I joined a day tour (9.45am-8pm) from Oaxaca City to several places, including Árbol del Tule pictured above. It can be as cheap as $150. Very economic.
It is a place that the van has to pass by to go to the other sites, and the town itself seemed pretty nice.
We only went to the main square and nowhere else, since the only thing to visit was…
This tree, holding the title of the tree with the largest base in the world.
It was rather impressive, but unfortunately, it’s now slowly dying.
A very old tree, one needs to pay a little to go close to it and the church next to it. If you want to spare that tiny amount of money, you can quite obviously still take photos from afar.
We were there for only 15 minutes after a brief introduction of it.
Next stop was the mescal factory. A shopping stop. That’s why the tour was so cheap.
But actually it’s pretty good. Not only did we get to see how it’s made, we got to try tonnes of different favours, and everything was cheap!
Another shopping stop was Teotitlan. It’s interesting to see how the different colours were made but everything that’s actually made from wool was really costly.
The “main dish” is the archaeological site Mitla, which is 1500 years old.
It’s not particularly big, but what’s unique about it is the fact that it’s mostly original instead of a reconstruction.
Why? Mostly because it’s more of a political place (a palace) instead of a religious one. But the Spaniards did build a church right next to it.
The palace complex also contains two small tombs. Very short and narrow entrances. More so than the Egyptian ones.
The aforementioned church before going for a very late lunch.
The final attraction is the best one to some.
Hierve del Agua basically is a place with springs.
The pools from above didn’t seem that impressive, and maybe because it’s the dry season, there isn’t really much of a waterfall.
But the scenery around it was breath-taking, and the pools looked like infinity pools.
Some people swim in them (sunscreen not allowed), but the water is pretty cold.
The pools are very shallow so it’s really about taking photos.
There were holes like these everywhere too.
It’s actually a cliff to the left so slipping off could mean death.
Monte Alban is the most famous Zapotec city.
Once again, it’s a part of a day tour. One can actually get there alone easily, but the tours are so cheap, and they include multiple things, so I figured I would join it.
The historical site is actually pictured on the $20 note.
Even though these are called “dancers”, it’s been speculated that they represented foreign rulers who were captured and had their dicks chopped off.
Somehow there’s an art exhibition in the museum.
Monte Alban is a grand city that is certainly Chichen Itza level. The fact that it’s got two points to overlook the whole thing just made it even better.
Like many other places in Oaxaca, the ruins were affected by the 2017 earthquake, but everything’s fine now.
The state was named after the tree.
The ball court – no human sacrifices here.
From the sacred mountain, you can also see Oaxaca.
After this, we went to a woodcraft shop (quite interesting stuff actually). They even have two dead dogs having sex craved.
An archaeologist at work.
The next stop was Cuilapan.
I didn’t even intend to come, but it’s certainly a pleasant surprise.
It has a church to force-convert indigenous people, a church that was never completed due to the lack of funds from the Crown of Spain.
And it’s open air due to the roof having collapsed, and with no walls since there were too many converts at the time.
It’s also got a terrace inside the museum (ex-convent). Very few people went in since there’s an entrance fee (not for me, of course).
It was additionally the site of the secret execution of then-president Vicente Guerrero. Who might or might not have been black.
Some people were rememing someone there, then they had a picnic after.
A very one-of-a-kind architecture.
It looked as if it was going to rain the whole time.
San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula is a “magical town” 2 hours of van away from Oaxaca City ($100 each way).
The colonial hospital and its ground.
I in fact struggled over going there since it’s 2 hours away and does not have much to see. But I certainly did not regret going, and was glad to be back by 3pm anyway to prepare for my evening tour later that day.
The special thing about the town is the very tiny palace that’s left of the last queen of the Mixtecs (yes, women were allowed to rule).
Otherwise, it’s an incredibly small town.
There are two buildings within the palace complex. I’m not sure if one just was not open as there’s some signs inside, but the library next door was open so it’s like…why?
All in all, it’s a decent town to be in, but incredibly small. Like a village.
Amen Fashion. Black Jesus.
The most impressive structure however, was the ex-convent.
Though the municipal palace was also extraordinary.
The convent has a spacious piece of grassland in front of it, and is per se a pretty beautiful building.
Later that day, some UNAM students came as a big tour group.