After morning pickup by coach from your Oaxaca hotel, travel with your guide a short distance east to Santa Maria del Tule, a town famous for a natural wonder: a 2,000-year-old Montezuma cypress, or a tule tree. Learn how this 509-ton tule tree — considered the world’s thickest with a girth of 173 feet (53 meters) — is actually growing within a family of ancient trees.
Next, wander the archaeological ruins of Mitla, a well-preserved Mesoamerican site in the Oaxaca Valley. With insight from your guide, gaze at the elaborate design of the mosaics, made with finely cut and polished stone pieces. Stunning fretwork covers panels, friezes, tombs, and entire walls. Hear about the Zapotecs who used the city as a religious center, fairly isolated until Spanish conquest in the early 1500s, and see the Spanish colonial Church of San Pablo.
Visit the Zapotec community of Teotitlan of the Valley, where you’ll get the chance to watch artisan weavers build wool rugs on domestic looms, using natural dyes to color their pictorial designs. You might even see reproductions of Picasso and Matisse!
Back aboard the coach, travel along an unpaved road for a scenic stop at Hierve el Agua, or Spanish for ‘boiling water,’ believed to have been a sacred site for the ancient Zapotec. Stare in awe at a set of fossilized 'waterfalls,’ white natural rock formations saturated with calcium carbonate and other mineral deposits. During your hour here, snap photos or go for a swim in the natural spa created by carbonated springs on a cliff that run into cold bathing pools below.
Refuel with a restaurant buffet lunch (own expense) before heading to Santiago Matatlan, a town known as the 'world capital of mezcal.' 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 before you’re returned to Oaxaca.