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Oaxaca, Oaxaca

Capital city of the state of Oaxaca
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Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca
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City of Oaxaca as seen from Monte Albán
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Oaxaca is the capital city of the state of Oaxaca and is located near the center of the state in a high mountain valley (5100'), with a population of about 250,000. The climate is springlike during most of the year with warm days and cool evenings. The region is generally arid with a rainy season beginning about July and lasting until October. The photo at right was taken in October of 2002. There are an amazing number of points of interest both within and near the city such as cathedrals, museums, parks, concerts, restaurants featuring Oaxaca's famous cuisine, archaeological sites, crafts villages, etc. Margaret Barclay's Oaxaca Calendar is a good resource for upcoming events. With its large population, the city supports modern medical facilities with a full complement of specialists.

Oaxaca is rich in history and culture. The urban center was known as Huaxyacac in the Nahuatl language until 1532 when the Spanish gave it the name Nueva Antequera. The zócalo (main square) is the heart of the city and has been so since 1529. On the south side of the zócalo is the former state government building, now a museum; on the north side is the Cathedral of Oaxaca which dates from 1535. The thick stone walls are designed to withstand the earthquakes of the region. To the northwest is Alameda de León. A number of cafes surround the zócalo and sitting at a sidewalk table and watching the activities in the square is a popular pastime.

The zócalo is also the site of frequent political rallies and protests, which turned deadly in 2006. I will use the location of the zócalo as a reference to describe the locations of other points in the city. See also this article about the zócalo by Stan Gotlieb.

There are numerous attractions within a few miles of the city. There are villages known for their pottery, weaving, embroidery, and wood carvings, there are breathtaking natural areas, and archeological sites that provide a glimpse of Oaxaca's past civilizations.

Although the name of this web site is called the The Pacific Coast of Mexico, the city of Oaxaca is not on the coast. It is only 147 miles (237 km) from the city to the coast, but the road crosses the Sierra Madre del Sur, making this an 8-hour drive. Nevertheless, hwy 175 is a world class drive through gorgeous tropical forests and I highly recommend it for the adventurous traveler. Another option is to fly to the coast. Many travelers combine the city of Oaxaca with a trip to the coast, so I now include the city here. The city of Oaxaca and surrounding area have so much to offer that you can't see it all in one trip. You will be back. If you have already been, please leave us a message in the Visitors' Comments Forum.

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Hotels • Hoteles

There are about 150 hotels in Oaxaca. Only a sampling can be listed here.

The busiest times in Oaxaca (when rates are higher and reservations are required) are Christmas & New Year's, Easter (2 weeks), Guelaguetaza (week of the next to last Monday in July), and Día de los Muertos (one week before and after November 1).

Help keep this information current. Email tom@tomzap.com with updates.

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Restaurants • Restaurantes


A sampling of Oaxacan foods from Altos Teranova
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Cuisine of Oaxaca • El arte culinario de Oaxaca

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Markets and Shops • Mercados y Tiendas

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Tours • Excursiones

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Spanish Language Schools • Excuelas de Español

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CelebrationsFiestas

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TransportationTransportación


City of Oaxaca taken from the air   More Photos
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Points of Interest Within the City • Puntos Interesantes Dentro de la Ciudad

See also Museums below.

Zócalo, NW corner
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Museums • Museos

Oaxaca has been a cultural center for centuries, so there is a lot to see. Most museums have a US$1-$4 admission charge but nearly all are free on Sundays and holidays.
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Nearby Communities • Pueblos Cercanos

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Nearby Archaeological Sites • Sitios Arqueológicos Cercanos

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MedicalMédico

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Real EstateBienes Raices

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Miscellaneous • Misceláneo


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The Pacific Coast of Mexico www.tomzap.com Tom Penick:  tom@tomzap.com