Oaxaca – Easy Going & Vibrant, One of the Most Enticing Destinations in Mexico!
Are you dreaming of a vacation that can offer you all the pleasures of a sub-tropical climate, and the serenity of a remote and fascinating holiday destinations filled with a wealth of cultural richness and incredible natural wonders?
Look no further than Oaxaca state in the south eastern region of beautiful Mexico, bordering on the north by Veracruz and Puebla, on the east with Chiapas, on the west with Guerrero and languishing along the Pacific Ocean on the state’s sunny south.
The state’s enviable sub-tropical climate entices visitors from all around the world, hoping to be able to catch a few moments break in the sun and sands that make up this wonderful Mexico state. With a variety of land and sea to explore, you’re going to want to make Oaxaca your home away from home!
Oaxaca (It’s pronounced “Wa-ha-ka”, by the way) boasts peaks of nearly ten thousand feet high – that’s over three thousand meters tall. What it showcases in incredible mountain ranges it also makes up for with deep caverns – some of which are among the deepest caverns in the entire world!
Incredible beachfronts, secluded jungles, and lush green valleys make up the Mexican state of Oaxaca and really this is just the beginning! When you come to Oaxaca you’ll step into an entirely different world of surprises.
Let’s take a look into the history of Oaxaca, in order to better understand Oaxaca today…
The history of this region in Mexico dates back thousands of years into the past, and some of the earliest known historical events can be traced back to around 1500 BC where for about a thousand years the Zapotecan city of San Jose Mogote stood as the biggest and most influential settlement in the area.
It’s widely thought that during the pre-colonial times, Oaxaca was actually the home of sixteen entirely different cultures, each having their own language, traditions, and separate customs. Among these sixteen different cultures, the Zapotecas and the Mixtecas people made up the largest and most advanced societies in Oaxaca, having agricultural land and small villages set up throughout the area.
It’s known that the Zapoteca people were a culture who were skilled in astronomy, as well as excavation. They successfully levelled the top of a mountain to create Monte Alban, a ceremonial centre, in 450 BC. Monte Alban was home to an estimated eighteen thousand Zapotecan inhabitants in its heyday!
The oldest agricultural city in all of Oaxaca Valley, San Jose Mogote, is also credited for being the first settlement in the region to create and use pottery. Historians also attribute the oldest known barrier used for defensive purposes to the Zapoteca people, having created it about 1300 BC.
The Mixtecas arrived in Oaxaca from the southern areas of what we now refer to as Puebla and Guerrero. Nearing the end of the 7th century they had fully established themselves within the central and western areas of Oaxaca. By this point they had constructed the cities of Apoala and Tilantongo and had continued migrating east until the 13th century when they clashed with the Zapotecas and took over the Central Valley.
Oaxaca Now – Where to Stay?
Fast forward to the present time, when Oaxaca has transformed into the interesting cultural destination of today, and you’ll be wanting to sort out the key details of your Oaxaca vacation – most importantly, where to stay?
The place you choose to call your home away from home can be as extravagant or as simple as you want or need it to be – all you need to do is think about what kind of Oaxaca holiday experience you want to have! For some people, the perfect hotel is one that’s closest to the airport with as little fuss as possible, all the amenities you would expect from a larger hotel chain, and no surprises.
One of the most booked hotels closest to the OAX Xoxocotlan International Airport is the Fiesta Inn Oaxaca. It’s located within an easy five kilometers of the airport, making your arrival and departure a smooth transition.
Some people want to make their accommodation part of the whole package – the hotel they choose to stay in plays a huge role in the experience they’re hoping to have, and they’re looking for more than just the essentials and an easy ride to and from the OAX. For the traveller who seeks a real Oaxaca historic experience there are places like Casa de Sierra Azul.
Located in the heart of the historical district and surrounded by a wealth of well-preserved heritage buildings and colonial-style architecture, Casa De Sierra Azul Hotel allows visitors to immerse themselves in an impressive location that allows for easy access to a wide array of popular landmarks such as the Oaxaca Textile Museum, the Macedonio Alcala Theater, Santo Domingo Square, Tule Tree, and the aforementioned Monte Alban.
Of course, there’s nothing better than living Oaxaca while you’re staying in Oaxaca! For the best vacation rentals, look towards any number of vacation rental websites such as HomeAway.com, Airbnb.com and BestofOaxaca.com. You’ll be able to choose a home away from home that suits you and your needs perfectly!
When you choose an Oaxaca vacation rental you’ll be in charge of your daily routine, you’ll wake up in “your own” house, and depending on the amenities available you’ll be cooking your own meals, saving costs on food by being able to prepare your own at home with fresh ingredients you can only find in the local market!
Depending on the number of people in your group, you can save a significant amount of money staying in an Oaxaca vacation rental rather than shelling out for multiple hotel rooms for the same number of days. Typically, a group of family or friends traveling together will spend less on renting one vacation rental with two bedrooms than they would spend paying for two separate hotel suites for a week. Factor in the time saved by choosing a vacation rental close by the sights you want to see most and the money saved on meals.
Oaxaca – Making the Most of the Delicious Cuisine!
Of course, the idea of cooking meals for yourself while on holiday doesn’t appeal to everybody, and even if you are enjoying saving your money for a shopping spree while taking in the sights, you’ll still want to seek out the highlights of what Oaxaca has to offer in traditional and modern cuisine!
Hunt down a tlayuda, the pizza of Oaxaca. But it’s so much more than a pizza, and in fact quite different. The large tortilla base is often glazed with asiento before being topped with frijol or refried beans, and an assortment of tomatoes, avocados, and a choice of meat such as chorizo, tasajo or cencilla for example. Serve it as you would a pizza, or fold and grill it!
Get tamales oaxaqueños wrapped in banana leaf and closely resembling the South American humitas – with fillings close to the traditional tamale such as mole negro and frijol beans.
Meat is a huge part of the plate, and you’ll find tasajo which is a thinly pounded beef that can be air dried, cecina which is almost the same thing but pork, cecina enchilada which is dusted with chili powder, and the delicious Mexican sausage chorizo.
Don’t leave Oaxaca wihtout trying one of their intense chocolate, a delicacy that has been known to the region for thousands of years. The chocolate is most often used as an ingredient instead of being eaten on its own, and it’s used in a variety of different cuisine including the world famous moles produced in this area.
Other than the moles the tantalizing Oaxaca chocolate is served in beverages. Make sure to see Chocolate Myordomo on Mina Street in Oaxaca, known for its hot and cold chocolate drinks, snacks such as tamales. Sample some of the chocolates that vary in their sweetness and bold flavours, ground from the fresh cocoa beans right in Oaxaca.
You’ll find marketplace meals, street snacks, drinks and fine dining, bars, clubs and just about every manner of establishment serving up just about every manner of meal in Oaxaca – from traditional foods expertly prepared with ingredients that have been used for thousands of years, to gourmet meals representing countries halfway around the world.
Try tejate, a traditional indigenous beverage made of corn, cacao as well as seeds and flowers parts. It’s described by those trying it for the first time as being mildly chocolatey with an earthiness to it. It was a drink that was made by the Mixtec and the Zapotec people, and you can still find it today.
Oaxaca is what you make it: a place to dine, a place to relax, a place to feel the sunshine on your face and explore the many different cultural attractions. A place to discover more about this part of Mexico and a place to discover more about yourself! What kind of vacation are you looking for? Whatever you are hoping to experience on your Mexican holiday, Oaxaca is guaranteed to help you find it!
Visit the North American destinations category to learn more about best places to visit in America!