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Oaxaca (city)

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Oaxaca (Oaxaca de Juárez) is a city in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico.

Get in

As of July 2007 tourism in Oaxaca City is up from last year. The city has returned to its peaceful and tranquil state. It is an ideal place to visit for families and independent travelers. Oaxaca City continues to be welcoming, peaceful, friendly and inexpensive. Oaxacan Spanish language schools are excellent. Each school has classes of all levels and will find inexpensive lodging for you in a Oaxacan home.

The Guelaguetza marks its 50th anniversary this July. Dancers wearing indegenious costumes celebrate the culture during a two week long festival.

Oaxaca has a small but fully functional airport which mainly has flights to Mexico City. Most major airlines can offer cooperative service to Oaxaca through Mexico City via Mexicana airlines or another Mexican carrier. Continental flies directly from Houston to Oaxaca on regional jets. The more adventurous Spanish speaking traveler can fly directly from the United States to Mexico City or Huatulco and then take a bus to Oaxaca (6.5 hrs from Mexico City, 8 hrs from Huatulco). The services are excellent and run on-time. A site for bus tickets is www.ticketbus.com.mx. For the bus option, basic Spanish is essential.

Go to Oaxaca City and experience the best of Mexico.

Get around

The central, tourist-oriented part of town is easily walked, although taxis are somewhat plentiful and buses numerous and cheap.

See

Archaeological Sites

  • Arbol del Tule This tree has the largest base of any tree in the world. Legend has it that it is over 1400 years old. It is located 13 km from the city of Oaxaca on the road to Mitla.
  • Mitla is approximately 40 kilometers from the city of Oaxaca and was a very important Zapotec city and religious center. Famous for its pre-Columbian Mesoamerican buildings. Inside Tomb 1 there is the famous "Column of Life" that you can embrace to find out how many years you have left to live. Spanish is helpful here as the ruins officials can explain how to use the column correctly.
  • Monte Alban - Monte Alban has the largest set of ruins near Oaxaca city, and, as such, can become very crowded. You can book tours through most hotels in Oaxaca city, and you can also take the bus out to the ruins. The tour guides are excellent at Monte Alban, providing more than just standard information about the ruins. Monte Alban is impressive for its huge plaza and northern and southern platforms from which you can see much of the countryside. The Zapotec people (also known as "rock people") built this site atop some of the highest mountains in the area. Unlike Chichen Itza, you can climb most of Monte Alban, but you cannot enter any tombs.
  • Yagul Although frequently overlooked in favor of more extensive ruins at Mitla and Monte Alban, the ruins at Yagul are more pastoral (and therefore more similar to its original setting) and much less overrun with touristas.

Do

Events

  • Oaxaca is well-known for having one of the best Dia de Los Muertos festivals in Mexico, housed in and around the large candle-lit city cemeteries.
  • Guelaguetza festival takes place in July. The Guelaguetza highlights the traditional practices of the various indigeneous cultures from the state of Oaxaca.

Sports

  • Baseball Oaxaca has a popular and succeessful baseball team, the Guerreros
  • Rugby Rugby is played on Saturdays with the Zinacantli Rugby Club, which hosts the annual Torneo de Dia de los Muertos.

Museums

  • Rufino Tamayo Museum - Morelos 503 between Porfirio Diaz and Tinoco y Palacios; open Monday-Saturday from 10AM-2PM and then 4PM-7PM and Sunday from 10AM-3PM; A beautiful museum originally founded by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, you'll find excellent artifacts that are very well displayed.

