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Info Oaxaca de Juárez
The city and municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez, or simply Oaxaca, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of the same name. It is located in the Centro District in the Central Valleys region of the state, on the foothills of the Sierra Madre at the base of the Cerro del Fortín extending to the banks of theAtoyac River. This city relies heavily on tourism, which is based on its large number of colonial-era structures as well as the native Zapotec and Mixtec cultures and archeological sites. It, along with the archeological site of Monte Albán, were named a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is also the home of the month-long cultural festival called the "Guelaguetza", which features Oaxacan dance from the seven regions, music and a beauty pageant for indigenous women.
It is nicknamed "la Verde Antequera" (the green Antequera) due to its prior name (Nueva Antequera) and the variety of structures built from a native green stone. The name Oaxaca is derived from the Nahuatl name for the place, Huaxyacac, which was Hispanicized to Guajaca, later spelled Oaxaca. "de Juárez" was added in honor of Benito Juárez, who was a native of this state. The coat of arms for the municipality bears the image of the decapitated Donaji, who was an indigenous princess in the years immediately after the Conquest.
|POPULATION :||• City 300,050|
• Metropolitan 650,000
|FOUNDED :||Founded 1532|
|TIME ZONE :||Time zone CST (UTC−6)|
Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−7)
|AREA :||85.48 km2 (33.00 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||1,555 m (5,102 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||17°04′04″N 96°43′12″W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.5%|
• Female: 51.5%
|AREA CODE :||951|
|POSTAL CODE :||68000|
|DIALING CODE :||+52 951|
|WEBSITE :||Official site|
Tourist Information Kiosk, Alameda de León.Daily. Operated by the city, this helpful place offers free maps and information, and can help you navigate your time here in the city as well as other places of interest in Oaxaca.
There had been Zapotec and Mixtec settlements in valley of Oaxaca for thousands of years, especially in connection with the important ancient centers of Monte Albán and Mitla, which are close to modern Oaxaca city. The Aztecs entered the valley in 1440 and named it "Huaxyacac," a Nahuatl phrase meaning "among the huaje" (Leucaena leucocephala) trees. A strategic military position was created here, at what is now called the Cerro (large hill) del Fortín to keep an eye on the Zapotec capital of Zaachila and secure the trade route between the Valley of Mexico, Tehuantepec and what is now Central America. When the Spanish arrived in 1521, the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs were involved in one of their many wars. Spanish conquest would end this fighting.
The first Spanish expedition here arrived late in 1521, headed by Captain Francisco de Orozco, and accompanied by 400 Aztecs. Hernán Cortés sent Francisco de Orozco to Oaxaca because Moctezuma II said that the Aztec's gold came from there. The Spanish expedition under Orozco set about building a Spanish city where the Aztec military post was at the base of the Cerro de Fortín. The first mass was said here by Chaplain Juan Díaz on the bank of the Atoyac River under a large huaje tree, where the Church of San Juan de Dios would be constructed later. This same chaplain added saints’ names to the surrounding villages in addition to keeping their Nahuatl names: Santa María Oaxaca, San Martín Mexicapan, San Juan Chapultepec, Santo Tomas Xochimilco, San Matías Jalatlaco, Santiago Tepeaca, etc. This group of Spaniards chose their first mayor, Gutierres de Badajoc, their first town council and began construction of the cathedral of Oaxaca in 1522. Their name for the settlement was Guajaca, a Hispanization of the Nahuatl name (which would later be respelled as Oaxaca).
The establishment of the relatively independent village did not suit Hernán Cortes, who wanted power over the entire region for himself. Cortés sent Pedro de Alvarado, who proceeded to drive out most of the village's population. The original Spanish settlers appealed to the Spanish crown to recognize the village they founded, which it did in 1526, with land divided among the Spaniards of Orozco's expedition. However, this did not stop Cortés from driving out the population of the village once again and replacing the town council only three months after royal recognition. Once again, the original founders appealed to Spanish royal authority, this time to the viceroy in Mexico City, Nuño de Guzmán. This viceroy also sided with the original founders, and the town was refounded in 1529 as Antequera, in honor of Nuño de Guzmán's hometown. Francisco de Herrera convened the new,Crown-approved town council, and the first layout of the settlement was mapped out by Juan Peláez de Berrio.
