This article discusses initiatives in Mexico to create alternative educational spaces. Following the 1994 Zapatista rebellion, subaltern social actors rejected mainstream education, seeing it as a failed means for imposing homogenisation, statism, and neoliberalism. We discuss two examples of alternative tertiary educational spaces in Mexico’s poorest states, Unitierra in Oaxaca and CIDECI in Chiapas. Their alternative paradigm of endogenous education regenerates education from below, re-routing development according to local objectives of economic viability, dignity, and sustainability. They re-envision local development using education as an enabling force to create space for a plurality of human concerns and ways of being. The discussion explores the potential of such autonomous educational niches, as well as their limitations from a rights-based perspective. It reflects on the broader possibilities of counter-hegemonic popular education, particularly within the Latin American region, envisioning ‘a world of many worlds’ based upon strong claims for cognitive justice.