Tule Tree (Arbol del Tule)
Thought to be as old as the nearby Mitla archaeological ruins, the Tule Tree is a Santa María del Tule landmark. Pose for photos alongside its massive trunk and search for the likenesses of everything from elephants and pineapples to lions and former Mexican presidents in the knots of its rugged bark.
Most organized visits to the Tule Tree—whether shared or private—are combined with stops at Mitla and Hierve el Agua, although some excursions also include visits to Teotitlán del Valle and local mezcal factories too. Visiting independently is also possible, although there’s little else to do in the town of Santa María del Tule itself.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Nature lovers won’t want to miss the opportunity to see the world’s oldest tree up close.
You can pay to enter the tree’s enclosure or marvel over the Tule Tree from behind the railings.
There are lots of nearby vendors and restaurants.
Plan to spend around half an hour at the Tule Tree.
Visiting the Tule Tree may be tricky for wheelchair users, due to exposed roots and uneven walkways.
How to Get There
Most visitors find it easiest to visit the Tule Tree as part of an organized excursion which includes other stops and round-trip transportation. However, independent travelers can drive east along Highway 190 or catch one of the many buses which depart daily for Santa María del Tule from Oaxaca City’s second-class bus terminal.
When to Get There
Visiting the Tule Tree is a year-round experience, although access to the gated church courtyard is typically only permitted from 9am to 6pm daily. One of the best times to visit the Árbol del Tule is on the second Monday in October, when locals host festivities in celebration of the Tule Tree.
While there’s little else to do in tranquil Santa María de Tule, the Tule Tree has plenty of nearby attractions. Perhaps the most popular are Hierve el Agua, a set of pools and petrified waterfalls, and the archaeological ruins of Mitla. However, craft lovers shouldn’t skip Teotitlán del Valle, a town recognized for its impressive textile work. Many excursions include stops at some or all the above.
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- Abastos Market (Central de Abastos)
- Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden (Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca)
- Oaxaca Culture Museum (Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca)
- Santo Domingo de Guzmán Church (Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán)
- Casa Crespo
- Benito Juárez Home (Casa de Benito Juárez)
- 20 de Noviembre Market (Mercado 20 de Noviembre)
- Cacaluta Bay (Bahia de Cacaluta)
- Benito Juarez Market (Mercado Benito Juarez)
- Teotitlán del Valle
- San Bartolo Coyotepec
- Tamayo Museum (Museo Tamayo)
- La Ventanilla
- Monte Albán
- Cascadas de Llano Grande (Llano Grande Waterfalls)