Multi-Day Tour

Oaxaca Sierra to the Pacific (9 days)

Journey Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico To Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Oaxaca, Mexico
None None

Arrival: Home/Oaxaca.

Welcome to the beautiful state of Oaxaca, Mexico! We meet at the Oaxaca airport and transfer to our charming colonial hotel only a stone’s throw from Oaxaca’s historic Plaza Principal or “Zócalo”. The Zocalo consists of 2 squares: one with a bandstand and trees for shade; the other is full of shops and outdoor cafes. On a typical day people from all walks of life are seen at the Zocalo - bands and groups of singing children or procession of one of the many festivals celebrated in the city and its surround pueblos. In addition, there is plenty of shopping for artisan crafts, paintings, jewelry, and much more! At night the area fills with street musicians and vendors selling a variety of foods and crafts.

Today is a day to relax and wander the city after you arrive.  We meet our guides in the lobby of the hotel at 9:00 pm for introductions and an orientation. (Overnight Hostal de la Noria or equivalent)

Day 2
Oaxaca, Mexico
None Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Monte Alban Ruins/Historic City Center  

Today we explore the mysterious ruins of Monte Alban, the ancient capital of the Zapotecs and arguably the first metropolis of  North America.  This site began as the Toltecs migrated down from the present day states of Tabasco and Veracruz and  encountered the Zapotec valley populations circa 500 BC.  With Toltec influences the Zapotec population flourished until about 750 AD where the population migrated to several smaller city states throughout valleys.  Revered for it scenic mountaintop location just above Oaxaca City, this city played an important role in MesoAmerican history as it would serve as a major influence to both the Mayan civilizations in the Yucatan and later to the Aztec Empire that dominated the Central Valleys and beyond leading up to the arrival of the Spanish.

Return to Oaxaca for lunch and a tour of the historic centro including the enormous Templo de Santo Domingo, nearby galleries, and one of the several quality museums such as the collection of pre Hispanic art of the famous Oaxacan artist Rufino Tamayo. Group dinner near the Zocalo where we can get to know eachother. (Overnight Hostal de la Noria or equivalent)

Day 3
Santiago Llano Grande, Mexico
None Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Milta Ruins & Transfer to the Sierra Norte Pueblo of Llano Grande, Community Cabins (shared baths)

Today we delve deeper into the rich culture of Oaxaca visiting the colorful 16th century Templo y Ex-Convento de San Jerónimo in the village of Tlacochahuaya which is a fascinating mix of native art and the Dominican influence that dominated much of the state of Oaxaca at the time of the conquest.  Don’t forget to climb up to see the ornate 16th century French organ which is occasionally played for organ concerts.  

Continuing on to the ruins of Mitla (orginal name of Liobaa meaning “House of Tombs”) we will explore one of Mexico's most interesting sacred burial grounds. Evidence shows that the site was occupied since about 900 B.C. Mitla's visible structural remains date between 200 AD to 900 A.D. Mitla is renowned for the rich variety of mosaic tile that is displayed throughout the site's buildings. Archeologists have determined these 14 unique geometric and intricate mosaic fretwork designs symbolize sun, earth, plumed serpent and several other important beings.  One design called the “greca”  is an example the Mixtec influence that dominated for a short time in the 13th century before Zapotec reassertion.  There is also a series of column located in the “Sala de Columnas”.  Six enormous columns and several lintels each weighing in excess several tons each were brought to Mitla from several kilometers away before the advent of the wheel.    

Next we travel to Teotitlán del Valle where we visit local artisans and see an demonstration of local dying and weaving techniques practiced during the last 300 yrs. You will also learn about their integration of old and new traditions found is this Zapotec pueblo.  

