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Tours — Oaxaca City, Oaxaca

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Tours offer a convenient way of visiting a place, especially when pinched for time, by avoiding many of the inevitable hassles that come with self-organizing an excursion. What's more, many reputable outfits offer outings with a myriad of bents — cultural, archaeological, ecological, and outdoor adventure. In Oaxaca, guided tours go just about anywhere and do just about anything imaginable in the city, the valleys, the surrounding sierras, and all the way to the Pacific coast, lasting anywhere between half a day to several days.

Expect short half-day valley tours to cost around Mex$200 and longer full-day tours to cost around Mex$250-350. Typically, admission fees and meals, particularly when restaurants or cafés are readily available, are not included. Multi-day tours cost much more, depending on activities and length.

In general, when choosing a tour company, it's best to stick with an outfit specializing in one or two things; presumably, it'll do them well. If a company claims it can do many things, chances are it'll be mediocre at them all.

This listing of tour companies, although not complete, comes from recommendations by other travelers. In fact, word of mouth is the best way to determine if a tour is right for you — talk to other travelers, ask at the front desk, check with Spanish Language schools, or visit the tourist information office. Also, make sure to check the listings in this guide for tours in places of interest, since most do not have a presence in the city.

Furthermore, travel agents sometimes put together their own tours or can book them through tour companies. Lastly, consider hiring a private guide. Even though they cost more than tours, expenses can be shared with other travelers.

Academic Tours in Oaxaca   Tours     (E)
Located just over a mile north of the Zócalo in the Lomas del Crestón neighborhood, west of Colonia Reforma, Academic Tours specializes in putting together customized tours with a focus on the the state's cultural and historical heritage, including walking tours of the city's colonial center. Its website has detailed information on tours, lectures, and prices.

Continental-Istmo Tours   Tours     (F)
Runs all day valley tours (Mex$300) to the weaving village of Teotitlán, the Zapotec ruins at Mitla, and the Hierve el Agua mineral spring.

Ecoturixtlán   Outdoor Adventure Tours     (G)
Ecotourist cooperative run by the village of Ixtlan de Juarez in the Sierra Norte mountains. Activities and amenities include hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding along pine- and oak-forested trails; cabins with fireplaces; and a restaurant that serves traditional Oaxacan food. In Ixtlan de Juarez the office is at Av. 16 de Septiembre, corner of Revolución in front of city hall, 951-553-6075.

Rancho Buenavista   Outdoor Adventure Tours     (H)
From its headquarters, a ranch twenty minutes outside the city in full view of Monte Albán, Rancho Buenavista leads guided rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking outings in the valleys and Sierra Norte and to the Pacific coast, as well as mountaineering expeditions outside of the state to the summits of the Pico de Orizaba, La Malinche, and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes. A stay at the ranch is in itself a worthwhile experience, with comfortable cabañas (Mex$300, or pitch a tent for only Mex$50), nearby hiking trails, and interesting villages within walking distance. Their website has detailed information on outings and accommodations.

Tierraventura   Tours     (J)
Run by a multilingual German an Swiss couple, Tierraventura operates guided ecotours and workshops throughout the state focused on cultural exchanges, traditional medicines, ecological awareness, and hiking. Their website has detailed information on tours, workshops, and prices.

Turismo El Convento   Tours     (K)
Provides airport pickup service, half- and full-day tours of the city and the valleys, and private group tours. Drivers and guides who speak English, French, German, or Italian are available upon request.

Viajes Turisticos Mitla   Tours     (L)
Runs tours to many valley sites. Main office is at Hotel Rivera del Angel; satellite office at the Hostal Santa Rosa (Trujano 201, corner 20 de Noviembre, one block west of the Zócalo, 951-514-7800 or 951-514-7806). Notable is their inexpensive shuttle to Monte Albán, with multiple daily departures from the Hostal Santa Rosa, call 951-516-6175 or drop by to make reservation.

Oaxaca Tours   Tours     (M)
Offers a range of tours and services — walking the city, private car and driver around the valleys, and hiking in the Sierra Norte.

Viajes Xochitlán   Tours     (N)
Runs city and valleys tours, with guides available in English, French, Italian, German or Spanish. Their website has detailed information on tours.

Turismo Marqués del Valle   Tours     (P)
Runs tours to most sites in the valleys.

Cantera Tours   Tours     (O)
Runs tours to most sites in the valleys.

Bicicletas Pedro Martinez   Outdoor Adventure Tours, Bike Rental     (O)
Runs half- and full-day guided bike tours for all levels in the city and the valleys and multi-day trips to the sierras and the Pacific coast. Also runs guided hikes and mixed tours of hiking and biking. Costs vary, starting at Mex$430 for city bike tours and topping off at Mex$4250 (all inclusive) for the four-day trip to Puerto Escondido. All guided trips have a two person minimum. Bike rentals are available for Mex$120 per day, includes helmet, lock, tools, and map. The shop also sells new and used bikes, as well as a full line of accessories.

Zona Bici   Bike Tours, Bike Rental     (B)
Conducts half-day guided bike tours for all levels in the city and the valleys (Mex$330, all inclusive, two person minimum, reserve a day ahead, bring passport). Bike rentals are available for Mex$120 per day, includes helmet, lock, and tools. The shop also sells new and used bikes, as well as a full line of accessories.

Expediciones Sierra Norte   Outdoor Adventure Tours     (C)
Leads single- and multi-day guided biking and hiking tours for all levels in the pine- and oak-forested Sierra Madre de Oaxaca mountains.

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