Posted: 6/23/23 | June twenty third, 2023
Oaxaca is one in every of my favourite cities. From the second I first visited, I knew this was a spot I’d return to time and again and once more. I’ve been half a dozen occasions now, even main excursions across the metropolis.
Positioned in southwestern Mexico in a valley surrounded by craggy mountains, Oaxaca has been inhabited for 1000’s of years by indigenous Zapotec and Mixtec peoples. At present, it’s a middle for meals, mezcal manufacturing, and artisan textiles and pottery, and incorporates a wealthy historical past, owing to locations like Monte Albán and Mitla.
Take all that historical past, meals, and drink, and package deal it in a spot brimming with colourful buildings, scenic rooftop eating places and bars, distinctive road artwork, and picturesque parks, and it’s no shock so many individuals — myself included — love Oaxaca.
Since I’ve visited this metropolis so much, that will help you plan your journey, I put collectively this five-day Oaxaca itinerary. It covers all of the highlights, my favourite issues to see and do, and a few off-the-beaten-path actions too!
Oaxaca Itinerary: Day 1
Take a free strolling tour
One of many first issues I do once I go to a brand new place is take a free strolling tour. They’re one of the best ways to see the principle sights, get launched to the tradition, and meet an area who can reply all of your questions and provide you with ideas.
My favourite firm right here is Oaxaca Free Strolling Tour. They provide free day by day excursions that present you the hidden gems and what life is like for residents. I can’t suggest them sufficient if it’s your first time right here. Simply ensure to tip your information on the finish!
See the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán
Whereas in downtown Oaxaca, don’t miss stopping on this complicated, which incorporates a Seventeenth-century Baroque Roman Catholic church, a cultural museum, and a botanical backyard. Initially used as a Dominican church and monastery, this photogenic web site was later used as a barracks and navy constructing throughout Mexico’s revolution (1910–1920) all the way in which into the Nineteen Nineties.
Whereas right here, see the Museo de las Culturas, which is dwelling to all types of non secular and pre-Columbian artifacts. The “Treasures of Monte Albán” exhibition showcases over 400 relics from a Mixtec tomb that is without doubt one of the most necessary burial websites in Mesoamerica, together with a cranium coated in turquoise, carved bone objects, weaving instruments, and jewellery manufactured from gold and jade. It’s by far probably the greatest issues to do on the town. Count on to spend a few hours in the complete complicated.
C. Macedonio Alcalá S/N. The Museo de las Culturas is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-3pm. Admission to the church is free, whereas the museum is 85 MXN.
Wander town and admire the road artwork
Oaxaca has a wealth of road artwork, starting from political items commenting on social points to murals centered on indigenous tradition and historical past. The areas of Xochilmilco and Jalatlaco are two of one of the best for murals. It’s also possible to be part of a road artwork bike tour supplied by Coyote Aventuras (850 MXN) for an much more in-depth look.
Strive a street-stall hamburguesa
After a busy day of exploring, feast on an hamburguesa for dinner. It’s a burger topped with a scorching canine, sliced cheese, Oaxaca cheese, ham, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeño. I do know it’s bizarre to incorporate this however belief me, you’ll need one. And it’s not made for Gringos and vacationers both. Locals devour these. It began right here. You’ll see stalls throughout city however Cangreburguer close to Santo Domingo sells probably the greatest.
Oaxaca Itinerary: Day 2
Discover Mercado 20 de Noviembre
This Nineteenth-century coated market has many sorts of scrumptious road meals and recent, native produce. It’s additionally my favourite on the town. Named after the beginning date of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, this big market has all the pieces and is actually good for grilled meats. Additionally close by is the Mercado Benito Juárez. It has a bunch of meals stalls and outlets value shopping when you’ve got extra time.
20 de Noviembre 512. Open day by day 7am-9pm. Admission is free.
Stroll by the Botanical Backyard
Positioned within the former convent within the aforementioned Santo Domingo de Guzmán complicated, the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca was based in 1994 and opened to the general public in 1999. Spanning six acres, it options crops from throughout the state (a lot of which have been transplanted right here, because the backyard is so younger). Along with the flowers, bushes, and cacti that dot the backyard, there are additionally sculptures and artworks.
Admission is by guided tour solely and there is just one English tour per day (supplied at 11am), which has solely 25 spots and fills up shortly so make sure to arrive early to seize your spot.
Reforma Sur, Ruta Independencia. Open Monday-Saturday 10am-3:30pm. Admission is by guided tour solely. Admission (together with the tour) is 50 MXN for Spanish excursions and 100 MXN for English ones.
I really like mezcal (which is without doubt one of the the reason why I really like Oaxaca). That is the birthplace of mezcal, a spirit distilled from agave. In contrast to tequila, which can be constructed from agave, when making mezcal, the center of the plant is cooked in a pit within the floor earlier than it’s crushed. Then water is added, and it’s allowed to ferment. Because the plant is cooked, mezcal has a a lot smokier taste than tequila.
If you wish to study extra about this well-liked (and scrumptious) spirit, Rambling Spirits runs one of the best mezcal excursions in Oaxaca. Go together with them if you wish to study extra. Their guides have unbelievable information and might take you to locations the larger excursions can’t. I realized a ton on this tour and extremely suggest it! Most excursions go away after lunch so it’s an ideal strategy to spend the rest of your day.
