FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

Destinations

What are the destinations most visited in the Copper Canyon?

Please follow the link to our Destinations Page for in-depth information on the most visited areas of the canyons. The 3 Amigos do not offer  stand alone day tours or transfers in all areas of the canyons, however, our other company, Amigo Trails, the only inbound, independent tour operator in the world with offices inside the Copper Canyon, does offer complete trip packages that include all your hotels, transfers, tours, guides, train tickets and more. Doing a private and customized trip package with Amigo Trails is the best way to see and do the most on your Copper Canyon visit.

 


Do you have any videos of the Copper Canyon?

Yes, we have many so you can see what it is like here before your visit:

  • We hosted a FAM trip for ATMEX in 2014 and this video shows what the participants did during that trip. Have a look to see for yourself how lovely the area is and how much there is to see and do!
  • We also have a basic video that covers the main region of the Copper Canyon to give you an idea of all that awaits you here on one of our trips. Have a look!
  • You can see all our posted videos on our YouTube Channel

Safety

Is it safe to travel to Copper Canyon?

Unfortunately Mexico has been slammed in the media for some time now as being unsafe because of the inner struggle with the different drug leaders who are fighting among themselves for control of the right to sell their products to the American nation. One must keep in mind that this struggle goes on in every country of the world, but Mexico was unfortunate enough to have its struggle make world headlines in a brutal way. However, what is being broadcast is largely over dramatized, sensationalized and lacking in perspective. Crime in Mexico as a rule does not affect tourism anymore than the crime in your own city or town affects tourism there.

We have put together a full page on our Amigo Trails website in order to give this topic the amount of attention that it deserves in the form of positive press articles about the reality of safety in Mexico, statistics showing actual crime rates in Mexico and those levels compared to other countries around the world. We hope you’ll pay this page a visit as I’m sure it will help to level out your perspective about what Mexico is really like. Is It Safe to Travel To Mexico?

The world drug problem does not require a war to stop it, but rather simply better management of it.  It is really only another capitalistic enterprise that has always existed and is controlled by the powerful and corrupt. Simply put, it will continue to undermine our society as long as we choose to live in the type of society that holds high profit margins as the primary goal in life.

Mexico is a beautiful gift that has been wrapped and presented to the world with a shiny bow on top. It abounds with amazing geography, interesting people and vibrant cultures throughout its many varied states. Whether you choose to open that gift and enjoy its wonders, mystery and beauty is up to you.


Raramuri Indians

Who are the Indians in the canyons?

To get a bit of background on the Raramuri Indians, just follow the link to our website page. You’ll also see our best suggestions on how to assist them if you want, and of course as equally important you’ll be advised about what not to do.


Insurance

Do I need Trip Insurance?

Yes, it is the full responsibility of all day tour or rental participants to purchase and provide his/her own trip insurance at a level that makes him/her feel comfortable. The 3 Amigos does not include Travel Insurance on any of its day tours or rentals and assumes no financial responsibility for personal injury, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation or equipment that has been lost, damaged or stolen. We strongly suggest you purchase trip cancellation insurance to cover your vacation investment.

If you do not have a regular trip insurance provider, we can recommend to you World Nomads. Please click on that name to follow the link to a specific page on our website that will give you more in-depth information and allow you to get a quote through World Nomads.


Do I sign a waiver?

Yes, during your booking process with The 3 Amigos, you’ll be sent an online liability waiver release form that is easy to fill out and submit electronically. This is required in order to go on any day tour or to rent a bike or scooter. This waiver allows us to formally go over our responsibility to you, and your own assumption of risk by your choice to book a tour or rental through The 3 Amigos.


Requirements

Do I need vaccinations?

A visit to the Copper Canyon does not require any specific vaccinations. However, if you are continuing your trip to other areas of Mexico you may ask your doctor about his recommendations for other vaccinations.


What do I require to enter the country of Mexico?

Visa: Whether or not you require a visa will depend on what country your traveling from. Visit this link to see if you require one or not: Mexico Entry Requirements.

Tourist Permit FMT Fee: Mexico charges a fee to all tourists and business visitors arriving in the country. The fee is approximately US$25 (depending on exchange rate), and the money collected is handed to the Tourism Ministry to promote Mexican tourism.

Airlines normally collect the permit fee on behalf of the Mexican government and include the cost within the total airfare (under ‘taxes and surcharges’) so in the majority of cases, there will be no need for you to pay the fee separately.

