostly flat) runs among green hills with strange rock formations and crosses small water streams. On the way you can visit a cave still inhabited by Raramuris (if you fill the box that says „tips“ you can go inside and take pictures without a problem). Next you´ll see rock formations that look like huge mushrooms or frogs. A small Raramuri village with a church and a huge white cross “San Ignacio” is approximately in the middle of the journey. Here you can decide whether to return to the main street and to Creel or go on towards the long steep rocks “Valle de Monjes" and lake Arareko. The lake is very pretty, not so much for swimming though. I suggest you rent a boat (60 pesos an hour instead or make a picnic (you have to bring your own food since there are no possibilities to buy anything!).
The entire trip is not difficult, you can easily make it in five hours (including one hour rest at the lake). At the entrance they will charge you a small fee of 20 pesos and give you a free map.
Might you preffer to do it on a quadrycycle the rent is about 250 pesos an hour and there is a rental in the center of Creel.

You can shop well in Creel, there are many places that sell native hand-made art, above all ceramics and basketry. If you prefer to you can buy directly from the Raramuris that sell almost in every touristic destination around.

Where to stay:
You will find hotel on every corner, most of them offer double room for a price of 250 pesos a night.

Casa Margaritas. Here, the only problem actually was to get in. There were no rooms available when we came. That, I think, speaks for itself. Hotel/hostel with 30 rooms is situated right at the main square. Even though from outside it does not look outstanding, the rooms are very pretty and the bathroom is almost like from a four star hotel! There is satelite Tv in the rooms, small sofa and the place counts with internet (even thought it´s not „superfast“). The stuff is very friendly and speak English. At the reception you can also rent a bike or a pay for a tour. The price includes free breakfast and dinner. I truly recomend this place.
Price 100 pesos (hostel, including breakfast and dinner), 350-600 pesos (room for two, including breakfast and dinner). On the main square. Tel: (635)456 0392, casamargaritas@hotmail.com
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Cabanas Bertis. This small family hotel counts with just few distinct rooms, some simpler, some with a chimney, all have tv. They are spacious and clean. The reception (the house of the owner) is at the back, along the right wall of the building. If you need internet you can connect with your notebook inside their house (the signal does not reach the rooms). And should you wish so they can prepare breakfast (for extra 45 pesos).
Price 250-400 pesos. Avenida Lopez Mateos 31. Tel: (635)456 0551
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Hotel Korachi. When we came to Creel there was a huge storm and hotel Korachi was the first place we ran into. It is right next to the bus terminal and across from the train station, very close from the city center. Cottage style older hotel has wooden benches on the door yard and looks wellcoming. The rooms are cozy and the wooden walls and ceiling give them a nice touch. Bathroom is big and clean (even thought the evening shower was rather „refreshing“). On the reception there is free drinkable watter and no receptionist (well at least most of the time he was „who knows where“). Since the hotel is on the main street an ocasional car can disturb your good night sleep.
Price: 250 pesos room, 350 room with breakfast for two. Right next to the bus terminal. Tel: (635)456 0064, hotelkorachi@hotmail.com

How to get here: Daily buses leave from Chihuahua (4,5 hour, 262 pesos), or from La Junta. If you are coming from Basaseachi, as we did, you take a bus to San Pedro (2,5 hour, 127 pesos). In San Pedro, which is more a crossroad with one shop than anything else, you wait few minutes for a bus to Creel (2 hours, 100 pesos).
Another option is to take the famous train Chepe that leaves daily from Chihuahua to Mochis (and vice versa). It stops at various places including Creel. To check the prices and timetables go to:
http://www.chepe.com.mx