The state of Oaxaca is one of our favorites in the whole of Mexico. The reason we loved it is because it has a vast culture and beautiful landscapes.
BEST DAY TRIP FROM OAXACA THAT YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE
Just outside the stunning colonial gem of Oaxaca city, there are beautiful attractions that every tourist should visit. Now it is time to sit down, grab your notebook and plan your day trip from Oaxaca city.
TULE, THE WIDEST TREE IN THE WORLD
Probably that is not one of the most exciting Guinness World Records, but it’s a record indeed.
El Árbol del Tule, with its 14m of diameter, is the widest tree in the world. ☺️
This giant is located in the town of Santa María del Tule. Due to its massive structure, you can admire it from the main square but if you want to have a closer look to it you have to pay an entrance fee of MXN $ 10. A kid at the entrance can guide you around the tree showing all the different shapes hidden in the trunk. There is a crocodile, a lion, and even a former Mexican president. Santa Maria del Tule can be reached by car. Traveling east on Highway 190, or by bus from the city of Oaxaca.
HIERVE EL AGUA, COLD BOILING WATER
Also known as “cascadas petrificadas”, Hierve el Agua is a set of natural rock formations that resemble cascades of water. This is absolutely the best day road trip from Oaxaca. This place is breathtaking: mineral pools, beautiful rock formations and hiking trails all in one.
The name is slightly misleading because “Hierve”, in Spanish, means “boiling”, but the springs actually are not even hot. They are heavily carbonated instead, with temperatures varying between 22-26C. Bring your swimsuit if you want to take a picture in a natural stone infinity pool. There are changing rooms next to the parking lot.
If you have the opportunity, hike down, where you can see the waterfalls from below. This place is spectacular from all the angles.
MITLA ZAPOTEC RUINS
About 46 km southeast of Oaxaca, you’ll find the Zapotec ruins of Mitla. This town was a religious center, run almost entirely by priests, that were doing sacrifices of both human and animals. The area is definitely not the biggest one but it is very well preserved.
Geometrical patterns called grecas are on some of the stone walls and door frames. These incredible designs were made from thousands of cut, polished stones that are fitted together without mortar. You don’t need much time to see all the main attractions at this archeological site, one hour is more than enough.
This is probably the most authentic day trip from Oaxaca you can do. Pueblos Mancomunados are 8 mountain villages located in the Sierra Norte, that over twenty years ago came together to create an ecotourism project.
Amatlán, Benito Juárez, Cuajimoloyas, La Nevería, Lachatao, Latuvi, Llano Grande and Yavesía offer a great wilderness escape from the city, moreover a deep immersion into the Zapotec communities.
More than 100km of high-country trails run between the villages and local beauty spots, here you can see canyons, caves, waterfalls, and panoramic lookouts.
Along the roads, you’ll find local people selling their products. A big selection of homemade jams, honey, canned fruits is mostly what they sell. We tried canned pears, blackberry jam and we found them delicious.
The place to stop for lunch is Linda Vista where you can taste a real km 0 trout, mostly all the restaurants here offer this delicious dish. While waiting for your deep fried trout (deeply recommended) go and check the trouts farm below the restaurant.
Zaachila is a small town very close to the capital, more than a day trip from Oaxaca we can consider it a couple of hours fun activity to do. This authentic market takes place every Thursday. This little town is located about 25 minutes by car from Oaxaca’s Zocalo. A taxi colectivo that leaves nearby the main square will cost you around MXN $15 per person.
We consider Zaachila one of the most authentic market in Oaxaca, mostly because it is out of the main touristic circuit. If you decide to go there, be ready to be overwhelmed by colors, smells, and noises. Please don’t forget to try Agua Miel, Pulque or Mezcal (traditional liquors) from the old lady in the main street.
Even if you are not a drinker we suggest you do a Mezcal tour anyway.
Mezcal in Oaxaca is a religion, is part of the culture and learning how they traditionally make it is a must. We visited Mezcaleria Don Agave and there we could see with our own eyes how mezcal is produced and also we had the chance to taste it. ?
If you’ve had tequila, forget about it, mezcal is different.
Mezcal is made from almost any kind of agave plant. Every variety requires a different timing to grow up and gives a completely different flavor and the price too. Some mezcal are smoky, others are herbaceous but the quality is always very high that they go down surprisingly veery easily.
ZAPOTEC WOOL RUGS IN TEOTITLAN
If you are into textiles, do not miss the experience of going to Teotitlan. Here you can learn how traditional Oaxacan wool rugs are made. Almost every family in the town of Teotitlan has a small business related to the art of weaving. You can find beautiful traditional carpets created in this town is some shops in Oaxaca but, knowing all the story and the work behind these pieces of art is priceless. We visited one of the workshops and they showed us all the steps that are involved in the creation of a single carpet, from spinning the wool to weaving the final piece.
The most interesting part was to learn how they color the wool with natural dyes. From mosses, they get grey, from peas surprisingly oranges, while reds, pinks, and purples are derived from cochineal (little beetles that live on cactus).
Zapotec rugs are 100% wool and the whole process is truly local. Buying a carpet here is not only a way to support a family business, but also a big help to the entire community. Teotitlan is a 25-minute drive out of the city of Oaxaca on Highway 190 and it is well worth a visit.
Nothing is better than a day trip! Discovering the Oaxaca region is super interesting, renting a car can be an option but it is easy to find some cheap alternative.
Some of these attractions can be done with one tour, the price is 200 pesos for transportation and guides. Usually, it includes Tule, Hierbe el Agua, Mitla, Teotitlan, and Mezcaleria. There are many options available in town with different prices, but in the end, all the operators offer the same tour, so just pick the most convenient. Busses usually leave at 10 am from the Zocalo and came back around 7 pm.
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