Dozens of Oaxaca City operators lead half- and full-day city tours or trips to outlying market villages, half-day excursions to Monte Albán, and full-day journeys to Mitla.

Hiking and mountain-biking excursions are popular, as are treks to waterfalls and soaks in hot springs. More adventurous (and fitter) travelers can explore the remote mountain villages of the Mixteca and Sierra Norte, camping or staying in simple cabins.

Bicicletas Pedro Martínez leads hiking and biking tours in the Central Valley or Puerto Escondido. Custom tours are available, too. A two-person four- to six-hour tour costs about $75; with more people, the per-person price drops. Aldama 418, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, 68000. 951/514–5935.

Expediciones Sierra Norte has one- to five-day hiking and biking trips into the Central Valley and the Sierra Norte. You either camp or stay in simple cabins. Costs start at $48 for one-day excursions. Calle M. Bravo 210, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, 68000. 951/514–8271.

TierrAventura has everything from one-day trips to local villages ($65 to $90) to four-day excursions to the coast ($330 to $400). Expect to see some villages far off the beaten path. Calle Abasolo 217, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, 68000. 951/501–1363.

Turismo El Convento De Oaxaca operates out of the Camino Real hotel and gives reliable tours with English speaking guides. Four-hour Monte Albán trips cost $18; eight-hour outings include trips to other sites and cost $30. Half-day trips to Mitla also visit El Tule and Teotitlán and cost $18. Excursions to area villages and markets can also be arranged. Rates include transport to and from the Camino Real or other Oaxaca City hotels. Calle 5 de Mayo 300, Oaxaca, 68000. 951/516–5791.