Surely you have heard of Cancun, Acapulco, and Mexico City, but has travel to Oaxaca ever crossed your mind? If you are a foodie, or if you just love Mexican cuisine, you need to make sure that you add Oaxaca to your bucket-list of must-visit places.
About Oaxaca Mexico
Oaxaca de Juarez (the city of Oaxaca) is located in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico. The city center is about 287 miles south (462 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City, and sits at 5,102 feet above sea level (so the air is thin!). The population of Oaxaca de Juarez is just over 300,000 (as of 2014). The valley has been settled for over 13,000 years by the Zapotec and Mixtec people, and is the most diverse State in Mexico because it is inhabited by 18 of the 65 ethnic groups of Mexico. This diversity adds to it’s culinary greatness!
The weather in Oaxaca is very predictable, and typically on the warmer side. The average highs range from 80 degrees Fahrenheit (~27 Celsius) to 90 F (~32 C) and April is the warmest month. The rainiest months are June and July with an average of 11 days of rain in each month, but many months average 0 days.
Getting There & Around
Travel to Oaxaca is simple. You arrive by air at Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX). OAX is about 7 miles (11.6 km) south of the city center. In 20 minutes by private taxi (you buy tickets at the window to the left as you leave the terminal for 150 Pesos), or shared van (for 48 Pesos). Once you are in the city, you will find how pedestrian-friendly it is. Look for the Andador de Macedonia Alcala pedestrian walkway. Walking is the best form of local transportation! If you are looking to leave the center of town, Taxis are a good option for about 100 Pesos/hour. Buses are also an option and can take you all over the State of Oaxaca, or colectivos for local routes around the city.
Oaxaca is truly a food mecca. Travel and Leisure consistently lists this small city as one of the top 10 cities in the world for a bite to eat, and in 2020 it listed Oaxaca as #1. We also mentioned earlier the reason for this reputation is due in part to the cultural diversity of the State. The other factors are the abundance of local ingredients available to the kitchens, and, of course, food stalls of Oaxaca. Food is truly ingrained into the culture of the city; it is difficult to walk a few paces without getting a waft of a mole or hot chocolate. Moles are what really put Oaxaca on the food map. The cooks of Oaxaca cover, spread and stuff their own moles into pretty much everything they cook.
Another delight this area is known for is the production of Mezcal. In fact, people debate if, in order for this libation to be called Mezcal, it must be produced in Oaxaca. Most of the Mezcal is indeed produced in Oaxaca; about 70%. Unlike “Tequila” which is distilled only from the “Blue Agave,” Mezcal can be made from a mixture of over 100 agave varieties. This is the reason why Mezcals are so diverse in their flavor profile. Mezcals are also much smokier than Tequilas. Their smokiness is obtained by the way the piña (core of the agave) is cooked with coal and wood in earthen pits, as opposed to Tequila which, because it is steamed in ovens, no additional taste is added. Mezcal is a real artisan beverage, and age-old recipes from across the state differ wildly.
|Late October/Early November||Day of the Dead||Oaxaca City, Xoxocotlan, San Augustin Elta, and elsewhere||An amalgamation of a Mesoamerican holiday and Christian’s All Saints day.|
|Last 2 Mondays in July||Guelaguetza||Oaxaca City, Zaachila, and elsewhere||Celebration of the diverse cultures and cuisines of the Oaxaca state.|
|End of February – beginning of March||Feria Anual de Teposcolula||Teposcolula||Annual Fair featuring music, local cuisine, and traditional sports.|
|Middle of March||San Agustinillo Eco Fest||San Agustinillo||Conference embracing ecological concerns with fishing tips, whale watching and photography exhibitions.|
|End of April – May||Fiestas de Mayo||Istmo de Tehuantepec||Just a reason to throw a raucous bash!|
|2nd to last weekend of July||Feria Regional de Hongos Sillvestres||Cuajimoloyas||Translated as Regional Wild Mushroom Fair, celebrates, well, the mushroom!|
|October 3rd||3 de Octubre||Miahutlan de Porfirio Diaz||Celebration of the victory of General Porfirio Diaz over the French in 1866.|
|October 31st & November 1st||Feria Grafica Oaxaca||Oaxaca City||Showcase of local artists of multiple disciplines.|
|Mid-November||Mazunte Jazz Fest||Mazunte||The name says it all, but also showcases Reggae, Rock, Trova, Afrobeat and more.|
|December 23rd||Noche de Rabanos||Oaxaca City||Competition of farmers carving nativity scenes using vegetable, because why not!|
Oaxaca Mexico Summary
Oaxaca is a must-visit region for anyone with taste buds! There is no limit to the activities around the region beyond just enjoying moles and sipping on Mezcal because of the diverse topography. The mountains are vast, and the beaches are beautiful. Because of this diverse landscape, a day could bring you from the top of a mountain and into a low valley, then off to the beach.
Don’t forget to bring your OneSimCard International SIM card also because service in the area is great, and Mexico is included in Zone A for our Universal and eSIM World SIM cards. Being in Zone A, means plenty of data for a very reasonable cost!