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A Day Trip from Oaxaca City

sunny 30 °C

Tour company touts are a peso a dozen in Oaxaca City all offering visitors a chance to get out into the countryside to see the sights. The bus tours are very cheap, but the idea of trailing from one shopping opportunity to the next interspersed with a few interesting sites for more than nine hours wasn't appealing. So we hired Mario and his cab and had a great trip. The first rule of the canny tourist is “always arrive before the crowds.” All of the bus tours from Oaxaca City leave at 10.00 am so that tourists can enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We left at 8.30 and arrived at our first stop, the Tule Tree, without a tourist or trinket salesman in sight. This is the Tule Tree with a couple of lonely local policemen waiting in the background for the hordes...

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The tree is big – in fact it is absolutely enormous. It is a single cypress tree that is roughly 2,000 years old, (although no-one is going to chop it down to count the rings). The trunk is 140 feet around and it is claimed to be the biggest tree in the world weighing 167 thousand tons.

Next stop – the World's tallest stalactite...

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Although the Hierve el Agua, a couple of hours drive into the mountains from Oaxaca City, looks like a 300 foot waterfall, it is actually solid rock and was formed in the same way that stalactites form inside caves. Other petrified waterfalls here are more colourful...

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Spring water with a high calcium content has spent millions of years creating petrified waterfalls and giant infinity pools high above the valley and they make a spectacular sight in the brilliant sunshine...

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Despite the thousands of tourists who flock to this part of Oaxaca it remains a poor area and we were surrounded by third world scenes...

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However, our lunch of maize tortillas made over a wood stove in a makeshift cafe by Amelia was delicious...

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Just $7 Cdn bought tortillas and freshly made coffee for us and Mario.
And then – the highlight of the tour, the ancient Zapotec city of Mitla....

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Mitla was the religious centre of the Zapotec world unlike the administrative and cultural centre in Monte Alban, The many temples and buildings in Mitla were highly decorated with religious symbols..

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The walls were decorated with colourful murals...

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However, the Spanish Conquistadors destroyed virtually all of the ancient structures and built their churches and houses on the remains. Thankfully, some of the Zapotec buildings survived to give us an impression of what this magnificent city would have looked like 500 years ago.
Much of Mexico is mountainous with some of North Americas's tallest active volcanoes and today, as we rode high into the mountains of Oaxaca, we had some splendid views...

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Now we are back in Oaxaca City after a beautiful and peaceful day in the pueblos - Hasta luega

Posted by Hawkson 13:02 Archived in Mexico

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Comments

30 degrees--lovely. Still cold and wet here after record setting 28+ consecutive days of rain. Sun promised to return for us this weekend, just in time for your return. Bliss luck continues.

by R and B

Got to put Oaxaca on my must see list. Hasta Pronto - it is supposed to be sunny of Sunday - wettest January in 50 years.....you did the right thing getting out of Dodge, amigos!

by Joyce

Still raining here... I wouldn’t hurry back if I were you!

by Catherine

What a glorious day trip. Everything so much better without fellow tourists and shops. Gorgeous photos. Thank you.

by Sue Fitzwilson

What a great day. Lots of variety. The rewards of being an experienced traveller. Loved the ruins. And the scenery.

by Tom

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