For a taste of the real Mexico, come to Oaxaca. This gorgeous state boasts beautiful colonial architecture, a primordial eco-system that draws botanists from all over the planet, fascinating ancient historical sites and is also acknowledged as the gastronomy hot-spot of Mexico. Furthermore, Oaxaca is the indigenous capital of Mexico with a vast array of languages and customs enhancing the intricate cultural landscape. Finally, take time out to explore Mexico`s capital city and the venerable site of Teotihuacan, whose ancestry is a subject of heated debate.
Monte Alban is one of Mexico`s most ancient sites having been first built at around 500BC, and is said to have been the first settlements to use writing as well as a written calendar. With the settlement being based on top of a flat hill, the 360 degree views of the surrounding valley are spectacular, and provide a fantastic insight into the setup of this ancient city.
As one of the oldest villages in the Sierra Mixteca mountain range, Santiago Apoala is home to great tradition. According to this tradition, the tree of life, which is claimed to have given birth to humanity, can be found here. Equally well known for its enchanting waterfalls, the opportunity to swim in the clear tranquil pools at the bottom of the waterfalls should not be missed. The village is set in a wonderful and enchanting landscape - a green, hidden valley with impressive waterfalls enclosed by steep cliffs. You don`t need much imagination to understand why the Mixtec people believe this place is paradise on Earth.
The ancient archaeological site of Mitla holds great religious significance to the region of Oaxaca, with ancient kings and priests buried within the city walls. The site, which is estimated to date back to 900 BC symbolises Mexico`s attitude towards the dead, who are greatly celebrated and never forgotten. Mitla`s fascinating history, where human sacrifice was a key part of worship, provides many facts and stories about indigenous human civilisation dating back almost 3000 years.
Hierve El Agua
The unique natural phenomena of Hierve El Agua is bound to leave a lasting impression on any visitor. As a source of many natural springs, the rock shapes have been heavily influenced by these springs, with the mineral rich water molding rocks into the shape of waterfalls, known as a `petrified waterfall`. The springs have also helped form natural pools in the rocks, creating stunning natural baths, ideal for an afternoon dip.
More of Mexico
When humans arrived in the Mexico valley in 30,000 BC, the valley floor was a chain of lakes. The water has been receding ever since, and its agriculture has became an important way of life. The Aztecs arrived from northwest Mexico and settled in the Chapultepec region. The tribe were forced to flee however, and in 1325 arrived on an island on the western shore and built the city Tenochtitlán. This was to rule over most of Mexico in the 15th and early 16th centuries before the Spanish conquest in 1519. Tenochtitlán was destroyed, but was then rebuilt on Spanish orders as the capital of Nueva España (New Spain), later becoming Mexico City.
This fabulous archaeological zone of Teotihuacan lies in a mountain-ringed offshoot of the Valle de México. For centuries Teotihuacán was the capital of largest pre-Hispanic empire in Mexico. However, unable to sustain its burgeoning population, it fell in the 8th century. The earliest Mexican murals are found at Teotihuacán and depict what awaited those who were killed by Tláloc, the water God. The Teotihuacán buildings were simple but grand in scale. Teotihuacán is known for its two pyramids - the sun and moon pyramids. The Sun Pyramid was completed by 150 AD and the rest of the city between 250 and 600 AD. The Sun Pyramid (Pirámide del Sol) is the world`s third largest pyramid, whose base is 222m on each side and is 70m in height. The Moon Pyramid (Pirámide de la Luna), completed in 300 AD, is smaller but built on slightly higher ground.
For a private and personal experience we can arrange a bespoke itinerary to cater specifically to your needs. As well as the options available on our group tours, please read on for more ideas which we could incorporate on a private tour.
Whales, Turtles & more
Take a boat from Oaxacas coast to watch for sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales. Humpbacks migrate south in December/ January and north again in March. Keep your eyes peeled for Nurse Sharks, Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Dolphins, Orcas and Pilot Whales as well. To get up close and personal, scuba diving and snorkelling can also be arranged. Fishing trips are also available.
Sierra Norte Village Trekking
Venture into a hidden corner of Mexico that the indigenous Zapotecs call home - the Sierra Norte Mountains of Oaxaca. This stunning region is home to around 4,000 plant species and is thought to be one of the oldest eco-systems in the world at around 20 million years old. These beautiful mountains, pine forests, rivers and valleys lend themselves to legends and the Zapotecs have many which they are only too happy to share with the adventurous souls who visit their native lands. The benefits of this eco-tourism project are shared amongst the people and villages that make this area so special. Come discover this little slice of paradise.
Mexico City & Teotihuacan
Once known as the City of Palaces and straddled by the twin volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, Mexico City is one of the world`s great cities. Visit its historic centre and discover its ancient heritage before visiting one of the world`s most impressive archaeological sites, Teotihuacan - with its pyramids, the impressive Avenue of the Dead and a hotly disputed ancestry.
We can arrange a range of beautiful and comfortable beach stays with watersports or just the opportunity to relax - in Oaxaca and throughout Mexico.
The Copper Canyon in Chihuahua actually consists of around 20 canyons which put together are about 4 times larger than the Grand Canyon in the USA and far more spectacular. The canyon contains six rivers and its walls are a copper green colour in the wet season. It forms a geological tapestry of craggy cliffs, sheer canyon walls and a flat river bed below.
Yucatáns capital, Merida, a mix of Mayan and Spanish styles, grew rich on sisal rope made from henequen plant at the end of the 19th Century. Today it boasts a vibrant cultural life, with numerous museums, restaurants and cafes. Yucatan is also home to the ancient Mayan sites of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, as well as Chicxulub Crater, believed to have been created by the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, as well as some lovely beaches.