Enjoy midmorning pickup by coach from your Oaxaca hotel and kick off your day of sightseeing at Monte Alban, a UNESCO site located on a mountaintop boasting panoramas of the city and Oaxaca Valley.
Spend about 2.5 hours at the archaeological site. Your guide takes you around the complex, including the Grand Plaza, a large open area on the flattened plateau. Hear engaging facts about Zapotec history and culture as you gaze at ceremonial platforms, including a series of rock carvings called The Dancers (Los Danzantes). You’ll see some of Monte Alban’s 170 tombs, whose excavations revealed a range of paintings and stone carvings. Visit pyramids, temples, altars and the I-shaped ball court constructed in 100 BC. Make your way up the South Platform (Plataforma Sur), a large area known for its wide staircase and great views.
Next, head to San Antonio Arrazola, a tranquil town at the base of Monte Alban. For about 45 minutes, stroll through the town and admire the local folk art, such as the world-renowned woodcarvings from the copal tree called alebrijes depicting a fantastic zoology of mythical creations and monsters.
In the traditional town of Cuilapam de Guerrero, swing by the Cuilapam Convent, a 16th-century Dominican convent known for its unfinished basilica and capilla abierta, or open chapel. Learn about this historical colonial feature aimed at encouraging larger numbers of indigenous people for conversion to Catholicism.
After refueling with lunch (own expense), wrap up your sightseeing in San Bartolo Coyotepec. Visit the 16th-century San Bartolo Coyotepec Church, the Oaxaca State Museum of Popular Art (MEAPO) and a craft market displaying the work of more than a dozen families. Learn about this town known for its black pottery (barro negro), unique ceramics made locally since pre-Columbian times.
Your full-day tour ends with drop-off at your hotel in Oaxaca in the evening.