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Oaxaca

Travel Guide North America Mexico Oaxaca

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Introduction

Oaxaca 1

Oaxaca 1

© All Rights Reserved Flav-Greg

Oaxaca is a state located in southern Mexico on the pacific coast just west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. This area is the traditional home of the Zapotec and Mixtec people making this state contain more speakers of indigenous languages then any other Mexican state. Before the arrivals of the Europeans the Zapotec people controlled the area until they were conquered by the Mixtecs in the 13th century. These cultures developed very complex societies and built several fascinating temples, such as Monte Albán, Mitla, Guiengola and Huijatzoo. During the mid-fifteenth century the area was conquered by the Aztecs and in 1496 the Aztecs built a garrison in the area naming it Huāxyacac, which was later changed to Oaxaca by a Spanish miss understanding of the name.

After Cortez conquered the Aztec Empire, Oaxaca was given to him to govern as his reward. He quickly changed the valley with the introduction of new crops such as sugar cane and silk worms. Also diseases brought in by new settlers killed many natives. After the 1821 revolution Oaxaca remained an agriculture based economy, with very little heavy or light industry.

One of the most famous people in Mexican history, President Benito Juarez, was born and raised in a small village in Oaxaca. When he was elected into office in 1858 he was first full blooded indigenous national to serve as a head of state in all of the Americas in more then 300 years. Also many famous artists and writers have come from Oaxaca.

Today tourism is Oaxaca's main source of income. With over 250 kilometres (155 miles) of beaches, amazing colonial architecture, ancient ruins, crafts and stunning folk art, there is plenty to do in Oaxaca. The best time to visit is to catch one of the amazing local festivals.

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Geography

Hierve El Agua 4

Hierve El Agua 4

© All Rights Reserved Flav-Greg

Oaxaca is at the intersection of the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Del Sur mountain ranges. This results in a rugged mountainous terrain, which created a large temperate central valley. The average altitude of the state is 1,500 m (5,085 ft).

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Cities

With over 570 municipalities, more then any other state in Mexico, Oaxaca has a lot of cities and town.

  • Oaxaca (City) is the capital and largest city in the state. The city and its surrounding area is home to amazing villages, ruins, mountains and deserts. Also the city may be the best place in Mexico to experience traditional Spanish and Indigenous crafts, arts and food.
  • Tehuantepec is a smaller city that has some nice ruins near it.
  • San Pablo Villa de Mitla is home to some amazing ruins and an interesting blend of cultures.
  • Juchitán de Zaragoza is an interesting city that is the centre for Zapotec culture.
  • San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec is the second largest city in the state and has a nice Cathedral.
  • Salina Cruz is a major seaport.
  • Huatulco is a major resort and beach area along the coast of the state.
  • Puerto Escondido was only created in 1928, this beach has crystal clear waters. It is also home to some great surfing and one of the best nightlife's in all of Oaxaca.

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Sights and Activities

Ruins

Monte Albán,Oaxaca

Monte Albán,Oaxaca

© All Rights Reserved evelynez

  • Monte Albán is a large pre-Columbian archeological site that is one of the oldest cities in all of Mesoamerica, being founded in 500 BC. The city was abandoned by the 9th century although small scale re-habitation did happen over the next few centuries. Many of the later groups even used some of the tombs and temples again but for different purposes. The site is mainly on top of a hill and a good day trip from Oaxaca (City). In 1987 Monte Albán was made into a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Mitla was originally settled around 200 AD and has continued to have residents up to the present day. Although most of the town is built over pre-Conquistador Mitla, some of the original old palace complexes still exist. One of the most fascinating things to see is the unique geometric mosaics that characterize the buildings of Mitla.
  • Guiengola is a much later Zapotec site built after 1350 and 14 km north of Tehuantepec. There are several tombs that were never looted located in this site.
  • Huijatzoo

Other Sights and Activities

  • Beaches here are a great place to hit up for some amazing coastline, surfing and relaxing.
  • Colonial Architecture can be seen in the historic colonial buildings in many Oaxacan cities.

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Events and Festivals

  • Guelaguetza or Los Lunes Del Cerro - This pre-Columbian holiday has changed into a celebration of of the Virgin del Carmen, the city and state of Oaxaca. The celebrations is always the two consecutive mondays after July 16th. Except when the monday falls on July 18th, which is the day Benito Juarez died, then the holiday will be on July 25th and August 1st. There are concerts and festivals held the entire month of July in honour of the holiday.
  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) - Celebrated on All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, the 1st and 2nd of November, this is a holiday to remember the dead. Pick up a sugar or chocolate skull and have a good time.
  • Day of the Dead - Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexciowhere where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

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Getting There

By Plane

Oaxaca-Xoxocotlan Airport (OAX) is 10 km south of the city centre with the majority of flights to Mexico City. There are limited flights to other Mexican cities like Huatulco, Cancun, Tuxtla, Gutierrez and Tijuana. There are some international flights including one to Houston.

