Apr 10, 2010, 3:50 PM
Post #1 of 4
I recently spent two days and two nights in this high mountain village (10,000 feet) known for its ecotourism. It was my third or fourth visit and each time brings a different insight/experience. Benito Juarez is one of 8 villages which form Mancomunados. I don't know when this consortium was formed but it's truly unique in Oaxaca, I think. Apparently, the 8 villages not only own their land, but the mineral rights also. The government is Usos y Costumbres, which, as I understand it, is self-government. Each resident is required to do a year of "cargo." The cabins, restaurant, road work, etc. is done by residents doing cargo. I think there's a fee to even enter these villages, much like you pay to get into a State or National Park in El Norte. If just driving through, you may be waved on by a smiling attendant, but a visit will cost you -- maybe 100 pesos or so.
Cabin prices vary, but are usually less than 100 pesos a night per person. The villages have set up a system of hiking trails, where you can walk from village to village each day. You should hire a guide (about 100 pesos) because the trails are not marked and there are confusing intersections.
Don't expect fantastic gourmet food, but typical, tasty local cooking. The cabins have fireplaces because, even now which is the hottest season, it's pretty cold at night. I slept in a ski jacket with three blankets, since we decided not to start a fire in the fireplace. The cabin was well-built, clean, tile bath, hot water, towels, etc.
It's beautiful, rugged country and well worth a visit if you want a change from city/valley life, even if you don't want to hike. The people are friendly and welcoming. There were horses and bicycles for rent.
The bus to Benito Juarez, which used to serve the village 4 days a week, has an erratic schedule, an indication of growing properity because more and more folks have their own vehicles. We took a colectivo from Oaxaca City to Teotitlan and then hired a taxi (180 pesos) to take us to the village.
Buses from the second class bus station run frequently to Cuajimoloyas, which also has cabins, and you can hike from there to Benito Juarez or the other villages. There's a reservation office in Oaxaca City on Calle M. Bravo, in the same plaza as Becari Spanish school.
PM me if you want more specifics.
Oaxaca is such a magnificent state...from cold alpine forests to hot humid beaches. I love it all !!!