In the hot, buggy lowlands men live in the temporary shelters, cook their own food, and look forward to the time they can return home. They produce corn and beans, take them home on pack animals, clean and prepare them for market, and sit in the San Cristóbal marketplace selling directly to the consumer. The rocky, hilly land they rent makes mechanized farming difficult, but roads, trucks and government-sponsored wholesaling facilities have recently changed the way they transport and market their products.

Change is frequent in Zinacanteco life. It was only twenty-five or thirty years ago that land reform broke up lowland estates and transformed the great majority of Zinacantecos from peons to independent peasant farmers.