Zona Arqueológica de Atzompa

Zona Arqueológica de Atzompa

Zona Arqueológica de Atzompa
4.5
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Top ways to experience Zona Arqueológica de Atzompa and nearby attractions

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byryr62
37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
We took a taxi out to this site from downtown Oaxaca and the driver toured it with us and then brought us back to our hotel. We paid about USD 15 for the ride. The site is not as large or as excavated as Monte Alban, but there's enough to see that it was very interesting. There's no entrance fee and no guides available, but we had seen Monte Alban and so we understood a little of what we were seeing. We were the only tourists there which was lovely.
Written January 2, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

a_traveler_too
Glen Ellyn, IL152 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2016 • Couples
If you went to Monte Alban you probably saw Atzompa from a distance - another hilltop archaeological site. It is easy to get to once you know how. It opened in 2012 so isn't as well known or visited as other ruins in the area.

Our strategy for the visit was take a taxi there, explore the site, walk down from the site to the small museum, then continue walking down into the town of Atzompa, visit the artisan market. Take the bus back to Oaxaca City center (Central de Abastos ).

Details:
Step outside your hotel in Oaxaca city center and ask taxi how much to "Zona Arqueologica de Atzompa?" Don't just say "Atzompa" since the entrance to the site is about 1 mile uphill beyond the town and the point of taking the taxi is to get up the hill fast and easy. We paid 180 pesos for about 20 min trip. The taxi lets you out where a gate crosses the road. It is a short walk further up to the entrance. A guard signs you in but no entrance fee! There is a path around the buildings and plazas with signs in Spanish and English. Currently, you cannot climb on or into the buildings other than allowed by the path. While not as grand as Monte Alban these ruins show a different view of society, ie. more residential although still upper class. There are several small plazas with remains of surrounding buildings and a large and two smaller ball courts. Given the history of pottery in the area, the kiln was particularly interesting. The views of several valleys are spectacular and make it obvious why the site is thought to have been selected to control these valleys.

We had the entire site to ourselves except short periods when 2 school groups went by. We enjoyed the school groups as the younger group excitedly asked many questions at once and enjoyed our answers in limited spanish. A few of the older students tried out their English on us and the teachers seemed happy to have the opportunity for the students to interact with foreigners.

There were 2 guards on top of unexcavated hills keeping watch over the site. There is no place to buy water or food, so take be sure to take water with you if sunny day. Food cannot be eaten within the site but there is a rest areas outside it. Restrooms (banos) were located near the entrance and on branch path away from the ruins near the top.

After visiting the ruins (about 2 hours of slow walking, photographing and talking to students), we walked the road downhill to the museum, about a mile through countryside. Entrance fee of 10 pesos each to view a nice display of artifacts from the ruins with signs in Spanish. Then walk another half mile to descend into the small town of Atzompa. There were some pottery workshops along the way. We continued down Independencia o the T intersection with Porfirio Diaz and turned right to find the small artisan market. Then back a block to Av. Liberdad (and Juarez? ask ) to catch the bus back to Oaxaca. The fare was 8 pesos and runs about every half hour. The bus ends and starts return trip in Oaxaca center at corner of Periferico and Prol. V. Trujano (Near Mercado de Abastos).

There were lots of taxis in Atzompa so you could probably take the bus there and then local taxi up to the ruins. And easily take a taxi from city of Atzompa back to Oaxaca instead of the bus. There were not taxis waiting at the ruins so you should be prepared to walk the 1.5 mi downhill back to Atzompa or arrange for taxi to wait (minimum 1 hour?) or meet you. A few taxis and one three wheeler went by as we walked down, so we might have been able to ride back to Atzompa. We were happy to walk and saw quite a few birds as we walked as well as birds at the ruins.
Of course you could also hire a driver or guide to take you to Atzompa but since it is so close to the city I wanted to encourage those looking for other alternatives.
Written January 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Louis d
Oaxaca, Mexico5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015 • Solo
If you're visiting Oaxaca and love archeology, Atzompa is a must. I went to Mitla and Monte Alban, the two classic sites in the area. Two days after visiting Monte Alban the owner of Casa de Emily, where I am staying, mentioned Atzompa, so I looked it up and took a collectivo from Central de Abastos on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Five pesos and 20 minutes later I was in the town of Santa Maria Atzompa. I walked up the hill (2.5 km) and was greeted by an employee at the site who had me sign in (BTW, there is no charge to get onto the grounds). Incredibly I was the only visitor at the site apart from three employees. The sign at the entrance says to "tell your friends about your visit to this exceptional place", which is what I am doing now :-).

