Nestled in the heart of Mexico, Oaxaca is a cultural gem with a rich and complex history, renowned for its vibrant traditions and culinary delights. The region has been inhabited for thousands of years, dating back to prehistoric times. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was home to indigenous cultures as early as 2,500 BCE.
The summer season adds an extra layer of charm to this enchanting destination, with warm weather and a lively atmosphere. Whether you're a history buff, a handicrafts lover, a foodie, an adventure seeker, or simply craving a unique travel experience, Oaxaca has something for everyone.
The history of Oaxaca and its people is a testament to the resilience and cultural richness of the region. It continues to be a place where ancient traditions intertwine with contemporary life, offering a glimpse into the beautiful tapestry of Mexico's indigenous heritage. Hailed as “the best city in the world” by Travel + Leisure readers, it is the perfect summer destination. Ready to pack your bags and head to this magical land? Read on to explore what shouldn’t be missed.
Explore Oaxaca City's Historic Center
Oaxaca City's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a treasure trove of colonial architecture, picturesque plazas, and captivating museums. Start your journey at the main square, or Zócalo, where you can soak in the vibrant ambiance and admire the stunning Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. Stroll through the charming streets and visit the impressive Santo Domingo Church and Cultural Center, which houses a fascinating collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts. To learn all about the rich history of indigenous textile art (like the weavings on all MZ Made bags!) visit the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, where you will also take in the stunning architecture of the building itself.
On the streets, every corner seems to reveal a hidden treasure, from colorful textiles woven with intricate patterns to beautifully crafted ceramics and woodwork. Artisans proudly display their creations, inviting you to witness their skills firsthand. Once you’re ready for a break, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in delicious traditional cuisine at one of the many local restaurants and street food stalls.
Visit the Ancient Ruins of Monte Albán
A short distance from Oaxaca City, you'll find the awe-inspiring archaeological site of Monte Albán. This ancient Zapotec city, perched on a hilltop, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valleys. Marvel at the intricate stone carvings, explore the grand plaza, and imagine the daily lives of the Zapotec civilization that once thrived here. The summer season provides an excellent opportunity to witness the site in all its glory, with lush green landscapes and clear skies. If you’re carrying an MZ Made bag see if you can match its Zapotec patterns to some of the ancient carvings!
Immerse Yourself in Oaxacan Cuisine
Oaxaca is a food lover's paradise, renowned for its diverse and flavorful culinary offerings. Sample local delicacies such as tlayudas (giant tortillas topped with beans, cheese, and meats), mole (a rich and complex sauce), and chapulines (toasted grasshoppers). Don't forget to visit one of the bustling markets, such as Mercado 20 de Noviembre,, where you can savor an array of mouthwatering street food and purchase regional ingredients and spices to take home as souvenirs. There are also excellent restaurants all over the city, with delicious menus and festive atmospheres.
Experience the Guelaguetza Festival
If you're visiting Oaxaca in July, you're in for a treat. The Guelaguetza Festival is a mesmerizing display of indigenous traditions and folklore that brings together diverse communities from the region. During this annual festival, locals clad in traditional attire showcase their rich heritage through music, dance, and gastronomy. The Guelaguetza is a celebration of unity and harmony, where attendees are immersed in the enchanting sounds of marimbas and the rhythmic movements of performers adorned in colorful costumes. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of Oaxacan culture and serves as a cherished platform for preserving and sharing its traditions with the world.
Explore Hierve el Agua and the Mezcal Route
Escape the city's hustle and bustle and venture into the stunning countryside of Oaxaca. Visit Hierve el Agua, a unique natural wonder featuring petrified waterfall-like formations and mineral-rich springs. Take a dip in the refreshing natural pools and savor the breathtaking vistas. Additionally, explore the Mezcal Route, where you can learn about the traditional production of mezcal, a distilled alcoholic beverage made from agave plants. Visit local mezcalerías, indulge in tastings, and gain insights into the fascinating world of this artisanal spirit.
A summer getaway to Oaxaca promises an unforgettable experience filled with history, culture, cuisine, and natural beauty.From exploring the charm of Oaxaca City's historic center to marveling at the ancient ruins of Monte Albán, the region offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered. Oaxaca truly embodies the essence of Mexico's indigenous heritage, weaving together ancient traditions and contemporary life. So, why wait? Pack your bags and experience the magic! Oaxaca awaits with open arms.
Where to stay
These charming boutique hotels offer excellent hospitality coupled with beautiful architecture and design:
Airbnb is also a great option!
Where to eat
Scrumptious street food rules in Oaxaca, but when you’re in the mood to sit and relax, these restaurants are known for their innovative cruising and farm-to-table ingredients.
La Cosecha (this is more of a mini outdoor market, but it has seating and you can grab a great lunch there, plus a few essential organic grocery items to take back to your Airbnb!)