Laguna de Miramar
in the Lacandón Rain Forest
| (Photo at right © Antonio Vizcaino, used with permission.)
Host: Fernando Ochoa
When: During the dry season, which is usually November to the end of May, often with a short period during July and August; check with Fernando on how the season is going
Length of tour: Four days, three nights
Minimum/Maximum: Minimum 3, maximum 4 guests
Fee charged: $330 each person for entire trip, which includes all transportation, meals, entrance fees, camping equipment (tent for every two people, inflatable mattress, sleeping bag), cooking and first aid kit.
DAY 1: ground transportation to Ocosingo (one and half hours) then Air transportation to Zapata Miramar -- a great flight over the lake and the Selva.
DAY 2: Row-boat ride to the Isleta Lacan-tun, archeological site. Leaving in the morning, coming back in the afternoon, meals at camp-site.
DAY 3: Row-boat ride to Peñón Mano Pintada and Cueva del Mono (Monkey's Cave), leaving in the morning, coming back in the afternoon, meals at campsite. At Peñón Mano Pintada we can see painted on rock preconquest Maya pictures. These are accessible only by canoe. It's an excellent place for swimming, and surrounding the area are huge trees such as the chicozapote, the "chewing-gum tree, with their branches draped with bromeliads, orchids and other epiphytes. Cueva del Mono is a cave used by the prehispanic Maya for ceremonial purposes and as a cemetary. At the cave's entrance there's a carved figure that today the local inhabitants refer to as the mono," or monkey, and which is thought of as a kind of personality, a guard for the cave. Other caves exist in the area and the trees here are enormous, with a canopy up to 40 meters high. Various palms of the genus Chamerops constitute a second layer. Lianas, or woody vines, hang from the big trees to the forest floor.
DAY 4: Return to San Cristóbal via Laguna de Miramar, Zapata, Ocosingo, and San
Optional: Visit the archeological site of Toniná, one day, one night, including overnight stay, three meals, entrance fees and bilingual guide, for extra U$S 35.00 All trips start in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.México.
Background Info In Fernando's Words:
Miramar, the largest of the Selva Lacandona's lakes, covers 19 square kilometers. It's found in the southwestern part of the Montes Azules Integral Biosphere Reserve, at an elevation of about 300 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by low mountains 600 to 1000 meters in elevation. The area receives between 1500 and 2000 milimeters of rain annually, with a temperature averaging around 22 to 24 degrees Centigrade. This translates to a humid, tropical climate, though here it is a little drier and fresher than in bordering areas. The primary vegetation is classified as broadleaf evergreen high forest, with the canopy soaring to 40 to 70 meters high.
In the Laguna Miramar area, 45 kinds of orchids have been identified, and 17 species of bromeliads. Visitors are always very impressed by the vegetation. Those wanting to do more studies on what they can see on this trip can do so in San Cristóbal, where there is an institute for post-graduate studies, called the Colegio de la Frontera Sur. This institute has scientific information gathered in the Selva Lacandona since 1971. It also maintains a special study of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, resulting in the collection of the scientific names of plants and animals there.
Besides natural attractions, the lake has historical and cultural values. Among these is the archeological site on Lacam Tun Island, where one finds remains dating from Late Preclasic Maya, to Lacandon-Chol Conquest times, at the end of the 16th century.
APPENDIX Appendix 1: A Special Note about The Zapatista Rebels
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