Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs About How We Tour

Click here to see an overview of the several ways to experience various destinations with S&S Tours.

Small Group Tours

What are the advantages of taking a small group tour?

The advantages of taking our small group tours are the in-depth and relaxing experience, as the escort guide is there to take care of all the trip details. It is also a way to make your tour cost effective while enjoying personal attention. All daily tips and meals are included.

On average how many travelers will this tour include?

An average of 6 travelers plus our S&S Tours guide makes up a typical group.

Does our group have to go on a prescheduled small group tour or can we make our own small group?

Definitely! We offer individual escorted tours that can be customized for groups, and we can plan these around your group’s schedule.

Independent Itineraries

What are the advantages of taking a FIT ("for independent travelers) tour?

The affordability, flexibility and independence that these tours offer are their best advantage.

Do these tours include and escort guide?

The included day tours have local guides, but there is no escort guide provided from S&S Tours.

FAQs About Our Destinations

Mexico – General

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?

The short answer is: “yes.”  More than 95 percent of Mexico’s municipalities are at least as safe as the average traveler’s hometown. Although certain parts of the country have seen a rise in drug-related violence in the last few years it is still safe to travel to most parts of Mexico. Ninety three percent of violence takes place in only three percent of the country, mainly along the border because drug dealers in both countries are fighting for control of the border.

What documents are required to enter Mexico?

Foreigners entering Mexico as tourists must have current passport or pass card with at least 6-months before the expiration date.

Is there safe drinking water?

Yes, all hotels you will visit with S&S Tours have safe drinking water available.

What is the best form of payment throughout the trip?

Pesos are best when purchasing from locals. Credit cards are best at gift shops and hotels. Small denomination U.S. bills work in all situations, while they may not be preferred.

Do I need a converter for my electronics?

No you do not need to pack a converter.

Copper Canyon

When is the best time to travel to the Copper Canyon?

It is a year-round destination. The various seasons offer distinctive delights. The highest occupancy times in the hotels are Fall and Spring, due to group travel bookings. July and August mean fewer people, great mountain temperatures and lush greenery. Fall is the most popular, and is still green with a multitude of flowers. Spring is the Tarahumara plowing and planting season, with the trees blooming in fall colors. May and June are the driest months of the year.

Can you experience the whole canyon in one train ride?

Yes, while you can take the train all the way through in one day it is not our recommendation. We highly recommend you stop along the way in order to best enjoy the Copper Canyon System to the fullesst. Not only would a single day trip be very long (approx. 14 hours), but the train doesn’t make stops for sight-seeing but only for boarding and de-boarding. Also, the train does not have sleepers.

Can one get on and off the train easily?

Yes, you may get off at any scheduled stop, however, once off you cannot re-board until 24- hours later when the next train passes through, which obviously requires overnight lodging at the respective point. The only exception is the Divisadero tourist shop. This is the closest that the rail line actually comes to a rim of the canyon system. Each train stops for approximately 15-minutes at Divisadero to allow passengers to walk the 150 yards to the edge of the canyon for picture taking.

How often does the train operate?

High Season (Holy Week, July, December): One first class & economy class train runs daily in each direction–westbound from Chihuahua City to Los Mochis, and eastbound from Los Mochis to Chihuahua City. Their scheduled itinerary leaves at 6:00 am and arrives approximately 9:00 pm.
Low Season: Westbound from Chihuahua to Los Mochis-Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday leaves at 8am. Eastbound from Los Mochis to Chihuahua-Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday leaves at 8am.
Each train runs with 3-4 passenger cars and one dining room and one lounge car. The cars are equipped with reclining seats, large viewing windows, bathrooms and have air conditioning.

What is the best part of the Copper Canyon train ride?

Undoubtedly, the most dramatic part of the train ride is the western end of the line between El Fuerte and Divisadero. The elevation change on this portion of the rail line is 7,000 feet, from close to sea level and semi-tropical, semi-deciduous forest, to oak and pine conifer forest in the mountains. For this reason, during the late fall, winter and into early spring, it is recommended that you have at least one segment of the train ride beginning from Los Mochis or El Fuerte in order to guarantee morning light through this portion of the line, since it has the most masterful part of the engineering feat. Most of the 39 bridges and 86 tunnels are on this portion of the line.

What is the elevation during the trip?

Los Mochis– sea level; El Fuerte –400 feet– and warm year- round; Cerocahui and Chihuahua City–5000 feet and Divisadero Area– 7000 feet—are moderate year-round with occasional snow in winter; Creel-8000—is sweater or jacket weather in the evenings year-round.

