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Review of Monte Alban

Monte Alban
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Monte Alban Archaeological Site and Oaxaca Artisan Towns Trip
Ranked #1 of 121 things to do in Oaxaca
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The ruins of this ancient Zapotec capital make up one of the most important archaeological sites in all of Latin America.
Barrie, ONT
Level Contributor
64 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2013

This is a must when visiting Oaxaca. It is a 2000 year old archaeological site rich in history of the Zapotec people that live in the valleys surrounding the site. It has been painstakingly recovered and restored. Everything is well documented on placards describing the various components of the site.

I must say it was disappointing that many of the structures have been blocked off so that you can't explore them, but it is understandable considering the age of the site and the reality that some of it is deteriorating. There are still several of them available to climb and explore. Abnormally large, steep stairs make for a challenging climb that delivers huge rewards of breathtaking views.

It's very hot on the mountain with very little shade. Vendors at the entrance sell hats at a huge bargain (under 100 pesos) and they're worth every peso. Make sure to buy one, you won't regret it.

I had a translator with me who was also a native of the region. This is very important to give you a history of the area, translate the descriptions and explain the significance of the site, the vegetation in the area as well as the impact on the current demographic of the surrounding settlements.

You're going to walk...a lot. Be prepared for this. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, light as possible. Make sure to have sun screen if you have fair skin. You'll be getting a lot of sun.

The on site restaurant offers a terrace with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. We stopped in for a beer after spending hours scooting up and down the various structures and poking in the nooks and crannies. You can also buy water there which I guarantee you'll need during your exploration.

Finally they have a great museum on site with many original artifacts, glyphs, stone monuments and skeletons all described in sufficient detail to understand their significance. It's worth noting that much of the actual buildings are gone, save for some foundations and the remains of majestic pillars. Very few of the actual buildings, along with some of the tombs, remain and can't be explored.

There is an admission fee to access the site, but it's only about 30 pesos. I assure you that it's worth every one.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank lovetowineanddine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“visit in early morning!”
Reviewed June 30, 2013

Worth the visit but wear really comfortable shoes as it's all pebble stones. Very hot in summer so take water & brolly or hat.
A guide is worth the money.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank YellowRoseAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brownsville Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Worth the view”
Reviewed June 29, 2013

The first thing you will notice is the beautiful view of the surrounding valley. Monte Alban is a very short and easy drive from the city. For a more enjoyable visit I would recommend visiting right when the gates open to avoid the hotel tour busses. Also wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a bit of hiking. Attention photogs, no tripods allowed.

Visited November 2012
Thank jfaulk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Level Contributor
48 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Worth the trip”
Reviewed June 27, 2013

If you like archaeological sites this rates high on the list. Well preserved, almost intact, with a clear understanding of the structures and purposes.

Visited June 2013
Thank JimTheSailor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marietta, Georgia, United States
Level Contributor
50 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“One of my favorite ruins of all of Mexico”
Reviewed June 26, 2013

The view is one that makes me want to stay and soak it up for hours. Interesting carvings and astronomical structure. Small enough to see but big enough to understand the greatness of it. The restaurant on site is good and reasonable. The museum is small with the originals in it and reproductions on the site.

Visited June 2013
Thank Ginger H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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