the facilities
the museum
the environment
Los Manglares de Sontecomapan
Juan Sixtega
Phones: (294) 947 4124 / 4122 ?
Revised July 2010.
Laguna Sontecomapan is one of the true idylls of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas, half an hour north of Catemaco along the Gulf of
Mexico in southeastern Mexico. So someone had the bright idea to open a community ecotourism enterprise.

Instigated by the management of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere in 2002, and supported by an alphabet soup of Mexican government
agencies, an ecotourism center was built, including various multi room cabins, a meeting hall, some outhouses, a temazcal and
several animal enclosures. 13 members from the ejido Sontecomapan formed a cooperative to manage the center.

The center is located less than a half kilometer inland from Laguna Sontecomapan, with an entrance off the Catemaco to
Montepio highway. The cooperative has cleared a waterway from the center to the Laguna to allow kayak exploration. Also a
three kilometer trail was cleared through the neighboring mangrove forest. A lookout tower also graces the grounds.
Confusingly, the center is called both "Las Cabañas" and "Los Manglares" of Sontecomapan.

The primary attraction is to have a hands on experience of mangroves, see some fishes, crabs, turtles, and enjoy the flying and
crawling wildlife.

At one point the cooperative was supported by RECT, the "Los Tuxtlas Ecotourism Network", which specialized in bringing in
bus loads of visitors primarily from Mexico City. That association failed, and the number of visitors has shrunk below
maintenance levels.

It is a sad situation because the center is an ideal destination for groups wishing to explore the beaches, mangrove creeks,
waterfalls and bat caves of the neighboring region. For an encompassing description of the touristic offers of the region please
A museum, supposedly featuring the history of mangroves, is being built along the center since 4 years ago. Perhaps its
completion will generate some interest in the place.

The place does not cater to individual travelers. I have visited the "Cabañas" 5 or 6 times over the last 6 years, and have never
met a living person there. But the bathrooms are great.
A poorly maintained, paved highway runs from Catemaco to
Sontecomapan and beyond.

The facility is about 2 kilometers north of the end of the village of
Sontecomapan, on the right (east) side. The entrance sign may be missing.

About 13 miles, 30-40 minutes from Catemaco.

Piratas (pickups used as taxis), and standard communal taxis have
frequent departures from the north end of Catemaco. 10 pesos, about 40
minutes. But you must take a pirata that goes beyond Sontecomapan, else
you have to walk 2 kilometers.

A regular cab should cost about 80 pesos. There are no buses.
A good book about the area, written by a student of the formation of the center:
Sontecomapan - Cabeza de Ríos (Spanish)

Historia de las Cabañas (Spanish)
Planeta Azul -
Ecoturismo en Sontecomapan  (Spanish)

Laguna Sontecomapan
Attractions around the Laguna Sontecomapan
Ecotourism in Los Tuxtlas
see below
Catemaco  to the Coast
turnoff Nanciyaga
turnoff to Dos Amates
turnoff to Coxcoapan
Sontecomapan docks
Poza de Los Enanos
Las Cabañas
turnoff La Barra
entrance to Montepio
Las Cabañas
Laguna Sontecomapan, Catemaco, Veracruz