From Yerbabuena  head east again. Don’t miss the antique country cemetery about a mile out of town. Next stop is Cimarrón Chico (Little Wild Place), the bucolic valley and hamlet about six miles (10 km) over the next ridge.
Despite its name, Cimarrón Chico appears peaceful and picturesque. Adobe farmhouses, scattered about a sylvan mountain-rimmed hollow, surround a neat village center. The town’s pride and joy is its diminutive picturebook church at the east edge of the village.
Another don’t-miss local stop is the charmingly small and tidy abarrotería in the middle of the village. Drop in for good fresh fruits, vegetables, and Jumex brand canned juices.
Enjoy a chat with friendly proprietor and community leader Juan López Sandoval. He’s a good source of local information, including homes where you might stay overnight, camping spots, and guides for horseback or hiking excursions. He especially recommends that you arrive during the spring (Mar.–May) to enjoy the locally distilled raicilla (mescal liquor).
One of Juan's suggestions for a local place to stay is east of town. Follow a road fork signed Rancho Paraíso Cimarrón, where you’ll find a large guest cabaña (large enough for a big family) and a small pool. I wasn’t able to see the place in person, but I telephoned ranch owner Martín Peña (tel. 200/124-7395), who welcomes visitors. He told me the rental is $10 per person per night. Next time, I’m going to stay there.
Continue east, over another scenic pine-clad ridge, four miles (6.5 km) farther to Navidad . Along the way, notice the yellow lichen-daubed volcanic chimney-cliffs towering on the left halfway uphill. Also, at the ridgetop within sight of Navidad, note the cobbled road that forks left, uphill. It leads to the hamlet of Juanacatlán (3 mi, half an hour), as well as Laguna Juanacatlán Chico (jeep only, 5 mi, an hour), and Laguna Jaunacatlán  (10 mi, 2.5 rough hours—best go directly from Mascota ).