Venture into a hidden corner of Mexico that the indigenous Zapotecs call home - the Sierra Norte mountains of Oaxaca. This stunning region is home to around 4,000 plant species and is thought to be one of the oldest Eco-systems in the world at around 20 million years old. These beautiful mountains, pine forests, rivers and valleys lend themselves to legends and the Zapotecs have many which they are only too happy to share with the adventurous souls who visit their native lands. The benefits of this Eco-tourism project are shared amongst the people and villages that make this area so special. Come discover this little slice of paradise.
- Experience the warm welcome of the Zapotecs
- Take a high altitude zip-wire ride
- Witness an incredible array of biodiversity
- Relive the day`s adventures around your own lodge`s fire
- Do your bit for the environment and economy of this region.
Day 1: Fly from Mexico City into Oaxaca. You will be met at the airport by our representative and brought to your hotel. Rest of the day free. Meal plan: N/A.
Day 2: Drive North to the village of Llano Grande in the Sierra Norte mountain range. Start a 4 hour hiking loop in the surrounding cloud forest before returning for a late lunch. Afternoon free to relax or visit the village. Dinner and overnight in Llano Grande. A fire will be lit in the fireplace in your room in the evening here. Meal plan: B, L, D.
This area is one of incredible biodiversity and home to over 400 birds and 350 butterfly species as well as jaguar, spider monkeys and tapirs. The Sierra is also the site of mixed pine-oak forests, classified by the World Wildlife Fund as being the richest and most varied on earth and one of the world's oldest ecosystems. It is estimated to be over twenty million years old.
The Zapotec people of the Sierra Norte live from their forests and mineral resources. In 1998 an ecotourism project was founded to protect and preserve this nature system in a sustainable way (Expediciones Sierra Norte A.C.). A small tourism infrastructure has been established and the tours offered in the area are organized by the villagers themselves. Guides from the villages accompany us during our walks and explain the different kinds of animals and plants and their uses.
Day 3: Hike to Cuajimoloyas via Cueva de la Iglesia (5 hours). Lunch at Cuajimoloyas. Optional afternoon hike to El Mirador (viewpoint) or visit of a traditional healer. Meal plan: B, L, D.
Day 4: Hike to Latuvi (5½ hours). Lunch at a trout farm. Overnight in the cabins of Latuvi. Meal plan: B, L, D.
Day 5: Hike from Latuvi to Amatlan along Camino Real.(6 hours). Optional temazcal (traditional steam bath) in the late afternoon. Overnight in the cabins of Amatlan. Meal plan: B, L, D.
Day 6: Free morning or hike from Amatlan to La Natividad/Capulalpam. After lunch visit of the center for traditional medicine in Capulalpam. Drive back to Oaxaca city. Overnight in Oaxaca. Meal plan: B, L.
Day 7: Day tour of Oaxaca. Visit of Santo Domingo church and the ethnobotanical garden. Walk along the main pedestrian street down to the main plaza (`El Zocalo`) and visit the cathedral and the central "20 de noviembre" market stopping at different stands for an explanation of the uses of medicinal plants. Sample chillies, taste various local products such as agua de horchata con tuna y nueces (rice water with prickly pear and walnuts), the famous chapulines (grasshoppers) and nieves (home-made ice cream - with hundreds of flavours). Lunch at the Centro de Esperanza Infantil and an explanation of what they do. Overnight in Oaxaca. Meal plan: B, L.
The Centro de Esperanza Infantil is a part of the Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots organisation, an organisation based on community participation and volunteering. Their goal is to lessen poverty through education. Making a difference begins at the grassroots level and requires community involvement and volunteer action to promote learning, greater self-esteem, and personal achievement and to remove the physical, emotional, medical or financial barriers that hinder children from receiving an education.
Day 8: Breakfast. Drop to the airport for departure to Mexico City. Meal plan: B.
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