8 Zapotec villages, called the Pueblos Mancomunados, lie between 2000 and 3000 meters in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca (mountains to the north of Oaxaca). The villagers are known as “the cloud people”. They offer experienced local guides along the lovely trails connecting the pueblos. Guests stay in comfortable cabañas with fireplaces and meals are provided by the village women in a successful joint eco tourism venture. It is the best managed and coordinated tourism project we have seen anywhere.


Every little detail for us was organised by Expediciones Sierra Norte in Oaxaca beforehand, right down to what colour public bus to take to reach Cuajimoloyas [14] at 3200 metres to begin a 6 hour hike to Latuvi at 2400 metres. 1000 meters down, followed by 200 meters steeply up – our going down muscles and our going up muscles were sore for days!


We walked on a path of soft pine needles in a forest of moss and lichen covered trees. Bromeliads clinging to the branches thrive in the humid air. Many types of wild mushrooms had sprung up in the undergrowth. Our guide picked 2 large bright red ones to take to Latuvi to be cooked for dinner. They were delicious with onion and forest herbs.


We spent the next 2 day´s walking to the villages of La Nevería at 2800 metres and Benito Juárez at 3000 metres. Each community was welcoming and friendly. The scenery changed daily. Near the pueblos corn grew up steep slopes and wildflowers in every colour grew on grassy hills. The weather though cold, stayed fine and we enjoyed a fire in our own little cabaña.


We walked back to Cuajimoloyas on day 4 along the most beautiful forest paths. On August 6 and 7 there is a wild mushroom fair which includes gathering and cooking mushrooms from the surrounding woods. We are sorry we are going to miss it.


A beautiful day to start hiking from Cuajimoloyas (3200 meters)

The lookout halfway to Latuvi

The path through the forest is ...

... waymarked (in places)

Goats on the road, tended by a man and a boy on bike

Donkey feeding on wildflowers

Hongos Rojos (wild red mushrooms) - cooked with onions and herbs, delicious

Azucenas (white lilies)


This lizard did 3 pushups every time he stopped

Mariposa flower only lasts a day

Village of Latuvi (2400 meters)

The small church at Latuvi

Beautiful mountain sunrise

Our guide Carlos crossing a creek

Some of the way was on forest roads

Our cabaña in La Nevería

The tiny, 17 family, village of La Nevería (2800 meters)

Sun trying to break through the fog

Guide Alfredo leads us up through the forest


Leaving Benito Juárez (3000 meters)

Wild flowers

Huge agave plants

Strange trees on the hill side

Field of corn and mustard

Lizard sunbaking

Food tastes better cooked with leña (firewood)

Quesadilla made with black corn stuffed with ...

... giant wild mushrooms

Mountain scenery

The path goes through wildflowers

Field full of tufty grass

Pam´s really enjoying a final village lunch

Poster for the upcoming wild mushroom fair in Cuajimoloyas

His and hers baños