In the meantime, Cortés was able to obtain from the crown the title of the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, which contains the disputed village. This permitted him to tax the area heavily, and to have control of the territory that surrounded the village. The village was then in a position of having to survive surrounded by villages which answered to Cortés. These villages not only did not take orders from Antequera, they were hostile to it, mostly likely encouraged by Cortés.
To counter this, the village petitioned the Crown to be elevated to the status of a city, which would give it certain rights, privileges and exceptions. It would also ensure that the settlement would remain under the direct control of the king, rather than of Cortés. This petition was granted in 1532 by Charles V of Spain.
After the Independence of Mexico in 1821, the city became the seat of a municipality, and both the name of the city and the municipality became Oaxaca, changed from Antequera. In 1872, "de Juárez" was added to the city and municipality names to honor Benito Juárez, who began his legal and political career here.
The 2006 Oaxaca protests began as a teachers’ protest, occupying the main square, or Zocalo, of Oaxaca city in May 2006. Increases in wages and employment benefits were announced a short time later, but an internal conflict in the local teachers’ union led to accusations that the bargaining had not really been in the teachers’ best interest. Work stoppage and occupation of the square continued from May 22 to June 1. At this point, radical groups joined in with the protest and the disorder grew, closing banks, access roads, the airport, access to stores and harassing the governor of the state in public appearances. Many of these groups merged with the teachers’ union to form the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO). The disruption turned into a siege that lasted five months. Violence included the deaths of a number of people including Indymedia journalist Bradley Roland Will on October 27, 2006 and Roberto López Hernández and Jorge Alberto Beltrán on October 29, 2006 when over 10,000 federal police and army intervened .The situation calmed in the second week of November when the Federal Preventative Police took over the city and disbanded the protests.
Oaxaca has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw), closely bordering on a humid subtropical climate (Cwa), due to its high altitude. During the dry season, temperatures during the day remain warm with an average high of 27.1 °C (80.8 °F) in the coolest month, December, and an average high of 33.3 °C (91.9 °F) in April, just before the beginning of the wet season. Although daytime temperatures are warm, nighttime temperatures are cool with an average low of 9 °C (48 °F) in January . Due to its altitude of 1,555 metres (5,102 ft), the climate of Oaxaca is more mild than lowland areas with the same climate, resulting in cooler temperatures than lowland areas with the same climate. Precipitation is concentrated in the summer months with June being the wettest with an average precipitation of 171 mm (6.7 in).
Climate data for Oaxaca
|Record high °C (°F)||38.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||27.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||9.0|
|Record low °C (°F)||0.5|
|Source #1: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
The city is the primary attraction of the state, which also relies economically on tourism. Over the last 25 years, tourism has grown to become the dominant factor of Oaxaca's economy. 77% of the municipality of Oaxaca has employment that is related in some way to tourism. The attractions are the verdant landscapes of the Oaxaca Valley, and the architectural and cultural charms of the city itself. The next largest economic sectors are mining and manufacturing, which employ 20% of the work force.
The city centre was included in a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, in recognition of its treasure of historic buildings and monuments. Tourist activity peaks in three seasons: Holy Week, summer (especially during Guelaguetza) and New Year. Many of the tourists who come during Holy Week and for New Year come from other parts of Mexico and include native Oaxacans returning to visit from their places of work. Most international visitors come during the summer.
