Arrival at Arroyo
Guacamaya, Sierra Norte, Oaxaca
About 45 minutes
alter having left the main highway and
witnessed changes in vegetation, elevation with corresponding ear
popping, and temperature, one finally arrives. A blue sign directing
visitors to the cabins and restaurant is clearly visible with arrows
pointing to the left down a smaller roadway. To the right the road
continues on for a couple of kilometers to the hillside village of La
ecotourism and sustainable logging
operations, villagers dedicate themselves to predominantly agricultural
enterprises. For about half of the year the main products harvested and
taken to market (i.e. the nearby Wednesday Etla market) are fava beans
and potatoes, and for the remainder of the year fresh flowers (in
particular azucenas which have strong cultural significant to natives
of the region), berros (similar to watercress), and ocote (wood used as
Arroyo Guacamaya, Oaxaca Ecotourism Site
As of early 2010,
the ecotourism site consists of:
o Five brick and
adobe cabins each with lighting, a
working fireplace, washroom with hot water, and beds. Electricity is
provided by solar panels. Beds consist of bunk beds and double beds.
Four of the cabins house up to four people, and one up to a family of
o A restaurant consisting of a large dining room with kitchen, able to
accommodate up to about 50 diners.
o Children's swings and Jungle-Jim style climbing apparatus.
o An adobe temazcal, scheduled for completion later in the year.
The dining hall, in
addition to serving aluminum-wrapped
grilled or fried fresh trout, serves standard Oaxacan fare such as
meats and quesadillas. Sides include salad, spaghetti with vegetables
and mushrooms, beans and tortillas. The fish broth is equally as fresh
and delectable as the appetizers and main course offerings. Beverages
include water, soft drinks, beer and mezcal.
Activities at Arroyo Guacamaya, Ixtlan, Oaxaca
Adan is a
conscientious bilingual guide and resource
person, up on ecotourism matters, and anxious to provide advice and
interesting information. Consider spending at least one afternoon with
him, partaking in the various activities.
The pursuits one
can enjoy include:
o Climbing through
forests up to the mountain peaks of
Siempreviva and La Portillo, from which exquisite panoramic vistas of
the valleys and numerous hamlets flecking the mountainsides can be
o Mountain biking.
o Walking through the village.
o Learning more about local economic activities and obstacles to the
continued sustainability of the community through ecotourism.
o Visiting the trout farm, its pools fed by fast-flowing waters from an
o Hiking to nearby streams and waterfalls, over soft, thick beds of
dried pine needles.
o Taking note of and photographing interesting mountain plants such as
sedum and echeveria.
As noted, the
temazcal should be completed in the year
2010. Tourists to the village will have an opportunity to partake in
the ancient healing custom of temazcal - sweat facilitated through the
use of steam combined with medicinal herbs - cleansing the body and
soul. Some have described the ritual as being akin to the Iroquois
For children, while
the foregoing activities are both
safe and educational, Arroyo Guacamaya holds the additional attraction
of wooden teeter totters and climbing apparatus, located steps from the
restaurant, cabins and temazcal.
Compared to Other Oaxacan Ecotourism
La Guacamaya is a
relatively new ecotourism site in the
Ixtlan district of Oaxaca. It stands alongside Cuajimoloyas, La
Neveria, Benito Juarez, Llano Grande, Ixtlan de Juarez, and other
similar yet longer-established village ecotourism sites, and boasts
similar attractions. While still developing and therefore perhaps
deficient in some activities such as horseback riding, the relative
lack of tourist numbers in and of itself constitutes part of its
allure. And of course, there's the proximity to the City of Oaxaca, a
significant bonus for most.
for Arroyo Guacamaya Ecotourism
Site, Ixtlan, Oaxaca
visiting Arroyo Guacamaya in the Sierra
Norte of Oaxaca can be made through one's hotel or bed &
or by calling direct: (951) 521-8127.