Oaxaca Prehistoric Cave Experience — Private Tour

We believe one of the best ways to connect with a place is through its history.

Journey with Where Sidewalks End to explore Oaxaca’s historic Mitla caves in the Central Valley. These caves, recognized by UNESCO in 2010, have preserved traces of plant domestication and depict 8,000+ years of history. With a knowledgeable guide from the Zapotec community, you’ll visit the caves and observe ancient rock paintings showcasing early life and celestial representations.

After the cave visit, you’ll have a delicious meal, sampling traditional Oaxacan dishes, including distinctive moles. The day will also include a visit to the Archeological site of Dainzu, and finally a visit to the world-famous 2000-year-old tree of El Tule, before concluding with a return trip to Oaxaca, letting you reflect on the region’s rich history and culture.

All bookings are private, so booking with friends works out more cost-effectively, as you share some expenses (such as guide, transport, etc). Discounts are auto-magically applied when you make your reservation.

Are you planning to be here for the Day Of The Dead? You may also be interested in our in-depth, interactive experience taking you deep into the culture, traditions, and practices of the Day Of The Dead in Oaxaca:
Book Your Oaxaca Day Of The Dead Experience here!

Make a Deposit to confirm today!
All booking deposits are in USD and must be made in advance so that we can prepare this experience for you. Your initial deposit covers some expenses payable in advance of your tours, such as your guide fees and other inclusions. Need to reschedule the date? With 2+ weeks’ notice, you may be able to without any rebooking fees! See Cancellations & Rebooking terms at the bottom of the page.

This tour requires a Local Payment in MXN
The Local Payment is a portion of your overall tour cost paid in Mexican Pesos on the morning of tour departure. It includes “on tour” expenses that cannot ordinarily be pre-paid such as money that goes directly to the local cave guides, and meals. It is an additional cost to the price of your tour when you make your deposit.

The Local Payment for this experience is 500 Mexican pesos per person (approximately $25 USD).


Oaxaca Prehistoric Cave Experience

Explore the Ancient Secrets of Oaxaca’s Caves, and visit Historic Ruins in the region 


Item Details
Meeting Point Your centrally located Oaxaca City hotel (you tell us your hotel after you reserve)
End Point Your centrally located Oaxaca City hotel
Duration Up to 6 hours (+/-)
Physical Level Moderate – this experience involves walking through uneven cave terrain
Cultural Rating High – a good balance of cultural interactions and local history
Ages 12+ (under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian/parent)
Group Size Private – Max 6 people per booking

Itinerary for visiting Oaxaca’s Prehistoric Caves

Venture into the heart of Oaxaca’s rich historical roots with Where Sidewalks End! The prehistoric caves of Mitla, in Oaxaca’s Central Valley, are globally recognized for their exceptional historical value. Conserving ancient evidence of plant domestication and a comprehensive range of plants crucial for human survival, these caves encapsulate 12,000 years of history. Recognized by UNESCO in 2010 as a site of World Heritage, the significance of these caves is unmatched.

Oaxaca Itinerary:

We’ll start the day by picking you up right from your hotel. We’ll then set out on a captivating drive through Oaxaca’s scenic landscapes in the Valle Centrales as you approach the ancient caves.

Discover Oaxaca’s Prehistoric Secrets: A Journey through Mitla Caves

Then, get ready to step back in time! Your journey will be led by a knowledgeable guide from the Zapotec community. As you wander through several prehistoric caves, you will be awed by rock paintings in shades of black, red, and white depicting animals, humans, and celestial bodies. Learn about the history of these caves, which house evidence suggesting that plant domestication occurred over 10,000 years ago – including maize, pumpkin, beans, and chili. You will dive deep into stories of past cultures as well as the cosmology of the current Zapotec community.

After the exploration, we’ll take you for an unforgettable culinary experience. You will try traditional Oaxacan dishes, including tasting unique moles such as huaxmole and pink mole.

