How to Burn it Off
WALKOaxaca’s newly paved streets are a pleasure to stroll, so use your own two feet whenever possible. On your self-styled walking and eating tour, be sure to swing by the excellent Museo Rufino Tamayo (35p; Morelos 503, map). Not to be confused with the Tamayo museum in Mexico City featuring the Oaxacan-born artist’s works, this one focuses on the impressive collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts Tamayo donated to the city. Interestingly, the exquisite pieces are organized according to aesthetics rather than chronological order.
We recommend biking (as opposed to busing) to the ancient hilltop Zapotec capital of Monte Albán. The 5.6-mile (9 km) ride up isn’t so much long as vertical, the narrow (but paved) road gaining some 1,300 feet in elevation as it wraps around the mountainside overlooking Oaxaca city. Don’t be discouraged: Once there, the 360-degree views over the three Valles Centrales (Central Valleys) below are stunning and the not-so-ruined ruins impeccable, all perfectly groomed lawns, cheerful wildflowers, and impressive, steeply stepped stone temples. The site’s elevation lends it a floating quality, as if it were a vivid world detached from the land below. Afterward, revel in the downhill coast ahead of you, but before returning to the city, take a detour through the area’s quiet, glistening cornfields to check out a nearby crafts village, such as tiny woodcarving hamlet Arrazola, locally famed as the birthplace of Oaxaca’s whimsical alebrijes (see page header). Rent wheels (and get a map) from Zona Bici (150p for half-day; 200p for full day; García Vigil 406, map) in Oaxaca.