How do you get to Los Mochis and Chihuahua City?

There are airport and bus services available in either city. The bus service travels from Nogales to Los Mochis and the from El Paso to Chihuahua City.

Is there an airport at the starting or ending destinations of Los Mochis, Sinaloa (LMM) and Chihuahua City, CH MX (CUU)?

Yes, both starting or ending destinations have airport services.

How does one get to Chihuahua City or Los Mochis to begin travel on the train?

This will depend upon which end of the line (Chihuahua City or Los Mochis) one chooses to begin the trip. International gateways such as Mexico City, Los Angeles, Houston and Tijuana offer air service to both Los Mochis and Chihuahua in order to begin a tour.

Can I bring my pets?

No, pets are not allowed on the train.

Bus Tour to Copper Canyon

How many people are on a bus tour?

The bus is a 45-50 passenger bus. You will find an average of 40-48 pax on the bus tour.

How much time is spent on the train?

We spend approximately 5 hours of train ride.

How do you determine a definite departure?

We need a minimum of 20 passengers enrolled to make the trip a go. Deposits will not be charged or cashed until we have confirmed the tour and you have been notified. Before booking airfare please confirm with our office that the trip is effective. FYI Most or all of the tours will up.

What if I do not need hotel lodging in Phoenix?

If no lodging is necessary in Phoenix, deduct $85.00 per person double occupancy of the package price. You may leave your vehicle at the Sleep Inn Airport Phoenix (no charge).

What other pick –up/drop-off locations are available?

We also stop to pick-up at Tucson, AZ at Circle K off I-10, exit 22nd -655 W. 22nd Street and Green Valley, AZ at Green Valley at the Canola Rest Area. To get there follow HWY 19 South and exit to the rest stop just past mile marker 56 NOTE: You are NOT allowed to leave your car at any of these two pick-up locations.

What is the cost for optional tours not included in package price?

In El Fuerte there is an Optional River Float ($25/person, min.4pax). In Divisadero Area there is a cable car ride across the Canyon ($25 p/p, a 7-course zip line (2 hours for a cost of $60 which includes a return trip on the cable car) and rappelling.

Do I need a Visa and a Passport?

Yes, a Mexican Visa is required for this trip ($3900 MXN or $27USD-approx). You will have the opportunity to purchase your visa at the border. Also, a Passport or Passcard is required for re-entry to the US, with valid 6 months left before expiration date.

Am I responsible for tipping?

You are responsible for tipping the driver and guide at the end of the tour, but all other tips are included. Unlike the U.S., Mexican drivers and guides live by tips. Suggested tips are $5.00/day/person and your guide $10.00/day/person.

Does the bus have insurance in the US and Mexico?

Yes, they have insurance with the company in Mexico with the insurer Qualitas and the United States with Principal Financial.

What are the driver qualifications?

Our drivers are certified Mexican drivers. They undergo a series of medical and physical examinations to ensure your safety.

What is the bus model and maintenance schedule?

The years of the buses are 2014 and 2015. The maintenance is constant.


How do I get to Oaxaca?

There are direct flights from Houston, TX (IAH) and Dallas (DFW) to Oaxaca City, OAX (OAX).

What are the best times to travel to Oaxaca?

We consider Oaxaca a year-round destination because of the temperate climate allows travelers to enjoy the setting in any season.

Butterfly Sanctuaries of Michoacán

What city does the tour start in?

The tour group begins and ends in Morelia, Michoacán.

How do I get to Morelia, Michoacán.

There are direct flights from Houston, TX (IAH) and Dallas, TX (DFW) to Morelia, Michoacán (MLM).

What is the best time to see the Monarchs?

id-January through mid-March are the best times to book travel. The sanctuaries are open as of November, but February up through mid-March is the most ideal time for butterfly activity.

What sanctuaries do we visit?

We visit El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary and Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on this tour.

Are there any physical requirements to see to reach the sanctuaries?

All travelers should be in good health and be able to walk up for long distances at high elevations. Elevation travel is from 9,000 to 11,000 ft. Horses are available to rent for a portion the distance, but will not be available all the way to the top. There are benches along the way for resting. El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary has a trailed path with concrete-steps that winds up to the mountain. The uphill mile hike/walk to the colony is mostly paved trail and it takes 30-45 minutes each way, depending on your speed and acclimation. Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary trail leading to the butterflies is relatively level, somewhat paved.  It also takes 30-45 minute walk each way. 

