Hiking the Sierra Norte, Mexico
This is eco and ethical tourism at its very best. Many villages in parts of the Sierra Norte are well set up for hiking and there is no need to book in advance for guides or accommodation. Each village has a tourist information centre and a guide on hand ready to walk you to the next village. Comfortable, clean cabanas are located in each village, usually on the tops of the mountains with panoramic views.
This region is semi-autonomous from Government and in order to provide local services everyone in the community must volunteer for a year, every three to four years. They take up roles as policemen, guides, waiters in the comodors or in administration. Even those that have moved abroad return for their service or pay someone to do it in their place.
The Sierra Norte hiking is owned by the community and as such everything we spent went to the communities we visited, not a private company.
We visited the following villages in a stunning three day hike:
Day 2: La Neveria to Latuvi. Hiking in a pine forest. Stunning accommodation and hammock views in the village at the top of a mountain.
Day 3: Latuvi to San Migual Amitlan. A stunning day walking the valley/canyon floor along a river and through a Spanish moss forest. Beautiful.
The locals still use the Temascals, traditional Mayan saunas, and there is an opportunity to experience one in Latuvi. It is necessary to book before midday.