Mexico: Ancient Trails & Ancestral Cuisine of Oaxaca

Oaxaca rests in a high desert valley at the base of the ancient Sierra Norte Mountains, making it the perfect hub for our ‘foodie-trek’. Join us as we kick off our extraordinary adventure where we explore profound trails and tastes. The art, culture, food and mountain pathways have made this quaint World Heritage Site famous amongst foodies but remains a somewhat less known destination in the trekking community.

Our itinerary takes us into the Sierra Norte mountain range and along the famous Camino Real trailway. You will feel history running through your veins as you explore these ancient footpaths. Come ready to taste complex ancestral cuisine, embark on timeworn footpaths and connect authentically with the people of Oaxaca.

Trip Highlights

  • A hiking adventure mixed with famous food of Oaxaca
  • Multi-day village to village hiking in the remote Sierra Norte mountains
  • Explore one of the most famous trails, the Camino Real, in Sierra Norte
  • Visit Hierve el Agua; the famous petrified waterfalls of Oaxaca

Trip Summary

Activity Level
Trip Type
Contact Us Book Now


Day 1
Arrive Oaxaca City

Welcome to the magical city of Oaxaca! The city's vibrant culture shines through with a laid-back, artistic ambience and charming inner city protected by Unesco World Hertitage site status.

Difficulty: Easy
Day 2
City Tour: Let the Foodie-Trek Commence!

Oaxaca is a magical city, with charming cobblestone streets, ubiquitous street art, vibrant colors and amazing architecture. And then there's the food: The passion for good food runs intrinsicly through the veins of native Oaxaquenos so finding amazing food is relatively easy! We will visit three neighbourhoods of the city taking in art workshops and the plentiful street art that adorns much of inner Oaxaca and stopping throughout to sample different dishes.

Day 3
Sierra Norte: Teotitlan to Benito Juarez

This morning we will wake early to take advantage of breakfast cooked by a local family before embarking on our journey into the Sierra Norte. The locals have made it a priority to keep their ancestors' recipes alive, and this is why the food in the town is renowned to be one of the most authentic of the Oaxacan territory. Teotitlán is a small village located 31 km east from Oaxaca City. Our trek begins after breakfast, and today's ascent will be our gateway into the Sierra Norte. Local guides will take you into the woods and through villages while sharing their knowledge of the communal land, the stunning biodiversity of flora and fauna, and the history of the region. Today is no easy day, we will wind our way steadily up gaining more than 4,000ft as we follow the ridgelines to the top of the valley. The culmination of our hike today is an outsanding hanging bridge that takes you to to the viewpoint Benito Juarez Mirador

Day 4
Sierra Norte: Cuajimoloyas to Latuvi

Our hike today takes us up a gorgeous high point at Puente Colgante which overlooks the Sierra Madres. Today's hike will also be strenuous as it will be one of the longer treks of the itinerary, although markedly less elevation gain. We are now fully inside the forest walking from village to village. We start on dirt roads out of Cuajimoloyas, and continue over a high ridge through a moss forest up to a view point. From here we descend to a river at the valley floor then continue back up.

Day 5
Sierra Norte: Camino Real to Lachatao

Today we trek the Camino Real, an 11 mile hike along an ancient trail, which connects two communities located in these beautiful mountains. In pre-Hispanic times, Mesoamerica was a spider web of interlinking trade routes, and one of these routes connected the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, via Oaxaca. We start off on a bigger road which transitions into a scenic trail that follows along a mountain river where we stop for a cooling plunge. We continue through a forest of mossy, bromelia-filled trees. The hike ends at Lachatao, where you will encounter new friends as we share a lovely sunset dinner on a local church patio.

Day 6
Sierra Norte: Cerro del Jaguar and Lachatao

We will take a brief morning hike to the Cerro del Jaguar ( Jaguar Mountain), a sacred Zapotec site with a 360 degree view of the Sierra; here we will learn about the history of this sacred site. The village center boasts a museum - with local history and archeological artifacts. Sip a coffee from the upper floors of the municipal building with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains; or choose to visit the botanical garden with local medicinal plants. Overall, the attention to visual aesthetics is evident throughout the village.

Day 7
Rest Day: Mitla

We will have a leisurely breakfast this morning before our transfer down to the town of Mitla. Mitla is a vibrant small town about 25 miles outside Oaxaca. Today is a rest day and can be spent relaxing, exploring some local caves, or visiting one of the best-preserved archeological sites in the region.

Day 8
Hierve el Agua and La Salina Waterfalls

We depart this morning at the break of dawn to discover Hierve el Agua in all its majesty. Hierve el Agua is a petrified waterfalls and, in this sense, is quite remarkable. Wonder around, meditate, take panoramic pictures, relax, swim. In the late morning, we begin our 3 mile hike down the valley to a small, secret waterfall. On descent we will catch a glimpse of our final, culminating hike- Neuve Puntas. Our hike takes us through rough terrain, mostly downhill.

Day 9
Nueve Puntas- Celebratory Barbeque Lunch at Mezcal Distillery

Today we culminate our trek with the most profound of hikes this itinerary has to offer- Nueve Puntas. This prominent 9-pointed cliff rises distinctly from the valley floor and will challenge your physical and mental fortitude. This lesser-known hike is off the beaten path and, therefore we should have the trail to ourselves today. Nueve Puntas "9 Points" is a mountain rising high above the valley floor that forms the ridge of the valley to the east of Oaxaca, indeed it is the tallest and most identifying part of the watershed ridge. The opposite side of Nueve Puntas is an impressive excarpment with a 500-meter drop-off. We start by walking through agave farms and continue upwards as our trail grows ever more steep. We begin to conquer one rolling summit after another and eventually glimpse a few pre-hispanic ruins nestled up top. We descend to the valley floor and celebrate with a pit barbecue at a remote palenque (mezcal distillery). We will sample artisanal mezcal along with locally cooked barbacoa prepared by the local family who owns the distillery.

Day 10
Free Day

Today you are free to explore town. Some options include Etla Arts Center, botanical gardens, a ceramics workshop, a cooking class or a city bike ride. Tonight we will have our final group dinner at farm-to-table restaurant.

Day 11

We transfer you to your international flight departure.

Dates & Pricing


Double Occupancy
  • Oct 7
    Oct 17
    $2675 USD

Above Costs Include:

  • All international airport transfers as per the program by private vehicle
  • Private transport while on trek
  • 3 nights accomodations in Oaxaca 2 nights in Mitla & breakfasts while at the hotel
  • City tour in Oaxaca
  • All entrance fees
  • All meals and accommodations while on trek
  • Accommodation, meals, insurance, equipment, transportation and allowances of guides
  • All applicable government taxes

Cost Does Not Include:

  • Any meals not specified in the itinerary
  • International and domestic airfare
  • Bottled drinks (mineral water, any cold drinks, and alcoholic drinks).
  • Supplemental insurance coverage
  • Expenses of personal nature (tips for guide, porter and driver, laundry, bar bill, telephone calls etc.)
  • Liability for expenses against sickness, flight can- cellation, road blockage, accidents and other occurrence beyond our control

Book Oaxaca


Embark Exploration Co. logo

Let's book this trip!

Plan Your Adventure