The modest town of TEHUANTEPEC visibly preserves many of the isthmus’s local traditions, has some of the best fiestas in the region and is generally a pleasant place to stop, with several inexpensive hotels. In the evening, the central plaza comes alive, with singing birds and people strolling and eating food from the stalls set up by the townswomen, some of whom still proudly wear the traditional flower-embroidered huipil and floor-length velvet skirt of the Zapotec. Perhaps because the town is so concentrated – a walk of ten blocks in any direction will take you out into the countryside – it’s extraordinarily noisy; the din of passing buses redoubled by the flatbed motor tricycles (motos) that locals use as taxis. There’s a very busy market, just off the main plaza, which sells fruit, herbs, bread, flowers and other local produce.

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