Mineral deposits on rockface of Hierve el Agua waterfall in valley east of Oaxaca City.

Mark Read

Valles Centrales

The historic yet sophisticated city of Oaxaca is ringed by a slightly more rustic collection of towns and villages that tout some the state's biggest calling cards: ancient Mesoamerican ruins, indigenous crafts, industrious markets, riotous festivals and fields full of mezcal-producing agave plants. There are three main geographical arteries: the Valle de Tlacolula, stretching 50km east from the city; the Valle de Zimatlán, running about 100km south; and the Valle de Etla, reaching about 40km north. All are within easy day-trip distance of Oaxaca city. The people of these Valles Centrales (Central Valleys) are mostly indigenous Zapotec.

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