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San José El Mogote, Oaxaca


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From Oaxaca City colectivos (MX$12), displaying El Mogote on the front windows, depart frequently for San José El Mogote from the sitio on Trujano, west of Periférico Sur and north of the Abastos market. Alternatively, buses leave frequently from the Central, the second-class bus station, north of the Abastos market. Tell the colectivo or bus driver you're going to the museum and they'll drop you off on the side of the highway in front of the bus stop, a crude concrete structure with a sign for the museum on top. From there, walk down the main road into town for about 250 meters, passing almost immediately a partially excavated mogote on your right. The museum, marked by a small sign, will be on your left, just past the school.

Housed in the colonial-era hacienda, the museum (MX$20) is opened daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Sundays. Odds are, though, it'll be locked up tight, so you'll have to find a caretaker with a key. Apparently, there are four such persons, all members of a committee. Start with Norma, a member of said committee, who lives in the yellow house with a Spanish tiled roof across the street from the school. If you can't find her, start asking folks on the street near the museum and eventually someone will lead to to a person with a key.

In all, there are eight mogotes, or mounds, scattered about the pueblo, only one of which has been extensively excavated, the rest only partially so or not at all. The extensively excavated mogote is easy to find. Heading back towards the highway along the main road, just past the school, turn right at the first street. From there, you can see the northwest corner of the mogote. When exploring the mogote, try not to disturb the goats and burros staked out on the sides of it, they're minding their own business and just trying to graze on the tall grass. If you want to explore some or all of the other seven mogotes, a caretaker might be able to arrange a guide for you.
To return to the city, head back to the bus stop at the crossing with the highway and flag down a bus or colectivo. One should be along soon.

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