Later this afternoon, we transfer to the little known Sierra Norte Mountains. Our night’s accommodation is a very comfortable locally owned and operated cabins which offers bunk beds, group fireplace and shared bathrooms with hot water.  Depending on time of arrival and interest we can opt for a short hike to a look out

We enjoy a community dinner with delicious local fare. By staying at this local lodge we contribute directly to the community and ensure the preservation of the surrounding forest.  Relax and enjoy an evening chat by the fire.  (Overnight Community Yu’u Sierra Norte Llano Grande)


• Optional One and a half hours hiking; 3 Miles

• Altitude gain/loss: 300 ft/300 ft

 

Visit Artesans in their homes and learn how these natural weavings have been made for generations.

Day 4
Santiago Llano Grande, Mexico
None Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Sierra Norte Day 2.

Today, after a quick transfer to our trail head at Cuajimoloyas, a guide from the community leads us on a hike through the pristine forests and mountains held sacred by the local people. We stroll through fields of wildflowers and enormous agave plants and past the pastures of community farms.  Hiking in the Pueblos provides the unique opportunity to witness first hand the rural Oaxacan life and culture.  This group of communities are friendly and inviting to visitors wanting to share their idyllic  beautiful forest setting with you.

After the day’s hike, we return to the pueblo for a home cooked meal and another peaceful night in the mountains. (Overnight Community Yu’u Sierra Norte Latuvi)


• Full Day Hike; 7.4 Miles

• Altitude gain/loss: 500 ft/200 ft

Day 5
Oaxaca, Mexico
None Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Sierra Norte Day 3.  

A day of hiking awaits us today as we continue to explore the villages into the cloud forests of the Sierra Norte.  This hike descends through the local farming fields of potatoes, beans, and wheat down to a dense stand of pine, oak and cedar forest including wildflowers, bromeliads and even wild orchids in the spring and early summer.  This forest usually is filled with the songs of birds as you walk through the large trees covered with moss and ferns.  You will then start the climb up and over a rocky ridge that provides a wonderful view back toward Cuajimaloyas.  Now the vegetation changes to a bit drier of microclimate with cacti and yucca plants.  Upon arriving at Benito Juarez we can feast on locally raised trout for lunch.

Transfer back to Oaxaca with a brief visit to the Tule tree that is claimed to be the largest tree in the Americas.  Ending the day with some time to wonder the colonial streets before dinner. (Overnight Hostal La Noria or equivalent)


• ½ Day Hike; 4.1 Miles

• Altitude gain/loss: 750 ft/1,200 ft

Day 6
Oaxaca, Mexico
None Breakfast, Lunch

Market day in Zaachila, ExConveto de Culiapam, San Bartolo de Coyotepec. Today we explore Zaachila, the last of the Zapotec capital following the fall of Monte Alban. The site flourished from 1100-1521 AD. The name "Zaachila" is derived from the term "House of Zaachila", a reference to the pre-Colombian Zapotec king Zaachila Yoo. Then you will visit the 16th Century Ex-convento de Santiago which began construction in 1535 and in 1570 the Spanish king ruled construction should stop due to being so over budget.  Then on to the San Bartolo Coyotecpec for San (shiny black pottery) using the an oxygen reduction kiln. This excursion offers you the interesting opportunity to explore these bustling market towns where villagers from the surrounding country side come to trade their goods and display their wares.

Head back to your hotel o relax a bit before heading out to dinner and a night on the town on your own for one last night in this magical city. (Overnight Hostal La Noria or equivalent)

Day 7
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
None Breakfast, Dinner

Oaxaca City/Puerto Escondido: Flight to Puerto Escondido Free Day to Relax.

We are up early today for an early morning flight like no other!  We take a 14-passenger Caravan plane across the mountains and down to the tropical Pacific coast crossing coffee and banana plantations en-route.  We check-in to our beautiful seaside lodge.  Today is a free day to enjoy the coast and you can choose from a number of options depending on the time of year including:  Biking and visit to Chatino villages in the Mixteca Sur; a trip to the national Turtle museum and natural cosmetics factory founded by Anita Roddick (Body Shop Founder) in Masunte; an inner-tube float trip down the Colotepec river; and more.  Of course you may opt to just relax and stroll the beaches or explore the quaint fishing town.  Lunch is on your own today.

