Oaxaca: Moles & Mezcal The Culinary Capital of Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico scenic streets

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.

Cuisine

Traditional Mexican food from Oaxaca Mexico

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.

Festival Time!

When What Where Theme
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!

What is the Best Travel eSIM Card & Why?

Phone that includes eSIM.

We discussed eSIMs (embedded SIM cards) in a previous post. eSIMs aren’t all created equally, though. An “international eSIM card” is a bit of a misnomer. International / travel eSIMs are the of roaming SIMs as physical SIMs move into the past. The reason for the change is because device manufacturers save space on the device by replacing the physical SIM and it with eSIM technology. eSIMs are probably better called “SoftSIMs.” They are simply nothing more than a piece of software downloaded into devices enabled to understand this technology. What makes for the best travel eSIM then?

The world is becoming more and more data centric, so most eSIM providers only include data usage, They don’t bother to support voice or text. However, voice and text remain important for the international roaming SIM market. The growth of data centric applications like WhatsApp, Facetime, Telegram, Skype, etc. are changing the way providers deliver their services. You can communicate with friends and family, post messages and even place video calls with data only. This doesn’t work well for the international traveler, and is a major problem/flaw. It forces the international traveler to use another provider to place calls and send and receive SMS. This is because these roaming eSIMs don’t include a phone number. Without a phone number you can’t call your Uber driver, talk to your bank, call the restaurant that you are running late, etc.

This is where OneSimCard international eSIMs really stands out. Our international eSIMs support Data, Voice & Text messaging. Our SIMs include an EU based phone number and you can also choose alternate phone numbers (Personal Extra Numbers, or PENs). You can get in-country phone numbers in 70+ destinations with OneSimCard eSIMs.  You can set your alternate number as your caller ID so that your phone appears to be a local caller. What’s more is you can get a USA phone number that is a true mobile number. This USA mobile number allows you to receive 2FA verification messages required by banks, the IRS, and pretty much any other US company.

Usability is another important feature making an eSIM the best international eSIM.  eSIMs should be simple to install and have flexible plans. Flexibility is key as travel patterns. Meant for a single country, most eSIMs aren’t flexible because you can’t move between countries. OneSimCard eSIMs are designed to be used over and over for years, and in many different countries. Our plans are flexible; even in a single trip. We also offer 2 different eSIMs: our World eSIM for the greatest # of destinations, & our Asiania eSIM for use especially in Asia and Oceania.

The amount of support and applications available from the eSIM provider is the last factor for rating travel eSIM cards. OneSimCard is one of the only international eSIM providers with its own VOIP app (available in Google Play and Apple APP Store)for US and Canadian phone numbers to reduce the cost of Voice and Text services. OneSimCard also has eSIM apps in Apple App store and Google play. You can manage all aspects of your travel eSIM right in these apps. Multi-lingual customer service is also available by phone, email and online.  

You need to read the fine print and look at the reviews for eSIM service providers before you buy. There has been a rapid growth in this space, and COVID forced some closed. We have been in business for over 27 years, and have a 4.5 star rating with Shopper Approved with 2500+ reviews.

More information about our international roaming eSIM is available on our website: https://www.onesimcard.com/esim or simply scan this QR code. This page will help you further understand why the OneSimCard international eSIM for travel is the best option for your eSIM enabled phone when you are abroad. You can also reach out to us, and ask any questions that you may have. 

Wishing you safe travels!

Discovering Slovenia: Trekking and Treats

Lake Bled and the Church of the Mother of God on the Lake
Lake Bled & Church of the Mother of God on the Lake

One of our favorite, just beginning-to-be-discovered, countries is Slovenia. Nestled between Italy to the West, Austria to the North, Croatia to the South and Hungry to the West, Slovenia offers many activities for everyone. Many travelers enjoy the great trekking and skiing offered. However, there is also a lot of history, culture and culinary offerings available. We think the best time to enjoy Slovenia is in early fall. This is when tourism is slowing and the crowds have dissipated from the hot spots, but there is still plenty to do.

An average day in Slovenia may include a morning hike in the Julian Alps or along the many beautiful lakes or rivers. Then a visit to a museum for an afternoon. Finally, a fantastic dinner to top off the day. Prices in Slovenia are still very reasonable, especially in the more rural villages. Even the larger cities like the capital, Ljubljana, have lots of shops, restaurants and activities at very reasonable prices

A magical town to spend a day or two is Bled. Its proximity to activities, the restaurants and sheer beauty of its surroundings make it a must see. You can take a walk around the lake (the Lake Bled Loop Trail) which is a 3.7 mile (6 km) easy hike. At the end of the hike, enjoy a walk through Castle Bled and enjoy some local food and drink in the courtyard while overlooking the iconic Church of the Mother of God on the Lake. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can take a short trip to the Triglav National Park. Slovenia’s only National Park is a sight to behold where you can challenge yourself a little more with the moderate to expert hiking and climbing offered in the Julian Alps.

Entrance to Hisa Franko Casa
Hisa Franko Casa in the morning fog

Another must-do if you are a bit of a foodie, is to visit Hisa Franko Casa, located in Kobarid. When the Michelin Guide to Slovenia came out in 2019, Hisa Franko received 2 stars. It known for locally sourced, sustainable food. Hisa Franko is also listed as #21 of the top 50 restaurants in the world. (According to worlds50best.com) Ana Roš, the owner/Executive Chef, along with her husband Valter, operate this impressive restaurant which also has rooms to stay the night (highly recommended). There is also great hiking and a lot of WWI history in the town. We recommend the WWI museum in town and hiking nearby in old WWI bunkers and trenches.

All-in-all, Slovenia is a must visit country, especially for those with a love of nature, and delicious cuisine. But don’t worry…Slovenia is also a very well-connected country for technology as well. This makes sharing your gorgeous pictures of the hikes you take and food you eat easily shared when you use your OneSimCard International SIM. We suggest the Universal or eSIM World. This is because of the data packages available for Solvenia, like the 14 day 10,000MB EU data package for $57.00USD. So pack your bags, insert your roaming SIM card from OneSimCard, and enjoy the beauty of Slovenia!