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Best Things to Do in Oaxaca
Hello, wanderlust seekers! If you’re itching for a taste of authentic Mexican culture, look no further than Oaxaca. Nestled in the heart of Mexico, Oaxaca is a vibrant and colorful destination that offers a smorgasbord of experiences. So, grab your sombrero, and let’s dive into the top-notch things to do in Oaxaca!
1. Savor the Fiery Flavors of Oaxacan Cuisine
Oaxaca is the gastronomic heart of Mexico, and you’d be remiss not to indulge in its mouthwatering cuisine. Dive into a bowl of mole, a rich and complex sauce made with chocolate, chilies, and spices. Try tlayudas, Oaxaca’s version of a crispy tortilla pizza, and quench your thirst with tejate, a traditional chocolate and maize beverage.
2. Explore the Enchanting Historic Center
Start your Oaxaca adventure by exploring its enchanting historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll along the cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings, and don’t miss the stunning Santo Domingo Church, an architectural marvel.
3. Visit the Lively Zócalo
The Zócalo is the heart of Oaxaca’s social scene. Grab a seat at one of the cafes, sip on some mezcal, and watch the world go by. The Zócalo is also home to vibrant festivals and events throughout the year.
4. Unearth Oaxaca’s Artistic Treasures at Museo de las Culturas
Museo de las Culturas is a treasure trove of Oaxacan art and history. Explore its exhibits showcasing indigenous crafts, textiles, and archaeological finds, which offer insight into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
5. Hike Through Hierve el Agua
Nature lovers, Hierve el Agua is a must-visit natural wonder. These “petrified waterfalls” are a result of mineral deposits from natural springs. Hike along the trails, take a dip in the pools, and revel in the breathtaking views.
6. Crafty Shopping at Mercado de Benito Juárez
Get your shopping fix at Mercado de Benito Juárez, a bustling market where you can pick up handmade textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. Don’t forget to bargain like a pro—it’s all part of the fun!
7. Marvel at the Ancient Ruins of Monte Albán
Step back in time at Monte Albán, an ancient Zapotec archaeological site. Explore its pyramids, temples, and grand plazas, all perched on a hill with panoramic vistas of the Oaxacan valley.
8. Discover the Art of Mezcal Making
Oaxaca is renowned for its mezcal, a smokier cousin of tequila. Visit a mezcal distillery to learn about the artisanal production process and, of course, sample the fiery spirit.
9. Wander Through Tule Tree
Tule Tree, a gigantic Montezuma cypress, is a natural wonder you can’t miss. Estimated to be over 2,000 years old, it’s a living testament to Oaxaca’s rich history and natural beauty.
10. Dance the Night Away with Live Music
Oaxaca is known for its lively music scene. Head to a local cantina or bar to catch live performances of traditional Mexican music, from mariachi to jarabe.
11. Explore Mitla’s Intricate Archaeological Site
Mitla, another archaeological gem, is known for its intricate mosaic fretwork, showcasing the exceptional craftsmanship of the Zapotec people. Walk among the ancient ruins and marvel at the geometric designs.
12. Witness the Radish Festival (Noche de Rábanos)
If you happen to visit in December, don’t miss the Noche de Rábanos, a unique and quirky festival where artisans carve intricate scenes out of radishes. It’s a true testament to Oaxaca’s artistic spirit.
13. Get Lost in the Streets of Oaxaca’s Pueblos Mancomunados
For a dose of rural charm, explore the Pueblos Mancomunados (Commonwealth Villages) around Oaxaca. These picturesque towns offer hiking trails, eco-tourism, and a chance to immerse yourself in local culture.
14. Bathe in the Hot Springs of Hierve el Agua
Hierve el Agua isn’t just about petrified waterfalls. It also boasts natural hot springs where you can take a relaxing soak and soak up the stunning views.
15. Dive into Oaxacan Coffee Culture
Coffee aficionados, Oaxaca has a thriving coffee culture. Visit local coffee shops and savor a cup of Oaxacan coffee, known for its rich flavor and aroma.
16. Discover the Cultural Comaplex of Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo Cultural Complex is a masterpiece of Oaxacan Baroque architecture. Explore its courtyards, museums, and lush gardens, and gain insight into Oaxaca’s cultural heritage.
17. Join a Zapotec Cooking Class
Learn to cook like a local by joining a Zapotec cooking class. You’ll whip up traditional dishes and gain a deeper appreciation for Oaxacan flavors.
18. Celebrate the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)
Oaxaca is famous for its vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations. Join the festivities to witness colorful parades, elaborate altars, and traditional ceremonies.
19. Hike to the Majestic Yagul Caves
Yagul Caves are a hidden treasure. Hike to these ancient caves and explore the mystical chambers that were once used by the Zapotec people.
20. Experience the Guelaguetza Festival
The Guelaguetza Festival is a grand celebration of Oaxacan culture, featuring dance performances, traditional music, and a parade of colorful costumes. It’s a true spectacle of Oaxacan traditions.
In closing, Oaxaca is a place where culture, history, and nature collide in a magnificent dance. Whether you’re a foodie, an art enthusiast, a history buff, or just a curious traveler, Oaxaca has something to offer. So, pack your bags, follow this guide of “Things to do in Oaxaca,” and get ready for an adventure you’ll cherish forever.
And remember, the magic of Oaxaca lies not just in its attractions but in the warmth of its people. So, immerse yourself in the local culture, savor every moment, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels, and may your journey through Oaxaca be filled with unforgettable experiences!