About 14 km (9 miles) east of Oaxaca on Carretera 190, the hamlet of Santa María del Tule is known for El Tule, the huge cypress tree that towers over the lovely colonial-era church behind it. Thought to be more than 2,000 years old, it's one of the world's largest trees, with roots buried more than 60 feet in the ground and a canopy arcing some 140 feet high. It has an estimated weight of nearly 640,000 tons; it would take 35 adults to embrace the trunk. In front of
the church is a pleasant garden with animal-shape topiaries. There's a nominal fee to enter the grounds. At informal outdoor eateries in the tree's shadow, local ladies tend large griddles, serving atole (a nutritious drink of ground cornmeal or rice), soups, and snacks.
Santa María del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico