Introducing Sierra Norte
The mountains separating the Valles Centrales from low-lying far northern Oaxaca are called the Sierra Juárez, and the more southerly parts of this range, closest to Oaxaca, have become known as the Sierra Norte. These beautiful, well-forested highlands are home to some successful community ecotourism ventures that provide comfortable accommodations and a wonderful opportunity to get out on foot, mountain bike or horseback into some of Mexico’s loveliest landscapes. The area’s natural diversity is amazing: over 400 bird species, 350 butterflies, all six Mexican wildcats and nearly 4000 plants have been recorded in the Sierra Norte. The variety of wildflowers is astonishing, too. Be prepared for cool temperatures: in the higher, southern villages it can snow in winter. The rainiest season is from late May to September, but there’s little rain from January to April.
Scenic Hwy 175 crosses the sierras en route to Tuxtepec (population 102,000), the main town in the far north of the state.