Sea Lion Lady, the Copper Canyon is in an area of Mexico that I had always thought I would visit sooner or later. It would be such a beautiful and interesting region to see. A lot of Mexico is familiar to me, since I went to University classes in Guadalajara and my family visited back and forth with good friends in Mexico City. We camped on the beach at Hermosillo when I was a child, I worked in Methodist mission south of Ensenada during college years, and traveled as a young bride to Yucatan. In the early '70's, you could safely drive in small convoys of friends from California to the Panama Canal!
But the political situation in those northern border states and in many other parts of Mexico is horrendous right now. The danger to American travelers is, of course, evident, but it is also disgusting and disheartening that the Mexican people themselves have to be so terrorized in their own country. Most of them have nothing to do with the drug cartels who are destroying the safety of their region, and their quality of life and economic situations have steadly declined in the last decade because of the relentless greed and the horrible violence of the cartels. So many citizens are not safe in their own homes, schools, streets, and workplaces.
Do not kid yourself that because you are a tourist, and not part of the country itself, that you are immune to this violence. Thousands of assasinations have occurred, and some of those murdered have been from the USA. As much as I would love to visit the Copper Canyon and to return to my more beloved parts (and people) of Mexico, I don't see that happening anytime soon. Do I want to go there? Yes! Am I likely to be comfortable visiting that area in the near future with Grand Circle, OAT, or any other travel company? No! I can only pray that safe traveling in Mexico will be possible again sometime within my lifetime.