An immersive, active journey through the region’s famously diverse landscapes and cultures
Isolated by a ring of rugged mountains, the Oaxaca region has one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico, and its heritage runs deep, from its famous markets and handicrafts, to its fascinating archaeological sites, to its famed local cuisine (especially mole, a smoky, spicy regional specialty with seemingly endless variations). A visit here is a study in contrasts—the state of Oaxaca boasts an exceptionally diverse range of ethnic groups and environmental zones, while the city is both a Colonial masterpiece and Mexico’s most important hub of contemporary art. MTS has been operating tours in this part of Mexico for many years, and our itinerary immerses you deeply into the history, landscapes, customs, and distinctive personality of the region. This trip is ideal for active travelers who want to explore both the natural and cultural wonders of Oaxaca. You’ll tour the evocative ancient ruins of Monte Albán and Mitla, learn how traditional crafts are made, and hike through the varied ecosystem of the Sierra Norte, known by locals as the “Village of the Clouds.” It’s a journey as multi-faceted and captivating as Oaxaca itself.
4 days moderate day hikes on varied terrain (max. elev. 10,000')
- Visit the ruins of Monte Albán, believed to be Mesoamerica's oldest city, and Mitla, with its unique stone fretwork
- Discover Oaxaca’s vibrant contemporary art scene, inspired by famous local artists like Francisco Toledo, and rooted in folk traditions and the region’s history of social justice movements
- Visit a family of weavers, watch how prized Oaxacan rugs are woven, and learn to spin wool
- Hike in the remote and biologically diverse Sierra Norte, known by locals as the “Village of the Clouds,” where eight local pueblos have formed a cooperative for sustainable ecotourism
Duration: 5 days Start Location: Oaxaca End Location: OaxacaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Oaxaca
Your guide will pick you up in the late morning at the Oaxaca Airport and will take you to our hotel, the Quinta Real Oaxaca, which in itself is an experience. This 16th century national monument used to be a convent inhabited by Dominican nuns from 1576 to 1862, charged with converting the local Zapotec inhabitants to Christianity.
Day 2 : Monte Albán
Explore the Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán, and visit the Catedral Santo Domingo, Oaxaca's lively market, and a museum where you can see treasures from the tombs of Monte Albán.
Day 3 : Mitla
Morning visit to the Mixtec ruins of Mitla, with its five hilltop palace-like structures and the remains of tombs, plazas, and ancient dwellings. Continue to the home of a family that specializes in spinning and weaving Oaxacan rugs, highly prized by collectors for their use of organic dyes. Continue to Cujimoloyas (8,500') and hike to the Zapotec village of Llano Grande (10,000').
Day 4 : Llano Grande
Day hike to Piedra Larga, an area of remarkable rock formations and pristine alpine forests with wonderful views of the Oaxacan Sierra Norte. Return to Oaxaca City for a night on the town!
Day 5 : Fly Home
Depart Oaxaca, or continue to Toluca for our Valle de Bravo or Piedra Herrada Butterfly Sanctuary extension!
DATES: Best time to go: March - April, July - August, December Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.