Exploring Oaxaca, Mexico

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Image: Pixabay

A previous Let Me Be Free post highlighted Zipolite beach in Mexico, which rivals world-famous shores like Phi Phi Island in Thailand or Langkawi Island from Malaysia. Zipolite is also a great choice for relaxation for the budgeted traveller.

Of course, Zipolite beach is just the tip of the iceberg when talking about the beauty of Mexico, or Oaxaca in particular. The state is rich with unique, Spanish Colonial-style features made more vibrant with the festive culture and well-kept traditions of Mexico. So with that in mind, here are the other places you have to visit in this beautiful region.

Zocalo

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

The best place to start with is Zocalo, the main square in the centre of the town. Here, you’ll see the state’s local culture at its finest, and you can interact with everyone, from elderly church-goers to street vendors. You can sit on the steps of the plaza and admire the vivacious scenery. The best time to go is during the weekends, when families and groups of friends crowd the area in what provides a melting pot of cultures.

Templo de Santo Domingo

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Image: Pixabay

Grand churches and cathedrals are common in Mexico, and the Templo de Santo Domingo is a must-visit. It’s a 400+-year-old structure that houses a Baroque interior that’s a feast for the eyes. It’s also know as one of the most gilded sites in the whole country, with each arch and pillar featuring gold carvings and sculptures. One of its most famous features is a small section named Rosary Chapel that has a golden altar encasing a statue of the church’s patron saint, the archangel St. Michael.

Tlacolula Tianguis

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Tianguis is an open-air market ingrained with the traditions of Mexico, and it has all sorts of goods, from well-crafted houseware to traditional indigenous pottery. Just about every part of the country has one or two, but The Culture Trip specified Oaxaca’s Tlacolula market as the busiest and most culturally vibrant because of its large size. It’s best to come here on Sundays when members of the indigenous communities that live in the state’s Central Valleys, like the Zapotecan and Popolocan groups, visit and partake in the bustling urban life of the city.

Café Brújula

Cafe Brujula
Image: Café Brújula Facebook Page

One of the newest establishments in the state is the al-dente style Café Brújula, which serves amazing authentic Oaxacan coffee. They use the state’s homegrown coffee beans, collaborating with local farmers for their supply. Their Cafe Americano and rich espressos are the bestsellers. Many visitors claim this cafe is one of the best places to eat a hearty breakfast or spend a relaxing afternoon in Oaxaca.

Tips for Travelling to Oaxaca

Although daytime is warm in the state, with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees Celsius, it’s still best to bring extra clothes because it can get chilly at night. Temperatures reach as low as 8 degrees Celsius at night.

Much like most of Mexico, Oaxaca has a festive atmosphere, with fiestas like Auditorio Guelaguetza held annually to celebrate the diversity of the beautiful state. There are different events all year round, and this part of the country’s culture is what makes it such a lively place. Celebrations usually last all the way through the night, making it tempting to pass on sleep, especially if you’re enjoying the company of locals. In fact, Mexicans are among the worst at getting sleep in the world, and Leesa states that this is most notable in Mexico City, where locals sleep an average of only 6 hours and 32 minutes per night. When you visit Oaxaca, don’t get too swept up in the fiesta atmosphere and try to get as much as rest as you can. Otherwise, you won’t be able to truly enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds the state offers.

The next time you plan a holiday, consider Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s a treasure trove of culture and adventure that is completely one of a kind.

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