Mexico City

What is the best time of year to tour Mexico City?

Spring and summer are our best recommendations for the temperate weather.

What is the best way to get to Mexico City?

Most major cities/airlines book direct flights to Mexico City.

What is there to see in Mexico City?

The short answer is art, archeology, culture is just the beginning. There is something there for all.

Can I get to Monarch Sanctuaries from Mexico City?

Yes, Valle Del Bravo is the closest sanctuary and can be a day tour out of Mexico City. The other two sanctuaries will require an overnight in Angangueo near the sanctuaries.

Mexico's Colonial Cities

What is the best time of year to tour the Colonial Cities?

We consider the Colonial Cities a year-round destination because of the temperate climate allows travelers to enjoy the setting in any season.

Where does the Colonial Cities tour start and end?

Our Colonial cities tour group begins in Guanajuato and ends in Queretaro.

How do I get to Guanajuato City?

From Guanajuato (BJX) airport take a 40 min airport taxi to Guanajuato City.

What is your best airline recommendation?

There are direct flights from Houston, TX (IAH) and Dallas (DFW) to Leon, Guanajuato (BJX).

Mexico's Mayan Route

Where does the tour begin and end?

The tour begins in Villahermosa, Tabasco (VHA) and ends Merida, Yucatan (MID).

How do I get to Villahermosa, Tabasco?

There are direct flights from Houston, TX (IAH) and Dallas (DFW) to Villahermosa, Tabasco (VSA).

What is the best time of year to tour the Mayan Route?

Winter into spring to beat the heat as this tour is found in tropical jungle climates.

Are there any physical requirements for this tour?

If you want to fully participate in the pyramid tours the physical ability to climb step is necessary.


Where is Chiapas?

It is the Southern-most state of the Mexico on the Guatemala border.

What is the climate like?

Most of the state of Chiapas is jungle climate.

Why take the Chiapas tour?

Travelers want to visit Chiapas to see the archeology and nature. Tonina pyramid, located in Chiapas, is 7 stories high and is the tallest pyramid in Meso-America. Another highlight is the Sumidero boat trip for the dramatic canyon wall views.

What type of traveler is this tour ideal for?

It is ideal for adventurers who don’t mind a lot of land travel and are very interested in archeology.

What is the best time of year for the Chiapas tour?

Winter into spring to beat the heat as this tour is found in tropical jungle climates.

Peru and Machu Picchu

What is the best time of year to tour Peru and Machu Picchu?

Our best recommendation for travel to Peru and Machu Picchu is in the spring to beat the heat and the crowds.

Where does the Peru and Machu Picchu tour begin and end?

The tour begins and ends in Lima, Peru.

What is your best airline recommendation?

United Airlines have direct flights out of Houston (IAH) and American Airlines has direct flights out of Miami (MIA) and Dallas (DFW).

What are the common altitudes for this tour?

Lima averages 500 ft. Cusco 11,047 ft. Lake Titicaca 10,820 ft. Machu Picchu is approximately 8,000 ft.

Are there any physical requirements or recommendations?

A traveler must be able to hike at high altitude and manage a lot of climbing of uneven and at times steep steps.

How do we travel in Peru?

We travel by van, plane, train and boat!

Costa Rica

Where does the tour begin?

The tour begins San Jose, Costa Rica. You fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO).

How do I get to San Jose?

There are direct flights from Houston, TX (IAH) to Juan Santamaria International Airport.

What is the best time of year to tour in Costa Rica?

Anytime is the best time. Costa Rica has a wonderful temperate climate which makes year-round itineraries.

Why do you travel to Costa Rica?

The main attraction for our tours to Costa Rica are natural history. We see 5 of the major reserves natural parks in our tour groups.

Galapagos Islands

Where does the tour begin?

The tour begins and ends in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

What is the best time of year to visit the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands have a wonderful temperate climate, which makes for wonderful year-round itineraries.

Why travel to the Galapagos Islands?

The reason to travel to the Galapagos Islands is for the wildlife. It is the ultimate naturalist adventure.

Find the Perfect Tour

We offer several ways to experience our various destinations. Click below to discover what would work best for you.

Get Your Questions Answered

Call us at (866) 780-2813, email us at, or click below to send us an inquiry. We are happy to talk over any questions you may have to determine that S&S Tours tour is the perfect fit for you!