Tlacolula de Matamoros, Santa María el Tule & Teotitlán del ValleRene Cabrera
TLACOLULA DE MATAMOROS is a city and municipality in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, about 20 miles from Oaxaca City on the Federal Highway 190, which leads east to Mitla and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. It is part of the Tlacolula District in the east of the Central Valley Region.
The city is the main commercial center of the Tlacolula Valley, and is best known for its weekly open air market held on Sundays. This market is one of the oldest, largest and busiest in Oaxaca, mostly selling food products and other necessities for the many rural people who come into town on this day to shop. The city is also home to a 16th-century Dominican church. Its chapel, “La Capilla del Señor de Tlacolula”, is known for its Baroque ornate decoration and a crucifix to which many miracles have been ascribed.
SANTA MARÍA EL TULE has a giant tree located on church grounds in the town center of Santa María del Tule in the state of Oaxaca, approximately 6.5 miles southeast of Oaxaca City on the Pan-American Highway 190. The giant tree is a Montezuma cypress (Taxodium Mucronatum) or Ahuehuete (meaning “old man of the water” in Nahuatl). It has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world. The age is unknown, but it is at least 2000 years old. It is the biggest in the world because the circumference of the trunk is 190 feet. El Tule is 137 feet high and weighs 636 tons.
TEOTITLÁN DEL VALLE is a small village and municipality located in the Tlacolula District in the east of the Central Valley Region, 16 miles southeast of Oaxaca City on the foot of the Sierra Norte. It is known for its textiles, especially rugs, which are hand-woven on looms with pedals, from wool obtained from local sheep and dyed mainly with natural dyes. They combine Zapotec designs with contemporary designs, such as reproductions of famous artists’ work. The name Teotitlán comes from the Nahuatl language and means “land of the gods.” Its Zapotec name is Xaguixe, which means “at the foot of the mountain.” Established in 1465, it was one of the first villages founded by Zapotec peoples in this area and retains its Zapotec culture and language.
We will meet at Casa de las Bugambilias B&B or at the front desk of your hotel, from where we will drive 20 miles southeast on the Pan-American Highway 190 to the municipality of Tlacolula de Matamoros to visit the market and the chapel of the “Lord of Tlacolula”. The Tlacolula Sunday market is awash with fantastic food, colorful artisans, plants, dried chilies, seeds, famous local products like barbacoa, pan de yema bread, and forged iron works and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Many people from the surrounding villages come here to buy and sell on Sundays, most wearing their traditional clothing.
After the market tour in Tlacolula we will drive 15 minutes on the same highway to Teotitlán del Valle. Here we will visit the workshop of Jacobo Mendoza Ruiz, a descendant of a large family of famous Zapotec weavers. Together with his wife María Luisa Vásquez, they gather plants to prepare the natural dyes for their rugs. We will see a full demonstration of natural dying and weaving and at the end you will have the opportunity to buy masterpieces, made with fine wool and natural dyes.
After the demonstration, we will have lunch in a Zapotec restaurant called Tlamanalli, owned by Abigail Mendoza Ruiz, to taste Prehispanic food. Abigail Mendoza Ruiz is the world’s most famous Zapotec chef. She wants to preserve Zapotec customs while showing that it’s not merely an ancient cuisine. She has done exactly this for nearly 27 years with her restaurant. After lunch, we will visit the biggest tree in the world, the giant tree of Santa María el “Tule”, which is 15 minute-drive from Teotitlán del Valle.
All the customers lodged in downtown Oaxaca will be picked up at the front desk of their hotel or at any other place in downtown Oaxaca.
We will establish a meeting point by telephone or email for travelers residing outside the city.
All tours normally end at the starting point, but this can be changed to another place in downtown Oaxaca if the customer prefers.
8 hours. Weather and traffic conditions might affect the length of the tour.
VW Transporter Mod. 2014 with A/C, liability insurance, purified water and driver.
The service includes transportation, an English-speaking tour guide and soft drinks.
Admission fees ($10 pesos per person at the giant tree of El Tule).
5-course menu at the Tlamanalli Restaurant: $520 pesos per person (does not include drinks).
We recommend you bring walking shoes, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses and a camera.
1-2 persons: $100 USD per person
3-5 persons: $75 USD per person
6-9 persons: $50 USD per person