Urique is a town of some 1,600 people found in the mountains of the sierra Tarahumara in northwestern Mexico. The town is situated in the bottom of a canyon,
alongside a river with the same name (the canyon, the town, and the river are all called Urique). The area is beautiful because of the mountains that surround
the town, and because of the exotic flora and fauna. The canyon is the deepest in North America, and many think it is also the most beautiful. It is part of a
system of canyons that covers many kilometers in the state of Chihuahua and that many call the Copper Canyon. The complete system is deeper and much more
extensive than the Grand Canyon of Colorado.
The canyon is located north of the Tropic of Cancer; but because it includes low lands, between 500 and 700 meters (1,500 and 2,300 feet) above sea level, and the
surrounding mountains are very high, the bottom of the canyon has a tropical climate. Nevertheless, the land is dry and rocky, and since there is almost no level
ground, agriculture is very difficult. In the winter it is cool in the mornings, but at mid-day it is usually warm or even hot. In the summer it is as hot as in
the tropics, and the temperature can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Centigrade). The difference is that in the true tropic it rains abundantly, almost
the whole year, and here it only rains from (late) June to September, and generally only in the afternoons. The plants are exotic owing to the tropical climate,
abundant in the summer and scarce the rest of the year, and most of them are tough and spiny. There is fruit such as mangos, avocados, bananas, guavas, papayas,
citrus fruit, and some very tasty wild fruit: pitayas, papaches, guamuchiles. The most common trees are mesquite, sycamore, palo blanco, various types of wild fig,
and many others that have local names. To a great extent the fauna has disappeared from the canyons, except for the birds, many of them exotic: macaws, magpie jays,
humming birds, thrushes, cardinals, orioles, and tanagers. There are also frogs, toads, lizards, and many kinds of snakes. There are too many insects to list, but
the ones that most impress outsiders are the scorpions, tarantulas, and wasps.
This is the country, even back country, and there isn't much in the way of organized entertainment. There is some fishing, and everywhere you look is scenic. People
often remark that this is a Mexico from many years ago, like being in an old black-and-white issue of the National Geographic. The people are generally very friendly,
talkative, and at least as interested in the tourists as the tourists are in them. It is a good place to absorb the culture and practice Spanish.
Places to stay in Urique: Besides Entre Amigos, there are three hotels and at least two other places that rent rooms. Each of the hotel also has a restaurant, and
there are other places to eat as well. Chiro Ramirez offers camping in a very pretty spot, and there are places along the river where people can camp for free.
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