Discover Mexico’s hidden gem: Oaxaca. Located in southeastern Mexico, this charming city awaits you with its rich history, cultural charm and breathtaking scenery. Get ready to explore Oaxaca, the perfect destination for your next dream getaway!
History of Oaxaca
Oaxaca has a fascinating and diverse history dating back many centuries. It was inhabited by various indigenous groups, such as the Zapotec and Mixtec, who left a lasting impression on the region. During colonial times, Oaxaca was conquered and colonized by the Spanish, leading to the emergence of the city of Oaxaca de Juárez. The region also played a crucial role in Mexico’s struggle for independence. To this day, Oaxaca retains its rich cultural diversity, historical heritage and vibrant indigenous traditions. Exploring Oaxaca is like stepping through a window into the past and experiencing the authentic essence of Mexican culture.
Top 10 things to do in Oaxaca City
1. Dive into colonial grandeur:
Explore the historic streets of Oaxaca’s city center, filled with architectural gems like the Santo Domingo Church and the Government Palace.
2. Taste the authentic flavors:
Indulge in a culinary adventure at the bustling Benito Juárez Market, where you can savor traditional dishes like tlayudas and sample local delicacies.
3. Unveil the secrets of mezcal:
Take a tour of a mezcal distillery in Santiago Matatlán, known as the “World Capital of Mezcal,” and learn about the production process while enjoying tastings.
4. Explore ancient ruins:
Visit the archaeological site of Monte Albán, once the capital of the Zapotec civilization, and marvel at its impressive pyramids and ancient ball court.
5. Embark on a textile adventure:
Head to the village of Teotitlán del Valle, famous for its traditional textile weaving. Visit local workshops to witness the intricate craftsmanship and learn about the natural dyeing techniques.
6. Immerse yourself in indigenous cultures:
Attend the Guelaguetza, a colorful festival celebrating Oaxaca’s indigenous cultures, held annually in July. Experience traditional music, dance, and regional costumes.
7. Wander through vibrant markets:
Explore the Mercado 20 de Noviembre and Mercado Benito Juárez, where you can find a wide variety of local produce, spices, handicrafts, and traditional ingredients for Oaxacan cuisine.
8. Embrace the artistic spirit:
Visit the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art to admire a collection of ancient artifacts, or explore the vibrant street art scene in the neighborhood of Xochimilco.
9. Enjoy the rhythm of traditional music and dance:
Attend a performance at the Macedonio Alcalá Theater, where you can witness live music and dance showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Oaxaca.
10. Connect with nature:
Take a day trip to Hierve el Agua, a natural wonder featuring petrified waterfalls and mineral-rich pools. Enjoy a refreshing swim while taking in the breathtaking mountain views.
In Oaxaca, every corner is an opportunity to immerse yourself in history, art, gastronomy, and natural beauty. Let the charm of this colonial city captivate your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories.
Food and beverages from Oaxaca
The food and beverages of Oaxaca are a true delight for the senses. In this region of Mexico, the culinary tradition is abundant and offers a wide variety of authentic and flavorful dishes. Here are some of the highlights of Oaxacan cuisine:
- Mole: Oaxacan mole is a thick and complex sauce that combines chilies, spices, chocolate, and other ingredients. There are different varieties, such as mole negro, rojo, and coloradito, each with its own distinctive flavor.
- Tlayudas: Tlayudas are giant and crispy tortillas topped with beans, grilled meat, quesillo cheese, avocado, tomato, and salsa. They are an iconic dish of Oaxaca that you must try.
- Chapulines: For the more adventurous eaters, chapulines are fried grasshoppers seasoned with salt, lime, and chili. They are considered a regional delicacy and a source of protein.
- Quesillo: Quesillo is a fresh cheese characteristic of Oaxaca, with a smooth and elastic texture. It is used in dishes like tlayudas and empanadas.
- Mezcal: Oaxaca is known for its production of mezcal, a distilled alcoholic beverage made from agave. Mezcal has a wide range of flavors and is enjoyed straight or in cocktails.
In addition to these iconic dishes, Oaxaca also offers delicious tamales, tasajo (grilled beef), tejate (a traditional corn and cacao drink), Oaxacan chocolate, and pan de yema (egg yolk bread), among other culinary delights.
