Experience the natural and cultural highlights of the Oaxaca Valley on a day trip to several small towns and sites. You’ll be amazed by the sizable Tule tree (Arbol del Tule) of Santa Maria and the carbonized falls flowing from the cliffs of Hierve el Agua. Explore the Zapotecan ruins of the Mitla archeological site and the modern-day community of Teotitlan of the Valley (Teotitlán del Valle) with your knowledgeable guide and to finish a Mezcal distillery. Round-trip hotel transport by comfortable coach is included in your full-day sightseeing tour.
At 10am you’ll be picked up at your hotel and driven by comfortable, air-conditioned coach to the town of Santa Maria del Tule, just 5 miles (9 km) east of Oaxaca city. Stop in the center of town to see the famous Tule tree, located within the church grounds. Gaze in awe at the 2,000-year-old Montezuma cypress, which is thought to have the thickest trunk of any tree in the world – boasting a girth of 173 feet (53 meters) and weighing 509 tons! Your guide will point out how this unique natural monument is actually rooted in a family of ancient trees.Back aboard the coach, you’ll drive to the nearby archeological ruins of Mitla, a Zapotec religious center whose construction began in 850. Hear about the Zapotecs, who developed a hierarchical society governed by kings and nobles – relatively isolated until Spanish conquest in the early 1500s. While touring the site with your guide, admire the beautiful mosaics of the colonial Church of San Pablo, built by the Spanish in the 16th century. Made with finely cut and polished stone pieces, the mosaics tell a vivid tale with their pictures. The elaborate and intricate design of the fretwork and geometric patterns decorate tombs, panels, friezes and entire walls, making Mitla stand out among well-preserved Mesoamerican sites of the Oaxaca Valley. Your guide will discuss the unique harmony of its buildings and the proportion of its yards. Next, head to the Zapotec community of Teotitlan of the Valley. Here, wool rugs are woven on domestic looms, using natural dyes to color their pictorial designs, which include reproductions of Matisse and Picasso! You’ll observe weavers at work as you browse the larger showrooms located in the village before winding down a narrow, unpaved road for a scenic stop at Hierve el Agua – Spanish for ‘boiling water.’Here, spend approximately 1-hour marveling at a set of fossilized 'waterfalls.' These natural rock formations are created by carbonated springs on a cliff, where a large pool has given rise to a natural spa. Observe the bubbling mineral springs as they run into cold bathing pools below – believed to have been a sacred place of the ancient Zapotec. Saturated with calcium carbonate and other mineral deposits, the rock sculptures appear as white as waterfalls and offer great photo ops or a swim! You'll have time to energize and eat lunch at a buffet restaurant (own expense) before heading to Matatlan.Finally, your guide will make a stop in Santiago Matatlan, a town is known as the 'world capital of mezcal.' As you take a look around, learn about the undiluted white mezcal as well as other fine varieties produced in the large number of mezcal factories and outlets. Visit one of these factories and see how this drink is produced, and enjoy a taste of it at the end of the tour!