The Pueblos Mancomunados are a group of 8 commonly linked or affiliated villages located in the Sierra Norte or also known as the Sierra Juarez between 50 and 75 km. from the city of Oaxaca. The villages with the highest altitude of between 2,850 and 3,050 meters above sea level ( about 10,000 ft ) are La Neveria, Benito Juarez, Cuajimaloyas and Llano Grande and lie on a vaguely east-west ridge. At approx. 2,500. meters are found Latuvi, Yavesia, Amatlan, and Lachatao the last three are older villages that existed prior to the Spanish Conquest. At 3,000. meters the vegetation is principally coniferous ( pines and such ) and massive mutant-sized magueys ( agaves ) at the lower elevations of 2,200 - 2,500 meters oak, madrone, manzanita is found.

The villages of the Pueblos Mancomunados (except Yavesia ) have developed a connected system of ecotourism with village-run cabins and dining rooms for visitors and marked hiking/biking trails that go village to village. Routes can be hiked self-guided or with village designated guides. One of most fascinating trails for biodiversity begins in Latuvi and folllows the pre-Hispanic Camino Real to Lachatao, about a 5 hour hike. Lachatao, a former silver-mining center is the most charming of the eight villages; its colonial church has a worthwhile gilded retablo and a charming silver repussé tabernacle. Cobblestone streets and pink-stuccoed adobe façades makes this village one of the best-preserved within 75 km. of the city of Oaxaca.

There is a café with good food right in front of the church. If you only have time for a 2-day / 1-night experience hire a taxi (about 450 pesos ) to take you to Latuvi at first light of day under 2 hours. Begin pre-arranged hike upon arrival but after a good breakfast. Overnight in Lachatao. Return to Oaxaca on public transport the next day.

Lachatao runs a separate program. To visit Lachatao, contact Lachatao Expediciones: www.lachataoexpediciones.com.mx.

Make arrangements at the Sierra Norte office located in the historic center of Oaxaca on M. Bravo ·210 at the back of the inner courtyard, http://www.sierranorte.org.mx/ For village to village horseback riding treks: www.horsebackmexico.com