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Hiking, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 4.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Monte Albán, literally "White Mountain," contains the preserved ruins of a Zapotec city. Travelers will find pyramids, temples, plazas and more atop this mountain, which rises 1,300 feet above the floor of the Oaxaca Valley. For a deeper understanding of the city, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, travelers can book a tour guide on-site. Keep in mind that the official licensed guides will wear a badge from the Mexico Secretary of Tourism.  

Many travelers give Monte Albán top marks for its preserved structures and the accompanying museum, but they also highly recommend wearing comfortable shoes and bringing plenty of water since this outdoor attraction gets hot. Other travelers recommend booking a tour with an English-speaking tour guide, since the bilingual or trilingual tours can get a little long. Though, if you want to see the site at your own pace (and save a little coin), you'll find informational signs are posted in English, as well as Spanish. 

Located about 5 miles west of town, Monte Albán is easily reached by bus. Buses to the site depart from the Hotel Rivera del Angel on Mina Street. The round-trip ride costs 55 pesos (about $2.80) per person. Adult admission to Monte Albán costs 65 pesos (around $3.50). Kids ages 13 and younger enter for free. Official guides usually congregate around the ticket office, and they charge 250 pesos (around $13.50) to take small groups on a guided tour. Monte Albán is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, consult Visit Mexico's website

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#1 The Zócalo

Oaxaca's main square – formally referred to as the Plaza de la Constitución de Oaxaca, but colloquially called the Zócalo – is a must-see. Skirted by cafes and eateries and bounded by the Palacio de Gobierno (the State Government Palace) on its south side, the Zócalo is a prime spot for people-watching, picking up a souvenir or two and watching day fade into vibrant night. Thanks to its leafy landscaping and many trees, it's also a relaxing place to cool off in the shade. Plus, the Mercado Benito Juárez sits just minutes from the square. 

Recent visitors gushed about the Zócalo, saying it's a nice spot for an afternoon coffee or an evening margarita. Others suggested visiting at night when the Zócalo fills with live music. You'll find the Zócalo in the heart of Oaxaca; it is free to enjoy at all hours of the day (though businesses operate on their own hours). For more information, check out Visit Mexico's website.

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