Arrive in Oaxaca where a private transfer is waiting to take you to your charming colonial hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore and have dinner.
Begin the Mexico adventure with an excursion to Monte Alban. Located in the center of the Oaxaca Valley on a hilltop 1,200 feet above the valley floor, Monte Alban is an impressive site with remarkable panoramas of the valley. Monte Alban was the capital city of the Zapotec nation, and one of the first and most populated Meso-American cities during its peak.
Continue to the Mitla archaeological site. “Mitla” means “Places of the Dead”, and it served as an important religious center with tombs of ancient kings and priests and as a site for human sacrifices. Mitla’s detailed stonework mosaics are a unique style not found anywhere else in Mexico. Return to Oaxaca in the afternoon.
Drive to Santa Maria del Tule, a small town made famous by the Arbol del Tule (tree of Tule) in the churchyard. This mighty and ancient tree is around 2,000-3,000 years old and has a diameter of 40 feet making it one of the world's largest trees and oldest living species on earth. After visiting, hop on the mountain bikes for a 30 km bike ride on ancient dirt roads that connect local Oaxacan villages. Ride among corn fields, agave plantations, and if you are lucky a traditional wedding ceremony! The terrain and difficulty level is adapted to the preferences and skill levels of your group. Stop in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle specializing in pre-Colombian weaving traditions. Visit local workshops with your guide to learn about the process of spinning wool threads and using natural dyes made from moss, indigo, and the cochineal insect. End the ride in Tlacolula de Matamoros where the support vehicle is waiting for a short drive to Hierve el Agua where a hot, traditional lunch is waiting at the local comedor. Hierve el Agua mineral springs means “boiling water”. The mineral-rich water drips over cliffs, leaving mineral deposits that resemble frozen waterfalls. Bring your bathing suit for a soak and a perfect ending to the day before returning to Oaxaca.
Visit more of Oaxaca’s artisan villages including Santo Tomas Jalieza, known for its unique backstrap weaving, and the black pottery artists in the village of San Bartolo Coyotepec. The high-quality crafts from these areas are made with the same materials, techniques, and traditions of the pre-Colombian Zapotecs. You are invited into their workshops, and a traditional lunch is served.
Drive to the small village of Benito Juarez to begin the 3 day trek in the Sierra Norte Mountains. Hike among the alpine pine and descend to the lower cloud forests during your time in the Sierra Norte's. At an elevation ranging between 7,000 – 10,000 feet, this mountain range offers diverse terrain and ecosystems teeming with birdlife, wildflowers (orchids bloom in the spring and early summer), and forests of cedars, pine, and oak. Pass through local farm fields of potatoes, beans, and wheat and witness the small-scale agriculture providing food to the villages in the Sierra Norte’s. Pueblos Mancomunados is an ecotourism project comprised of nature trails that follow the ancient routes used by the Zapotecs to connect the small villages. Community-owned lodges in eight villages host visitors, and provide an economic alternative to logging and large-scale ranching, major contributors to deforestation in the region. Enjoy traditional meals and glimpses of the rich culture and lifestyles in the Oaxacan villages while trekking through the beautiful Sierra Norte Mountains.
Day 5: Benito Juarez to Latuvi. 7 miles (12 km.), 4-6 hours. Elevation change- 9,200 to 7,800 feet
Day 6: Latuvi to Llano Grande. 13 miles (20 km.), 6-8 hours. Elevation change - 7,800 to 9,800 feet
A gentle descent to the village of Lachatao follows a pre-Columbian trade route and crosses through the cloud forest. After arriving to the village of Lachatao and a visit, return to Oaxaca for a final evening in this beautiful and vibrant city.
Day 7: Llano Grande to Lachatao. 12 miles (19 km.), 6-8 hours. Elevation change - 9,800 to 7,200 feet
Transfer to the airport to connect with a flight home. With more time, extend your stay in Mexico. Contact us for options.