Don’t forget to return to our lodge overlooking the Pacific for margaritas as we watch the sun drop into the Pacific.  Dinner tonight is served at the hotel restaurant and includes the best sea food in town and all organic produce with lots of options for vegetarians.  (Overnight Hotel Santa Fe)  

 

The Santa Fe is a beautiful seaside boutique hotel right on the edge of the crashing surf of Playa Zicatela.

Day 8
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
None Breakfast, Dinner

Hiking San Juan Lachao / Kayaking Laguna Manialtepec.

Today after breakfast we set out for a fantastic adventure in the lowland jungles of this little discovered coast. We will travel by vehicle (1:45 hrs.) to a small town on the slopes of the Sierra Madre Sur where we begin our hike into the jungle. We will hike for about and hour along the banks of a gurgling river with a gentle grade before arriving at the beautiful waterfall and swimming hole deep in the lush tropical forest.  After ample time to enjoy the refreshing waters and relax, we return back along the same path and then back to our lovely hotel for lunch and some free time on your own.

We will reconvene at about 3:00 pm for a guided exploration into the protected waters of Laguna Manialtepec.  Upon arrival (:25 mins by car) we will board a speedy launch.  We set out under power loaded with Kayaks, and we continue into the lagoon.  We will unload the kayaks and then set out on a gentle paddle, kayaking where we can observe some of the 270 different species found there.  After the 1-1.5 hour kayak we will end up on a pristine beach La Barra as the sun is going down.  We return back to our wonderful seafront lodge for private farewell dinner. (Overnight Hotel Santa Fe)

Day 9
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
None None

Departure Day: Puerto Escondido/Oaxaca/Home.

  Transfer to airport in Puerto Escondido for early morning flight back up to Oaxaca.  We arrive at 8:30 am for our onward flights home or extensions in Oaxaca city. Coastal extensions are also available at Rancho Cerro Largo or the resorts of Huatulco.  Please confirm departure flight if they are for same day as flight schedules are subject to change. No Meals

Tour Features

Experience(s)

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Description

The Oaxaca Mountains to the Pacific (OMP) is an exciting 9-day itinerary, which combines walking through remote mountain villages in the Sierra Norte; exploration of some of the famous archeological sights of the Zapotec, and Mixtec cultures; and the luscious warmth of Mexico’s Southwestern tropical coast. The trip emphasizes experiencing and absorbing all the breathtaking scenery; exploring the cultural and historical past; and relaxing on Mexico’s lesser visited, beautiful Southwestern tropical coast. The gateway city (Oaxaca) is easily accessed from anywhere in the world through Mexico City. The trip always ends with a flight back to Oaxaca to catch your flight home.

This trip is a memorable adventure taking in two different areas of Southern Mexico. It is ideal for active clients who want to combine fascinating archeological ruins; hiking through small, off-the-beaten-path villages; diverse scenery, and amazing wildlife viewing opportunities.


After exploring the colonial city of Oaxaca, a few days are spent hiking and living in the untouched Sierra Norte of Oaxaca with the locals who have set up a remote system of trails and cabins.  Our visit contributes to sustainable community development by offering alternatives to logging that has begun to deforest areas of the Sierra.  A model of ecotourism, visiting the Sierra Norte helps to conserve the beautiful surroundings, while contributing to the progress of the Zapotec communities that continue to live a very traditional life in the Sierra.


The trip ends in our lodge on the Pacific Coast with an array of optional activities to complete the holiday such as deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing and sailing.

Highlights Include:


Oaxaca City and Neighboring Villages:

 Incredible pre-Columbian ruins of Monte Alban, Mitla

 The colorful markets of this Colonial Spanish City

 UNESCO Patrimony of Humanity Site

 The fascinating mixture of Colonial Spanish influence and indigenous cultures offers indigenous markets, weaving and pottery crafts, and world renowned cuisine

 Weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle and Ceramic Center of San Bartolo de Coyotopec

 

Hiking Oaxaca's Sierra Norte:

 A climb up to cool pre- alpine mountain scenery and cloud forest

 Numerous microclimates and vegetation zones with a host of native plants and animals

 Visits with villagers in this remote mountain landscape who have set up a model community owned eco tourism complex. A chance to sample local fare in the community dining room and watch how the local foods are prepared.