Puerto Escondido Airport has direct flights to Oaxaca, Mexico City and several other cities in Mexico.

By Bus

There are many busconnections to Oaxaca. From San Cristobal you can take a nightbus which takes about 12 hours. 1st class buses are usually operated by OCC. There are also many connections to Puebla, Mexico City and Veracruz

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Eat

Oaxaca - 06

Oaxaca - 06

© All Rights Reserved dontrobus

Due to the mix of cultures there is some great food to be found in Oaxaca. The state is known as the "Land of Seven Moles'' because of its variety of food choices. A great variety of fruits and vegetables are frown in the central valley, while tropical fruits are found in the north and fish and shellfish dominate the cuisine along the coast. Oaxaca is also known for its amazing chocolate.

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Drink

Oaxaca does not have the same nightlife as other areas of Mexico. Most of coastal areas are considered pretty tame when compared to the big party areas. The city of Oaxaca does have a pretty good nightlife.

Mezcal

Oaxaca is the place to drink Mezcal, a typical drink from this region. You will see the big Agave plants everywhere and from this plant they make the drink. In the Mezcal bottles you will find a worm on the bottom. Swallowing one of these worms is enough to get you really drunk.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Aitana HotelCrespo, nº 313 Colonia Oaxaca Centrohotel91
Casa Angel Youth HostelTinoco y Palacios 610, Centro, OaxacaHostel90
Casa ArnelAldama, no 404 Col. Jalatlacohotel85
Casa de Don Pablo HostelMelchor Ocampo 412, CentroHostel84
Casa Gigi518 Colonia ReformaGuesthouse89
El Cortijo House HostelCamino a Rancho Sangre de Cristo No 818hostel-
El QuijoteMina 511 Centro Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca.Hostel92
Hostal Casa del SolConstitucion 301Hostel-
Hostal del Mercado * Youth HostelAldama 307 Col. CentroHostel80
Hostal Los Amigos OaxacaAv Hidalgo 1011 Centro OaxacaHostel-
Hostal Luz de Luna NuyooAvenida Juárez No. 101 Zona centroHOSTEL86
Hostal PochonCallejon del Carmen #102Hostel81
Hostel AlcalaValdivieso 120, CentroHostel76
Hostel Don NinoPino Suarez 804Hostel87
Hostel MezkalitoXicotencatl # 121hostel-
Hotel Los Pilares HostalCurtidurias 721A Barrio de JalatlacoHotel-
Hotel Mision De Los AngelesCalzada Porfirio Diaz No,.102-D Col. ReformaHotel-
Hotel Posada Santa Ritaconstancia 107 Barrio Espinal salina cruzhotel-
Hotel Principal5 de Mayo 208Hotel88
Hotel Villa OaxacaCerrada del Panteòn # 201 San Felipe del AguaHotel-
La Villada Inn HostelFelipe Angeles 204 Ejido Guadalupe VictoriaHostel83
Nizadú Hostel5a Privada de la Noria 316. Colonia CentroHostel90
Parador San AndresHidalgo 405Guesthouse-
Paulina Youth HostelTrujano 321 col. centroHostel87
Posada de los AngelesDiaz Quintas 206Guesthouse83
Posada Don MarioCosijopi 219 CentroGuesthouse84
Santa Lucia HotelMarcos Perez 307Hotel-
Saturday Inn Guest houseLos Besos 109 San Felipe del aguaGuesthouse-
La Unidad HostalPajaritos 119 Barrio de JalatlacoHOSTEL84
Azul Cielo HostelArteaga Num: 608 CentroHOSTEL87
Hostal Don MiguelAvenida Hidalgo #507-BHOSTEL-
Campestre Los Sue�osCarretera Internacional km 167 Barrio el PeazcoGUESTHOUSE-
Casa Hacienda El EncuentroPrivada Del EncuentroHOTEL-
Cielo Rojo HostelXicotencatl 121, CentroHOSTEL85
Plaza del Carmen HostelCalle Matamoros 305HOSTEL-
Los Petates Oaxaca Youth HostelMontes de Oca #600, Colonia Santa Maria Oaxaca de Juárez, OaxacaHOSTEL-
Hostal ZipoliteArteaga Núm 100 melchor ocampo núm 701HOSTEL-

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 17.059417
  • Longitude: -96.721622

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This is version 20. Last edited at 1:58 on May 24, 13 by sleepBot. 7 articles link to this page.

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