Municipality of Oaxaca
As municipal seat, Oaxaca city has governmental jurisdiction over the following communities: Arbolada Ilusión, Camino a San Luis Beltrán, Camino Ancho, Casas del Sol, Colonia Buena Vista, El Bajío (Rancho Guadalupe Victoria), El Silencio, Entrada de el Silencio, Gloria Antonio Cruz, Guadalupe Victoria, Guadalupe Victoria Segunda Sección (La Mina), Lachigulera, Las Salinas (El Arco Grande), Loma Bonita, Lomas Panorámicas, Los Ángeles, Los Ángeles Uno, Miravalle, Paraje Caballetiyo, Paraje el Cerrito, Paraje el Pando, Paraje la Canoa, Paraje la Loma, Paraje la Mina, Paraje la Rabonera, Paraje Pio V (Ojito de Agua), Paraje Tierra Colorada, Pueblo Nuevo Parte Alta, Rancho el Chilar, Rancho los Girasoles, San Bernardo, Solidaridad, and Viguera The municipality has a total area of 85.48 km2 and a population of 265,006, 97% percent of which lives in the city of Oaxaca While much of the indigenous population disappeared during the colonial era, sixteen different ethnic groups continue to inhabit the municipality. Spanish is the most commonly used tongue but during the 2005 census, there were 20,109 people who spoke an indigenous language, between seven and eight percent of the population.
The municipality is bordered by San Pablo Etla, San Antonio de la Cal, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, San Andrés Huayapam, San Agustín Yatareni, Santa Lucía del Camino, Santa María Atzompa and San Jacinto Amilpas. It is located in the Valley of Oaxaca in the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains near the geographic center of the state, and at an altitude of about 1550 m (5000 ft). The area is known as the three "Valles Centrales" (Central Valleys) region and is surrounded by thick forests of pine and holm oak.
Places to access WiFi are now far too numerous to list individually. Most restaurants, even the smaller ones, will have WiFi, the Oaxaca Lending library has WiFi, most hotels and hostels and B&Bs will have WiFi as well. If you need it, you will be able to find it.
Prices in Oaxaca de Juárez
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$0.90|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$6.80|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$20.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$3.75|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$2.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.10|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$3.30|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$5.10|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.09|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$2.60|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$1.00|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1 pair||$|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M….)||1 pair||$|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas…)||1 pair||$|
|Leather shoes||1 pair||$|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$0.40|
Transportation - Get In
- Xoxocotlán International Airport (IATA: OAX), Carretera Oaxaca-Puerto Angel Km 7.5,. A small but fully functional airport which mainly has flights to Mexican cities, with most flights to Mexico City. Most major airlines can offer cooperative service to Oaxaca through Mexico City via AeroMexico. United flies directly from Houston to Oaxaca on regional jets.
From the airport, you will need to find transportation into the city. The ubiquitous yellow taxis in the city do not seem to take arrivals from the airport to the city. There is a booth as you leave the airport where you can purchase a ticket on acolectivo, a small van that will leave when full and which will drop you off right at your desired address. To get to the airport via colectivo, get your ticket the day before at the office near the Zocalo at the Alameda de Leon. Take your airline ticket and they will book you a seat on the colectivo that will get you to the airport in time for your flight.
The more adventurous traveler can fly directly from the United States to Mexico City, Huatulco or Puerto Escondido and then take a bus to Oaxaca (6.5 hrs from Mexico City or 8 hrs from Huatulco or Puerto Escondido). The services are excellent and usually run on time.
- 1st Class Bus Station (Camionera Central Primera Clase), Calz Niños Héroes de Chapultepec 1036 (N of the centro on Hwy 190), toll-free: . , ADO ($552 MXN), OCC ($422-470 MXN), and Fypsa ($270 MXN) buses all travel between Mexico City's TAPO station and Oaxaca. Tickets can be purchased online or directly at the station. Catch the bus at TAPO bus station near the airport in Mexico City. Food and drink are available at the station. The bus has a bathroom & makes at least one stop.
- Another possibility, in order to skip the chaotic TAPO bus station in Mexico city, is taking the frequent Estrella Roja bus directly from Airport Terminal 1 to Puebla and then transferring to Oaxaca.
By shuttle van
If you are arriving from Puerto Escondido, two shuttle van companies do multiple daily runs between Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca (City) and are a faster alternative to the bus. The very scenic route winds directly through the mountains with hairpin curves and takes about 6-7 hours depending on road conditions. Passengers who are inclined to get car sick should definitely take motion sickness tablets. There is a toilet and snack break about midway.
- Servicio Express (Express Service), Calle de M Arista 110, . , (mobile)Hourly from 04:00-23:00. Offers daily service in 15-seat vans. $209 MXN.
- Transporte Villa del Mar, Calle Galeana 322, , e-mail:[email protected]. Hourly from 04:30-23:00. Offers daily service in 15-seat vans. $170 MXN.
Transportation - Get Around
The central, tourist-oriented part of town is well signposted and easily walk-able by foot, although taxis are somewhat plentiful and buses numerous and cheap ($6 MXN). You can pick up a free city map from one of several information booths, including one right outside the cathedral. No one local seems to know the bus routes or where the collectivos (buses to the pueblos) stop but you can get a good bus map for $40 MXN at the Oaxacan Lending Library.
Buses stop running around 21:00.
Bear in mind that, as with other Mexican cities, there may be more than one road with the same name (Mexicans often use the nearest corner to navigate) and a road's name may change from one end to the other. This is particularly true for the city's downtown, which is divided into north and south by Independencia Avenue. All streets crossing it change its name except for two other main streets running along with Independencia: Morelos Avenue and Hidalgo Avenue. From east to west street names change when crossing Macedonio Alcalá (north of Independencia) and Bustamante Street (south).
- BEST RATED -
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- Chocolate. Mina Street smells of chocolate and the city's most famous warm beverage is hot chocolate.
- Mezcal. The state of Oaxaca also is well known for its Mezcal and there are several tours that visit the distilleries.
- Mercado de Artesanías(Handicrafts Market), Gral Ignacio Zaragoza (on the corner of JP Garcia, one block SW of the Mercado 20 de Deciembre). A colorful handicrafts market focusing on hand-woven textiles, with additional shops selling alebrijes(wooden carvings) and alfarería(pottery).
- Mercado Benito Juarez, Calle Cabrera (from the Zócalo walk one block south; the market is the whole block ahead of you and to your right). Daily. Everything from clothing and leather goods to mole, fresh fruits, flowers, and bulk grains. For meats, prices are a bit high for being unrefrigerated, you might want to try a supermarket instead. One of the few places in town to find brown rice (ask the bulk grain vendors for arroz integrál) or cigarette lighters (check the sidewalk vendors in the area).
- Mercado de la Merced(Mercado de la Democracia), Insurgentes 104(between Av Morelos and Calle Murguía). This traditional market has a focus on food products and produce, much of it organic. Specialties include bread, cheese, and tortillas. It also has a number of food stands and restaurants, for eating in or take-away.
- Pochote Xochimilco (In the park of Santo Tomás Church, Xochimilco).F Sa 08:30-15:30. Handmade tortillas, tlayudas, pastries, fresh-squeezed juice, mezcal, vegetables and woven goods. The delicious prepared food makes a great breakfast or lunch and there's a sitting area to enjoy it. (There are two markets called Pochote. In late 2009 the original Pochote Market split and some of the members relocated to Santo Tomás. The others went to Rayon #411 and Xicoténcatl.)
- Mercado 20 de Noviembre (Next block south of the Mercado Benito Juarez.). Another large,mostly covered, market just south of the Mercado Benito Juarez. Many vendors with food and places to sit and eat. The south street side of the market has a number of chocolate vendors.
- Mercado at El Llano Park (Between Benito Jaurez and Pino Saurez at Berriozabal). Every Friday. An active market on the sidewalks surrounding the park.
- Gigante (Gigante Supermarket), C. Independencia and Periferico West(from the northwest corner of the Zócalo walk one block north and about 8 blocks west, crossing the Periferico; you'll see the market ahead of you and to your right). One of the few places to buy fresh refrigerated meats. Other supermarket staples are of course there as well, but you may get better prices at Mercado Juarez on some items. Has lots of other stuff, like a small department store.
- Soriana, Calzada Madero 115 (Centro), , toll-free:. Daily. A large chain which carries all the basics.
- Chedraui, Av Periférico 300, . Daily 07:00-23:00. A large hypermarket (supermercado) with better selection and quality than Soriana. Has a well-stocked pharmacy as well as a bakery and a deli.
Oaxacan food is justifiably famous, and the city's many restaurants offer both traditional and creative dishes to suit many tastes and budgets.
- Mercado de la Merced(Mercado de la Democracia), Insurgentes 104(between Av Morelos and Calle Murguía). There are several excellent eateries in this traditional market. La Güerita, located on the northeast side of the market, is well-known for its memelas and huitlacoche, but has only a few seats. La Florecita (no. 37), with many more seats available, is particularly popular for its tlayudas and hot chocolate.
- Mercado Benito Juárez, Calle Cabrera (from the Zócalo walk one block south; the market is the whole block ahead of you and to your right). Daily.One huge market of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, leather goods, and numerous other items. There are a few stalls offering ready-to-eat hot meals, and a place to sit and eat them; there are however more places to eat in Mercado 20 de Noviembre (listed below).
- Mercado 20 de Noviembre (the block just south of Mercado Benito Juarez, the 3rd block south of the Zócalo). Another huge market – food stalls line the streets outside the market serving up hot, savory tlayudas and tostadas. Local women offer up chapulines (grasshopper), and you'll find countertops inside that serve up moles, soups and desserts. There are 4 entrances, at the center of each street that surrounds the market. The east-side entrance, facing C. Cabrera, has meat vendors who will cook your purchase for you right there; arguably one of the best deals on ready-to-eat meat in town.
- Andariega Restaurant, Independencia 503, . Daily 07:30-21:00. Serves a good selection of mole dishes, and a very good four-course comida corrida.
- Café La Olla, Calle de Reforma 402, , e-mail: , [email protected]. M-Sa 08:00-22:00. Serves well-presented and tasty variations on Oaxacan cuisine, as well as a good range of soups and salads. It's best to dine upstairs to avoid the street noise. $115 MXN comida corrida.
- La Casa de la Abuela, NW corner of the Zócalo (upstairs above Primavera Café, entrance on Av Miguel Hidalgo), .Daily 10:00-23:00. Offers a good selection of regional cuisine, with balcony views over the balcony.
- La Casa del Tío Güero, Calle de Manuel García Vigil (Centro), . Typical Oaxacan cuisine. A good deal with good food, all made with purified water. Comida corrida $60 MXN (including drink and dessert).
- Comala, Allende 109, . M-Sa 08:30-24:00. Serves a good selection of Oaxacan fare, as well as international favorites including burgers and sandwiches. Has a good comida corrida. $80 MXN (comida corrida), $85-120 MXN mains.
- Restaurante María Bonita, C Macedonio Alcalá 706 B, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tu-Sa 08:30-21:00, Su 08:30-17:30. Serves traditional Oaxacan dishes, and offers 2-day cooking classes. Free Wi-Fi available. $70 MXN (comida corrida).
- Restaurante Terranova, Portal de Mercederes (SE corner of the Zócalo), . M-Th 08:00-22:00, F Sa 08:00-01:00, Su 10:00-22:00. Pleasantly situated, with outdoor seating downstairs as well as indoor seating upstairs, this reliable restaurant offers a range of traditional Oaxacan dishes. Excellent service. $75 MXN comida corrida.
- La Red Marisquerias, Carlos María Bustamante 200 (corner of Bustatmante and Colon, a block south of the Zócalo), .Daily 12:00-20:00. Serves fabulously fresh seafood for lunch fixed in dozens of different styles.
- Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante, Calle Constitución 104A (across the street from Templo Santo Domingo and in the same courtyard as the Galleria Quetzalli), . If you're looking to splurge on a meal that you won't be able to find in other restaurants in Oaxaca, Casa Oaxaca fits the bill. Ask for a rooftop table and enjoy the 5-course tasting menu for $32USD/person. Treat yourself to corn mushroom soup, fresh fish with tomato marmalade and succulent sorbets. The wine list is decent with some excellent Spanish wines and good local options. There is another Casa Oaxaca restaurant, in the same location as Casa Oaxaca Hotel.
- La Biznaga, Manuel García Vigil 512, . M-Th 13:00-22:00, F-Sa 13:00-23:00. Dine in a covered courtyard surrounded by art and wireless web surfers. Prices are reasonable for creative Oaxacan cuisine, and the people watching is a bonus.
- La Toscana, Calle 5 de Mayo 614 (Col Jalatlaco), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-W 14:00-24:00, Th-Sa 14:00-00:30, Su 14:00-18:00. It is best to take a taxi to this restaurant because of the out of the way location. They serve the best martinis in Oaxaca and delicious seafood with Italian flair.
- Los Danzantes Oaxaca, Calle Macedonio Alcalá 403, , e-mail: [email protected]. Su-W 13:00-22:00, Th-Sa 13:00-23:30. A comfortable and authentic mix of Oaxacan and modern restaurant, food is great. It's a beautifully designed restaurant. A bit pricey but definitely worth it for the atmosphere and food quality. Great to have a drink at night as well. Mains $145 MXN+.
Coffe & Drink
Oaxaca is famous for at least two drinks: Mezcal and hot chocolate. The state also has a thriving coffee industry. With a few exceptions, most of the cafes are closed on Sunday.
- Casa de Mezcal, Miguel Cabrera, south of the Zócalo. A local bar serving several mezcales as well as bottled beer and other drinks
- Café Kioo, 409-D Garcia Vigil. Has wifi and electical outlets and is open on Sundays.
- Café Los Cuiles, Labastida 115, , e-mail:[email protected]. Daily 08:00-22:00. Good coffee, free Wi-Fi, friendly staff, good atmosphere. Try the Café Oaxaqueña (slightly sweet, with cinnamon. Yum! Moderate.
- Coffee Beans, 5 de Mayo. A cosy cafe and bar selling various beers and a good selection of coffees including various flavours in both hot and cold at decent prices $16 for a beer, $12 for a coffee and a little more with flavour). Doesn't have Wifi.
- Lobo Azul Café, Armenta y López 120, , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Th 08:00-22:00, F Sa 09:00-23:00, Su 09:00-22:00. Popular with students, with walls covered with revolutionary posters. They roast their own coffee beans and also serve excellent breakfasts and lunch, including a number of vegetarian options. Free Wi-Fi.
The eastern end of Mina Street (2 blocks south of Zócalo) are several chocolate shops where you can taste samples. Some of these also have cafes in the back where you can drink several types of hot chocolates. Some have free Wifi.
- La Capilla, Carretera Oaxaca-Zaachila (Zaachila). Excellent place to eat, They have mole and various typical meals worth the trip to Zaachila.
Sights & Landmarks
Oaxaca's streets have a very tranquil and organic feel to them. Much of the joy of a Oaxaca trip comes from simply strolling the downtown streets, sitting in a sidewalk cafe on the Zócalo, and soaking up the atmosphere. On your strolls, try to see a few of the outstanding local landmarks.
