|Benito Juarez ecotourism
|video (in Spanish)
|A paved highway runs from Catemaco to Tebanca via Coyame. After Tebanca the highway turns into a deplorable dirt
You now can choose to go left uphill until you get to the pueblo of Benito Juarez, where there may or may not be a sign
leading to the steps leading downhill to the eco facility. If you are driving, you may turn right at the fork and a few
kilometers later you will come to an unmarked driveway, leading uphill about 50 meters.
About 24 km (14 miles) from Catemaco, 40 minutes.
There is infrequent unscheduled pirata taxi service from Catemaco, and a municipal bus runs a route through there once or
twice a day.
|Several of the photos were taken by Jessica Swanson of DEMATAC, the Defenders of the Los Tuxtlas Environment. The
group will be sponsoring its annual two day ecology hike in 2011 to and around Benito Juarez.
Pia, a norwegian visitor studying monkeys at the Wild Fauna and Flora Park near Nanciyaga, contributed the photos of
Jessica in the falls, and views of the hike. Pia has an excellent description of her trip to the waterfalls in her blog:
Pia goes international!
CDI, the national center for development of indigenous peoples also has a descriptive website, (in Spanish), with more
photos of the area. CDI - Cascadas Encantadas
Las Margaritas, the nearby eco resort.
|Cascadas Encantadas, Sociedad de Solidaridad Social
Reyna Fernández Nava
Phone: (294) 949-6354, (294) 109-9987
|Revised July 2010.
Benito Juárez Ecotourism is an enigma of an ecotouristic venture in the foothills of the Sierra
Santa Marta, overlooking Laguna Catemaco, above Las Margaritas. The eco enterprise is also
known as "Cascadas Encantadas" (Enchanted waterfalls).
Very little is known about this ecotouristic destination which does not advertise and which is
barely mentioned in Catemaco. Nevertheless someone spent a considerable amount of money
building several multi room cabins with a capacity of 24 guests, a swimming pool and
restaurant facilities on a heavily sloped hillside between the village and the lower road leading
to Las Margaritas.
The farming cooperative (ejido) Benito Juarez was probably founded in the 1960/70's along
with most of the other Sierra Santa Marta ejidos. As of 2005, the community had 476
inhabitants in 114 houses living on heavily sloped hillsides about 100 meters above Laguna
Catemaco. About 8 percent seem to speak Nahua, and most inhabitants make a living off the
surrounding cattle ranches.
Apparently in 1992, the ejido set aside 25 hectares, (63 acres) as a community nature reserve.
Tour guides have been trained and very rugged trails have been laid out.
Aside from the obvious attraction of exuberant fauna and wild fruits, the reserve also contains
bat caves, small streams and 3 waterfalls. Wildlife may include agoutis, armadillos, coatís,
racoons, martens, boa constrictors, iguanas, numerous bird species, howler monkeys and bats.
Activities encompass communion with nature, hiking trails, swimming in waterholes, visiting a
bat cave, lounging and eating around the center's pool and restaurant.
Access to Laguna Catemaco is a few steps below, and the nearby eco center of Las
Margaritas provides more explorations.