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Both the Hotel Paraiso del Oso and the Rancho del Oso are owned and operated by the Mexican-American couple Ana Maria Chavez and Doug "Diego" Rhodes. They are known throughout the region and well-acquainted with the local population and conditions. In a community where there are few strangers, the Oso is a part of everyday life .

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Doug Rhodes & Ana Maria Chavez de Rhodes

Ana Maria Chavez Guiterrez' roots go deep into the area. The pueblo of La Mesa de Arturo was named after her maternal grandfather, Arturo Gutierrez, a famous gold miner who fought alongside Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution. Ana was born in Cerocahui where she has lived most of her life. She remembers lifestyles that existed before the coming of the train and roads. Her mother, Doña Amparo Gutierrez rode sidesaddle throughout the mountains often traveling days to attend local dances. Ana is in charge of the kitchen and dining room staff and plans the regional and international meals served in the Oso and on trail rides. Together with her husband, she plans and administers the Hotel with a warmth and caring that permeates every aspect of the operation.

Doug Rhodes, better known as Diego, received national recognition for his environmental work in the United States before coming to Mexico. A lifelong adventurer, he has visited each state in the United States and lacks knowing only one state in The Republic of Mexico. Born of a Mexican father and an Anglo mother, Doug grew up in a rural Ohio town often working on farms in his youth. After graduating from high school he joined the U.S. Army, serving 6 years and leaving as a Staff Sergeant. At different times he has worked as an electronic technician, technical writer for NASA, editor for a university and for a national conservation organization, deputy sheriff and bodyguard. His avocations have included a lifelong devotion to cave exploration, mountain climbing, backpacking and wilderness conservation and preservation. At various times he has owned a book store specializing in outdoor books, a printing and publishing company, and a tour company. Doug is primarily in charge of wilderness activities, the horse operation, and interpretation of human and natural history of the region.

As Doug operated tours through the Copper Canyon, he became frustrated with the lack of information on human and natural history of the region. Worse, he became angry at rampant hotel overbooking that often affected travelers through the area. Determined to do better, he started the Paraiso del Oso in 1990, in 1993 he and Ana Maria were married. That same year they started Rancho del Oso to provide quality rental horses with professional tack, wranglers and guides. In 1996 they began doing overnight trail rides, two years later they began developing their first backcountry campground. In 1998 they began horse-supported trekking to the bottom of the Urique Canyon and to Batopilas.

While Diego and Ana Maria run a fine hotel and ranch operation, it is their community involvement that sets them apart. Working with their guests, they have established a landmark Community Action Program that stands as a model for other operations in the Canyon area. Accomplishments of this program are too numerous to list but some of the highlights include continuing assistance to schools throughout the mountains (material is often horse-packed several days to remote schools), and scholarships for youth with potential but lacking funds.  The program has helped rebuild Tarahumara homes following destructive fires, it has sponsored cataract operations for the blind, given shelter to abused girls, helped medical missions, brought cultural events to the Sierra and sponsored annual Christmas parties for families who might otherwise have nothing during the holiday season.

Doug and Ana Maria are proud that their clients have joined with them to help the people of the Sierra. They are also proud to see other hotels and guides are beginning to follow their leads in developing environmentally-responsible tourism in the Copper Canyon. They welcome all warm-hearted and adventurous people to their operations whether they wish to spend time or just stop in and chat.

 

All material is copyright 2000-2009 by Barranca de Urique, S.A. de C. V. unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
 Rancho del Oso,  P. O.  Box 31089,  El Paso,  TX,  79931
 For inquiries & reservations please e-mail:
Our U.S. representative is  Nichols Expeditions
1-800-648-8488 or 1-425-259-3999, email info@nichols expeditions.com
Para reservaciones o preguntas, escriba por correo electrónico a
 En México, tel. a (614) 421-3372 (Chihuahua, Chih.)
 Für Reservierungen oder Rück Fragen bitte e-mail an senden
 Updated 11/03/2009