Suggested Itineraries

Here are some ideas for day trips within the Oaxaca valley:

Eastern valley route

Tule tree A huge Montezuma cypress, over 2000 years old. Locals claim it’s the thickest and oldest tree in the world.
Tlacochahuaya church 16th Century Dominican church with original paintings and altarpieces, the only one showing completely native work.
Teotitlan del Valle Weaving village, world renowned for the use of natural dyes, especially the cochineal (a parasite of the prickly pear plant), we visit a cochineal farm and see the plants used as dyes.
Mitla This is the 2nd most visited archaeological site in Oaxaca and well known for the mosaic fretwork designs composed of thousands of individual pieces to create various geometrical patterns without the use of mortar.
Hierve el Agua Take a one and a half hour hike around the petrified waterfalls with the option of swimming in the mineral springs. Located 20 km past Mitla, part of the way is on unpaved road.
Mezcal distillery On the way back to Oaxaca, you can see the process for making mezcal from the maguey plant and try this local drink


Southern route

San Bartolo Coyotepec This village is famous for black pottery. No glaze or chemicals are
used to achieve the black, shiny finish of these pieces. A demonstration
is given showing the prehispanic pottery techniques.
San Martín Tilcajete Woodcarving village where you can see a demonstration of the world famous
“alebrijes” wooden animals beautifully carved and painted using acrylic and natural paints.
Santo Tomas Jalieza The women of this village weave using the prehispanic backstrap
loom. They specialize in place mats, table runners, handbags and belts.
Ocotlan de Morelos The hometown of Oaxacan painter Rodolfo Morales. Visit his home, the church and ex-convent restored by the Rodolfo Morales Cultural Foundation, which houses a museum of religious and folk art. Friday is market day in Ocotlan, and this is one of the best markets in the valley. Visit the workshop of a blind potter who makes life-size orange clay pieces and the Aguilar sisters, folk art masters, potters specializing in miniature figures that reflect rural life in Oaxaca, nativity scenes, the tree of life, market women, as well as Frida Kahlo replicas.

Monte Alban and Cuilapan/Zaachila

Atzompa Pottery village, skillful artisans who make both ornamental and utilitarian ware, famous for its green glaze
Monte Alban The greatest Zapotec city, one of the first urban centers of Mesoamerica boasting monumental architecture, built on a mountain top (450 meters above the Oaxaca valley) with beautiful views of the valley below
Cuilapan An unfinished Dominican monastery of impressive proportions that today houses a museum and church in use by the local community
Zaachila The last Zapotec kingdom before the Spanish presence in Oaxaca, 2 tombs with interior stucco work are open to the public. Market day in Zaachila is on Thursday.
Lunch in the area at an open-air restaurant with a great ambiance that specializes in Oaxacan food.