What is the best time to visit Oaxaca?
The best time to visit Oaxaca depends on your preferences and desired activities. In general, the period from October to April is ideal due to pleasant weather and less rainfall. During these months, you can enjoy important cultural festivals like Guelaguetza and Day of the Dead. If you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting from May to September, although there will be more rainfall. The choice depends on your preferences and availability. Discover the charm of Oaxaca at the perfect time for you!
Is Oaxaca safe to travel?
Traveling to Oaxaca is generally safe, but it’s important to take basic precautions. Keep your belongings secure, avoid dangerous areas, and follow local guidance. Stay informed about safety updates before traveling. Oaxaca offers exceptional culture, beauty, and hospitality.
Museums and Art
- Museum of Oaxacan Cultures: Explore a treasure trove of pre-Hispanic artifacts and exhibits that will immerse you in the fascinating history and culture of Oaxaca.
- Oaxaca Museum of Contemporary Art (MACO): Dive into the vibrant world of contemporary art through exciting exhibitions that will challenge and inspire you.
- Textile Museum of Oaxaca: Discover the magic of Oaxacan textiles, from ancient weavings to innovative creations today, and be captivated by their beauty and craftsmanship.
- Manuel Álvarez Bravo Photographic Center: Capture memorable moments in this center dedicated to photography, where you’ll find captivating exhibitions and opportunities to explore your own photographic talent.
- Oaxaca House of Culture: Immerse yourself in the world of art and culture in this space filled with exciting activities, from art exhibitions to concerts and interactive workshops.
- Oaxaca Institute of Graphic Arts (IAGO): Uncover the art of printmaking and lithography in this institute that offers captivating exhibitions and opportunities to learn and create graphic art.
- Museum of Oaxacan Painters (MUPO): Admire the creations of talented local artists in this museum that celebrates the richness and diversity of Oaxacan art.
- Rufino Tamayo Museum: Explore the works of the renowned Oaxacan painter Rufino Tamayo and dive into his artistic world full of bold colors and expressions.
Calendar of local events
|Day of the Dead||November 1st and 2nd|
|Night of the Radishes||December 23rd|
|Oaxaca Film Fest||October|
|Festival of Moles||October|
|Oaxaca Textile Festival||July|
|Festival of the City||April|
|Lunes del Cerro (Monday on the Hill)||Last Monday of July|
What to buy in Oaxaca?
In Oaxaca, you’ll find a wide range of authentic products and crafts that will captivate you. Here are some must-buy items:
- Black clay handicrafts: Discover the elegance of black pottery, a unique ceramic technique in Oaxaca. From vases to sculptures, these handmade pieces will mesmerize you with their beauty and craftsmanship.
- Handwoven textiles: Immerse yourself in the richness of Oaxacan textiles, such as rugs, blankets, and huipiles. These colorful handwoven creations capture the essence of the local culture.
- Alebrijes: Be amazed by alebrijes, hand-carved and hand-painted wooden figures. These vibrant and fantastical animals are an artistic treasure and a wonderful addition to any collection.
- Mezcal: Indulge in the unique flavor of mezcal, Oaxaca’s distinctive spirit. Explore the variety of brands and flavors available and take home a bottle of this traditional elixir.
- Chocolate: Satisfy your cravings with delicious Oaxacan chocolate. Whether in bars or in crafted products, the local chocolate will delight your senses and take you on a journey of indulgent flavors.
- Silver jewelry: Complete your style with the elegance of Oaxacan silver jewelry. From rings and bracelets to necklaces and earrings, these handcrafted pieces will allow you to carry a piece of Oaxaca with you.
These are just a few options to discover in the markets and shops of Oaxaca. Let your shopping instincts guide you and find unique treasures that will capture your heart and memories of this special place!
Oaxaca’s climate is a pleasant and mild one throughout the year. Spring and autumn bring warm temperatures, while summer is rainy and winter is mild. The temperatures range from 15°C to 35°C. It’s important to be prepared for the rain during summer and to wear appropriate clothing to enjoy the sunny days in spring and autumn. Check the weather forecast before your trip to plan outdoor activities and make the most of your visit to Oaxaca. So pack your umbrella and sunscreen, and get ready to embrace the diverse weather of this beautiful destination.