- Zócalo. Catch a street act, watch a clown entertain children, buy a souvenir or just people watch from a sidewalk cafe as time passes by. Most tourist attractions are near here. [NOTE: Since summer 2014, the square has been occupied by teachers protesting government changes to state education. As a result, the square is full of tents and dozens of vendors have set up booths around the square. This has changed the entire nature and function of the square. There is no indication when this will end. The the protests have been sporadic since 2006.]
- Templo de Santo Domingo (Ex Convento de Santo Domingo) (corner of Alcalá and Gurrión), . Daily 07:00-13:00, 16:00-20:00. A spectacular church built in 1570-1608, with subsequent Baroque renovations. It has undergone a recent restoration. Particularly noteworthy on the south side is the elaborate Capilla de la Virgen del Rosario, as well as the Capilla de la Cruz de Huatulco, which contains the legendary pre-Hispanic cross of Huatulco. Free.
- Catedral Metropolitana. Oaxaca's largest church dates from 1533 and is known for its unique interpretation of baroque style architecture. Located next to the Zocalo.
- Jardín Etnobotánico (Oaxaca Botanical Garden), Reforma s/n(corner of Constitución, Centro), , e-mail:[email protected]. M-F 9:00-15:30, Sa 9:00-13:00. A former army base, converted to a large botanical garden in 1993. The garden, designed by Oaxacan artist Francisco Toledo who led the project to create it, has the largest collection of living cacti and agave plants in Oaxaca. Paths take visitors though the constantly growing collections that show the rich biodiversity of Oaxacan plant life. Entrance to the garden is through guided tours only. Sign up in advance at the entrance. $100 MXN (tours in English), $50 MXN (tours in Spanish).
Museums & Galleries
- Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, Alcalá s/n (next to the Ex Convento de Santo Domingo), . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. This is a museum of regional history and culture, with exhibits on Zapotec, Mixtec, and Olmec civilizations, as well as colonial and revolutionary era history. Its most stunning highlight is the collection of treasure excavated from Tomb 7 at Monte Alban by archaeologist Alfonso Caso in the 1930s. For what it's worth, some visitors have suggested that the Museo is well worth a visit "after" visiting Monte Alban. $64 MXN (adults), free admission on Sundays for residents; $45 MXN (video and tripod permit).
- Casa de Benito Juarez, García Vigil 609 (Centro Histórico), , e-mail: [email protected]. Tu-Su 10:00-19:00.Historic childhome home of former Mexican President Benito Juarez. It's an unassuming home fitting for a man of humble roots. $43 MXN (adults), free (disabled/children under 13), free admission on Sundays for residents; $45 MXN video permit.
- Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo (Pre-Columbian Art Museum Rufino Tamayo), Av Morelos 503 (Centro), , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. M Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00; Su 10:00-15:00. Inaugurated in 1974, this museum contains about 1,000 pieces of pre-Hispanic Mexican art originally collected and owned by artist Rufino Tamayo. The works are beautifully displayed in five exhibition rooms. The colors for each room were chosen by Tamayo, who frequently used them in his paintings. $40 MXN (adults), $20 MXN (concessions).
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca (MTO), Hidalgo 917 (Centro), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-18:00. Located in an 18th century mansion restored in 2007, the Museo Textil de Oaxaca provides exhibits featuring the designs, techniques and creative processes used for the production of Oaxacan textiles. In addition, the museum regularly runs conferences and workshops. Free.
- La Casa de la Ciudad (City Museum), Porfirio Díaz 115 (Centro), , fax: . Daily 09:00-20:00. Features exhibitions devoted to architectural styles, historical photographs and urban art. Two aerial photographs taken of Oaxaca in 1990 and 2006 are embedded in an underlit floor so that visitors can walk over them and explore the changes in the city that occurred during those 16 years.Free.
- Centro Fotográfico Álvarez Bravo, C de M Bravo 116, . W-M 09:30-20:00. Established by Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo and housed in a beautifully-restored colonial building, this center hosts changing exhibits of work by Mexican and international photographers. Free.
