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Back to Oaxaca: Hoofing It, Dainzú to Tlacochahuaya


My new best friend.  The picture that followed was the top of his head
as he took the opportunity to nuzzle a stranger on the road.

From last week: “From November until March, high season in Mexico, an organization, ‘Hoofing It In Oaxaca’, has made it their business to provide winter visitors with introductions to countryside and villages outside the city in the form of guided hikes along unpaved roads through farming valleys to the area’s distinctive rural towns.”

This week’s walk began 16 miles from the city at the partially excavated and restored ruins of the ancient Zapotec site of Dainzú (Hill of the Cactus, Danni/hill and zu/cactus). Building began at Dainzú around 700 B.C. and was occupied for 1000 years. The resident caretaker explained the significance of all we were seeing...


...including sculptured reliefs that decorate a wall, now protected by a roof, showing figures engaged in the sacred Ball Game, played all over Mesoamerica in honor of their ball-playing gods. The bas-reliefs overlook the handsome ball court below with views across the valley from the hillside.

Hoofing2-3Hoofing2-4Hoofing2-5Hoofing2-6Hoofing2-7Our ultimate destination in the distance, the Templo
de San Jerónimo in the village of Tlacochahuaya


We walked through the desert landscape along a narrow dirt road, then as we got closer to Tlacochahuaya, past surrounding farms.

Coming into the tidy town it must have just been the time of day, awfully quiet. A few lonely sellers at the community market and the corner store was open for us to buy drinks, but that was about it.

The main attraction, the reason we were here, is the beautifully painted interior of the 16th century church, the Templo de San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya, and the door was open.


We ate the sack lunches we’d been told to bring in the park across the road and lingered a bit until it was time to board our chariots for the ride back to the city. It had been a very pleasant day.



Learn more about the Mesoamerican Ball Game:


For more information & the coming season’s schedule
visit the ‘Hoofing It In Oaxaca’ website:


Next week’s walk includes a WILD celebration of
Shrove Tuesday in the village of Tilcajete.




PortMoresby's first trip to Oaxaca, Anatomy of a Trip.


To read others of PortMoresby’s contributions, click here.




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