Nestled in the heart of Mexico lies the vibrant and culturally rich state of Oaxaca. With its fascinating history, stunning natural beauty, and delectable cuisine, Oaxaca offers visitors a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, Oaxaca has something for everyone.
The capital of the state, Oaxaca City, is a perfect starting point for your adventure. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city is a treasure trove of colonial architecture, colorful markets, and lively festivals. Be sure to explore the charming zócalo (main square), where you can enjoy street performers, sample local food, and mingle with locals. Don’t miss the stunning Santo Domingo Church and its accompanying cultural center, which houses fascinating exhibits about Oaxacan history and culture.
Oaxaca is a food lover’s paradise, famous for its delectable mole sauces, delicious tlayudas (Oaxacan-style pizzas), and rich hot chocolate. Visit local markets like Mercado 20 de Noviembre or Mercado Benito Juárez to sample authentic Oaxacan dishes and shop for ingredients to take home. For a truly immersive culinary experience, consider taking a cooking class where you can learn how to prepare traditional Oaxacan recipes.
Just a short drive from downtown Oaxaca City, you’ll find the ancient Zapotec city of Monte Albán. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and a fascinating glimpse into the region’s pre-Hispanic history. Explore the impressive ruins, including the famous ball court, the Danzantes (Dancers) sculptures, and the intricate tombs that once housed the Zapotec elite.
Nature lovers will be in awe of Hierve el Agua, a striking natural phenomenon that resembles cascading waterfalls. In reality, these “waterfalls” are formed by mineral deposits from the area’s natural springs. Visitors can take a dip in the refreshing pools and marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Oaxaca is renowned for its skilled artisans, who produce some of the finest handicrafts in Mexico. From vibrant textiles and hand-carved alebrijes (wooden creatures) to intricate black pottery and vibrant embroidery, you’ll find a wide array of unique souvenirs to take home. Visit the villages of Teotitlán del Valle, San Martín Tilcajete, and San Bartolo Coyotepec to observe local artisans at work and purchase their creations.
No visit to Oaxaca is complete without sampling the region’s signature spirit: mezcal. Made from the heart of the agave plant, this smoky and complex liquor is deeply rooted in Oaxacan culture. Visit local mezcalerias and distilleries to learn about the production process and taste the different varieties of this iconic beverage.