Atzompa may not be as grandiose as Monte Alban but the view of the valley from this site is incredible and better than Monte Alban's. You can see Oaxaca City and beyond, the Etla Valley, Monte Alban, there is a view in every direction. You can imagine how it would have been very easy to see invaders arriving from anywhere. When you're up there alone you can feel the energy, it's an amazing feeling.

If you like birds, there is an opportunity to see many different types. I am no expert but I can say for sure that in the hour and a half on the site I saw hummingbirds, scavengers of different types (hawks, vultures) and a few interesting colourful birds.

There are signs in Spanish and English along the path so really no need for a guide. One sign mentions that "Atzompa was part of Monte Alban, having been one of its largest settlements, a type of neighborhood in the large metropolis". Further on you can read that "... unlike Monte Alban, in this site they (the residents) were more human and less god-like, considering the lesser emphasis on religious monumental constructions", but there were many upper class families that lived here.

For those that truly enjoyed Monte Alban (who wouldn't?), I highly recommend taking a half-day trip to Atzompa. On your way back be sure to stop off at the community museum (Museo Comunitario de Santa Maria Atzompa). For 10 pesos you will see some amazing original pieces (e.g. Zapotec effigy vases, animal vases, all kinds of pottery) that were found at the site and pictures of the excavation work, which is still ongoing by the way. It's worth every peso and much more. I congratulated the lone employee for this amazing museum. If the community hadn't worked together these pieces would have ended up in the cultural museum in Oaxaca City or in the Anthropology museum in Mexico City. Note: the descriptions are in Spanish only.

One last comment. If you have a few extra minutes drop into the artisan market on Avenida Libertad, the main road leading into the village. The villagers produce some beautiful pottery. I would recommend people not bargain these as prices are very reasonable.
Written March 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ernie G
Folsom, CA2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Family
Our driver and guide Gregorio (pepecuaches@gmail.com) took us to see these ruins after Monte Alban.
He said these were newly excavated ruins.... and not often visited. The few reviews for Atzompa compared to the hundreds for Monte Alban seems to back up his claim.

We are really glad he suggested these ruins.

Unlike Monte Alban these ruins give you a clearer idea of how people ....at least the rich people... lived back then. It's an actual residence as opposed to a temple. There are indications of a sweat lodge, kitchen area etc. You can actually look into the "rooms" and imagine what it must have been like for the residence of the area over a 1000 years ago.
They are still working on restoration so right now there is no charge to visit the ruins and it's so close to Monte Alban that if you visit Monte Alban it would be a shame not to visit Atzompa too
Gregorio kept picking up ancient pieces of pottery and old stone tools that were just literally lying about on the ground.....though he told us not to take anything.
Written July 4, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joe H
Madison, WI63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Solo
First off, how to get there easily. From Oaxaca, get yourself to the "Central" (bus station near the Mercado de Abastos). From there, ask around and find the colectivos to Atzompa. Pay 10 pesos for a 10-15 minute trip to Atzompa. When you get close to Atzompa, tell the colectivo driver you want to take a moto-taxi to the archeological site. He'll help you find a moto-taxi. The ride to the site in the moto-taxi will cost another 10 pesos. DO NOT TRY TO WALK TO THE ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE FROM ATZOMPA!!! It's a very steep uphill walk all the way to the top of the hill, and you will be walking for 90 minutes uphill in the hot desert sun before you even get to the site.

When you are done at the archeological site, it's an easy 15-minute walk, all downhill, back to the town of Atzompa. From there, flag down a colectivo. But before you head back to Oaxaca, it's worth it to check out the shops that line the main street of Atzompa. There's aren't that many shops, but if you're lucky you'll visit on market day, when there is a bit more activity. The town has no central plaza--just a few shops that line the main street as you're walking down the hill.

One tidbit. Half-way up the hill, there is a sign that says "Atzompa" and "Entrada," but this is not the entrance to the main site. This is a secondary site that only contains the foundations of a couple of structures. But it's worth it to check it out on your walk downhill, because the scenery is fantastic.

If you can only see one archeological site in Oaxaca, go to Monte Albán. If you want to see a second site, go to Atzompa. Forget about Mitla. Mitla is over-rated, and the town is quite ugly.
Written November 12, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ole_Kristian90
Sandnes, Norway3 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Solo
I got there by going to the second class bus station in Oaxaca, and took a collectivo to Santa Maria Atzompa. From there i walked up to the top. Didn't feel like the walk was that long and you can buy food and drink on the way. The ruins are nice and admission is free, but there were a couple of tourists, and guards where everywhere. I was also not allowed to film. It's not the private little place it used to be, which to me was the main reason to go there, so I no longer see any reason for choosing this place instead of Monte Alban.

