checking out the “wild life”
The Mexican state of Veracruz is known for delicious coffee, fragrant vanilla orchids, exotic archaeological sites, and outstanding beauty. Many communities in this area of Mexico are also exceptionally poor and struggling to stay alive. In the quickly vanishing jungles of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve, a group of campesinos (traditional peasant farmers) have formed an innovative and successful ecotourism organization known as the Red de Ecoturismo Comunitario de Los Tuxtlas (RECT) (The Community Ecotourism Network of Los Tuxtlas) as an economic alternative to help their communities and protect the forest. Recognizing the importance of their local natural resources and the natural beauty of the communities, RECT is gaining popularity among Mexican and international tourists. The four communities that currently form the Organization share the visitors and profits from tours that they organize during the high tourist season. You can also visit the communities on your own. The local attractions include ancient petroglyphs, waterfalls, outstanding bird watching, boat trips on the Lago de Catemaco, and delicious local foods. See here for a collection of photos of the communities and destinations.