IT’s love affair with trees is no secret, so it’s only natural that we swooned a bit when we discovered Mexican artist Francisco Verástegui’s tree map. As the 2007 winner of Planeta.com’s Colibri Ecotourism Award, Verástegui’s Árboles Históricos y Notables is the first city map to navigate historic and notable trees in leafy Oaxaca City.
The honor was especially cheery news for Oaxaca, which endured a five-month-long siege by political protestors in 2006 that frankly left it feeling more riotous jungle than tree-hugger’s paradise. The area’s tourism industry was nearly uprooted: Indigenous artisans in nearby craft villages suffered huge losses, and the three-star hotel on the main square, the Marques del Valle, was forced to close during the crisis.
But these days, Oaxaca seems to be on the upswing due to a growing ecotourism sector. An annual ecotourism fair, sponsored by Planeta.com, promotes projects that include ecotourism, adventure tourism, and rural tourism. According to Treehugger, Oaxaca is home to 19 collectives, 30 private companies, seven sustainable agriculture farms, and five eco-coffee farms.
IT is so there. (We’ll be the ones giving a big bear hug to the storied 2,000-year-old Tule tree, believed to be the world’s largest—with a hefty 160-foot trunk—and oldest tree and the inspiration for a fiesta celebrated each second Monday in October.)