The Hiking Trip through Oaxaca’s Mountains and to the Pacific Coast combines exploration of some of the most famous archaeological sites of Zapotec and Mixtec culture and the luscious warmth of Mexico’s tropical coast.
This trip is a memorable adventure led by a local guide taking in two different areas of Southern Mexico. It is ideal for active travelers who want to combine fascinating archaeological ruins, hiking through small, off-the-beaten-path villages, diverse scenery, and amazing wildlife viewing opportunities. After exploring the colonial city of Oaxaca, a few days are spent hiking and living in the untouched Sierra Norte of Oaxaca with the locals who have set up a remote system of trails and cabins. Our visit contributes to sustainable community development by offering alternatives to logging that has begun to deforest areas of the Sierra. A model of ecotourism, visiting the Sierra Norte helps to conserve the beautiful surroundings, while contributing to the progress of the Zapotec communities that continue to live a very traditional life in the Sierra. The trip ends in our lodge on the Pacific Coast in Puerto Escondido where there are an array of optional activities to complete the holiday such as deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing and sailing.
This trip suits those who wish to combine local flavor with their outdoor active adventure. Hiking through the countryside, we will experience a first hand view of Mexico’s rural life and the joys, threats, and difficulties posed by farming in this area. The majority of the hiking takes place in rural settings offering plenty of diversity with peaceful hikes through valleys and forests. Accommodation throughout is clean, comfortable and welcoming – all of it having been chosen for its beautiful location and local charm.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Discover the Historic Center of Oaxaca City and the incredible pre-Colombian ruins of Monte Alban and Mitla
Oaxaca City – Become fascinated with the mixture of Colonial Spanish influence and indigenous cultures by visiting colorful markets and tasting world renowned cuisine
Teotitlán del Valle and San Bartolo de Coyotepec – Visit the indigenous weaving villages and pottery and ceramic centers in these small, charming towns
Sierra Norte – Hike up to cool pre-alpine mountain scenery and cloud forest and see numerous microclimates and vegetation zones with a host of native plants and animals
Sierra Norte Villages – Visit with villagers in this remote mountain landscape who have set up a model community owned eco tourism complex. A chance to sample local fare in the community dining room and watch how the local foods are prepared
Puerto Escondido – Unwind at your accommodations with fantastic views, enjoying margaritas and sunset swims
Mazunte– Visit local sea turtle nesting and protection site at the National Mexican Turtle Center
Day 1: Arrive to Oaxaca
Welcome to the beautiful state of Oaxaca, Mexico! We meet at the Oaxaca airport and transfer to our charming colonial hotel only a stone’s throw from Oaxaca’s historic Plaza Principal or “Zócalo.” The Zocalo consists of two squares: one with a bandstand and trees for shade; the other is full of shops and outdoor cafes. On a typical day, people from all walks of life are seen at the Zocalo – bands and groups of singing children or procession of one of the many festivals celebrated in the city and its surrounding pueblos. In addition, there is plenty of shopping for artisan crafts, paintings, jewelry, and much more! At night the area fills with street musicians and vendors selling a variety of foods and crafts. Today is a day to relax and wander the city after you arrive. In the evening, we meet our guide in the lobby of the hotel for introductions and an orientation.
Overnight: Hostal de la Noria or equivalent
Day 2: Monte Alban Ruins and Historic City Center
Today we explore the mysterious ruins of Monte Alban, the ancient capital of the Zapotecs and arguably the first metropolis of North America. This site began as the Toltecs migrated down from the present day states of Tabasco and Veracruz and encountered the Zapotec valley populations circa 500 BC. With Toltec influences, the Zapotec population flourished until about 750 AD where the population migrated to several smaller city states throughout valleys. Revered for it scenic mountaintop location just above Oaxaca City, this city played an important role in Meso-American history as it would serve as a major influence to both the Mayan civilizations in the Yucatan and later to the Aztec Empire that dominated the Central Valleys and beyond leading up to the arrival of the Spanish.
Return to Oaxaca for lunch. Well known features of the cuisine include ingredients such as chocolate (often drunk in a hot preparation with spices and other flavorings), Oaxaca cheese, mezcal and grasshoppers (chapulines) with dishes such as tlayudas, Oaxacan style tamales and seven notable varieties of mole sauce. We will taste Mole sauce today. After lunch we will enjoy a tour of the historic centro including the enormous Templo de Santo Domingo, nearby galleries, and one of the several quality museums such as the collection of pre-Hispanic art of the famous Oaxacan artist Rufino Tamayo. Group dinner near the Zocalo where we can get to know each other.
Day 3: Mitla Ruins & Sierra Norte Pueblo of Llano Grande
Today we delve deeper into the rich culture of Oaxaca visiting the colorful 16th century Templo y Ex-Convento de San Jerónimo in the village of Tlacochahuaya, which is a fascinating mix of native art and the Dominican influence that dominated much of the state of Oaxaca at the time of the conquest. Don’t forget to climb up to see the ornate 16th century French organ which is occasionally played for organ concerts. Continuing on to the ruins of Mitla (orginal name of Liobaa meaning “House of Tombs”), we will explore one of Mexico’s most interesting sacred burial grounds. Evidence shows that the site has been occupied since about 900 B.C.