Moreover, you’ll be able to pop into one of many many mezcalerías on the town to style and study extra concerning the area’s favourite spirit. My private favorites are Los Amantes Mezcalería, Mezcalogia, Tres Hermanas, Mezcalería In Situ, and Comere.
Oaxaca Itinerary: Day 3
See Monte Albán
This web site is a pre-Columbian UNESCO World Heritage Web site situated simply quarter-hour exterior city (with common shuttles to and from downtown). Based within the sixth century BCE, Monte Albán was one of many earliest Mesoamerican cities and an necessary sociopolitical and financial heart for nearly a thousand years.
Begin your go to by stopping in on the museum, because it’ll provide you with context, particularly when you’re not on a guided tour. Then, wander the sprawling web site at your leisure, climbing historic Zapotec pyramids and admiring the tombs, terraces, and canals that span a number of miles. The positioning takes about 2-3 hours to go to, relying in your tempo. Carry a hat and sunscreen, as there isn’t a lot shade.
Ignacio Bernal S/N, San Pedro Ixtlahuaca. Open day by day 10am-4pm. Admission is 90 MXN.
Take a meals tour
Upon returning to town, discover the culinary scene with a guided meals tour. Oaxaca is taken into account one of the necessary hubs for gastronomy in Mexico. My favourite tour firm is Oaxaca Eats, which runs a number of excursions, most of which final round 4 hours. You’ll get to pattern over 20 dishes and study a ton concerning the meals and its historical past. It’s one of many oldest meals tour corporations on the town and run by a stunning native girl with a ardour for meals.
Tour costs range however anticipate to spend 2,000 MXN.
Oaxaca Itinerary: Day 4
Swim at Hierve el Agua
Hierve el Agua is one in every of Mexico’s most lovely pure websites and a sacred place for the indigenous Zapotec folks. These petrified waterfalls appear frozen in time — and so they virtually are, as they’ve been within the making for 1000’s of years. As water from pure springs flows over the aspect of the cliffs, the minerals from the water create rock formations, a lot in the identical approach that stalactites kind in caves. Carry your swimsuit, as you’ll be able to bathe within the pure and artifical swimming pools on the high!
Along with admiring the calcified cliffs, there are additionally hikes within the space, which is an efficient strategy to get away from the crowds.
Open day by day 7am-6:30pm. Admission is 50 MXN.
One other historic web site that I believe is a must-see, this pre-Columbian UNESCO World Heritage Web site was one of many predominant spiritual and non secular hubs for the indigenous Zapotec and Mixtec folks. Used as a sacred burial floor and believed to be a gateway between the realms of the residing and the useless, Mitla was inbuilt 850 CE however was principally destroyed by the Spanish within the mid-Sixteenth century. Nevertheless, some buildings had been left intact (a few of which date way back to 400 CE), which you’ll discover in your go to to the archaeological web site, which stands out from different Mesoamerican ruins as a result of mosaics masking the tombs and partitions. It’s one other web site I at all times take folks to see once I information them across the metropolis.
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 10am-2pm. Admission is 90 MXN whereas skip-the-line tickets are 160 MXN.
Oaxaca Itinerary: Day 5
In your final day, choose and select from a handful of actions, relying in your price range and journey fashion:
Go to Oaxaca’s artisan cities
Scattered all through the state of Oaxaca are small folk-art villages, the place you’ll be able to meet artisans, see how conventional items are made, and produce again a memento of your travels when you select. Every village focuses on a distinct craft: Teotitlán del Valle is thought for its textiles, San Bartolo Coyotepec for black pottery, and San Martín Tilcajete and San Antonio Arrazola for (brightly coloured fantastical animal sculptures), to call just some.
Expertise a temazcal
In your final night in Oaxaca, wind down at a temazcal (that means “home of warmth”), a conventional Zapotec sweat lodge. You’ll sit in a small domed hut that turns into more and more hotter. You’ll rub all the pieces from clay to recent fruit juices and peels in your pores and skin as you warmth up, cooling down by dunking your self in chilly water. It’s a really meditative, non secular expertise with quite a few well being advantages.
Visits normally final an hour and price round 600 MXN.
Wander the Sunday market
In the event you’re on the town on a Sunday, make sure to go to Mercado Tlacolula, one of the well-liked markets within the area. It’s been in operation for hundreds of years and is an efficient place to purchase native crafts, produce, meals, and all the pieces in between. It’s situated 45 minutes exterior of city, so that you’ll have to drive there or take the bus, but it surely’s completely well worth the journey. Hundreds of individuals come right here, and there’s tons of wonderful meals to attempt. Don’t skip the barbacoa (stewed meat) and chicharrón (fried pork rinds)!
Admire the world’s widest tree
Simply 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the middle of Oaxaca, within the humble city of Santa María del Tule, is the world’s widest tree. Estimated to be 1,500-3,000 years outdated, this Montezuma cypress (Mexico’s nationwide tree) has a diameter of about 14 meters (46 ft) and is an impressive sight to behold.
Oaxaca shortly turns into a favourite of everybody who visits and lots of people ending up coming again again and again. There’s so much to see and do right here. This itinerary is jus ta common define as there are tons of little museums, church buildings, experiences, and markets you could find by yourself.
Use this itinerary to see the highlights and fill in the remainder of your time with some wandering!
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