This multicultural hub in the highlands of Southern Mexico is known for its mild climate, rich culinary and craft traditions and complex history.
Even as strong earthquakes have shaken the region, the centuries-old city of Oaxaca remains largely unrattled.
In the shadow of Monte Albán, the hilltop capital of the Zapotec civilization, this multicultural hub in the highlands of southern Mexico was once a quiet regional center. In recent years, the city has been transformed, for better or worse, as bohemian expats and artists have been drawn to its mild, semi-tropical climate, sturdy Spanish colonial architecture, rich culinary and craft traditions and thrilling art scene.
Galleries, boutique hotels and upscale restaurants have opened in dizzying succession. Increasingly worldly, it remains a place where Mexico’s perilous and complex history reveals itself in ways both beautiful and brutal.
4pm: Soak up some culture
Opened in Y 2011, the Centro Cultural San Pablo is housed in a former 16th-century Dominican convent and set around a tiled patio etched with bright green moss. The beautifully restored centre has multiple exhibition and performance spaces, including one in the Rosary Chapel, and showcases everything from Oaxacan crafts – ornately carved ‘alebrijes’ (whimsical wooden statues), indigenous textiles and traditional black pottery – to pop art, photography, string quartet performances and even the odd adults-only marionette show.
The complex also has a cafe, an indoor children’s play area, a research library and a terrace restaurant popular with local bigwigs in natty business suits, which makes for excellent people watching.
6pm: Comida local
A block east of San Pablo, in a storefront behind a pumpkin-coloured facade, Cabuche is a festive restaurant serving reverential interpretations of street food and market staples: huaraches Menonita, edible tablets of sandal-shaped masa topped with ‘tasajo’ (dried salted beef ); Oaxacan string cheese […]