If you do not arrive in Mexico by airplane, then you will need to pay Mexico’s tourist permit fee and complete the FMT Tourist Visa at the border checkpoint if you plan to travel beyond the 35km ‘free zone’ after crossing the border into Mexico. Failure to obtain the necessary permit will result in a US$40 penalty fee upon returning to the US.

Minors: Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican citizens under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child to or from Mexico.  This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s).  The State Department recommends that the permission should include travel dates, destinations, airlines and a brief summary of the circumstances surrounding the travel.  The child must be carrying the original letter – not a facsimile or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate or court document) – and an original custody decree, if applicable.  Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy or the nearest Mexican consulate for current information

Tourist Travel: U.S. citizens do not require a visa or a tourist card for tourist stays of 72 hours or less within “the border zone,” defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location.  U.S. citizens traveling as tourists beyond the border zone or entering Mexico by air must pay a fee to obtain a tourist card, also known as an FM-T, available from Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossing points, Mexican tourism offices, airports within the border zone and most airlines serving Mexico.  The fee for the tourist card is generally included in the price of a plane ticket for travelers arriving by air.  Please note that travelers not in possession of their FM-T card at the point of exit from Mexico may face a fine from Mexican Immigration (INM).

Business Travel:  Upon arrival in Mexico, business travelers must complete and submit a form (Form FM-N) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period.  Travelers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism or business or for stays of longer than 180 days require a visa and must carry a valid U.S. passport.  U.S. citizens planning to work or live in Mexico should apply for the appropriate Mexican visa at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC, or at the nearest Mexican consulate in the United States.

Traveling with your Vehicle: Tourists to Mexico wishing to travel beyond the border zone with their car must obtain a temporary import permit or risk having their car confiscated by Mexican customs officials.

To acquire a permit, one must submit evidence of citizenship, title for the car, a car registration certificate and a driver’s license to a Banjercito branch located at a Mexican Customs office at the port of entry, and pay a processing fee.

Mexican law also requires the posting of a bond at a Banjercito office to guarantee the departure of the car from Mexico within a time period determined at the time of the application. For this purpose, American Express, Visa or MasterCard credit card holders will be asked to provide credit card information; others will need to make a cash deposit of between $200 and $400, depending on the age of the car. Please do not forget to ask for your receipt from Banjército.

In order to recover this bond or avoid credit card charges, travelers must return to any Mexican Customs office immediately prior to departing Mexico. Disregard any advice, official or unofficial, that vehicle permits can be obtained at checkpoints in the interior of Mexico. Avoid individuals outside vehicle permit offices offering to obtain the permits without waiting in line.

If the proper permit cannot be obtained at the Banjercito branch at the port of entry, do not proceed to the interior where travelers may be incarcerated, fined and/or have their vehicle seized at immigration/customs checkpoints.


Chepe Train

What is the history of the Chepe Train?

The Chepe train took almost 100 years to complete. It features 86 tunnels and 37 bridges and goes through 5 different climate zones from sea level up to 8,000 feet. For more in-depth information, please visit our Chepe Train page on our Amigo Trails website.


Weather

Can you recommend a weather source?

Yes, we find the AccuWeather is a great source for weather updates for your upcoming trip. Just follow the link to see the forecast in Creel for your dates. Click on the Month tab to see the forecast for the entire month during your travel dates.


How should I pack?

This will depend on where your chosen day tour is taking you exactly and what time of year it is. As general rule, if you are visiting both the Upper Sierra and the Lower Canyon Bottoms on any day tour, then you should pack a variety of clothing and dress in layers. For example if you are starting your day in Creel in the upper sierra, but are heading for Batopilas at the bottom of Batopilas Canyon; put on a comfortable cotton t-shirt underneath, a lightweight linen shirt over that with perhaps a nice fleece pullover on top of that. This will get you through cool morning weather but allow you to take off layers throughout the day as it warms up or as you pass into another climate zone. If you are traveling during winter (Dec. through Feb.) you can also include a heavy coat on top of it all and even gloves and scarf to keep you warm on an overcast or snowy day in the upper sierra.

We find a panama hat or ball cap is excellent at keeping the hot sun off your face and neck. Visit our Weather Page to find more information.


Payment

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept your full payment at time of booking via credit card on our booking portal on the website, or by wire transfers to our Mexico bank if you prefer not to use credit cards. Please just get in touch with us if you prefer to book your day tour or rental through our email reservations system and pay by wire transfer.


Is full payment required at time of booking?

