I didn’t have a lot of time to visit tourist attractions in Oaxaca so I didn’t want to waste the time on tours going to things I didn’t want to see. I found it to be super simple to get to Hierve El Agua and to Monte Alban so if you’re interested in going to those places without a tour, I’ve written this post for you.
To get to Hierve El Agua: first, I recommend that you try to go here early (around 9-10am), especially on the weekend, as it can get crowded and really hot in the afternoon. Take any bus going to Mitla; there are bus stops basically every two blocks on the giant boulevard connecting Chedraui in the southern part of Oaxaca and Eduardo Vasconselos stadium. I prefer the very safe big buses to colectivos but if you need to save a few minutes, the colectivos will be much faster. If you take a colectivo, try to sit in the back so that you are not stuck for the 40 minute ride sharing the passenger seat in the front. Get off in Mitla at the town center (if you’re not sure where that is, tell the bus driver that you want to go to Hierve El Agua) and look for the pick up trucks with “Hierve El Agua” painted on them. They require six passengers to leave but it fills up fairly fast and you can buy an extra seat if you want to make them leave faster. That’s it. If you’re interested in ruins, you can stop in Mitla on the way back, it’s a 10 peso mototaxi ride from where the pickup trucks stop to the ruins. If you take the bus, the Thule tree and a mezcaleria (at the Teotitlan stop), are stops on the bus so you can hop on and off as you like. The total roundtrip cost to get to Hierve El Agua is 40 pesos (bus) + 100 pesos (pickup truck) + 25 pesos (entrance fee). Pretty cheap for these views!
To get to Monte Alban: take the shuttle from Hotel Rivera Angel. You buy tickets inside the hotel lobby at Lescas. They have shuttles every hour from 8:30am to 3:30pm. I would recommend 2 hrs here. You don’t have to buy anything in advance. Total roundtrip cost is 50 pesos (shuttle) + 70 pesos (bus). I definitely recommend this, Monte Alban was much bigger than I expected and also very empty.