Perched between two lush valleys, which had inhabitants as far back as 2000 BC, is Monte Albán (meaning White Mountain). The top of the mountain was leveled and upon the mesa they created, the people here built a great city, the ruins of which you can see today. The views from this archaeological site are magnificent.
This archaeological center is a short trip outside of Oaxaca city and should ideally form part of your itinerary when you plan to travel in this part of Mexico.
Many artifacts and treasures found on Monte Albán can now be seen at the Museo de Oaxaca – connect to the guide to Oaxaca with Mexperience for more information about this.
Buses travel frequently to Monte Albán from the local bus station in Oaxaca city or, but to get the most from a visit, go on a guided tour.
Your experience of Monte Alban should start at La Gran Plaza (Great Plaza), which is about 60,000 square meters in size and marks the center of Monte Alban.
The Plataforma Norte (North Platform) is nearly as large as the Grand Plaza and is host to a ceremonial area, including an altar.
There are several tombs, most of which are closed, with the exception of Tomb No. 104 whose interior walls are painted with colorful frescoes.
Other attractions at Monte Alban include the Juego de Pelota (Ball Court), which is slightly different to the ball courts at other sites in the area; El Palacio (The Palace) with its patio at the top and the Plataforma Sur (South Platform) which features an attractive staircase and surrenders an excellent panoramic view of the main plaza.
By Air – The closest airport to Monte Alban is Oaxaca. For detailed information about flights and flying, see the Mexperience guide to Air Travel in Mexico.
By Car – Monte Alban is located less than 6 miles (10 km) southwest of Oaxaca. Take a road named “Trujano”, which leads out of town and onto the road to Monte Alban. Also see additional information about Driving in Mexico and Mexico’s Toll Roads on Mexperience.
By Bus – Regular local buses make the trip from Oaxaca to Monte Alban, all-day, every-day. Oaxaca is easily accessible by bus from all main cities in the region as well being a fast and efficient journey from Mexico City on a modern, tolled, highway. For detailed information about bus transportation read the Mexperience guide to Bus Travel in Mexico.
Opening Days & Times: Daily 8 am to 5 pm. Modest admission charges apply and there are concessions for students, children and seniors. On Sundays, admission is free for Mexican citizens and foreign residents (with proof of residency).
Photography & Video: A permit is required if you want to use a tripod to take photographs at the archaeological site. A small fee is made for the use of hand-held video equipment. Read the section on Mexperience Mexico Essentials about Video & Photography at archaeological sites in Mexico.
Ideal Clothing & Footwear: Wear comfortable walking/hiking shoes with a non-slip sole. Dress with light clothing that allows your skin to breathe.
Travel Insurance: We recommend that you are adequately covered with travel medical insurance and/or travel assistance insurance when you are visiting Mexico. Read the Mexperience guide to Travel Insurance in Mexico for full details and links to specialist insurance suppliers.
Major Cities: Mexico City (closest)
Monte Alban is hot and humid. Dress with light clothes that enable your skin to breathe. Bring sun screen, insect repellent and a hat. Take and drink plenty of water at all times.
Weather & Climates in Mexico
Learn more about the weather and climates through the seasons and regions by connecting to the Mexperience guide about Weather and Climates in Mexico
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