Exploration of Ancient Empires at Dainzu Archaeological Site

The journey through time continues as we take you to the Dainzu Archaeological Site, where you’ll uncover the ruins of an ancient empire. Immerse yourself in the remnants of a civilization that once thrived in this very place, providing a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Visit El Tule: Witness the Evolution of Oaxaca’s History

Next, we’ll visit El Tule, where you’ll see a church that stands as a testament to the changes that swept through this land during the colonization of Mexico. You’ll also encounter a 2,000-year-old tree, which has witnessed and endured through all three stages of societal change. It’s a living symbol of resilience and continuity that has witnessed the passage of time and the transformation of civilizations.

This tour is the perfect choice for those who want to experience Oaxaca’s cultural and historical richness, indulge in traditional cuisine, and witness the enduring legacy of ancient civilizations.

Please note: There is not a Dress Code! You will be visiting some food vendors who are a bit more traditional, so dressing respectfully is appreciated. You don’t need to dress to impress – you will be getting your hands dirty (literally). It is recommended to just bring modest, comfortable clothes, and that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. A more detailed list of suggested clothing attire can be found below.

What to bring to the Sacred Prehistoric Cave Experience?

Though this could vary seasonally, this is the basic list of what we suggest you bring with you. Keep in mind that your transport is private and secure, so you can leave some items in the vehicle when not needed:
– Jeans or long pants (this is most customary in Mexico, though shorts/dress are fine if you are most comfortable in that).
– Sneakers/comfortable shoes appropriate for uneven terrain.
– Umbrella (for the rainy season, May-Nov)
– Sunblock.
– Hat/cap.
– Cash. Any local markets we visit do not accept credit cards if you want to buy any souvenirs during our excursion in Mitla, or El Tule. There is no pressure to buy anything.

What is included with the Sacred Prehistoric Cave Experience?

Your sacred experience includes:
– information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
– a specially trained and licensed English-speaking guide who will facilitate your experience
– translations and demonstrations with the local food vendors
– meals (alcoholic beverages are not included with the meals)
– a special small gift to take home with you

What is not included when on your Sacred Prehistoric Cave Experience?

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
– International flights
– Transportation (outside of the itinerary)
– Accommodation in Oaxaca
– Alcoholic beverages
– Gratuities and tips
– Spending money if you wish to purchase additional food, souvenirs, or items.

Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation

For every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% to an environmental or community-based project in the country you’re visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, supports and preserves the destination we’re experiencing together as a direct result. We live by an ethos of Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRIP).

For more information on the projects this experience supports, please visit our Mexico TRIP projects.

Cancellations & Rebooking

All tours, services, and experiences booked through WSE Travel are bound to our Terms and Conditions, which were modeled after most other travel services such as flights, hotels, and other tour operators.

Should you need to cancel or change your reservation for any reason (including but not limited to missed flights, illness, or change of mind), you will still be bound to the terms and conditions agreed to at the time of booking.

Should you give us more than 14 days notice of a change in your reservation, we can store your payment in the ‘safety deposit box’, to be used for a future travel date, either by you or transferred to a friend or family member. Refunds are not available unless your reservation is canceled by WSE Travel for circumstances outside of our control.

Should you give us less than 14 days’ notice of a change in your reservation, a rebooking fee will be imposed. We do try to be flexible for our guests, but not at the sacrifice of the livelihoods of all locals hired for your private experiences. As these are private experiences, your guide and any other local service provider block their days off from other work to accommodate your reservation, and may not be able to fill that day again in the event of cancellation.

To be fair and responsible to them and their reliance on your reservation’s promised work, your guide will still be paid for your reservation. As such, last-minute cancellations or changes within 2 weeks of departure will be subject to a rebooking fee of the online deposit, to re-hire a guide for your future travel date.

This flexibility is a bend in our Terms and Conditions to try to be fair both to our guests, as well as the locals hired to facilitate your reservation. If you feel there is a high chance of cancellations or changes, please make sure you buy appropriate travel insurance that will reimburse you for cancellations of things such as flights, hotels, and tours.


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