Photo: Ron Mader, Bosque de Ixtán
For International Day of Forests, we’re making a list of my favorite forests in the world.
Let’s start with Oaxaca’s Sierra Juárez, home of Guelatao San Antonio Cuajimoloyas, Ixtlán de Juárez, Santa Catarina Ixtepeji, Santa María Yavesia and Santa Catarina Lachatao
What connects these communities are the forests and Indigenous histories. All well and good, so our questions lean toward the practicalities of visiting in a responsible, conscious, sustainable, eco-friendly way.
Named after the illustrious President Benito Juárez, Oaxaca’s Sierra Juárez is an expansive territory known for its rich cultural and environmental diversity.
There are great hiking and biking trails as well guide service and basic accomodation.
It’s sometimes known as the Sierra Norte, but locals call this mountainous region the Sierra Juárez.
Prepare for the cold! As the elevation climbs in the Sierra, the temperatures plunge.
It’s important to note that tourism in the region, as opposed to Oaxaca City or the Central Valleys, is about a decade old. This requires additional patience on the part of travelers and locals alike.
Travel in the Sierra Juárez is off the beaten path. Travelers might find it easier to set up hikes and community visits in person than by making reservations on the Web.
One suggestion — independent travelers should brush up on their Spanish! Knowing key words en español facilitates trips into rural areas. Bonus points if you learn Zapotec.
Questions for Locals
What would you like visitors to know about your community before they arrive?
¿Qué te gustaría que los visitantes conocieran de tu comunidad antes de llegar?
Would you be interested in teaching or learning an Indigenous language?
¿Le interesaría enseñar o aprender una lengua indígena?
Can you recommend any Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or other links for a deep dive into Sierra Juárez?
¿Puedes recomendar páginas de Facebook, cuentas de Twitter u otros enlaces para una inmersión profunda en Sierra Juárez?
Questions for Visitors
What are your favorite experiences in Sierra Juárez?
¿Cuáles son tus experiencias favoritas en Sierra Juárez?
Did you learn any expressions in Zapotec?
¿Aprendiste alguna expresión en zapoteco?