Yes, all day tours and rentals that are reserved in advance require full payment at time of booking. This allows us to guarantee that your guide and vehicle, in case of day tour reservations, will be ready and waiting on you at your scheduled departure time.

In the case of bike or scooter rentals, it will guarantee that your rental is in perfect working condition and clean and ready at your scheduled pickup time.


Travel Tips

Why should I reserve my day tours with The 3 Amigos?

That is a super easy question to answer and it is all about having the best experience possible and getting the most value for your traveling dollar. Have a look at The Amigo Difference page to understand why booking your stand alone day tours or rentals with The 3 Amigos will be the best decision you can make on your visit.


When are the festival days in Mexico?

HOLIDAYS: During the following dates, governmental offices, private companies and banks are likely to be closed for business:

· February 5. Constitution Day
· March 21. Benito Juarez Anniversary
· End of March, early April. Easter
· May 1. Work Day
· May 5. Puebla’s Battle Anniversary
· May 10. Mother’s Day
· September 16. Independence Day
· October 12. Race Day (Día de la Raza)
· November 2. Day of the Death
· November 20. Revolution’s Day
· December 12. Virgin of Guadalupe’s Day
· December 25. Christmas
· January 1. New year’s day

For a more in-depth and detailed listing, please visit our Events Page


Transportation methods in Mexico?

PLANE: There are 57 international airports and 28 local airports securing visitor’s mobility within Mexico and for travelling abroad. The biggest Mexican airline is Aeromexico, with many smaller, local airlines such as Aero California, Aviacsa, Aeromar and the lower cost airlines; Volaris, Interjet, Aereo Calafia, Aereo Pacifico and Viva Aerobus.

Likewise, the main international companies and tour operators, operate flights to the main tourist destinations.

TAXI: Visitors to Mexico are advised to board licensed taxis at the airport and at bus stations. Other options are radio taxis or taxis at your hotel. All fares should be on display showing the distance to your destination and the charge. It is advisable to ask for the fare to pay before boarding the taxi. Be especially careful in large cities such as Mexico City, where you should only get into a licensed taxi. It is best in these cities to just have your hotel or restaurant phone a taxi for you.

BUSES: Mexico has a very good and extensive coach network. The options for travelling go from basic, first class to premium with service on board, comfortable seats and television. We always advise clients to bring a warm blanket, a pillow if possible, toilet paper and earplugs to give you more comfort while traveling on buses in Mexico. Be prepared as there will be many stops where the military will search the bus and check your papers. This is all normal and part of the culture in Mexico. It is for your own safety and peace of mind so just follow the other passengers and do what they do.

HIRE OF CARS: All major car hire companies operate in Mexico. Visitors wishing to hire a car should be at least 21 years old, hold a valid driving license and pay with credit card. Visitors need to be insured against car accidents and theft. Hiring companies provide insurance but visitors are expected to cover a percentage.

PETROL: The Company responsible for fuel supply in Mexico is PEMEX, a government run company. There are two types of petrol, both without lead, Magna (green machines) and Premium/Rojo (red machines). It is advisable check that the fuel meter is at zero before he begins pumping your gas. Should he wash your windscreen or check your air pressure, be sure to tip him about 10 pesos for the extra service as many attendants do not do this. FYI – In large tourist saturated areas like Cancun and the entire coast of the Riviera Maya, gas stations can be tricky and gas attendants unfortunately will try to cheat tourists in different ways. Be sure you have plenty of change so you can pay with the smallest bill possible.


Do you offer tipping advice?

We believe that tipping is a personal matter that should surpass country boundaries, employment positions and public opinion. Tipping is a way for you to get involved personally and to have a say about the service you received.

If you are pleased with your service and service provider, then you should give what you feel is an appropriate amount to express your satisfaction, based on your own personal perspective, whether it be $100USD (or pesos equivalent) or $1USD or nothing at all. This is a personal decision that you must make based on your own beliefs and how you see the world and others in it.

Do keep in mind that Mexico is still considered a third-world country and that half of the country lives below the poverty line. Giving tips to service personnel can make all the difference in the world to that person and his family as the minimum wage in Mexico is extremely low.


Policies

Are trip delays and cost increases a possibility?

Obviously The 3 Amigos cannot be held responsible for any delays or cancellations that our completely out of our control such as delays caused by; inclement weather, pubic road conditions, river water levels where river crossings are needed, government problems, public transportation issues (Chepe train, buses, taxi’s, etc..), strikes, or acts of God, etc….We HIGHLY suggest you purchase Trip Insurance on your own to be sure you are covered for any unexpected eventuality and emergency medical care.

