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“The mountains are beautiful”

Pueblos Mancomunados
Ranked #25 of 129 things to do in Oaxaca
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Pueblos Mancomunados of the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca constitute one of the most outstanding examples of community social organization in Mexico. Their Nature trails integrate a network of more tan 100 kilometers of rural footpaths and country roads suitable for hokers and mountain bikers of all abilities, designed to show its visitors the most relevant aspects of this exceptionally beautiful natural area. This is an intercommunity cooperation initiative which promotes the communities preservation of natural and cultural heritage through the promotion of responsible tourism of high quality, linked to the natural environment, traditions and customs of the pueblos. Please, help us to improve our services and complete our Satifaction Survey (only in spanish, available on our facebook page.Thank you!
Reviewed 18 May 2017

We stayed in a cabin in the very small village of Llano Grande and loved it. The pine forests are beautiful the trails are easy...if you can deal with the altitude. All the people we met were helpful and friendly. The cabins are well built and maintained with a hammock on each porch. They offer guides for a price but they were also willing to just point out the easiest trails. It was relatively easy to get there - a second class bus from downtown Oaxaca took us right to the office of the cabins.

Thank SWVirginian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (174)
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4 - 8 of 174 reviews

Reviewed 10 April 2017 via mobile

We had a fantastic 3 day stay in cuajimoloyas and Benito Juarez. Here are our tips to keep cost down and get the most out of this fab company:
-Don't get any old package deal, have a think about what you want to do and they'll tailor make a trip for you (it worked out way cheaper than the price listed this way)
-Ask if you can get to the villages via public transport. We saved US $60 this way and the transport was reliable and easy
-Don't get the package food deal. Food is way cheaper and more varied choice if you buy it one meal at a time and you can try out different places. The most we paid for any meal and drink was 60 pesos pp for huge plateful and drink.
-Ask what is involved in the tallers (workshops) if you want to do one. We ended up spending far too much for a less than brilliant experience because we didn't get enough info first.

Cuajimoloyas: A clear winner for us. Stunningly beautiful with great hike options through canyon. We are not particularly fit 30 somethings and were fine with this 3 hour guided hike scrambling up rock formations and through the forest. Great views. Zip line is amazing here, very gentle 1km with stunning views of mountains (245 pesos pp). It felt very safe and well maintained. Cabañas beautiful and have breathtaking views, but the village gets really cold at night (3200mts) so bring lots of warm clothes. The lovely staff come and light a fire for you in the evenings which is essential. Hil-ser comedor in the lower part of the village was so tasty! Everyone in the village really friendly and interesting to see village life.

Benito Juarez: More tourist orientated than cuajimoloyas and not quite as beautiful, though close to some lovely hikes. We walked here from cuajimoloyas on guided hike which was pleasant and guide pointed out interesting plant and bird life. In the afternoon we did a taller de pan (bread workshop). This was the only thing we felt was not good value for money, it was interesting but just watching a woman make one batch of standard bread was not worth US $30 to us. It is probably better value if there's a larger group of people.
The next day we did a self-guided hike up to the Mirador and rope bridge, which had gorgeous views and is pretty well sign posted. We then hiked 1 hour to the main road where we got a ride back to Oaxaca in the back of a pick-up for 25 pesos. There are also more official camionettas back to town!

7  Thank Naominomnomnom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2017

Our group of 8 just returned from a 7 day hiking adventure in the Sierra Norte mountains outside of Oaxaca that was customized for us by Expediciones Sierra Norte. The communities we visited consisted of 6 small villages of indigenous Zapotec descendants who had banded together to create an eco-tourism experience in their 29,000 hectacres high up in the mountains. It was a wonderful experience at an exceptional price given the current dollar-to-peso exchange rate. Not only did we hike each day, but we signed up for a whole series of other activities offered a la carte on the trip from chocolate making demonstration, a visit to a sustainable farm, description and demonstration by a local healer of medicinal plants and traditional healing techniques, tamale and tortilla making class, a trout farm for dinner, and a not-to-be-missed Temescal (traditional cleansing/massage/sauna-like experience) at the end hike.

The hikes through predominantly pine and oak forests are not terribly long for folks in reasonable shape, but altitudes range from 6000 ft to a high of 11,000 ft (to see the sun rise above the clouds). If you’re not used to those altitudes, just take your time, catch your breath, and continue on. There’s plenty of time to get to the next village. We were completely off the grid for 5 days with no cell phone coverage or wi-fi. It was a delight to relax and wake to the sounds of animals . . no cars, airplanes, or noisy streets.

