Guiengola, Oaxaca, Mexico – Exploring an Abandoned Archaeological Site

Guiengola is an archeological site a half hour north of Salina Cruz in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. This is an adventure I randomly found while looking at maps on the internet. I don’t know anyone who has done this hike in the past and I couldn’t find any information about it outside the map on Google.

This was my favorite hike that I’ve done in Mexico. I especially like this hike because it’s abandoned. Mont Alban is an archaeological site like this. It’s very interesting, but very well known. At Mont Alban you will have many people selling you things and there are crowd controls which constrict your experience. This hike is not like that. It’s an abandoned archeological site. We didn’t see a single person while on the hike.

If you like that sort of thing and you’re in Oaxaca, you might want to give this adventure a try.

The view from the top of Guiengola

How to Hike to Guiengola

In order to get to the trailhead, we rented a car and drove down a moderately long dirt road. The car we rented was At the time of writing this, the internet maps did not show the actual last section of the road to get there.

You want to drive up that road until you get to the end. The end looks like this:

start of the hike to guiengola

Above you can see the parking lot in the center and the trail head is on the far right.

Hike Details:

  • Hike distance = 3 miles
  • Elevation gain = 700ft
  • Difficulty is easy

It’s a good idea to go in the evening because this area of Mexico is especially hot. I sweated on this hike like a waterfall.

Thoughts on Exploring Guiengola

These archaeological sites are so old that no one really knows when they were built. It’s unlikely that there are people who could explain just exactly what these structures are for or what the people who lived in them actually did.

As I walk around this area, my appreciation for the shortness of human life is enhanced. Many of the structures could have once had large palapas or interesting wood work adorning the structures… but we don’t know. Everything turns to dust and in 2000 years. If you want to build something that will last a few thousand years, your best bet is to build a wall out of rocks.

2 Replies to “Guiengola, Oaxaca, Mexico – Exploring an Abandoned Archaeological Site”

  1. Thank you for your pictures of Guiengola. My father visited the site in the early 1960s when he was translating the New Testament for the Huave people there in the Ismus of Tehuantepec. When he was there it was an all day hike – no roads near the site. There were still pottery pieces and figurines just laying on the ground. Much later an archaeological excavation was done of that site. That was when the road you took was built. However, it appears from your video that no maintenance work is being done and things are once again eroding away.

    Tim Stairs

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