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Oaxaca (state)

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Oaxaca (state)
Oaxaca en México.svg
Flag of Oaxaca.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Oaxaca de Juárez
Government Mexican State
Currency Mexican Peso (MXN)
Area 93,757 km2
Population 3,866,280(2012 est.)
Language Spanish, Chinanteco, Zapotec, Mixtec(No official language)
Religion n/a
Electricity 127V/60Hz(North American(U.S.) plug)
Time Zone UTC -6/-5

Oaxaca is a state of Mexico.




Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in Mexico. Therefore, there's a great lack of public services in the whole state. While visiting Oaxaca, you will find a lot of roads and places in poor conditions, but people tend to be friendly if you give them nice comments about their place of origin. Regardless of the lack of services, Oaxaca has much to be proud of. Its great biodiversity and cultural heritage is reflected in having almost every type of ecosystem and many monuments from different epochs, including pyramids, churches and some new buildings in the capital city. So for an open-minded visitor, there is much to learn and enjoy in Oaxaca.


Oaxaca is known for its linguistic diversity. Many indigenous languages are spoken in the state, with Zapotec and Mixtec being the most prevalent. Most speakers of these languages are bilingual in Spanish and their indigenous language, although some speakers (especially older generations) are monolingual in the indigenous language, and children are increasingly dominant speakers of Spanish. The government has pushed Spanish education in schools, which has led to an increase in Spanish fluency throughout the state, but has been accompanied by a decline in use of indigenous languages. Many communities are striving to preserve and promote their languages in the face of Spanish dominance. In Oaxaca de Juárez it's still very common to hear indigenous people who are selling some kind of merchandise talking to each other in their native language (Zapotec, Mixtec, Chontal, etc.) However, Spanish remains the lingua franca, so the English-speaking tourist should make an effort to learn at least the very basics of Spanish, as well as greetings in the indigenous languages used in the region that you travel.

Get in[edit]

Oaxaca, especially Oaxaca city, is well served by long-distance bus from major destinations in central and south Mexico. Most tourists catch an overnight bus from San Cristobal (10h) in Chiapas. Alternatively, you can visit Juchitán de Zaragoza and break the journey to Chiapas there.

There are daily flights from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido with low cost airline Viva Aerobus and other arlines serving that route. From Puerto Escondido you can hire taxis or local buses to take you to Punta de Zicatela and Playa Zipotle. Access is rudimentary but there are safe private taxis that can be hired and take you around.

Get around[edit]

Most people use long-distance bus services such as those provided by OCC or the slightly cheaper alternative, SUD.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Monte Alban - A 2,500 year old Zapotec city built atop a mountain outside Oaxaca City.
  • Hierve el agua - A mineral spring with large travertine formations.
  • Santiago Apoala - A village surrounded by cliffs in the Mixtec region. It has two waterfalls and a some caves and supports "eco-tourism".
  • Teotitlán del Valle- A town of weavers definitely worth the visit for the purchase of beautiful rugs.

Do[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Oaxaca has a very rich gastronomy that offers a wide range of dishes. Most commonly in Oaxaca de Juárez you will have the chance to eat the famous Tlayudas, a giant tortilla filled with beans and the oaxacan quesillo (wrapped cheese) and accompanied by tasajo (beef). Dauntless travelers should also try Chapulines (Grasshoppers), which are another popular dish that real tourists should not miss!

Drink[edit][add listing]

Oaxaca's local drinks are quite exotic and a must for those interested in trying new things. Mezcal is certainly the most famous alcoholic beverage. You will be offered this drink in any party or celebration where a big crowd comes together. Tejate is another typical drink of the region. Made of corn dough, it is a good option to quench your thirst.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


Stay safe[edit]

Oaxaca is generally safe but there are some measures that should be taken into account to avoid any unfortunate Be sure to always look back while walking and never brag about an expensive phone. Carry your backpack in front of your chest if walking near the local market in Oaxaca City. Avoid visiting the following regions in the city and its surroundings: San Martín Mexicapam, Colonia Monte Albán, Santa Rosa. These places are known for robberies to happen and being a tourist will make you a target for robbers. While touring the state be sure not to drive at night near the Guerrero- Pinotepa highway. This road is known to be pontentially dangerous, and the risk of you being stopped by an armed group is high. Coastal towns in general should be approached carefully, except for Huatulco and Puerto Escondido, they are normally safe even though one should take the appropriate precautions to avoid any misfortune.

Get out[edit]

  • Guatemala Hop on a bus anywhere in Oaxaca, and head for Guatemala. One route goes via Tapachula (the quicker way, along the coast), and the other via San Cristobal de las Casas, and off to Guatemala afterwards.

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