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Here are our Oaxaca Mexico best day tours and map. My cheap self-guided tours and videos are listed first and guided tours are listed towards the bottom.
Self-Guided (Cheap Bastard) Tours
Directions: Grab a local bus from here (Second Class Bus Station) to Mitla for 20 Pesos. Take the first stop in Mitla here at this convenience store (Tiendas SIX). The collectivos will be waiting for you when you get off the bus. Collectivos are a shared taxi that will take you to Hierve el Agua for 50 Pesos. The collectivos are small white trucks with a burgundy strip.
Hierve el Agua: The entry fee is 10 + 25 Pesos. These are natural limestone waterfalls and springs that you can visit. The spot where the collectivo drops you is where you catch a collectivo back to Mitla for 50 Pesos. Once back in Mitla, take a Tuk-Tuk to the following archeological zone for 10 Pesos per person.
Mitla Archaeological Zone: The entry fee is 70 Pesos ($3.5 USD). The site is 44 km from the city of Oaxaca, but it takes an hour for buses to get there. Mitla is the second most important archeological site in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the most important of the Zapotec culture. Monte Albán was most important as the political center, Mitla was a religious center. The name Mitla is a word mispronounced by the invading Spanish and has remained to this day. Mitla means ‘place of the dead or underworld.’ The Mitla ruins are famous for the elaborate and intricate interweaved rock formation that covers entire buildings. The designs are made using finely cut and polished stone fitted together so tightly that no mortar was needed to maintain the structures.
When the Spanish attacked, the Zapotec nation had a population of over 500,000 people. The Zapotec society had advanced construction techniques, a written language, calendars, and an agriculture-based society using irrigation on terraced mountains to grow food for an urban population.
Mitla was a spiritual gateway between the living and the dead. Nobles and priests buried in Mitla were called cloud people. The cloud people acted as counsel to the living.
Bernardo de Albuquerque, the Bishop of Oaxaca, ordered the Mitla temples destroyed to try to break the spirit of the indigenous people and remove their culture from world history. Although the European invaders professed to honor the seven virtues in their daily lives, for many, their actions on the ground here, more closely resemble the seven deadly sins. Luckily, the invaders also committed the sin of sloth. here were also well known for their sloth. They failed to complete Albuquerque’s orders. There is still some world history remaining here for you to enjoy.
Although Mitla has been carbon-dated back to about 50 BC, other archeological sites in the Oaxaca Valley go as far back as 8,000 BC. Take a Tuk-Tuk back to Mitla and grab the bus headed back to Oaxaca for 20 Pesos. Tell the driver to drop you at “El Tule.”
El Tule (Árbol del Tule): When the driver drops you in El Tule, just click this link on your smartphone and walk to the largest tree in the world. Once you are done viewing the largest tree in the world, jump in a collectivo taxi back to Oaxaca central for 12 Pesos per person. Catch the collectivo taxi here.
Monte Albán: Monte Alban is the most significant archeological site in all of Oaxaca. Watch the above video to see what I mean. We sort of learned our lesson on the previous day trip to Mitla. The trips are so cheap here in Oaxaca, 150 Pesos, $7.50 USD, you don’t really save any money by doing it yourself here. So just shop the tour prices on this block and offer 150 Pesos until someone accepts your offer. They will even pick you up at your accommodations. Our tour included Monte Alban (500 BC mountain-top ruins), Cuilapam de Guerrero (a 16th-century convent), a colorful art workshop (Arrazola), and a black clay pottery workshop (Dona Rosa San Bartolo). Watch the above video to get the main idea. A great deal for 150 Pesos.
Get Your Guide Tours has similar tours with only a slight variation in pricing on the day I searched.
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