Welcome To Hoofing It In Oaxaca!
Schedule for the 2016-2017 Winter Season
Foreign visitors from the United States, Canada and other countries flock to Oaxaca de Juárez, the capital of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, during the winter months to enjoy the wonderful climate here — not to mention the festivals, food, musical events, art scene and archeological sites that are such attractions.
For a number of years a series of weekly hikes has been offered November through March, which afford visitors a chance to get out into the countryside for some fresh air and exercise, and to see things they might not otherwise have a chance to enjoy.
For the 2016-2017 season there will be one day hike per week on the Fridays of November and March. There will be two day hikes each week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, the months of December, January and February. When there are two day hikes per week, both will go to the same location, giving participants a choice as to the best day for them to enjoy communing with Mother Nature and fellow hike enthusiasts.
In addition, there will be four overnight weekend trips to some of the ecotourism camps located in the Sierra Madre mountains or to Apoala in the Mixteca region. These overnight outings are scheduled the first weekends of December, January, February and March.
“Day of the Dead” Cemetery Tours
Once again this year the “Hoofing It In Oaxaca” program is coordinating the special cemetery tours organized by the Oaxaca Lending Library. This enables the cemetery tours to be posted here so people can get information about and sign up in advance for these trips. Detailed information about the various cemetery tours can be found on the “Hikes” page. Reservations and payments for the cemetery tours can be made on the “Hike Sign-Up” page. Please note that reservations for the cemetery tours must be accompanied by full payment of the fee, not just a modest reservation fee, as is the case with our regular day hikes and weekend trips.
Our day hikes fall into three categories:
- rambles through the open countryside in the Valles Centrales
- visits to archeological sites in the area, and
- more vigorous hikes in the mountains surrounding Oaxaca city.
Hikes take place on the Fridays of November and March and on Tuesdays & Fridays during the months of December, January and February. All hikes and weekend trips normally begin at 9 AM. The Oaxaca Lending Library, located at Pino Suarez 519 just half a block south of Llano Park in the Central District, is the regular rendezvous point.
Most of the day hikes entail walking 3-7 miles. The “trail” may be a city street, a country road, a short-cut across a farm field or a footpath winding through the woods or across a mountainside. The day’s outing may last anywhere from four to ten hours, depending on how far afield the group travels.
The hiking group always takes a lunch break. Our preference is to stop for a meal at a local restaurant along the route, thus supporting the local economy. However, on many hikes there are no comedores nearby, so participants must pack a sack lunch. Sack lunches are always an option for those who have special dietary needs or simply prefer to carry their food with them.
Given the high elevation and intense sunshine in Oaxaca, hikers should use sunscreen and lip balm. Hats and parasols are a good idea, too. Many people like to use hiking poles or a walking stick. All hikes can be accomplished in tennis shoes, although hiking boots are recommended. Naturally, each person should carry an ample supply of water and perhaps some energy bars or snack food.
Many of the small villages in the highlands of Oaxaca state offer overnight accommodations for weekend visitors or people hiking or biking from one community to the next. These ecotourism facilities are well maintained and have friendly and helpful staff. The typical cabin in the ecotourism camps accommodates four people in two bunk beds. All have private bathrooms with hot running water. Most, but not all, have fireplaces to provide heat. Simple, home-cooked meals are available at a very reasonable price. Hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are available for the outdoorsy type; other folks may prefer reading, quiet conversation, a ramble through the woods or wandering the streets of the nearby village.
Be advised that temperatures in the mountains are typically 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than those in Oaxaca city. Also, clouds and light rain are commonplace even during the dry season. Days can be chilly and nights quite cold, so visitors should be prepared with plenty of layered clothing (hats & gloves are a good idea, too) and some rain gear. Upon your arrival, be sure that your bed is equipped with several blankets.
Participants in the overnight weekend outings will leave Oaxaca at 9 am on Saturday morning and return about 5 pm the following Sunday evening.
