The Sea of Cortes - Copper Canyon Ecotourism Circuit, Mexico

Within the Sea of Cortes - Copper Canyon ecotourism circuit, we find a little-known wild panorama of beauty that still preserves many of its characteristics.

The Sea of Cortes - Copper Canyon Ecotourism Circuit, Mexico
El Chepe tourist train takes you on a route through Copper Canyon. Photo by Alan Lara / Unsplash

In northwestern Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, circumscribed by the western coast of Baja California, the coasts of Sonora and Sinaloa, and the Sierra Madre Occidental, from Chihuahua to Durango, is one of the most important eco-tourism areas in the country. Ecotourism is defined as a recreational travel activity that involves the appreciation of nature or history, and that focuses on the preservation of the environment as its objective.

In the Sea of Cortes - Copper Canyon ecotourism circuit, we find a little-known wild panorama of beauty that still preserves many of its original morphological and biological characteristics, which must be conserved and preserved for future generations.

Sea of Cortez

An experience of ecotourism and nautical recreation. In the central part of the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is located a unique region in the world where the islands of Tiburon, San Esteban, and Guardian Angel are located; magnificent sites for the knowledgeable tourist that very few visit while exploring the Sea of Cortez coast in the Baja California peninsula. Protected as wildlife sanctuaries, the Central Islands of Baja California maintain interesting ecosystems worthy of being appreciated by the visitor; such as the land of the Seris, at the edge of the west coast of the Mexican state of Sonora.

The significant flora of the region is made up of the cholla, cardón, palo verde, mesquite, palo fierro, and organ; among the fauna are the boojum, a bird with bright blue feet, the sea swallow, the golden eagle, the pelican, the bighorn sheep, a multitude of seals, millions of seagulls and the always impressive whales.

Copper Canyon

The Chihuahua to the Pacific Railroad is the communication route that links the State of Chihuahua with the northern coast of Sinaloa and offers the opportunity to take one of the most fascinating train rides in the world; admiring the scenic views with an incredible range of ecosystems, flora, and fauna of the mountains, desert, ravines, and coast, as well as great elevations and deep canyons, passing through 37 large bridges, 87 tunnels, in a stretch of 480 kilometers along an intricate route that ascends from sea level to 2,700 meters in its highest parts. As the train enters the Sierra Tarahumara, you will see a parade of different architectures; Mennonite houses, farms, pine log cabins, and rooms carved into the foothills of the hills.

The main tourist resorts on the Chihuahua-Pacific route are Chihuahua, Creel, Divisadero/Posada Barrancas, Bahuichivo/ Cerocahui, and El Fuerte and Los Mochis, providing comfortable accommodations with special plans including food, guided tours, and transfers from the resort to your hotel. The lodging is rustic with comfortable but high-standard facilities. The food is international but with its homemade style. The weather is cold in the winter period and the geographical characteristics of the mountain make the tours or walks a little slow.

There are also unforeseen delays in the train service due to different reasons in the operation of the tracks and the wait on some occasions could be prolonged, but you can still enjoy this trip since its cars are comfortable and the experience of visiting these charming places is worth overcoming some inconveniences along the way.

The States of Sinaloa, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Baja California Sur have joined forces with the Ministry of Tourism to promote the Sea of Cortes - Copper Canyon Ecotourism Circuit and under the slogan "Where Nature vacations" have launched themselves into the task of promoting this route to position its great attractions and excellent tourism services in the international tourism market.

Hunting tourism

The State of Sinaloa, located in the Northwest Zone of Mexico, offers its visitors enormous natural wealth. The diversity of climates, landscapes, and abundance of water allows the existence of varied ecosystems ranging from coasts, estuaries, and riverside lagoons to fertile valleys, tropical forests to temperate mountain forests. Sinaloa is home to great biodiversity, which includes species of great hunting value: birds such as geese, ducks, pigeons, quail, and small mammals.