Learn

Language Lessons

  • Amigos del Sol, [1]
  • [2] - Becari has a friendly and flexible staff, and a central location at M. Bravo 210.
  • Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, Av. Juarez 909 Col. Centro, info@icomexico.com. This is the longest established school in Oaxaca, with a very lovely campus, most appropriate to university students who are in Mexico for course credit. A great place for independent travellers to study, as well, as it provides an easy way to meet other travellers and local Oaxacans. Its program includes academic courses to teach Spanish grammar, workshops ranging from cooking classes to weaving to teach about Oaxacan culture, and an "intercambio" session, which links a Oaxacan student studying English with an Instituto student so they both may practice their languages.
  • Vinigulaza - this is a lovely little school with small, friendly classes and helpful teachers. The school is conversation focused, and advanced students can actually speak Spanish.
  • Oaxaca Spanish Magic Flor Bautista has a small school that operates in a lovely garden, Oaxaca Spanish Magic, near Santo Domingo on Berriozábal. There, you will find caring and patient teachers who focus on both grammar and conversation skills. The teachers make great efforts to help the students adjust to Oaxaca and offer extras such as salsa and cooking classes, as well as weekend excursions to pueblos and other events.

Cooking Lessons

  • in Oaxaca cuisine are given by Iliana de Vega the owner-chef at El Naranjo in Oaxaca
  • with Reyna Mendoza in Teotilan del Valle about 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca.
  • also classes at La Casa de Mis Recuerdos and La Olla.
  • Seasons of My Heart - Susana Trilling offers courses of different lengths. See her web page for details. She also has a cook book, Seasons of my Heart, A Culinary Journey through Oaxaca, Mexico. Her classes are often full, book ahead.
  • Cookbook author/chef Daniel Hoyer leads cooking and cultural tours to Oaxaca and other regions of Mexico. Visit his website for further information and schedules-www.welleatenpath.com [3]
  • A native of Oaxaca, Nora Valencia instructs cooking classes and culinary tours in both English and Spanish www.almademitierra.net
  • Instituto Cultural Oaxaca. Offers cooking workshops which can be taken in conjunction with, or independently of, Spanish language classes.

Buy

  • Chocolate. Mina Street smells of chocolate and the city's most famous warm beverage is hot chocolate.
  • Mezcal". The state of Oaxaca also is well-known for its Mezcal and there are several tours that visit the distilleries.
  • The Pochote Market is an outdoor organic market held every Friday and Saturday. It goes from 9:30 or so until 4 pm. It is located in a small park under the aquaduct at Garcia Vigíl #819. There is delicious prepared food that makes a great breakfast or lunch, as well as fresh vegetables.

Eat

  • Como Agua Pa' Chocolate (www.comoaguapachocolate Hidalgo 612 Altos (overlooking the Alameda park and Cathedral), Tel: (951) 516-2917 - First-class food in a romantic atmosphere. Spectacular dishes flambéed by the table and interesting fusion cuisine mixing Mediterranean style with Mexican ingredients. Can't go wrong with the quails in rose petal sauce, the champandongo, the chiles en nogada or the king prawns flambéed in orange sauce.
  • Casa Oaxaca - Constitucion across the street from Santo Domingo church and in the same courtyard as the Galleria Quetzalli; If you're looking to splurge on a meal that you won't be able to find in other restaurants in Oaxaca, Casa Oaxaca fits the bill. Ask for a rooftop table and enjoy the 5-course tasting menu for $32USD/person. Treat yourself to corn mushroom soup, fresh fish with tomato marmalade and succulent sorbets. The wine list is decent with some excellent Spanish wines and good local options. There is another Casa Oaxaca restaurant, in the same location as Casa Oaxaca Hotel.
  • Marco Polo - Pino Suarez 806 (located next to the Paseo Juarez), 01 (951) 513 43 08; Famous for its seafood, Marco Polo is a local favorite. Try the ceviche and the beer with chiles. There is also a smaller location on Cinco de Mayo closer to the Zocalo.
  • La Biznaga - Garcia Vigil 512, (951) 51 18 00; Dine in a covered courtyard surrounded by art and wireless web surfers. Prices are reasonable for creative Oaxacan cuisine, and the people watching is a bonus.
  • El Naranjo - a block and a half west of the Zocalo on Valerio Trujano 203, 514-1878, famous for serving all seven moles, one each day of the week. (Reportedly closed after recent riots.)
  • La Red - on the corner of Bustatmante and Colon, a block south of the Zocalo. Serves fabulously fresh seafood for lunch fixed in dozens of different styles.
  • La Toscana - 5 de Mayo 614 Col Jalatlaco Telephone 513-8742. It is best to take a taxi to this restaurant because of the out of the way location. They serve the best martinis in Oaxaca and delicious seafood with italian flair.
  • Mercado 20 de Noviembre - two blocks south of the zocalo; Food stalls line the streets outside the market serving up hot, savory tlayudas and tostadas. Local women offer up chapulines (grasshopper), and you'll find countertops inside that serve up moles, soups and desserts.