Each village had a number of cabins for exclusive use of their visitors. The cabins were clean, had electricity, a fireplace, beds with plenty of blankets (needed at the higher elevations) and on-demand water heaters (which mostly worked). Three full meals were provided as part of our package and tasty local dishes were prepared by villagers doing their community service.

The logistics were amazing. Everything worked out on time and our bags were transferred by vehicle from village to village, requiring us to only carry a daypack with snacks, raincoat (just in case), and plenty of water for the day. Each village has several optional activities to choose from that ranged from those I mentioned above, to zip lines, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more. If you’d rather just relax, there are hammocks at most cabins for a quiet afternoon swaying in the breeze.

Each day was more amazing than the previous, and we would look at each other and marvel at how much value we got with our package. We also marveled at how few people seem to know about this amazing experience since we only saw a few other people on the trails.

Although you can hike on your own on the marked trails, we recommend that at a minimum, you hire a local guide. Although they only speak Spanish, they are familiar with local plants and landmarks, and more importantly, can guide you on unmarked trails that are even better than the marked path. We also highly recommend hiring an English speaking translator. We were very fortunate to be assigned a young man named Celestino Mendez who added a whole new dimension of customs, history, biology, and Zapotec culture that we would have completely missed without his insights.

All I can say in conclusion is don’t miss this opportunity when in Oaxaca. Expediciones Sierra Norte is administered by the local Pueblos Mancomunados communal group of villages and all hiking and activity fees go directly back to support those villages. They are more than willing to work on a customized itinerary of hikes and activities for however many of days you’d like. There are other third party tours that provide package tours to the area and many work with the Pueblos Mancomunados to the benefit of the people, but I don’t know if the financial benefits are as great as working with the community directly through that community run organization.

Truly an EXCEPTIONAL experience and one not to be missed.

4  Thank JohnZ-SanDiego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2017

An absolutely incredible experience hiking with Expediciones Sierra Norte. No matter how many days you spend on the expedition, you will always want to stay longer. The walk itself is managed by a well coordinated, knowledgable network of local guides. Our guides were friendly and patient and walked at our pace. They only spoke spanish, but if you didn't have a language barrier, they could explain about the plants, the people and the lifestyle in the area.
On our first day. we saw some incredible views of the landscape, walking up and down windy paths, while on the second day, we were walking mainly in an enchanted forest. I wouls say the level of difficulty was medium, as it combined altitutude, flat, steep up and steep down. I definetely would recommend shoes with strong grip and walking sticks if you have problems with your knees (a fair part of our walk was downhill). I would also look at the weather, as I imagine it is quite alot tougher in the rainy season, when the ground will be less stable.
The accommodation was a complete treat. Although they call them basic cabanas, they are essentially well maintained, better than basic cabanas, with log fires, warm blankets and incredile views of the mountains. The communal area has lots of good spots to relax, including a few hammocks. The food provided was generous and tasty. As a vegetarian, some of the meals I enjoyed included a roasted vegetable sandwich and tortilla chips with bean sauce and potatoes.
Organising the trip was very easy. You can write in advance and book or you can just turn up to the office. For an extra price, they can organise your transport as well. For our trip, we were also very lucky to bump into almost no other walkers. Really great value for money!

2  Thank Vishna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2017

Extreme Expedition - Pueblos Mancomunados

STAFF - The office staff in Oaxaca was friendly and helpful (they spoke English and helped us recover a lost book). The guides were generally friendly, polite and knowledgeable.

WALKS - The first two days of walking in and around Llano Grande were average / slow paced / repetitive. The second two days were much more interesting - especially the walk from Amatlan/Lachatao to Latuvi, which was seriously beautiful and worth doing separately to the rest. Other highlights were the views approaching Benito Juarez and the Te Mascal massage/experience.

FOOD - tasty traditional Mexican food, but not particularly varied. Vegetarian option is a bonus.

OVERALL - We feel that it is a decent package, but would avoid spending much time around Llano Grande. We would recommend limiting the trip to 3 days: Llano Grande to Amatlan, Amatlan to Latuvi, Latuvi to Benito Juarez.

TIP - bring warm clothes for the evenings / light clothing for walks

3  Thank ChiaraDeVita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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