The wastren pairt o the region is muntainous, containin pairt o the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca which includes the Sierra Juárez an Sierra de Villa Alta. Tae the east, the region slopes doun tae the Veracruz coastal plain. The aurie haes ane o the best-preservit biospheres in Mexico, as well as a nummer o interestin touns an veelages. The region promotes ecotourism tae help preserve the biosphere wi various enterprises afferin cabins, campin, access an guides for hikin an muntain-bikin trails, horseback ridin, bird-watchin, an cave sploration. It is ane o richest zones o biodiversitie in Mexico an aw, wi 400 species o birds an 350 species o butterflies. It contains seiven o the nine teeps o vegetation indigenous tae the kintra.
There are a nummer o touns locatit athin this aurie. Ixtlán is the poleetical an economic centre o the region. Ixtlan is notit for its Kirk o Saunt Thomas the Apostle (Iglesia de Santo Tomás Apostal), which is a baroque style kirk kent for its portals, façades an sculpturs. Capulálpam de Méndez is 9 km east o Ixtlán, an haes a kirk an aw, Kirk o Saunt Matthew (Iglesia de San Mateo) wi altars representative o Mexican Baroque style. It haes the Centro de Medicina Indígena Tradicional (Centre for Indigenous Tradeetional Medicine) which is sponsored bi the Mexican Secretar o Halth. It is open tae the public, includin tourists an affers native herbal medicines, massages, temascals an ritual cleansins.
The Zapotecs o the Sierra Norte, who caw thairsels the bene xon, are ane o 3 major Zapotec regions in soothren Mexico. The ither three reside in the Isthmus o Tehuantepec, el Valle an the Sierra Madre Oriental. Maist Zapotecs are foond in the Villa Alta destrict wi some in Ixtlán an a few in Choapan. The bene xon divide intae fower sub-culturs: Cajonos, El Rincón, Ixtlán an Choapan.