 

Pacific Coast of the State of Oaxaca: 

 Drop down through verdant and lush valleys to the tropical Pacific lowlands

 Unwind at our lodge with fantastic views of the sea enjoying margaritas and sunset swims to finish off this active journey

 Visit Mexican Sea Turtle museum and conservation project

 Finish the trip with one of many optional activities including tropical jungle hiking to spectacular waterfalls; Kayak and bird watch in the protected coastal lagoons with local expert naturalist guide and more

 

This trip suits those who wish to combine local flavor with their outdoor active adventure. Hiking through the countryside, we will experience a first hand view of Mexico’s rural life and the joys, threats and difficulties posed by farming in this area. The majority of the hiking takes place in rural settings offering plenty of diversity with peaceful hikes through valleys and forests. Accommodation throughout is clean, comfortable and welcoming – all of it having been chosen for its beautiful location and local charm.  


 

About Us

Journey Mexico specializes in crafting unique, authentic and unexpected travel experiences for the discerning and sophisticated traveler throughout the Mexican republic.Whether you would like to travel to Mexico to explore Mayan ruins, relax in a hacienda, visit islands in Baja’s Sea of Cortes, search for handicrafts in markets, or adventure in the Copper Canyon, we take great pride in sharing Mexico’s natural beauty & rich cultural heritage in the company of our warm and welcoming people.2016 Virtuoso Peer-to-Peer Award Winner - "Best Destination & Experiences - In-Country Partner

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Reviews and Recommendations for Journey Mexico

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Family Trip

By: Deni170


Reviewed on: 02 Jan 2014

Our family trip to RIU Tropical Bay in Negril, Jamaica was great. Staff was nice and food was good. 2 minor problems: tour desk asked for vouchers, so I gave them my travel sheets and the return transportation to the airport got messed up. Regardless, we enjoyed the trip.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Trevino
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Highly Recommended

By: Lisa


Reviewed on: 09 Feb 2014

We went back and forth several times with Journey Mexico planning our itinerary and were very pleased with their responsiveness and obvious knowledge of the Yucatan Peninsula. They put together a wonderful tour with highly professional and knowledgeable driver/guides, and the hotel recommendations were excellent. They also followed up while we were traveling to make sure everything was satisfactory. Would definitely use them again.
Travel Advisor:  Rebecca Falkenberry
Not Recommended

Journese is no bargain

By: Tom


Reviewed on: 17 Mar 2014

Booking any travel program with any company should mean care free fun with no worries with what can go wrong next with the itinerary.  We travel often but this is our first trip with Journese.  It will be our last. Journese is out of date beginning with their systems, product, and customer service reps that lack basic knowledge.
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Delightful trip

By: Ginger


Reviewed on: 17 Oct 2014

Trip was well planned and accommodation were excellent
Travel Advisor:  Bettie Lee

Great Customer Service

By: JJT


Reviewed on: 28 Oct 2014

Upon our arrival in Mexico, Journey Mexico made it an easy trip. They had one of their employees with a sign outside the airport that greeted us, grabbed our luggage, gave us a folder of info of our contacts for our trip, and took us to our private transfer (we only had to wait a few minutes for the transportation to arrive). We left the airport with Journey Mexico within 10 minutes from us walking out of the airport. We arrived to the resort 25-30 minutes later - very easy! We had a little hiccup with the resort about what package we would supposed to receive. There was a miscommunication between the resort reservations and Journey Mexico. The resort and Journey Mexico hashed it out. During that process, we were being updated from Journey Mexico and our resort. Journey Mexico even sent a bottle of champagne to our room for the confusion which was a nice touch. Their rep even take you through the entire check in process at the airport for departure. Great customer service all week!

