Grounds surrounding El Arbol del Tule
I spent two weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico this summer and, while it’s only been three months since I was there, I’m already excited to visit again. When I came back from Mexico I wrote about my food experiences, but I also traveled throughout the state and enjoyed much more of what Oaxaca has to offer beyond food. One day we traveled by bus to five different locations: El Tule, a mezcal refinery, learned about natural dyes and textile weaving, Mitla, and Hierve el Agua. Every sight was unique, beautiful, and extremely informative, so I’ll write about each visit separately.
El Arbol del Tule (The Tree of Tule) is a huge and very old cypress tree with a circumference of over 100 feet. The actual footage is debated because, as you can see from the pictures below, the trunk has many intricacies that make it difficult to measure, but it’s roughly 120 feet around. What about the Giant Sequoia trees in California, you might ask? I know, I thought those were the largest too, but turns out they are the largest in total volume (Sequoias are very tall), while El Tule is the largest in circumference. The size of the tree impressed me, but what I find to be even more fascinating is its age: this living tree is between 1,500 and 2,000 years old!
Arriving at El Tule, we paid the entrance fee for a few pesos and were assigned to our guide – a boy wearing an official t-shirt and carrying a small mirror. Using the mirror, the kids point out images in the tree’s trunk, such as animals and people. We saw around 30 images in the tree.
See the sun reflecting from girl’s mirror onto the tree?
This is a small portion of the tree – it’s huge!
The whole tree.
Surrounding the tree is the community of Santa Maria del Tule, along with items for tourists to purchase such as souvenirs, food, mezcal, and sweets. This was our first stop on a day-long tour, so we moved on after viewing the tree and taking a few pictures in the beautiful area surrounding it (see top image), but it would be great to spend some time in the town as well.
El Tule, Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico (a short drive from the city of Oaxaca)