We will of course always do everything within our power to move you forward should you encounter anything out of the ordinary on your day tour or rental, but if changes in your tour itinerary are necessary due to any unforeseen circumstances such as those mentioned above, then you will need to cover these expenses personally, though we will do everything we can to be sure you receive timely information about any changes needed and that you are given all options available at the time for your consideration so you can make the most informed choices. Please review our Cancellation Policy for all day tour & rental bookings.


What if The 3 Amigos cancels a day tour?

This is an excellent question as many hotels that include day tours with their room reservations do have the right to cancel the day tour you may have included with your room rate while you were looking for a discount rate.  Do not be fooled though as the day tour included with the room rate will be of the lowest possible to quality and a waste of your time. It is only included to entice you into booking with that hotel to get an ‘extra’ service but it will be very disappointing to you once you see the long and in-depth day tours you could have experienced with your time via The 3 Amigos.

The 3 Amigos will never cancel your reserved day tour because all our day tours are private and will include only you and your family or traveling companions. We do not deal with ‘set’ departure dates or count on dozens of strangers to fill up our day tours, so we are not at the mercy of the numbers game that so many other tour operators and/or hotels  must play with in order to earn enough money to be profitable. With The 3 Amigos all day tours are always guaranteed unless there is some sort of government or natural disaster that would preclude us from operating at all.

For more information, please review our Cancellation Policy (in case you need to cancel your reservation with us).


General

Bus, Train & Ferry Information?

Visit our Basic Information page to find out more about bus, train and ferry information.


How are you connected to Amigo Trails?

Amigo Trails is the only inbound, independent tour operator in the world with offices located inside the Copper Canyon in Mexico. Amigo Trails specializes in customized and private vacation packages that are designed around your time frame, activity level and interests. Trips can be done as Independent (guides only on day tours and transfers) or Fully Guided (guides 24/7 from start to finish of trip) and can be hiking, biking, deluxe or even sedentary based.

Visit the Amigo Trails website if you are looking for a private and customized Copper Canyon experience.


Do you work with travel agents and other tour operators?

Yes, we are happy to work with travel agents and other tour operators at The 3 Amigos. However, we cannot at this time offer any discounts or commissions to tour operators or travel agents that book only our The 3 Amigos stand alone day tours and rentals due to lack of sufficient margin on these stand alone products. You can add in the commission or markup of your choice on your end though when you are packaging your client’s entire trip through your own company.

We do however offer tour operators and travel agents nice commissions via our other company, Amigo Trails, that does customized and private vacation packages through the Copper Canyon that include all train tickets, tours, hotels and transfers. For more information about complete packaged trips, please visit tour Amigo Trails website.


Where is the Copper Canyon?

The Copper Canyon is located in the south west portion of Chihuahua State, in the country of Mexico, and is about 4 times larger than the Grand Canyon in the USA. It covers over 28,000 square miles making it the largest canyon in North America and one of the deepest in the world. One can drive here from El Paso, TX, USA in only 8 hours. For more in-depth information about the Copper Canyon, please visit our Destination Information page.


What about the flora & fauna?

Copper Canyon:  There is an abundance of incomparable flora and fauna and a large number of rare species found only in this part of the world. The plateaus are covered with vast forests, which are mainly pine but also include some oak, madrone, alder, juniper and poplar. There are 15 species of pine and as many as 25 species of oak. The vegetation at the bottoms of the canyons is an array of semi-arid and semi-tropical, depending entirely on the humidity and microclimate. There are cactuses of all different sizes. Also all classes of shrubs and bushes, as well as larger trees such as poplars, willows, ceibas, fig trees and countless others.

In the Copper Canyon, there are 20 different varieties of amphibians, 87 species of reptiles and 50 types of freshwater fish. Some of the fish are edible such as the catfish, bluegill sunfish, sardine, black bass, rainbow trout, carp and the Alberca Silverside.

Mexico:  Mexico is in general is considered a bio diverse country. It has more than 30,000 plant species, 1,000 bird species and over 1,500 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Many scientists believe that 15% of Mexico’s flora and fauna are endemic to this country and cannot be found anywhere else.


How big is Mexico?

Mexico’s land area is nearly 2 million square kilometers. Its geography is diverse and abrupt. Most of the territory is mountainous and half known as the Central Plateau, which is surrounded to the east by the Sierra Madre Oriental and to the west by the Sierra Madre Occidental and to the south by volcanoes. Mexico has over 13,000 kilometers of border line and more than 11,222 kilometers of coast line made of the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez and the Caribbean.


