Dating back to around 500 BC, Monte Albán was continually occupied for close to 1,500 years by (at different points) the Zapotecs, Olmecs, and Mixtecs. The site was already abandoned when Spanish colonizers arrived in the 16th century. While not fully excavated, Monte Albán offers many highlights, including vast plazas, palaces, and some of the most elaborate tombs unearthed in the Americas.
Visit Monte Albán during a day trip from Oaxaca City, or combine a stop here with visits to nearby towns and archaeological ruins, such as Arrazola, San Bartolo Coyotepec, and Teotitlán del Valle. Multi-day Oaxaca tours often stop at Monte Albán.
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Things to Know Before You Go
The signage at Monte Albán is in Spanish.
There’s a small on-site museum and a gift shop.
There is very little shade at Monte Albán, so bring a hat, sunblock, and water.
Wear comfortable shoes; Monte Albán is an expansive site.
Children aged 13 and under enter for free.
Monte Albán is not fully wheelchair accessible due to uneven ground.
How to Get There
Monte Albán is situated just 5 miles (9 kilometers) outside of Oaxaca City and is easily accessible. Tourist shuttles to the area depart from Mina 518 in Oaxaca City, and organized tours typically include round-trip transportation—as well as stops at other points of interest.
When to Get There
Monte Albán is open daily from morning until late in the afternoon. It is perhaps Oaxaca’s most popular archaeological site, so visit early to avoid the largest crowds and the worst of the day’s heat. Weekends tend to be busier than weekdays.
Oaxaca’s Artisan Towns
After you visit Monte Albán, stop at the nearby artisan towns, which are known for producing some of Oaxaca’s most distinctive handicrafts. San Bartolo Coyotepec is known for black clay pottery, and Teotitlán del Valle is famous for handwoven rugs and other textiles. Arrazola is the place to find Oaxacan alebrijes—brightly colored wooden animals.
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