|Los Tuxtlas are almost an island. They are an isolated fragment of volcanic mountains,
disrupting the plains of the Gulf of Mexico in front of the Sierra Madre, in south central
Veracruz, Mexico, and include the furthest northern American extension of jungle habitat and
The entire region is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the river basins of the Papaloapan
and Coatzacoalcos rivers, except for a minor elevation of land near Acayucan. The region may
revert to be an island if the threatened increase in rise of sea level should ever occur.
|The heart of Los Tuxtlas is the volcanic massif of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas. Eruptions beginning about 7 million years
ago raised dozens of volcanoes with a handful reaching above 5000 feet. Lying on a NE - SE axis the Sierra is app 52 miles
long and 44 miles at its widest.
5500 feet tall San Martín Tuxtla volcano dominates the geologically younger northern section and Volcano Santa Marta
crowns the older southern section. Most of the population centers are in the 700 - 1300 feet range.
The Los Tuxtlas coastline rolls 75 miles from Angel R. Cabada to Pajapan and presents amazing views of scintillating gulf
waters, rocky outcroppings interspersed with fragile sand dunes and incomparable vistas of distant volcanoes.
Almost 300 miles of rivers and streams riddled with rapids and waterfalls crisscross the landscape. Lakes abound and the
heavy annual rain paints the area in hundreds of shades of green, enjoyed by thousands of species of fauna and flora,
many of which, because of the Los Tuxtlas isolation, are unique in the world.
|Despite recent environmental destruction, Los Tuxtlas still retain a significant number of endemic species, possibly saved by
isolated environment and climactic variety. In addition more than 550 bird species, zillions of butterflies and some of the most
remarkable insects and bats of the world inhabit the Tuxtlas landscape.
The presence of the Los Tuxtlas Tropical Biology research station has made the area a reference point for 100´s of scientific
studies of anything that appears green, crawls or flies in Los Tuxtlas, making it one of the world´s best studied regions.
Drill cores from surrounding lakes date agricultural activity in the Catemaco and the Tuxtlas area to 7000 years ago. Olmecs
are alleged to have initiated Mesoamerican civilization in the Los Tuxtlas region, beginning perhaps 1400 BC.
Touristically, Los Tuxtlas are in the stone age, except for Catemaco City which has become a small Mecca for mostly