Click on the “Hikes” tab in the menu bar at either the top or bottom of this page to see a description of the various venues visited by the “Hoofing It In Oaxaca” program. Go to the “Schedule” page to see the current season’s hikes listed in chronological sequence. Use the “Hike Sign-Up” page to make a reservation for one or more hikes during your stay in Oaxaca.
Reservations are required for all day hikes and weekend trips, as we must make appropriate arrangements for transportation. Reservations are accepted until midnight three days before any given hike and may be obtained using the automated system on the “Hike Sign-Up” page. A non-refundable deposit of $5 USD is required for each day hike reservation; weekend overnight trips require a $10 USD non-refundable deposit. These deposits can be made online using the PayPal link embedded in the reservation program. Reservations may also be made in person at the front desk of the Oaxaca Lending Library, where a deposit of either $5 USD or 100 pesos can be made for day hikes and $10 USD or 200 pesos can be made for weekend trips. The deposit will be deducted from the total amount of the hike due when boarding the bus the day of the outing.
The “Hoofing It In Oaxaca” program is not intended to be a money-making enterprise. The fees charged cover only the expenses involved. At the end of the season any funds left over are donated to the Oaxaca Lending Library.
DAY HIKES: The cost of hiring vans and buses to transport groups to the hike trailhead is the main expense, and varies with each outing. In general, the transportation fee ranges from 120 pesos to 300 pesos per hike. In addition, there may be admission fees for archeological sites or to enter ejido lands. At times, guides will be hired for our mountain hikes, an additional cost. These expenses are usually noted in the information provided on this web site for each particular hike. However, the actual cost may vary, as prices sometimes change in the course of the season. These ancillary fees will be collected when boarding the bus the morning of the hike. Lastly, if the group has lunch at a restaurant, each person is responsible for his or her own bill for food and beverages.
WEEKEND TRIPS: The cost of our weekend trips usually amounts to 600-700 pesos per person, which covers transportation, lodging and meals for the overnight weekend stay. This price does not include bicycle rental, horseback rides or guide services, all of which are available at the ecotourism office in the camp.
“Hoofing It In Oaxaca” maintains an e-mail list for those who want to receive a weekly reminder of upcoming events. Anyone registering to participate in a hike by using the “Hike Sign-Up” page will be automatically added to the mailing list. If you choose not to go on a hike but would like your name to be on the e-mail list, you may request this by contacting the hike coordinator, Larry, at HoofingItInOaxaca@gmail.com. You can rest assured that the list is confidential and will not be shared with other groups or be used for commercial, political or religious purposes. Persons on the list may ask that their names be deleted at any time.
The Oaxaca Lending Library
The Oaxaca Lending Library is marking its 50th year in existence in 2016 — quite an achievement for a volunteer-run non-profit organization! In fact, the OLL is the oldest library of its kind in Mexico! Kudos to the visionary founders of the Library, and to the multitude of dedicated volunteers who have kept it in operation these many years!
Though the “Hoofing It In Oaxaca” program makes use of the Oaxaca Lending Library (www.oaxlibrary.org) as a community center and our general rendezvous point, there is no official connection between the two. The Library is not responsible for the content of this web site or the conduct of the hike coordinator, and bears no liability for the chartering of buses or the safety of those who take part in the hikes. We do encourage our hikers to take advantage of the resources the Library has to offer, though, and to make donations to keep the facility in operation.
The Library has a collection of 27,000 English-language books and DVD’s which may be checked out by Library members. The Library offers internet services and acts as a community center and information clearinghouse for the gringo community. It also offers a number of services to local youngsters and was the founding organization for “Libros Para Pueblos” (http://librosparapueblos.org), that funds and oversees a network of 74 children’s libraries scattered in small villages throughout the state of Oaxaca. The children’s section at the Lending Library is typical of these “Libros Para Pueblos” installations, and features many books with text in both Spanish and English.
The Oaxaca Lending Library is one of the very best of the many gringo-founded and funded organizations dedicated to serving the native population.
At the end of the hiking season any funds left over in the “Hoofing It In Oaxaca” account are donated to the Lending Library to help continue its good work.