Rivers, dams, and dykes throughout the state's geography offer varied and abundant freshwater fishing: largemouth bass, catfish, mojarra tilapia, and trout invite for an exhilarating fishing experience. Several of these artificial lakes have facilities that facilitate the practice of skiing, jet skiing, sailing, and motor navigation.

With great tourism facilities, colonial towns, modern cities offering cultural and recreational activities, a first-class communication system, rich flora and fauna, and an enormous variety of climates and landscapes. Sinaloa is a state of everything and for everyone, which awaits its visitors offering them the best of its people's hospitality.

Hunting season

In Sinaloa, the hunting season runs from November to February. During the winter, Culiacan has a warm winter season. Average morning temperatures range from 45 to 65 Fahrenheit and afternoons are between 70 and 80 Fahrenheit.

What should you bring?

It is the policy of the hunting clubs that all hunters wear appropriate camouflage clothing in the hunting areas. Each hunter must provide his own camouflage. Other items that need to be brought are guns, hunting and fishing licenses, consulate letters and military permits to carry weapons, sunglasses, tall waterproof boots, plastic coolers, regular boots (for dove hunting), camera, and video equipment, camouflage jacket, sunscreen, mosquito repellent.

License and permit to carry firearms

A hunting permit is required. Permits are issued by the Government of Mexico, according to the current hunting calendar, and can be obtained through the club.


The Government of Mexico has established limits per species, per hunter; such limits are subject to change. The transportation of hunting pieces must be carried out in coolers provided by the hunters. All parts must be plucked and kept with a wing for identification.

The State Government and the Ministry of Tourism, aware of the importance of the preservation of the natural resources and in accordance with the law on environmental protection of wild fauna and flora and the use of natural resources, has elaborated programs that will help to diversify the national and international tourism. Among them is the promotion of hunting as a means to strengthen Mexico's tourism offer.

With the purpose of orienting the hunting tourist, the following are the basic requirements to be fulfilled by the interested parties before the competent governmental agencies in order to obtain the permits required for hunting in Mexico.

Requirements to be complied with by those interested in the practice of hunting

To hunt in Mexico you must have a hunting permit issued by the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) and a firearms permit issued by the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA). The hunting permit is composed of the Hunting Identification Record (RIC) and the stamps corresponding to the type of permit issued according to the following classification.

Types of permits

Type 1: Waterfowl (Ducks, Teals, Geese)
Type 2: Pigeons
Type 3: Other birds
Type 4: Small mammals

When the hunt is to be carried out with the use of a bow or crossbow, it shall be noted with the corresponding permit with the legend "Hunting with bow or crossbow, prohibiting the use of firearms".

Requirements for obtaining a hunting permit

National hunters:

  1. Obtain the RIC, in which they must: a. State their nationality. b. State their domicile. c. Submit 3 photographs (25 X 30 mm).
  2. Obtain the corresponding permit stamps, upon presentation of the original receipt showing the payment of hunting rights to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.

Foreign hunters:


To present the requirements indicated above.
Present a photostatic copy of the documentation proving their immigration status.


To present the requirements indicated above.
To contract the services of a hunting organizer or breeder organizer registered before the SEMARNAP, presenting a copy of the contract.


a) At the Dirección General de Aprovechamiento Ecológico de los Recursos Naturales (General Directorate of Ecological Use of Natural Resources), for any Federal Entity of the national territory.

b) In the Federal Delegations of the SEMARNAP, for any State of the Republic.

c) In other offices authorized by the Dirección General de Aprovechamiento Ecológico de los Recursos Naturales, according to the bases of coordination, agreements or conventions subscribed for that purpose.

At the time of issuance, in permits, 1 to 4, the Hunting Region(s), the corresponding federal entity, and the holder's Hunting Identification Registry number must be indicated. These permits may be issued until the last working day before the end of the working season established for each type of permit in accordance with what is indicated in the corresponding State exploitation table.

Requirements for the internment of firearms for hunting and sporting purposes

The foreign hunter may apply for a temporary license for the internment and transportation of arms by himself or through the Cinegetic Organizer and must present the following documents to the Ministry of National Defense: a) Consular Letter (copy). b) Hunting Permit (copy). c) Migratory Form (copy).

