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The Ecological Reserve of Nanciyaga in Veracruz: An Ideal Place for Ecotourism

Not only a place to relax and connect with nature, Hollywood even uses it as a movie set!

“Los Tuxtlas” is a famous region known for its remarkable biodiversity, beauty, mysticism and tourist attractions. Its name comes from the Nahuatl Toxtli, which means “rabbit” or “yellow birds.” It lies in the Mexican state of Veracruz and consists of four municipalities that together make up the region called, “Zona Conurbada de Los Tuxtlas” (Tuxtla’s urban zone), or ZCT for short.

Although it is a relatively cheap area for tourism, the region’s Nanciyaga Ecological Reserve is not widely known. However, its landscape and availability make this place a “must-see” for any visitor.

The reserve is in the state of Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico and right above the subtropical region. *** La reserva está en el estado de Veracruz, México, sobre el Golfo de México y cerca de la zona subtropical. (Urvashi Makwana).

What do tourists need to know about the Nanciyaga Ecological Reserve?

Nanciyaga can entertain anyone with many its activities tied to nature. Tourists can enjoy “Temazcal” baths that are said to “purify the body and soul,” receive massages and medicinal mud masks, kayak in spring waters and much more.

The reserve is also home to several animal species, such as saraguato monkeys and crocodiles, which can be observed up close. Many visitors intend to connect with their inner selves, so it is common to see newlywed couples on a spiritual journey in the middle of the rainforest. There are several cabins throughout the reserve for those who want peace and tranquility and some that host large bustling families.

The reserve has many animals natives to the region, like the crocodile. *** El lugar tiene muchos animales nativos de la zona, como el cocodrilo (Joe Raedle/Getty Images.)

“It is important to highlight that the reserve lies seven kilometers (4.3 miles) from the municipality of Catemaco, Veracruz, and that there are several ways to go there. Either by land — the highways— and through the lagoons — through boats,” said Aquiles Lara, an explorer and tourist. “Sometimes talking about a reserve does not measure the reality of the situation. It is not only the part of the forest that Hollywood movies or Mexican soap operas utilize, but also a nestling place full to brim with life.”

Nanciyaga is tantamount to a tropical forest. Entering this corner of the planet is an immeasurable experience of great diversity in flora and fauna.

This slice of heaven does not only have beautiful landscapes, such as its lake and mineral springs, and animal biodiversity, but it also has natural cosmetic and spa sessions that follow pre-Hispanic traditions. The reserve gives visitors a new way to rest with guided tours that end with a method of relaxation, such as spending the afternoon in the water or enjoying a good night of sleep.

“Also, through a name such as ‘reserve,’ it seeks to teach people new things about environment care and help them discover how the rainforest thrives,” said Aquiles Lara. “Entering the reserve itself has a cost of 80 pesos ($4) and with that, people have access to everything in it except the cabins. There are restaurants, Temazcales, mineral springs and mud for facial masks. It is a must-have experience.”

The reserve offers cabins surrounded by nature and representations of animals native to the area. *** La reserva ofrece cabañas entre la naturaleza, y representaciones de animales característicos de la zona. (Marymar Alvarez Coba/Café Words)

Visiting is an experience that sums up the word “life” as the air is clean, fresh and exudes constant stability and inner peace. Regarding accommodations, it has ten cabins, of which three can accommodate a family of four people, five are for couples, and two for single tourists. The packages usually include a mineral mud bath, the use of boats and oars, kayaks and a guided tour.

The Government of Veracruz approved the Red Macaw Reintroduction Project in the Biosphere Reserve in 2014. It has proved to be bountiful, since it is now home to 74 macaws. Properties in the neighboring towns of Dos Amates and Sontecomapan can admire this majestic bird in its natural habitat.

(Translated and edited by Mario Vazquez. Edited by Carlin Becker)

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