We’re very proud to live in a community like San Pablo Etla that highly values its natural landscape and biodiversity. San Pablo has designated most of its 3,000 hectares of mountain forest land as a nature reserve. You can access it directly from El Barco just by walking up the Camino el Seminario until you leave the houses behind and the burro trails take over (see Hiking). However, we also recommend hiking, driving, or biking to “La Mesita”, shorthand for The San Pablo Etla Conservation and Environmental Education Center. There you’ll find identified maguey species (that’s the spiky agave you see much of in Mexico and is the sole ingredient of mezcal and good tequila). The center features a greenhouse, the beginnings of permaculture, and a number of interesting structures built by our friends’ RAW Design Build Workshops, including El Mirador, seen above. La Mesita serves many functions, including as an educational center for local schools. They have great hopes for its future, and your visit would show support for an important project that really deserves to succeed.
To reach the cool, gorgeous pine forests above by bike or by car requires passing the chain gate at La Mesita. Chances are no cars will be allowed, but likely you’ll be allowed to continue up by bike for a small fee. This has all developed since we moved away and is constantly in flux, so we cannot be definitive about uphill access via the road.
You’ll need to speak and/or write in Spanish in order to make arrangements for access via the road. The contact information is here: Ecotourismo de San Pablo Etla (external link) and Ecotourismo San Pablo Etla Facebook page (external link). Read more about the San Pablo Etla Conservation and Environmental Education Center here (in English).
We would very much appreciate a report on your firsthand experience with visiting La Mesita. We strongly support their efforts and would like to provide them with user feedback.