Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca (pronounced; ‘Wah-haca’) is a city in southwestern Mexico famous for its cuisine, cultures, indigenous peoples and crafts and has been our favourite place on our journey so far. There was a special magic to be felt here and we both got a sense of authentic Mexico. The zocalo (or main square) is the main hub of activity with  local mayan dancers, trumpeters, live bands and jesters entertaining onlookers. Oaxaca cuisine is world famous and many renowned chefs visit the region learning about the signature Mexican dishes that originated here. As agriculture is the primary industry in this region and the climate is favourable, farmers can grow corn, agave, peanuts, coffee and a large variety of fruit and vegetables and there are food stalls dotted all over the city offering up the most delicious fresh produce. We had the tastiest beef tacos here from a street vendor which were cooked as we waited.  Even better was the phenomenally low prices, with 10 tacos costing us a mere €5. A visit to Oaxaca cannot be completed without a visit to the infamous Juarez Mercado in the town centre, an indoor market bustling with people selling just about anything. You’ll find everything from roasted grasshoppers (famous Oaxaca crunchy snack full of protein!) to dried chillies to whole raw chickens to jewellery and handbags.   

One of our treasured memories on this trip so far was definitely our swim in the famous Hierve El Agua. It is made up of two mineral pools sitting on a cliff edge surrounded by natural limestone rock formations. The name in Spanish is “the water boils” relating to the way the water bubbles as it travels through the springs which we were told had medicinal properties for the indigenous Zapotec peoples. It is located remotely so it takes some time to get there but once you hike around the salt waterfalls in the humidity you are certainly ready for a dip in the natural pools. We spent a few hours here as part of a full day tour of the area which included a local Zapotecan family weaving business, Mitla – an ancient archaeological site, a mezcal distillery and Tule tree – the widest in the world!

Highlights:

  • Trip to Hierve El Agua, A MUST SEE!
  • Sample some of the local Mezcal in a margarita
  • Smell and taste the flavours at a street vendor
  • Visit the local Juarez mercado
  • Hang out in the Zocalo at dusk and savour the atmosphere

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