|Selva del Marinero is a communal ecotouristic venture of a group of inhabitants of the ejido Adolfo Lopez Mateos, on the
slopes Cerro El Marinero, a volcanic hill at the northwest end of the Sierra Santa Marta, along the Rio Coxcoapan.
Marinero translates to Sailor in Spanish.
Although the village is within the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere, the area is not considered part of the supposedly heavily
protected nucleus of the biosphere.
Along with the community of Miguel Hidalgo, the village occupies the northern edge of what in 2009 is still the tierra
incognita of the Sierra de Santa Marta.
|Selva del Marinero
Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Catemaco, Veracruz
Coordinates: Longitude 94° 57' 46'', Latitude 18° 26' 17''.
Elevation: pueblo: 180m, ejido: 120m to 800m
Population INEGI: 1995: 133, 2005: 114 in 24 houses, claims 200 inhabitants in 2009.
Facilities: Ecotouristic Installations, primary school, DICONSA store, unattended Casa de Salud
Community Phone: (555) 150-0405 (Enrique Saxtea Baxin)
Before 1970 - Ranchers from Catemaco and the neighboring ejido Adalberto believe they own the area.
1971 - Squatters from throughout Mexico and Veracruz arrive to settle the area, demanding 1500 hectares be given to them.
1972 - 1979 - Legal and physical battles rage over property rights.
1980 - A Mexican federal decree assigns 535 hectares to the ejido.
1984 - The Secretaria de la Reforma Agraria reduces the possession to 358 hectares.
1992 - The bridge leading into Lopez Mateos is constructed
1997 - First organized eco-tourists arrive.
2000 to 2002 - Construction of ecotouristic facilities.
2001 - Satellite telephone service is installed.
Despite its cornucopia of natural bounty, the village is extraordinarily poor. Earlier dependence on hunting and extraction of
precious woods has been exhausted. Survival depends on limited employment on neighboring ranches, some corn and
staples farming, collection of palm fronds for Flor de Catemaco, a handful of cattle and contributions from ecotourism.
Almost 15, mostly non functional fish tanks, have been dug to breed mojarras.
The ejido of Lic. Adolfo Lopez Mateos was founded by mestizo settlers around 1971 under the then popular Mexican land
give-away programs. Decades of squabbles with surrounding land owners ended in 1980 with the official grant of 535
hectares to the ejido. Because of the extreme slope of the land, much of it above 40 degrees, most of the ejidal forests
Arriving with barely the shirts on their backs, settlers cleared cut much of the forest surrounding their assigned property, and
initiated survival ventures of agricultural staples. Mexican Federally sponsored encouragement of cattle ranching accelerated
the change of their environment from jungle to cow pastures.
With the advent of the designation of much of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas as a protected national biosphere, assorted NG0´s
under the umbrella of Proyecto Sierra Santa Marta, in 1997 instigated the first so called "ecological tourist destination" in the
Los Tuxtlas. Since then millions of pesos and dozens of government organizations have poured into the village, to stabilize
the pressure of continuing deforestation of the ejido's land area, and enhance their organization's viability as ecological
|Access is via a paved road from Catemaco to Coyame, then 4 miles of rough dirt road to the village, total about 12
miles and almost an hour drive because of poor road condition.
There is infrequent pirata service (communal taxis) from the north depot in Catemaco.
|Instigated by researchers of sustainable development from the group Proyecto Sierra Santa Marta in 1993, the village
welcomed its first eco-tourists in 1997. In 2002, 30 members formed the Sociedad de Solidaridad Social, Cielo, Tierra y
Selva, to operate the ecotourism project
Since then NGO, federal and state funds have enabled the community to construct several lodges and trails which at
present cater to groups of primarily students, scientists and eco-tourists bused in from mainly Mexico City by an
associated tour operator (RECT). Unofficially, 800 to 1200 visitors arrive annually.
Individual visitors are welcome, but the community is adamant about the use of a paid guide. There is no public restaurant,
but basic food, including fresh mojarras and langostinos, may be served in private homes.
Best time to visit is during the wetter months of mid June to mid March. Rainfall can be extraordinarily heavy, up to 5
meters per year.
Meeting hall, rooms in cabañas holding up to a total of 50 people, communal bath rooms with hot showers, campground,
kitchen, parking area, parrot aviary, wild pig enclosure, observation tower, fish tanks.
All well marked, with placards describing the local flora.
The major 100 foot waterfall - 380m, Bat Cave - 1 km, El Mirador - 700m
Unofficial guided trail routes to the heart of the Santa Marta's are available.
Cascada de El Marinero, Poza del Tepezcuintle, Cueva de Murciélagos, Río Coxcoapan
Trail walking, bird watching, swimming, camping, horse rental.
Entrance to the Biosphere: 20 pesos, voluntarily paid by purchasing a bracelet.
Accommodations: per person 400 pesos, including 3 meals, plus 2 guided tours. (2008)
|Adolfo López Mateos
Descripción: aldea, ejido
Nombre: presidente mexicano (1954 - 1964)
Población: 114 (2005), Altitud: 180 m
Economía: Ganado, algunos cultivos, ecoturismo.
|RECT - Ecoturismo Miguel Hidalgo (Spanish)
Cascadas Cristal - a neighboring eco-ranch
Los Tuxtlas Ecotourism
Catemaco Attractions - in the hills
Catemaco Pueblos - in the hills
|community satellite telephone: