Oaxaca: An Even Larger Love Story

The narrow, colorful streets of Oaxaca, Mexico
Posted: 1/26/21 | January 26th, 2021

Have you ever ever arrived at a vacation spot and simply knew it’s for you? One thing within the air simply instructed you that this place is the whole lot you dreamed it to be and also you have been going to be in love with it ceaselessly.

I’ve felt this manner just a few different occasions earlier than, in Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

And I felt that means once more once I bought to Oaxaca.

Town’s vitality and mine simply synched. We have been a pair. I may acknowledge the indicators: a way of unconditional pleasure emerged in my coronary heart. My eyes continually shifted to each shade of coloration, each motion, as if I had an insatiable starvation to absorb the whole lot. I used to be in love.

My two subsequent weeks there solely deepened that feeling.

Oaxaca, a metropolis within the central a part of the Pacific coast of Mexico, is ready in a valley surrounded by craggy mountains. (It is usually the identify of the state it lies in.) The world has been inhabited for hundreds of years by indigenous Zapotec and Mixtec peoples. In 1440, the Aztecs arrived and annexed it, naming it “Huaxyacac,” that means “among the many huaje” (a kind of native tree). Lower than 100 years later, the Spanish conquered the area.

The narrow, colorful streets of Oaxaca, Mexico

Quick-forward to immediately and Oaxaca has develop into a middle for heritage tourism, owing to the various historic points of interest (together with Monte Albán, a UNESCO Heritage Web site; and Mitla, a Zapotec archeological website) within the metropolis and surrounding space. It’s a metropolis of colourful buildings, scenic rooftop eating places and bars, road artwork, historic Spanish colonial church buildings, cobblestone streets, and lots of parks.

Within the final decade, as mezcal has develop into extremely well-liked, it’s additionally develop into the hub for all matters mezcal, with vacationers reaching document numbers (pre-COVID). And, together with Mérida and Mexico Metropolis, it’s thought-about one of many gastronomic facilities of Mexico.

In brief, the town had the whole lot I like: historical past, booze, and meals. Add to that, a horny city aesthetic that created an easy-on-the-eyes venue for consuming mentioned food and drinks, and also you’ve bought a really perfect spot to spend per week or three.


It wasn’t that I beloved Oaxaca due to the websites. There’s a pandemic raging and I wasn’t comfy being round crowds. My buddies who haven’t had COVID have been even much less comfy. Whereas mask-wearing was prevalent, the nearer we bought to Christmas, the extra crowded the town turned, and it simply felt like there have been too many individuals round.

So there have been no excursions, crowded markets, or sightseeing basically for me, however there was eating, consuming, and seeing my buddies who lived there.

This metropolis of 300,000 inhabitants simply had the je ne sais quoi that crammed my spirit and my abdomen.

Oaxaca is known for its mole (a conventional marinade/sauce), tlayudas (a pizza-like road meals), chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers), memelas (grilled corn muffins with bean, meat, and cheese toppings), and tetelas (triangular corn snacks crammed with beans and cheese).

And I ate all of them. Given the local weather, the eating places all had outside eating, so it was simple to take action safely. I couldn’t stroll a block with out stopping and questioning, “Ought to I am going there? Perhaps a 3rd dinner?”

A small but colorful local market in Oaxaca, Mexico

Wandering among the many 10-peso (50-cent) taco stalls of the town, I additionally got here throughout the well-known hamberguesa: a burger topped with a sizzling canine, sliced cheese, Oaxaca cheese, ham, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeño. It’s all of the scrumptious unhealthy meals you might ever need for 35 pesos ($1.75 USD). And it was one of the best burger I ever had in my life! I attempted a couple of totally different variations, however the verdict was all the time the identical: yet one more, please!

Then there’s the well-known Mercado 20 de Noviembre, an enormous bazaar of little stalls and a well-known Pasillo de Carnes Asades, or “Meat Alley,” a gauntlet of grill stalls the place the scents of a whole lot of dishes waft within the air, all beckoning you to their supply. In Oaxaca, it’s finest to graze, for there might be many tempting meals on supply.

And you shouldn’t restrict your self. (The quantity on the dimensions once I returned residence confirmed me I adopted my very own recommendation.)

A local man in Oaxaca, Mexico with a bicycle near a colorful building

Then, there’s the mezcal, the area’s quintessential spirit. Whereas it’s produced in a couple of states, Oaxaca is the middle of the mezcal world, and only a few hours away is the primary producing space, close to the city of Santiago Matatlán, the place you may’t stroll wherever with out coming throughout a mezcalería. They’re like pho stalls on the streets of Saigon, pubs in Prague, wine bars in Bordeaux, or Starbucks in any huge American metropolis: in every single place.

My buddies Anna and Brooks from Rambling Spirits drove us round on a full-day tour, and I discovered loads in regards to the drink. Like tequila, mezcal is comprised of agave, however not like tequila, the center of the plant is cooked in a pit within the floor earlier than it’s crushed. Then water is added, and it’s allowed to ferment. Because it’s cooked, mezcal has a a lot smokier taste than tequila.

However, past the food and drinks, have been the fantastic and cheery individuals I met. From José, the mezcal manufacturing proprietor, to Asís, an area good friend of a good friend, to the workers of the resort I lived at, to the hamberguesa maker I saved returning to, everybody was hospitable, heat, and welcoming. “It is best to keep” after which “Effectively, come again, okay?” have been phrases I heard usually.

And, if I didn’t must go residence, I might have stayed the winter.

It was by far my favourite spot in Mexico and now holds a spot my coronary heart in a means I didn’t anticipate. I imply, I knew I would love it, however to adore it a lot? That was a shock.

However, then once more, it’s the locations that we now have the least expectations about that turn into our favorites.

So, now, together with a really small handful of locations on the earth, I can add Oaxaca to the checklist: cities I’ll love for the remainder of my life.

P.S. – All pictures by my good friend ExplorAddict. Give her a observe on Instagram!

P.P.S. – I did a matter. I created a Google map of all of the locations I like to eat on the earth (or those I can bear in mind at this second). It’s shareable and saveable and it has all my Oaxaca favorites listed. You possibly can test it out right here.

E-book Your Journey to Mexico: Logistical Ideas and Methods

E-book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

E-book Your Lodging
You possibly can e book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the biggest stock. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low cost lodges. My favourite place to remain in Oaxaca is:

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes unsuitable. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that provide one of the best service and worth are:

In search of one of the best corporations to economize with?
Try my useful resource web page for one of the best corporations to make use of once you journey! I checklist all those I take advantage of to economize once I journey — and I believe will provide help to too!

Need Extra Info on Mexico?
You should definitely go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Mexico for much more planning ideas!

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