What is ‘Traveler’s Against Plastic’?

Amigo Trails & The 3 Amigos are proud supporters of Travelers Against Plastic (TAP) and have joined the pledge to cut down on the amount of plastic water bottles we use within the tourism industry. We will therefore provide you with this great information sheet about how you can travel smarter by learning how to purify your own drinking water anywhere in the world. In an effort to reduce trash, will also only hand out only one plastic water bottle on our trips and tours to each traveler, while providing a refillable source of purified water throughout the trip so our plastic foot print is greatly reduced.
Please follow the link to the TAP official website to see how you can make a big difference in how many plastic water bottles you throw away during your travels.  We highly recommend, and use ourselves,  the STERIPEN as it is cost effective and easy to use and bring on trips anywhere in the world. It is especially useful on hiking trips.


Will I find hairdryers in every hotel room?

No, most hotels will not have hairdryers in them so it is best to bring your own. The Copper Canyon is still a very rural and rustic area and this is its major selling point to travelers everywhere. The untamed beauty and wildness of the canyons is why people come here. It is a small corner of the world that is still quite untouched by ‘civilization’ and all its trappings. So although you won’t find hairdryers in every room, but you may just find ‘yourself’ somewhere along your journey.


Is it safe to drink the water?

The water supply in general in Mexico is not used for drinking. You will find a few hotels that will may have a little plaque on the wall near the sink that will say that the water is ‘potable’. This means it is safe to drink. However, this is not the rule but rather the exception and only found normally in expensive tourist resorts or specific hotel chains. One should avoid drinking water from the tap as a rule as the water processing plants vary greatly from place to place in Mexico and in some locations there are not water processing plants at all. The locals do grow up drinking from the tap and garden hoses thus their immune systems are greatly enhanced because of this. So just because you see locals drinking from the tap don’t assume that you can as well.

Most sit down restaurants in cities will use purified drinking water or even more often they will serve you bottled water when you ask for water. Ice cubes are generally made from purified water or even purchased in large bags of ice from Ice Freezers delivered by ice companies. The exception to this rule is when you are dining at a street vendors cart or at an obviously small restaurant on the street where you can clearly see that no standards are adhered to.

The same rule applies to food. Use common sense when choosing where to eat and you can’t go wrong. If that little voice inside you says ‘hey, I’m not really sure about this place’, then just keep walking until you find a suitable restaurant. In your final documents information package, we’ll include our recommendations for restaurants in all the destinations you’ll visit within the Copper Canyon.


Should I bring US dollars or Pesos?

While traveling in another country it is easy to become complacent, especially if the country in question has taken your currency from another country willingly in the past. However, do keep in mind that you will save money in the long run and look less like a tourist if you don’t run along forcing your dollars upon unsuspecting Mexican nationals. The Peso is the national currency here and should be the only form of money that you use while visiting Mexico.

The peso fluctuates daily and can be at a completely different rate in the evening than where you found it in the morning. I’ve found that it is best to buy pesos once you are inside Mexico as the Mexican banks keep up with the fluctuation better than the international ones such as in your home town. Even from bank to bank in Mexico, you’ll find a several points difference at times as they struggle to keep current. So, long and short of it is, if you MUST purchase some pesos before you leave in order to feel more comfortable, do so at your bank but don’t convert a ton of money. Convert maybe $50USD or so to tide you over until you can hit an interior bank in Mexico. You’ll find ATM’s almost everywhere, except the most rural towns and those ATM’s  will give you pesos when you use your foreign cards in them. I’ve also found that is a good idea to keep about $3,000 pesos on me at any time just in case I come to a town where the ATM machine is out of order, or is nowhere to be found. Some travelers will prefer to have more on them in case they wish to add in a flight over the canyon or some other optional activity along the way.


Do I need an adapter?

Electricity in Mexico is 110, just like in the United States so if you are coming from the USA then you’ll have no problem with any of the electrical outlets. Should you be traveling from Europe, or other parts of the world such as Africa or South America, you will need an adapter.


Do I need bug spray?

There will be some mosquitoes, but not many, in the canyon bottoms such as Copper Canyon, Humira, Basihuare and Batopilas Canyons; all canyons that can be visited on one of our stand alone day tours via The 3 Amigos.

We do recommend you bring along a good bug spray or bug lotion and wear it when in the canyon bottoms as they are much hotter than the higher elevations of Creel and Divisadero and bugs to live in those areas.