If you want an english speaking guide to take you there, you can contact Pablo E. Gonzales Marsch, email: marsch@prodigy.net.mx, cellphone: 044 951 134 7391. I met him at the top and he gave me his buisness card. Seemee very nice.
Written November 4, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheila C
Wasaga Beach, Canada83 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2014 • Friends
We had the pleasure of joining a tour group from the Oaxaca Lending Library on a visit to Atzompa. To add to the pleasure of this tour a talk on the site was given the evening before at the Oaxaca Lending Library by Robert Markens, an archeologist who has done extensive work on sites in Oaxaca.

The site has been open to visitors for approximately one year however if I recall correctly, it has not yet been officially opened. I do not think there is organized public transportation to the site as yet but private transportation can be arranged. Also, there are no guides on site as yet nor is the entry building open. Nor are there souvenir sellers anywhere to be seen. There are, however, washrooms on site!

There is excavation of a temple going on at the moment. Photos can be taken onsite of all the structures with the exception of the temple currently being restored. AND there are people onsite who oversee tourist to make sure they follow this rule!

You can see Monte Alban from this site. It is at approximately the same altitude so you should not be surprised if you find yourself short of breath on your visit. There is a fair climb up to and on the site but the paths are well groomed and the climb is spaced and somewhat gradual.

This is a lovely site with three excavated ball courts and a number of T.A.P. sites (temple, altar, patios) as well as large homes and a pottery making site with the original kiln. There is also a unique tomb in one of the temples. At the top of the hill is a huge patio with an altar in the centre and four temples, one on each side. The fourth temple is the one presently being restored. Whereas Monte Alban is on the top of a flattened mountain, this site progresses uphill.

The view down into the valley is breathtaking and from the top you have a 360 degree view. Our tour, with our excellent guide, Nicholas, took approximately 1-1/2 hours. To my knowledge, no guide books are available as yet but there is very good signage in both Spanish and English.

The walk back down into the parking lot is much steeper than the walk up. There are steps in some spots but it's mostly a roadway with a lot of loose gravel so care should be taken on your descent. Be sure you bring your hat and a bottle of water and wear good walking shoes.

Artifacts from the site and its tomb can be seen in the small museum in the village of Atzompa. There is presently no entry fee to the site itself, but the museum charges 10 pesos...money well spent. Atzompa is well worth visiting and you may find yourselves to be the only visitors there enjoying the beauty of the site, the wonderful view, and the peace of this well-reconstructed site.
Written January 31, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Katy F
Rimrock, AZ23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Family
You can take a local bus to the area, then ask a moto-taxi to get you up the long hill. Don't miss the museum on your left - its so worth your time and donate if you can as this site needs some financial help to continue their exploration. Super quiet area and a great day-I highly recommend this hidden gem. We walked up and it took less than 2 hrs, spent a few hours at the site, then walked down into the town and bought a few things from a local artist. Great day!
Written April 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Wandering Reviewer
Melbourne, Australia11,945 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Solo
There are so many great things to see in Oaxaca and most people head straight for Monte Alban which gets absolutely crazily busy after 10am. I'd highly recommend visiting Zona as well. Not as popular but equally as impressive. It's not as big but the history is just as interesting.
Although there isn't alot known about the beginnings you can read up on the internet about the history which I won't go into here.
Situated on the top of a hill where you can almost see Monte Alban, there is some rumours that it was another part of Monte Alban but a group that stepped away from the main tribe.
It became abandoned around a century before Mont Alban. The restoration work is very good and they should be proud of their interpretation signs and maintenance.
It's an easy drive by taxi from Oaxava and do negotiate with the driver as prices can vary. Take plenty of refreshments and food as it can be expensive on site.
Atzompa is an easy drive from Oaxaca. family group who is very familiar with the history of the area.
If you walk away from the site you'll see a cute little community museum which has some interesting artefacts.
Not really wheelchair friendly. Kid friendly. Wear a hot on a sunny day.
Written March 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nancyjk898
Montrose, CO4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Friends
This place was close and really cool. You can see Monte Alban from this place. The best part is that it is still being excavated and is not known to a lot of tourists. Consequently, saw only 8 people while we were there!
Written December 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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