Yucatan Journey

By: Magritte's Hat


Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2014

When I decided I wanted to visit Mexico for the first time, I spent hours online trying to plan a trip. Luckily, I came across an article recommending using travel advisors. Because I took that advice, I now have countless bad photographs and good memories of a trip to Mexico. Stacy was able to arrange a trip for me after a couple of phone calls and a few emails that was better than anything I could have done myself. I experienced the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Merida, explored Mayan ruins (culminating with the awesome ancient city of Chichen Itza), and spent a few relaxing days on a sugar-sanded beach in Tulum. My guide was terrific and the hotels were clean and comfortable without being impersonal and generic. The whole trip was great. After over a decade of staying close to home, I think I'm going to be hitting the road more often; and I'm sure I'll be using Stacy's services again.

Great Service

By: mh123


Reviewed on: 09 Jan 2015

Journey Mexico provided us with great guides and drivers. They were always on time and very pleasant.

attentive

By: kerri


Reviewed on: 09 Jun 2016

they were on top of the logistic details. Very easy.

San Miguel

By: Bob


Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2017

All was good,timely,courteous etc
Travel Advisor:  Kay Jones

Review Journey Mexico

By: DSL


Reviewed on: 22 Oct 2017

Journey Zmexico provided us with the best experience we could have wished for in the Copper Canyon. The logistics of the trip, including timing, transportation, lodging, food and guide services was outstanding. The only low point was the dining experience at the Best Western in Creel- the hotel was fine but the dinners were not to our liking and did not match the amazing food we had at all the other hotels. The high point was our guide Gustavo who was the most well informed and superb guide! We are so fortunate to have him as our tour guide-heads it a fabulous trip- forever grateful to him!
Travel Advisor:  Susan Morley

Puerto Aventuras

By: Rita


Reviewed on: 13 Jan 2018

Nice people. House was in good location. A few items not in good shape, but overall comfortable. Staff responded to our questions and needs.
Travel Advisor:  Susan Morley

True Campions of their Beautiful Country

By: Partridge Travels


Reviewed on: 16 Feb 2018

This was our second trip with Journey Mexico, and we were privileged to travel with the most wonderful guides! All of our drivers and guides have been professional, accommodating, knowledgeable, protective, and extremely well educated. I have heard and read so many negative stories about travel in Mexico, so the most important message I can convey to anyone considering travel with Journey Mexico is that I have never had to overthink my personal safety, and I have never felt as though I was in a place or situation that could be dangerous. Another great bonus about travel with their guides is that they know all the great places to eat (you will not get sick) and they are true gentlemen and will help you shop. Also, your Journey Mexico concierge (who is different from your guide), is a phone call away. Our concierge called us on our second night just to check in and see if we needed anything, which we didn't because our every need was already taken care of- they are first class!
Travel Advisor:  Whitney Shindelar

Luxury Interior Mexico

By: Kane


Reviewed on: 23 Mar 2018

Journey Mexico made our family of 4 Spring Break Trip to Interior Mexico a breeze. The drivers were all very professional and we felt completely safe with the adventure travel operators. It was the perfect mix of adventure family fun and luxury travel.
Travel Advisor:  Amanda Watkins

Perfect

By: KZB


Reviewed on: 24 Mar 2018

Our hotel was perfect and in a lovely location. Our guide Louis was well informed and friendly. Cesar our driver was prompt and showed up exactly where we needed him every time. I was very impressed with the skillful coordination of our trip.
Travel Advisor:  Misty Jones

Journey Mexico in Mexico City

By: TECIV


Reviewed on: 01 May 2018

Journey Mexico was very easy to work with and completely enhanced our trip to Mexico City. We had the same driver for both tours who was wonderful and our guide at the pyramids, Isaias, was extremely knowledgeable and really made the experience there. I cant imagine having done the pyramids without his insight and guidance. I would highly recommend Journey Mexico to any friends and family.
Travel Advisor:  Abby Michaud