UNESCO World Heritage site Monte Alban is stunning. You don’t see the huge pyramids as you see in other parts of Mexico, or intricately carved buildings and statues. Most of the site is really just ruins. But Monte Alban sits on top of a hill, in fact it was literally carved out of the mountain when it was built. From here you have a view of everything that surrounds it which makes it an extremely tranquil space.
Monte Alban was inhabited for a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples – Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs. Many beautiful treasures were found at this site but all have been moved to various museums including the State Museum of Oaxaca and the Anthpology Museum in Mexico City.
We arrived around 9.30am and there were very few tourists. We were accompanied through by probably 200 local school kids, all wearing the same black, red and white jogging suit uniform. Many of them wanted to take pictures of themselves with all the tourists that they met and since there weren’t a lot of tourists we found ourselves dodging selfies.
The walk around the site took longer than we thought and we enjoyed all of it. The ruins are interesting and there is information written throughout about what you are looking at. There are some beautiful views from different parts of the area and it is easy to walk around.
At the entrance where you buy your ticket is a museum with some extra artifacts collected from around the site. In a corner, very easy to miss, is a door that leads to a gorgeous little café. It was completely empty when we finally made it there, which was not surprising because it isn’t obvious at all. The terrace is covered in large cast iron tables painted white, with views of the hills surrounding Oaxaca.
My hot chocolate was great, traditionally prepared, and it had some really good froth. I expect that now that I now that everyone knows how to prepare a proper hot chocolate. You need to use your molinillo to mix everything together well and get those bubbles on top. The bubbles make all the difference. Really they do.
Verdict: Highly recommend this as part of your visit to Monte Alban. Visit early and then when it starts getting hot (there is very little shade here) finish off at the café which is shady and quite beautiful. Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico