Travel Guide: OXACA, Mexico

1.21.2020


Four years ago I saw a post on Instagram of this beautiful place that screamed MEXICO to me. Ever since I been wanting to visit but just now somehow the universe brought me here.  For my annual birthday trip I told my husband I wanted to go to Oaxaca. We invited my mom and sister and pretty much anyone whom wanted to come.  We decided to spend a whole week since there is so much to see and do in the beautiful Oaxaca city and surroundings; one week was still not even enough.

( Dress:Fortunateone (sold out, similar here)  Sandals: ZARA // Hat: Lack of Color ) 


Where we stayed: 

This cute Airbnb, it is conveniently located in the city center with walking distance (5min) from el Centro de Santo Domingo.  I believe they also have individual listing for each room if you don't need the whole house.  We were originally having my niece on the trip so renting a space where she could play freely while being in safe place among all of us sold me on this cute place.  I also love the concept of being able to have everyone gather in the cute kitchen in the morning or at night for a cup of hot chocolate.  The only negative I can give this place were the mosquitos and no A.C.

Oaxaca has many adorable hotels but the price for them where in my opinion a bit overpriced for what we were getting.  One of the ones that catches my eyes was Hotel Los Danzantes; it was way too pricey for one room.  Keep in mind we were staying for a week; If you travel for a shorted time period and with less people I am sure there are many Hotel options.


What did we do: 

If you look at Oaxaca in a map you will find many towns around the city.  These towns are each known for something special. For example south of the city this route puts you in place to see the famous alebrijes( magical animal figures handmade of wood and hand painted) you will arrive to the tiny town and look around for a house shop that best catches your eye.  Drive 10 more minutes and you will find another little town, here they make handmade bags, belts, shirts etc.  As you can see this becomes like a treasure hunting adventure very unique as you get to buy directly from the person who made your item rather than buying it from a boutique in the city.  To me this has more meaning and knowing I am paying directly to the artist gives me peace of mind.

My tip is to print out a map from google maps or wherever.  Highlight the towns you wish to visit.  Dedicate one day to each route and simply explore and have fun.  If you rent a car like we did the road conditions are excellent, safe and this saves you a lot of money.  We looked into getting a driver that charged $100 USD per person! My husband rented the car for the week for less than $80 USD. Gas is relatively affordable, all you need is a brave soul willing to drive.

Route 1 (South of Oaxaca city)

Start at San Bartolo Coyotepec where you can find the famous Barro Negro/black clay crafts like cups, flowers bases, plates, jewelry boxes etc all handmade by sweet Mexican artisans.  We visited the house of a family who has done this craftsmanship for generations; we simply walked the streets and stubble upon it.  They showed us their simple ovens, they showed us how they use soda caps as their tool to make beautiful details on their work.  I was amazed to see the simplicity yet the complexity of such work made in their backyard.  No thermostats, no "its ready" bells, they use wood fire, making each piece that much more special.

 Keep driving south to Ocotlan de Morelos to find the famous Alebrijes.  --> less than 10 minute drive to another town called Santo Tomas Jalieza where you can find women hand making bags/cushion covers/belts etc in the plaza.  I tried the local ice cream here and it was delish!

If you still have the time keep driving south to Ocotlan de Morelos visit the beautiful Parroquia de Santo Domingo de Guzman. It has a unique soft blue with gold detail I have never seen before.  A little walk from there you can venture into the famous Mercado Morelos where you can find pretty amazing stuff; here is where the famous Comedor de Frida is located.  This eatery is very popular among tourist but its best to go without a guide as they will charge you in USD for a relatively inexpensive meal.
(Parroquia de Santo Domingo de Guzman // Shorts: 12th Tribe (dark wash, size 26)  // Shirt: Everyone  // Crossbody: Tulum // Hat: Real De 14)
(Outside El Mercado Ocotlan de Morelos)

( señoras hand making bags, cushions and more)
( Bought this señora two pillow covers and some other beauties) 
( With the Famous "Frida"  La Cocina de Frida inside El Mercado Ocotlan de Morelos// her food is actually really good) 
( Mi gente Mexicana bien trabajadores)
(Alegrijes)

Route 2: ( East Of Oaxaca)

On this route you can start off at Monte Alban, this archeological site was one of the earliest cities of the Mesoamerican. Once you arrive right by the ticket booth you will find men and women offering guided tours; I highly suggest getting this guide, it made our visit 100x more interesting and fascinating as our guide used to be a professor and his knowledge base blew us all away.  

After Monte Alban we headed to Santa Maria del Tule where you can park and explore the welcoming town.  Head to see El Arbol del Tule, a tree located in the church grounds in the heart of the town.  This very unique and huge tree has the title of widest tree in THE WORLD.  Pay a small fee, get the church children to sing you the many different shapes found in the tree trunk, sit back and relax under the most breezy shade under The Tule Tree.

