Santa Ana del Valle
Santa Ana del Valle is a sleepier version of Teotitlán, where virtually every family speaks the Zapotec tongue at home and earns at least part of its living through weaving. Many older folks understand Spanish only with difficulty.
Like Teotitlán, Santa Ana del Valle has thousands of acres of communal lands in the valley bottom and mountains north of the town. Nearly all households tend plots of corn, beans, and vegetables. Most also graze cattle, sheep, and goats in specified communal areas.
These lands have been traditionally held by the town since before the conquest. Families may buy or sell shares of their allotted land, but only within the Santa Ana del Valle community.
You can go to Santa Ana del Valle by car, tour, taxi, or bus. Drivers, turn left at the fork across Highway 190 from the Tlacolula Pemex gasolinera 24 miles (38 km) east of Oaxaca City. After half a mile (0.8 km), turn left again at the signed Santa Ana del Valle side road. Continue another few minutes; pass the tourist cabaña ecoturística on the right, and arrive at the town plaza a few blocks farther.
By bus, you can ride a Tlacolula- or Mitla-bound bus from the camionera central segunda clase in Oaxaca City by the Abastos market, end of Las Casas, west of downtown. Get off at the Tlacolula stop on Highway 190 by the Pemex station. Cross to the side road on the north side of the highway and take a taxi, ride the Transportes Municipal del Santa Ana del Valle local bus, or hike the four miles (6.4 km) from the highway—walk the side road half a mile (0.8 km) to a signed Santa Ana fork; go left and continue for two more miles (3.2 km), passing the cabaña ecoturística on the right, and then on to the town plaza a few blocks farther.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition