A Step Out of Oaxaca

I decided to take a drive around to visit some of the sites suggested by my Airbnb host. On the list is Santa Ana del Valle – to see a popular church and the community, Benito Juarez – a national park with camping, hiking, and beautiful scenery high in the mountains, and close by is also Cuajimoloyas – an ecotourism spot with many sites and adventures. Along the way, I wanted to taste Mezcal and finally, to visit Santa Maria del Tule which boasts having the world’s biggest tree. The trip didn’t exactly go as planned.

Right away I should have known this day would not turn out as planned. But, I’ve never let that keep me from pushing forward.

Google Maps told me to make a left turn so I blindly obeyed. Head on to two lanes of bewildered locals quickly approaching. To their credit, they calmly waited as this obvious and oblivious turisto slowly got his little Nissan turned into the right direction.

Google’s next ploy to thwart my trip was to put me into what appeared to be a creek bottom that they called a road. I have to admit I kind of enjoy that sort of challenge and I made it to my destination. Only to find out it was closed. My visit to Templo de Santa Ana in Santa Ana de Valle would have to wait for another trip.

No worries though. I’d get some local food for brunch. Except the vendors were just starting to get set up for the day and I couldn’t find a single restaurant open. As I drove about that little town I drove onto a street with a man and his two oxen were walking. That’s not something you’ll see in the states.

I made a random turn into the small city of Tlacolula de Matamoros where I found a tiny vendor of tortas and tacos whose restaurant name is California Grill. After enjoying a chorizo torta I was back on the road to see a couple of popular ecotourism spots – Benito Juarez and Cuajimoloyas. They’re both high in the mountains slightly south and east of Oaxaca. The road up Av. B. Juarez located right off of State Hwy 190 is just a few miles north of where had lunch. It’s a long, windy road with beautiful views and a very unique forest ecosystem.

And it’s a good thing I enjoy taking random trips only to find out that neither of my destinations were open to the public. To be fair, Google Maps had indicated that they might be closed. I thought the drive was worth the risk. I was right.

My final stop for the day was in Santa Maria del Tule. The town that boasts having the world’s largest tree. No doubt, it’s big. WIde that is. Very wide. And I bet if you could see it, along with all of the other cool sites around it, that trip alone would be worth driving to for the day. But that was not the case for me and the dozens of others who came to this sweet little town. Covid regulations shut down another outdoor area. Oh well, there’s Mezcal to taste.

Kitty-corner or caddie corner? Who came up with those descriptions anyway? Alright, let me try again, very close to the big tree is a nice Mezcal bar that makes a mezcal-infused beer. And I enjoy beer. I had my first tastes of mezcal and enjoyed a quiet courtyard drinking mezcal beer before heading back out to venture around a bit in the town.

I watched people climb on top of the fence railing and duck under the huge canvas signs draping the fence struggling to get a picture. A few minutes into this a policeman or security guard approached me to advise me and just a couple others to mask up. I chose to leave.

I headed back to my Airbnb stay. Over seven hours had passed since I had left. I didn’t get to see the ancient ruins, walk on a suspension bridge, explore a cave, or even see one of the hundreds of beautiful churches in the area. But I had an excellent day. Free to travel, explore, and experience a new area.

Let me know if you loved the video and this little report of my not so fascinating day outside the city of Oaxaca by clapping a bunch of times.


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