How To Get To Monte Alban Without A Tour
A few days into our visit to Oaxaca, we knew we were going to be extending our stay - again. This has happened to us often here in Mexico because it doesn't take long to realize there is SO much to do in this country. One of the highlights in Oaxaca was our trip to Monte Alban and I think we enjoyed it so much because we decided to go on our own. So for those wondering how to get to Monte Alban without a tour, it's easy, affordable and today we're sharing all we know.
In the city, tours are advertised everywhere around the zocalo and are also very affordable. The tours are usually more of a transportation service to various of the top sites including the 'infinity' pools at Hierve el Agua. Even though there are tons of things to see and do in and around Oaxaca, a visit to the ruins in Monte Alban makes for a very enjoyable morning.
The cheapest tour we saw offered to Monte Alban was $180 pesos but then we found out admission to the site was not included in the price. That's what prompted us to find out how to get to Monte Alban without a tour so that we'd save money and be able to see the ruins at our own pace. Turned out to be a great decision because we arrived before the crowds and it felt like we had the place to ourselves!
Monte Alban - Getting There
There are a few different companies with transport service if you're looking to get to Monte Alban but we chose one closest to our hotel. On Francisco Javier Mina (just west of Diaz Ordaz) there is a small ticket office selling tours at a very reasonable price. The office is right in front of a hotel called Rivera del Angel and for a roundtrip bus we paid $55 pesos per person. The ride is about 30 minutes each way and the schedule for pick ups and drop offs at the time was:
The bus is nothing glamorous (no A/C) and the ride is pretty curvy for those that get motion sickness but the great views of the valley along the way were an unexpected surprise.
Monte Alban - Admission
As of late April 2016, admission to Monte Alban was $65 pesos per person. Entrance on Sundays is free if you are a Mexican resident. I had read online that an additional fee applies for cameras but we didn't notice anything posted at the booth and were able to walk in with our camera without paying extra. I think 2-3 hours would be a good time to set aside at the site for exploring the different platforms and buildings.
Before entering the site, we saw an alley of vendors set up selling all sorts of artisan crafts and souvenirs. Just past the ticket booth, you'll have access to clean washrooms (free of charge) and there is also a small cafeteria selling snacks and even beers.
Once you arrive at the site, you have the option of hiring a guide to walk you through the site and explain the history in more detail. We opted out because 1) we're on a budget and 2) information at the site platforms is posted in English as well. We were able to read facts as we went, enjoyed exploring the site at our own pace and practically had the place to ourselves!