The Consular Letter or Hunting Certificate is issued by the Delegations of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs abroad, complying with the following requirements:1) Proof of citizenship, by means of birth certificate, or passport, or voter's registration. 2) Letter of good conduct from the Police Department of the County in which the hunting tourist resides. 3) Three photographs size (25X30 mm). 4) Payment of fees (100.00 USD). 5) Report of the number of weapons to carry, (maximum 2 and 100 cartridges per weapon).

NOTE: In national territory, upon presentation of the original of the extraordinary permit for temporary importation and carrying of firearms for hunting purposes, up to 1,000 shotgun cartridges per month may be purchased.


Inland waters

Rivers, dams, and dykes throughout the state's geography offer varied and abundant freshwater fishing: largemouth bass, catfish, mojarra tilapia, and trout invite you to enjoy an exciting and varied fishing experience. Several of these artificial lakes have facilities that facilitate the practice of skiing, jet skiing, sailing, and motor navigation.

High seas

The coasts of Sinaloa are a truly privileged place for sport fishing: blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, sailfish, swordfish, dorado, yellowfin tuna, and shark are among its main species. Mazatlan and Topolobampo are among the main places in the world to obtain these prized trophies.


Pay the required amount at the bank using the SHyCP 5 form, go to a SEMARNAP office to obtain the permit, which has a one-year visa. The permit is non-transferable and only allows its holder to use a single rod or handline with hook or bait or with a lure or up to 4 hooks on a vertical line to catch deep-sea fish, as well as a spear gun or spring when sport fishing is underwater.

It is authorized to retain a maximum of ten specimens per fishing day, with no more than five of the same species, except for marlin, sailfish, or swordfish, whose maximum limit is one specimen, and tarpon, mahi-mahi, grouper, or shark, which is two specimens per day. The daily limit for freshwater species is five specimens per fisherman and 5 specimens of any marine or freshwater fish species for underwater fishing.

In sport fishing trips lasting more than five days, the maximum number that may be accumulated per sport fisherman is the equivalent of three days of fishing according to the previous quotas. Foreign governments may not be partners or constitute in their favor any right over concessions or permits, the acts carried out in contravention of this provision are null and void and the goods and rights that they may have acquired by virtue of such acts shall be for the benefit of the nation without further recourse.


Performing acts, pouring elements or substances that damage aquatic flora and fauna species, throwing waste in the waters as well as on the beaches or shores.

The use of trawling nets in bays, estuaries, inland waters, and in waters where sedentary species exist; as well as the use of explosives.

The use of artificial lighting to massively attract fish.

The practice of "baiting" fishing areas without the express authorization of SEMARNAP.

Practicing sport fishing within 250 meters of beaches frequented by bathers from boats dedicated to commercial fishing; as well as from fixed or floating fishing gear.

Using "grampines" (traps) or "multi-kill hooks".

Business tourism

Sinaloa is a favorable state for commercial exchange due to its natural resources and agricultural and industrial development in its three economic regions. In addition to traditional tourism services, Sinaloa offers facilities for business meetings and business gatherings at all levels. Mazatlán, Culiacán, and Los Mochis offer meeting rooms for congresses, conventions, and expositions distributed among approximately a dozen hotels.

Some of them can organize simultaneous business meetings for 2,000 people and others have smaller facilities but with the same level of quality service that keeps Sinaloa in the first places of preference for business tourism. Mazatlan offers a variety of venues that guarantee the requirements to hold international quality events.

This important tourist destination has hosted major events such as the meeting of the Presidents of the United States and Mexico, the International Symposium of Ecology, Tourism, and Municipality, the national meetings of the different top Mexican organizations, and countless companies of global firms that hold their annual conventions with the participation of hundreds or thousands of people during a single event.

Culiacan and Los Mochis also have hotels that offer their event rooms with all the facilities: support equipment, lighting, recess service, sound, secretarial services, scenery, and simultaneous translation.