Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TRAVEL + LEISURE World's Most Scenic Train Rides

El ChePe, Mexico

Courtesy of www.mexicoscoppercanyon.com/ Christian Heeb

The most modern, comfortable passenger train in Mexico chugs along the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico, also known as the Copper Canyon Railway. The 13-hour trip connects the mountainous arid interior of northern Mexico with the Pacific coast, passing sheer canyon walls, waterfalls, high desert plains, and the imposing landscapes of the Sierra Tarahumara.

Train Trivia: El ChePe passes through the six Copper Canyons, which, if they were combined, would be four times larger than the Grand Canyon. The ravines and crevices go as deep as 1.25 miles from top to bottom.

Insider Tip: Temperatures are most comfortable from October to March—summers are hot and dusty. Advance booking is essential. One-way tickets from $991.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

TRAVEL + LEISURE Best Secret Beaches on Earth

Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Jay Graham / Courtesy of Rancho Pescadero

 The artist colony of Todos Santos is way cooler in both temperature and temperament than the Margaritaville of Cabo San Lucas, an hour to the south. Pacific breezes stir up rough and tumbling waves that have made this kicked-back community a surfer’s haven. (Swimmers should venture out only on calm days.) Like San Miguel Allende, Todos Santos has attracted creative expats and is filled with galleries and lively cafés. Guests at Rancho Pescadero (from $200) get complimentary use of surfboards, boogie boards, and bicycles, while a stay at Guaycura Boutique Hotel and Spa  (877-448-2928; doubles from $156) comes with classic beach getaway amenities like a rooftop pool and bar. But the funky hippie spirit of the town may be best expressed at the 11-room Hotel California,, which, having opened in 1948, has nothing to do with the Eagles’ song (doubles from $110). It hosted the first-ever Todos Santos Music Festival in January 2012

-David A. Keeps