Next, we travel to Teotitlán del Valle where we visit local artisans and see a demonstration of local dying and weaving techniques practiced during the last 300 yrs. You will also learn about their integration of old and new traditions found is this Zapotec pueblo. Later this afternoon, we transfer to the little known Sierra Norte Mountains. Our night’s accommodation is in a very comfortable locally owned and operated cabins, which offers bunk beds, a group fireplace, and shared bathrooms with hot water. Depending on time of arrival and interest, we can opt for a short hike to a look out point. We enjoy a community dinner with delicious local fare. By staying at this local lodge, we contribute directly to the community and ensure the preservation of the surrounding forest. Relax and enjoy an evening chat by the fire.
Overnight: Community Yu’u Sierra Norte Llano Grande
Optional 1.5 hours hiking: 4 Miles, altitude: 300 ft gain and 300 ft loss
Day 4: Sierra Norte Day 2 – Hike from Cuajimoloyas to Latuvi
Through the pristine forests and mountains held sacred by the local people. We stroll through fields of wildflowers and enormous agave plants and past the pastures of community farms. Hiking in the Pueblos provides the unique opportunity to witness first hand the rural Oaxacan life and culture. We will visit the viewpoint “La Cucharrilla” with a spectacular view over the community of Latuvi and then continue to the Ranch “Cara de Leon” a trout breeding farm, where we will taste the delicious fried trout or trout with onions or other traditional food from the community. This group of communities are friendly and inviting to visitors wanting to share their idyllic beautiful forest setting with you.
Overnight: Community Yu’u Sierra Norte Latuvi
Full Day Hike 6 hours: – 9.8 Miles. altitude: 500 ft gain/200 ft loss
Day 5: Sierra Norte Day 3 – Hike from Latuvi to Benito Juarez
A day of hiking awaits us today as we continue to explore the villages on our way into the cloud forests of the Sierra Norte. This hike takes us through the local farming fields of potatoes, beans, and wheat down to a dense stand of pine, oak, and cedar forest including wildflowers, bromeliads, and even wild orchids in Spring and early Summer. After lunch, Transfer back to Oaxaca with a brief visit to the Tule tree that is claimed to be the largest tree in the Americas, leaving some time to wander the colonial streets before dinner.
½ Day Hike- 7.4 Miles § Altitude gain/loss: 750 ft/1,200 ft
Day 6: San Bartolo Coyotepec, Santo Tomas Jalieza and San Martin Tilcajete
Today, you will visit artisan workshops and homes to see first hand how the high quality crafts are made. Oaxaca has characterized for the creativity of its people since pre Columbian times. There are a series of towns with artistic tradition on the outskirts of the state capital, with each one specializing on a determined line of work. You will have a traditional lunch in one of the artisans homes. You will have the rest of afternoon free to shop and dine on your own. The towns we will visit are San Bartolo Coyotepec, experts on the fabrication of ceramics using black clay which are cooked in subterranean furnaces; San Martin Tilcajete, artisans who carve and paint in bright colors the whimsical animal shapes call alebrijes; and Santo Tomas Jalieza, where they make bags, rugs and belts, among other objects where motifs related to the local flora and fauna are predominant, using ancient waist frames.
If time permits, we may visit Ocotlan market (Fridays only). Head back to your hotel or relax a bit before heading out to dinner and a night on the town. You are free to make your own plans for this last night in this magical city.
Day 7: Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido
We are up early today for an early morning flight like no other! We take a 14-passenger Caravan plane across the mountains and down to the tropical Pacific coast crossing coffee and banana plantations en-route. After checking into our beautiful seaside lodge, today is a free day to enjoy the coast, and you can choose from a number of options depending on the time of year including: biking and visit to Chatino villages in the Mixteca Sur; a trip to the National Turtle Museum and natural cosmetics factory founded by Anita Roddick (Body Shop Founder) in Mazunte and many more. Of course, you may opt to just relax and stroll the beaches or explore the quaint fishing town. Lunch is on your own today. Don’t forget to return to our lodge overlooking the Pacific for margaritas as we watch the sun drop into the Pacific. Dinner tonight is served at the hotel restaurant and includes the best sea food in town and all organic produce with lots of options for vegetarians.
Day 8: Kayaking Laguna Manialtepec
After breakfast, we set out for a guided exploration into the protected waters of Laguna Manialtepec via private kayaking tour. It is home to a wide variety of animals, birds and reptiles such as the golden eagle, cormorants, herons, scarlet macaw, pelicans, kingfishers, jacana, armadillo, chameleon, iguana, raccoon, and bobcat. The tour continues after lunch to enjoy an afternoon sunset with a bird watching and a magic view of the bioluminescent effect in the lagoon.
Day 9: Flight from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca City
We arrive at 8:30 am for our onward flights home or extensions in Oaxaca city. Coastal extensions are also available at Rancho Cerro Largo or the resorts of Huatulco. Please confirm departure flight if they are for same day as flight schedules are subject to change.
No Meals Included
Our trips are fully customized, allowing us to build your itinerary for any time of the year.
Our custom-tailored journeys start from $800 USD per day for two travelers. Contact us today to discuss your travel desires and design a personalized proposal with exact pricing.
Please note, our pricing guideline is a starting from price and is not necessarily applicable to the suggested hotels contained within the suggested itineraries on this web site. Itineraries are customized prior to final pricing.