"Wonderful Oaxaca" Top 5 Page for this destination Oaxaca de Juárez by TheWanderingCamel

Oaxaca de Juárez Travel Guide: 373 reviews and 1,047 photos

I loved Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-ha-ca)and was so glad that we had opted to spend an extra couple of days here when we were organizing our first trip to Mexico. It is just such a lovely place to wander around and explore with its narrow streets lined with colonial-era buildings, beautiful churches, shady plazas and pretty courtyards.

The markets are fantastic - an explosion of colour and smells, such a feast for the senses. Taste buds are well served too - Oaxan cuisine is famed as some of the best in all Mexico.
Excellent museums housed in beautiful buildings display standout collections of artifacts from all eras of the region's long and varied history.
The whole region is renowned for the richness and variety of its local crafts - pottery, weaving, woodcarving, embroidery, basketwork - and the skill and artistry of its craftsmen.

The city also serves as the most likely base from which to visit the ancient Zapotec sites of Monte Alban and Mitla as well as the other ruins, villages and markets of the Valles Centrales.

Day spent sightseeing can be followed by balmy evenings spent around the town centre, watching the evening paseo on the Zocalo, browsing the craft stalls that set up there at night, catching the colour and charm of a folkloric dance performance or, if you're lucky, a passing parade off to a fiesta. No doubt there are clubs and bars for those who like them, we were happy with the less sophisticated pleasures of observing life in a small city.

One day ....

Thoughts of Oaxaca come back to me often. The city really embedded itself in my mind, and I so want to go back there. Looking through photos to put to the pages I've been writing here has brought it back even more. I always like going back to a place - the first visit is only ever skims the surface I feel - there's so much that is new to absorb. We don't always have the luxury of going back somewhere - time, distance and budget can all conspire against it - but there are some places that keep calling and for me, Oaxaca is one of those.

For now, I'll continue to travel there in my mind .... but watch this space. Other plans will keep me busy for a while, but I have no doubt that one day I'll find myself whiling away the evening under the arches of the Zocalo, standing awestruck at the excesses of the Iglesia Santo Domingo and the achievements of Monte Alban, and looking for a replacement for the perfect hat I bought in the Abastos market. Maybe I'll find a cooking class and learn to make mole for myself. Whatever .... I am going back!!!

2007 - A dream realized

Well, I said I would return to Oaxaca one day and, finally, I did. Just a brief visit, a few short days but enough to both refresh the wonderful memories of our first visit and to store up more of the new places, sights and sounds we found on this visit.

We found the city much as we had remembered it - the streets with their the brightly painted buildings and magnificent churches; the shady Zocalo - the heart of the city; the bustling markets and flower-filled courtyards. We gave the major archaeological sites a miss this time and opted for smaller and lesser-known Yagul - and had the place virtually to ourselves. Tlacalolua's Sunday market was not to be missed and serendipity found us visiting Tlacochahuaya's gloriously frescoed church as the village was celebrating its saint's day. Visits to craft workshops in the villages around the city gave us fascinating insights into the magic chemistry of natural pigments and dyes along with the chance to see master-craftsmen and women at work. We stood in jaw-dropping awe once more beneath the gold-encrusted splendour of the Iglesia San Domingo's extraordinary domes and arches and joined the evening people-watchers at the cafe tables under the arches of the Zocalo's arcades.

There was no hat to match the first one, and I still haven't had that cookery lesson .... next time ....


  • Last visit to Oaxaca de Juárez: Oct 2007
  • Intro Updated Aug 23, 2012
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Reviews (24)

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Comments (24)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Great page

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Thank you Leyle for bringing back memory about this beautiful city with its colonial-era buildings! I wish you would be able come back there again!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2011 at 4:13 AM

    I needed a dose of sunshine and knew I could rely on you :-) This looks and sounds like a fantastic city, and thanks to your descriptions I can almost imagine myself there! I've especially enjoyed absorbing the sights and smells of that wonderful market with you, while Santo Domingo looks absolutely amazing!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Your excellent descriptions really capture the feeling of the sights and sounds of Oaxaca! Quite a charming place!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Your excellent descriptions really capture the feeling of the sights and sounds of Oaxaca! Quite a charming place!

  • betska's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    Excellent page here! I think I am going to enjoy this place very much. Thanks for the great tips. Bettsxx

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Terrific page..I really regret not making the journey to the city when I was in the area..After reading your pages here I'm reconsidering some tentative plans that Ive made for a Spring "thing" South..Stay Tuuned! Thanks for the tour!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    The cathedrals are spectacular here and all the lively colors are wonderful. I enjoyed all the detailed information, which is so helpful. Thanks for the lovely tour!

  • Jefie's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2009 at 5:46 AM

    Thanks for the great introduction to Oaxaca! A few years ago I spent a week on the Riviera Maya and I was looking for a new region to visit - I think it will be Oaxaca!

  • Travmad's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2008 at 8:26 AM

    I can't agree with you more. I love Oaxaca and it's surroundings. Have you ever walked along the ridge line to Monte Albon? It's side of Oaxaca that I enjoy.

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