Monte Alban

Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Oaxaca

Monte Albán is an archaeological site in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Monte Albán traces its history to about 500 BCE when Zapotec builders (who called themselves the cloud people) began leveling the mountaintop and constructing terraces and other works. The city's construction was done in phases, with Phase I stretching from the city's beginnings to about 400 BCE. The second phase spanned three centuries between 400-100 BCE, and is when the city's observatories were built.

Around 1200 CE, the Zapotec abandoned the city due to Mixtec incursions. The Mixtec occupied the site until the Spanish conquest, and some additional minor structures were built during the Mixtec era.

Monte Albán is managed by INAH.


Temperatures in Oaxaca are generally warm with winter low temperatures seldom going below 15°C. November through April is the dry season in Oaxaca, which sees most of its rain in late summer, particularly September.

Get in

Monte Albán is located about 10km from downtown Oaxaca. The best ways to get there are by taxi or tour bus.


The most flexible, but most expensive way to visit the site. They will cost about $200-300 MXN round-trip from most downtown Oaxaca hotels.

Shuttle buses


Entry to the site costs $64 MXN. An additional $45 MXN is charged for video cameras or tripods. Entrance to the site is free on Sundays, if you are a Mexican resident.

Get around

You can walk around the site and climb up the major structures. Some fencing is in place to limit access to certain structures. Interpretive signage is in place around at the site in Spanish and English. Mobility will be a problem for handicapped visitors. Local guides can be hired near the site entrance and their interpretive knowledge is well worth the reasonable fees they charge.


Ball court at Monte Albán



A small bookstore is in the site's visitor center. Local vendors often sell local crafts and foods outside the site entrance.


A small cafe serving light sandwiches and beverages is in the site's modern visitor center. More substantial meals are available in Oaxaca.


Nightclubs and bars are in nearby Oaxaca. Sodas and beer are sold in the cafe in the site's visitor center. You may want to bring a bottle of water with you since it can get very hot walking around the site and climbing the ancient ruins.


Lodging is available in the nearby city of Oaxaca.

Stay safe

Monte Albán is a safe site to visit. Some political unrest occurred in Oaxaca City in early 2007, but the city is quiet again.

Go next

The city of Oaxaca is spectacular. Mitla, another Zapotec archaeological site, is nearby.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, October 28, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.