2. Peruse the Pyramids
Chanel your inner Indiana Jones and explore the important archeological zones not far from Oaxaca City. Monte Alban and Mitla are exquisitely intact sites that predate the popular ruins of Palenque and Chichen Itza. Pre-Columbian Oaxaca never fell under Mayan or Aztec rule, so they reflect the Zapotec and Mixtec influences of the area. Monte Alban was the political crux of the region from 500 BC to 750 AD. Located just 10km out of town, its astronomically aligned pyramids and ball courts are particularly well-preserved. Mitla, 44km from the city, was more of a ceremonial center that had its heyday from 100 to 1521 AD. Its most noteworthy feature are the intricate mosaics and elaborate wall carvings that are unlike any other site in Mesoamerica.