Oaxaca is a prime destination to experience Mexico’s rich culture and heritage. Festivals like Guelaguetza and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) attract tourists annually, but you can still discover many authentic experiences throughout the area.
One of the region’s best-known attractions is the cuisine of Oaxaca. The state offers some of the most superb food in Mexico – in the world for that matter. Best known as the land of seven moles and artisanal mezcal, the city also offers a variety of street food and regional cuisine from the coast. The rich traditions extend into the world of the arts as well.
The valleys are inhabited with master sculptors, potters, woodworkers and weavers working in techniques handed down for generations. Though tradition has laid the foundation for these fine crafts, you will also discover contemporary interpretations and experimentations with their crafts. They create exquisitely woven textiles, including wool rugs dyed with natural resources, clay, and black pottery and intricate wood carvings to create the magical creatures known as alebrijes. When you see these colorful beasts, you may think you are experiencing a vision as if on one of the hallucinatory mushrooms for which the region is known.
Aside from spiritual journeys of fungi, you will find many practicing Catholics and many gorgeous cathedrals in the city and more quaint versions in surrounding towns. In addition to wondrous churches, the charming town center of Oaxaca City houses many restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, and markets. Many small boutiques feature designs from local artisans.
In contrast to the mix of Spanish colonial architecture and contemporary designs found in the city, the ruins of Monte Albán offer an insight into a civilization lost. The dramatic landscape is also home to mezcal distilleries, where some of the finest mezcal is produced. Oaxaca is a region full of wonders that you won’t want to miss.
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Suggested Activities in and around Oaxaca City:
- Home visits to famous clay artisan who makes fantastical creatures and pottery
- Visit a small town where wool rugs are woven with a pedal loom and textiles are dyed with natural resources
- Check out the paper factory where the recycled paper is made into kites by artist, Francisco Toledo
- Visit a palenque (mezcal distillery) where agave is grown and mezcal is produced
- Museums: Cultural and Local History
- Food tastings and market tours
- Special cooking class with regional chef
- Visit the Cathedrals and Churches
- Outdoor Activities: Horseback rides, Hiking, and Nature
- Local Festivals and Events (depending on the time of year)