Monte Negro and the Garden of Eden
(For tour price and other information, please see the Trip Details sidebar on this page)
Mountaintop ruins of Monte Negro, the castle-like church of Yanhuitlan and the hidden gem of the Mixtec Garden of Eden.
The Mixtec hinterlands are layered deep with the history of ancient empires, Spanish colonial zeal and rich myths and legends.
Our journey takes us into the midst of this with a visit to the 8,000 foot high, ruined city of Monte Negro which was once a center of power for one of the Mixtec's most charismatic kings, but is now abandoned to the dry winds of the highlands. We stay in Yanhuitlan, a kingdom of 60,000 people five-hundred years ago that now feels almost like a ghost town, yet it has one of the grandest churches in all of Mexico. Then deeper into the hinterlands to a place the Mixtecs call Yutatnoho, which means "river where the lords come from." On the maps it is called Apoala and, as the Mixtec name suggests, this is where the old legends say the first Mixtec man and woman appeared. This tour is an exploration of rural Oaxaca, beyond the beaten path; small villages, grand sights and deep history.
||6-12 pax $565
3-5 pax $760
||Oaxaca, Mexico. Upper Mixteca
||3 days/2 nights
||Nov 5-8, 2012
Dec 10-15, 2012
Feb 15-18, 2013
March 18-21, 2013
||* Professional, bilingual guide
* All local transport in private van
* Entry fees, tips for meals,
* Local guides and transportation
* High quality, small group travel.
||Two nights lodging double occupancy in adobe cabins (single supplement, $60)
|MEALS & DRINKS
||2 breakfasts, lunch daily, 2 dinners.
||* Airfare and transport to/from airport
* Alcoholic beverages
* Personal items
* Some meals may not be included to offer flexibility in meal choices
* Tip to your tour guides should you feel it is merited. 5-10% of tour price is standard per person guideline for tip to the guide or guide team.
Tour Itinerary by Day:
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner included in tour price.
Day 1, (LD) Meet at 9am in front of Santo Domingo church in Oaxaca with bags packed for our 3 day/2 night excursion. And then into the hinterlands! We travel backroads to a remote place that was once the center of an empire ruled by Ocho Venado Garra de Tigre. The ruins of the ancient city of Monte Negro, almost never visited by outsiders, top a high mountain with tremendous views and the absolute silence of the deep backcountry. We'll also meet villagers from the area and learn about the process of making pulque, a fermented agave beverage, and perhaps try some local tamales. In the afternoon we travel to Yanhuitlan and stay in a small hotel run by a group of women working to restore local pride in this once great village. We'll learn about their project and the fascinating history of Yanhuitlan. Evening in Yanhuitlan.
Day 2, (BLD) Time this morning to explore the immense fortress monastery and church of Yanhuitlan. Over 400 years old, it is one of the largest and most impressive in Oaxaca and speaks of an era when Yanhuitlan was the most important city in the region. Times have changed and now it is a quiet town of perhaps 700 souls. Mid-morning we travel onward, deeper into the back country, past small villages, strange limestone rock formations and through oak forests until we come to the deep, cliff sided valley of Apoala. As we have seen, this whole region is dense with history, but according to one of the few remaining pre-conquest books or codices, this is where history began, at least for the Mixtec people. It is told that where a cypress tree grew at the foot of a spring in Apoala the first Mixtec man and woman appeared. This was the garden of eden, and when you see the place you'll believe it. Clear running water, abundant cypress and fruit trees, fields of wheat and corn, a grand water fall and a small village all in a setting that is breathtaking. We will explore. Evening in the cabins of Apoala.
Day 3, (BL) Enjoy the clean morning air and more exploring this morning…up the canyon narrows walled by steep limestone cliffs covered with clinging bromeliads, down the zigzagging trail to the bottom of the horsetail water fall and the bolder-strewn pools below, wandering through the small village where palm is woven into baskets and fields are plowed with ox teams. Mid-afternoon we will depart, traveling a scenic route out of the back country and return the bustle of Oaxaca city by around 5pm where our tour will end. Lodging this evening is not included in trip price. If you need assistance making lodging arrangements please contact us.
All itineraries subject to change without notice.