Next and final stop is Teotitlan Del Valle, this yet another cute and unique town where the people are extremely welcoming is where you can find textiles.  Textiles? yes! but not just any kind, people show you from their humble backyards how they personally use natural dyes from local ingredients to give the  wool the desired color.  We were even shows how the wool is handmade! We arrived quite late in the day but look for the city center, ask for where you can go see the process.  
( In Monte Alban // Top: Vici Collection (white sold out)
( Arbol del Tule // Dress: VICI COLLECTION )
( Teotitlan del Valle buying a handmade rug) 


Hierve el Agua- "the water boils":

Also east of Oaxaca however I highly suggest making this a one day trip as it is far from the city and also you want to enjoy everything it has to offer.  Once you arrive its a relatively short walk where you pass food vendors etc.  Once at the main point we explored too pictures then headed to the highest point (this hiking is a bit challenging but would say in 15 minutes you'll reach your destination.  Take photos then head back down to swim in the not so caliente waters lol.  

But wait... what is Hierve el Agua anyways? is a one of a kind mineral spring and rock formation.  What looks like waterfalls is in actually harden mineral deposits left by the running water that bubbles from the rocks! It has taken thousands of years for the calcification to build up to what you can see. Google told me there is only two petrified waterfalls in the world and the other is in Turkey, so there you have it!



THE FOOD!:

The food is the fun part of traveling! If you go to a new place and you are ordering your same "comfort" meals...your not living.  Try the local food! If it turns out your taste buds are not for it at least you can say you gave it a try; my best travel tip in regards to food.

Grasshopers 

Are a must try! I know what your thinking "Ewww Maggie" but trust me on this one. They use them in so many things; in your cocktail, in the elote, in your appetizers, and so many others.  I was not expecting to LOVE them as much as I did! they come in different flavors; my fav was the chile ones.  Find them in the Mercados.

Tejate

This is a non alcoholic beverage( you guys really think I am an alcoholic LOL), made fresh by the locals.  It is made of maize and cacao originating back to the pre-hispanic times.  Its the perfect refresher for that Oaxaca heat.  Don't forget to drink it from the jicarita cup.


Tlayudas

Traditional handmade dish from Oaxaca; large and thin crunchy tortilla toasted/fried covered with spread of frijoles/beans, lettuce, Oaxaca cheese, tomatoes and some salsa.  I couldn't finish mine, so definitely share one.


The Home made ice cream!

I mean unless your absolutely lactose intolerant I highly suggest you try as many flavors as your belly allows.  My favorite one was tuna (not the fish).  A local popular is leech quemada but let's say I will not get it again; but hey! I tried it :)

Los Danzantes

rooftop restaurant and bar is a true Oaxaca dream. Located right in city center. The view is breathtaking, their cocktails were a hit for me,  food was ok.  Once there explore the hotel, it is so rustic with that Mexico vibe.


Boulenc: 

If you are a lover of cute unique places this is a must for you.  Their breakfast is delicioso and they have a bakery where you get the yummiest softest conchas.  Try the chocolate de agua as this is another staple of Oaxaca.  I chose this place to have breakfast on my birthday; safe to say we were not disappointed.



El Mercado 20 de Noviembre

The amount of food in this mercado will leave your belly so happy.  This was a must visit per all the research I did and they were not lying.  Go the the small stretch hallway, if you can't find it just look for the smoke; wish I was kidding.  The vibe in this small hallway is on another level.  Please give it a go, do not be intimidated from people yelling at you their prices etc.  I was laughing my ass off from how ridiculously busy it was, the amount of smoke, musicians playing in the middle of all the smoke and me having no idea what the hell was going on.

How it works:
 You pick your meat, they give you a #, they cook it for you, you pick your sides/drinks and pay.  Sit down with all your sides and they will bring the meat to you based on your #.  Eat your life away amiga/o.
( Me actually high AF from all the smoke inside the Mercado ) 

Los Danzantes: 

Very chick, sort of high class feel restaurant but still very chill.  Highly recommend.



MEZCAL:

Now let's talk alcohol! Mezcal is a Mexican distilled alcoholic beverage made from many types of agave so in my opinion is organic thus a little in moderation is beneficial; do your research.  Depending on the agave the flavor and richness will vary.  The most common varieties of agave used for mezcal are tobala, tobaziche, tepeztate, arroqueno and espadin; I am no expert the tour guide told me this info lol.

Where can you try it? 

In the many bars in the city, or if you feel venturous like us we drove down to one of the many actual places where they grow it known as Palenques. We headed to Tlacolula where we went to Mezcal Pensamiento.  The staff was extremely friendly, made us laugh the whole time, provided educational information in an extremely welcoming yet educated way and they treated us to tastings of all kinds.  Craving a Mezcalito right now.

To be honest, I am not a mezcal drinker BUT, you don't travel to Oaxaca and not try it.  After the first one is like your taste buds say "hey Maggie we got this, give us more" and so I listened.  Yes, I left the tasting quite tipsy.  We brought back so much mezcal it looked like we were going to open a dispensary.


THANK YOU FOR READING!


( Dress from: Get Choosy (size S) absolute LOVE this dress ) 

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy blog post! I hope you give Oaxaca a try as this place is filled with many many more things to see and food to be tasted!  Happy Travels my wanderlusts.


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With Love,
       Maggie 


3 comments :

  1. Are you being my guide tour for Diana's wedding in Nov. 2020? =) And me bas a prestar some of your cute dresses? =)

    Like always, LOVE las fotos.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love your post! Oaxaca is simply amazing, you just don't know it through your eyes but also through your palate :)
    Meet you there soon again!

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG I Loved your Oaxaca post ,Now i want to visit!!!

    ReplyDelete

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