- Instituto de Artes Gráficos, Macedonia Alcalá 507, . Daily 10:00-20:00. A smaller venue which hosts rotating exhibits of work by national and international artists. Free.
- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), Macedonio Alcalá 202, , e-mail: [email protected]. W-Su 10:30-20:00. Housed in a building known as the Casa de Cortés, this museum hosts exhibits of local and nationally recognized modern artists.$20 MXN (adults), $10 (students/seniors), free on Sundays.
- Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Museum of Oaxacan Painters), Av de la Independencia (corner of Garcia Vigil), , e-mail: [email protected]. T-Su 10:00-20:00. This late 17th-century building houses a collection of historic and modern Oaxacan art on two floors. $10 MXN, free on Sundays.
Things to do
- Fundacion En Via, Avenida Juarez 909, Centro, Oaxaca. A non-profit microfinance organization that runs tours to Teotitlan del Valle every Thursday and Saturday. They are working to fight poverty around Oaxaca and to educate travelers about the power of micro-finance. In Teotitlan, participants get to meet two groups of three women who are applying for their micro-loans. Participants hear about their lives and projects, which could be anything from weaving the beautiful rugs for which the town is famous, to making tortillas, raising chickens, making pinatas, or selling flowers in the market. At the end of the day 100% of the tour fee is given as an interest-free micro-loan to one of the two groups of women. Trips are currently run every Thursday from 1-7 and every Saturday from 9-4. 655 pesos or $50 US.
- MOC Adventures. Provides small week-long tours during Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca. The tours introduce people to the history of Oaxaca and the Day of the Dead by engaging them in its unique celebrations such as visiting the Panteóns (cemeteries), comprasas and other important events that take place during Dia de los Muertos.
- Hoofing It In Oaxaca. Organizes regular hikes, both day and the occasional overnight, to various locations around Oaxaca and also into the Sierra Norte.
- Baseball Oaxaca has a popular and successful baseball team, the Guerreros, who play from March through late August at the Estadio del Beisbol. Tickets start at just 10 pesos. [www]
- Rugby is played on Saturdays with the Zinacantli and Jabalies Rugby Clubs, which host the annual Torneo de Dia de los Muertos.
Festivals and events
- Guelaguetza festival takes place in July. The Guelaguetza highlights the traditional practices of the various indigeneous cultures from the state of Oaxaca. The main days are the Mondays following July 16 (Feast Day of Saint Carmen). The term Guelaguetza, the most important custom of the Oaxacan people, derives from the Zapotec term "guendalezaa" which means "offering, present,fulfilment" because, during colonial times, the wealthy Spanish elite had the legal right to receive the first and best of the harvest collected by the indigenous people.
- Night of the Radishes [Noche de Rabanos] (December 23rd; Zocalo). If you happen to be in Oaxaca on December 23, you won't want to miss this unusual festival. Competitors create scenes using carved radishes. It's a long-standing tradition in Oaxaca, and was started as a formal competition in 1897.
- Day of the Dead [Dia de Muertos]. October 31, November 1 and November 2. A Mexican holiday that takes place in candle-lit city cemeteries.
Things to know
The currencies of other countries can be exchanged into Mexican dollars (pesos) at banks or various currency exchange booths, both of which are quite common in the central part of the city. It might pay to look around for the best rates of exchange. You may find that the banks offer a better rate but they might be slightly less convenient to deal with. For example, the banks might require a photocopy of your main passport page, which you will have to get at a copying shop for a peso or so, and they might have longer lineups. Their better exchange rate might make that worthwhile, especially if you are exchanging larger amounts.
Note that people working in these businesses are quite likely NOT to speak English. This shouldn't be a problem once you figure out what the process is. So, make sure you have your passport with you and realize that you may need a photocopy of your passport that they will keep.
- ScotiaBank, Independencia 801, . A fairly busy place close to the Zocalo that seems to have favourable exchange rates.
Safety in Oaxaca de Juárez