Drink

Mezcal is the local drink.

Sleep

Rates go up significantly during the high season and rooms are difficult to reserve during high season. National holidays and religious holidays are very busy. Budget Hostels can be found for around 70 Peso /7 USD per night.

  • Casa de las Bugambilias - Reforma 402, (866) 829-6778 (Tel from USA Direct), [4], bugambilias@lasbugambilias.com; Nine-room bed and breakfast that is also home to La Olla restaurant. Free long distance calls to many destinations including USA, Canada, and Western Europe(except mobile phones). Wireless internet and guest computer. Range is $65-$115USD/night.
  • Casa de los Ángeles - 2a. Privada de M. Alcala #207, (951) 515-9609 [5], A small and intimate family-run guest house offering bed and breakfast. Convenient, quiet location, excellent food and warm hospitality. Rates from $25 US Dollars per night include breakfast.
  • Casa de Mis Recuerdos - Pino Suarez 508, 01 (951) 515 56 45, [6]; A small bed and breakfast with a lovely courtyard and delicious meals. Many rooms are on the street so bring ear plugs. Range is $50-$100USD/night.
  • Hacienda La Noria - Av. Eduardo Mata #1918 Oaxaca, Oax. 68120 Mexico , Tel 01 (951) 514 7555 Fax 01 (951) 516 5347. Hacienda La Noria Hotel's stucco walls, tile roof, brick pathways and well-manicured garden bursting with vibrant colors are reminders of a forgotten era of self-indulgent siestas and unrivaled relaxation. Online reservation at best rates with instant confirmation on the official website starts near US$60.
  • Hacienda Los Laureles - Hidalgo 21, (951) 501-5300, [7], A historic 5-star hotel with 23 rooms and suites, traditional Mexican architecture, a world-class spa, and a gourmet restaurant.
  • Hostal de La Noria - Av. Hidalgo 918 Centro, Oaxaca, Oax. 68000 México [8], Tel 01 (951) 501 5400 Fax 01 (951) 516 3992. The Hostal de La Noria Hotel is located at the center of historic Oaxaca City. Famous for its distinct, personalized service, the Hostal De La Noria was actually a beautiful colonial mansion. Online reservation at best rates with instant confirmation on the official website starts near US$120.
  • Las Mariposas - Pino Suarez 517, 01 (951) 515 58 52, las_mariposas@hotmail.com; Funky, family-owned hotel only 2 1/2 blocks from the Santo Domingo church. Ask for rooms off the back courtyard (1-8) which are extremely quiet, a treat in Oaxaca. $45USD/night for a studio with a small kitchen during high season, includes continential breakfast with excellent coffee.

Get out

  • Hierve el Agua. is a two hours drive from Oaxaca by bus or taxi. Natural warm hot springs at an altitude of about 3000m near a massive petrified waterfall. From the plateau you have a breathtaking view over the mountain ranges. Travel advisory -- this site is sometimes closed due to conflicts between neighboring villages.
  • Teotitlan del Valle - famous for its weaving, this village is approximately 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca city. You can book a longer stay here at the Casa Sagrada. Be sure to check out the cooperative in Teotitlan that is striving to use and instill organic methods in its dyes.
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