Monte Alban is the premier archaeological site near Oaxaca.It is a Zapotec site built and used over a thousand year period . It remained sacred even after it was abandoned.

 One does not have to take a tour TO  Monte Alban, but when there, guides offer their services and it is not a bad idea to take a tour with one. These take from an hour to one and onehalf hours normally. Afterwards, you can always spend more time looking around. If you don't want a guide, and have a guidebook, it is perfectly acceptable to walk around on your own. But some guides are quite interesting just for their perspective .

You can take a taxi to Monte Alban, and arrange for them to return and pick you up, or you can take the bus from the hotel  Angel on Mina street for $38 pesos roundtrip. (The buses are not the same as the tours in an office nearby in the same hotel.) These buses have a set itinerary for when they will return (each ticket specifies a leaving and return time, you cannot use the ticket on another bus) but usually leave ample time to see Monte Alban and the museum, unless you really are up for hours and hours looking at the ruins.There are also collectivos available.

If you are inclined to drive yourself to Monte Alban, make sure to find the newer more direct route unless you are up for a thrill by driving the "old road" up the back side of the mountain!  This old route is doable but not for those who don't care for two way roads that are barely one full lane with some sizeable dropoffs.  Be prepared for backing up to wide spots when you meet an oncoming bus or truck.

  Although this is a large site, most everything there is to see is outside visible once you get to the top of the mountain. The museum on the site is nice although not huge, and there is also a gift shop and a restaurant/cafe in the same building. You can see some of the findings from the tombs on Monte Alban at the cultural Museum by Santo Domingo church. The views from Monte Alban are wonderful and the drive up the mountain also affords beautiful vistas of the countryside.

Monte Alban, Oaxaca