Commonly referred to simply by Oaxaca but officially named Oaxaca de Juarez, is a city and the capital of the Mexican state of the same name. Its cultural festivities, its art community, its colonial influence, its never-ending list of museums, its coffee and chocolate as well as its unmatched markets offering local cuisine and handcrafts make Oaxaca a favorite among Mexicans and foreigners and it should certainly not be missed during your stay in Mexico!
Markets abound in the city, the most famous one being Mercado 20 de Noviembre. Oaxaca is specially known for its intricate handcrafts, textiles and decorations but the most notable item here are “alebrijes“. Alebrijes are wood-carved Mexican folk art creatures that look like they come from a completely different world due to their striking colors and their unnatural figures. The story behind them is that Pedro Linares, a Mexican artists dreamt about these creatures while he was ill and unconscious. When he recovered, he recreated what he saw (although, another version of the story tells that he really saw them while he was high on LSD or peyote).
Another thing Oaxaca is famous for is its open-minded art community. For this reason, art museums are found in every corner of the city. The most famous ones are Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Centro de las Artes de San Agustin Etla, Museo Casa de Juárez, Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo, Museo Rufino Tamayo, among others. Simply walking around, you’ll stumble across hundreds of privately-owned galleries as well – A dream for the lovers of art, especially those interested in contemporary works.
Oaxaca’s colonial heritage is notable – especially in its architecture. Every house comes in bright colors and the amount of Baroque cathedrals abound – you’ll find one in almost every corner! The main and most famous one Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, found in the middle of El Zócalo and just steps away from the 20 de Noviembre market.
Finding accommodation here will not be a problem. For budget travellers, hostels range from $100 pesos per night and $400 for a private room but also look into the possibility of staying at hotels as sometimes they can be cheaper. Highly recommended is Chocolate Posada Hotel (Mina, Nº. 212, Centro) with private rooms available for only $200 pesos with shared bathrooms and $250 for private bathrooms. It is also a restaurant and chocolate store – one of the best and most economic in the city!
Major cities offer bus rides as well as flights to Oaxaca City.