Collected by Joseph Diaz , AFAR Founder
Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax., Mexico
The natural fresh-water springs at Hierve el Agua were incredible (and cold!). The water is very high in calcium carbonate, and the minerals have formed these natural pools and crazy waterfall-like rock formations. The dusty road was somewhat...
5 de Mayo 300, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
The building dates back to the 16th century when it served as the convent of Santa Catalina. Now it houses the Quinta Real hotel, which maintains quiet shaded spaces and tranquil gardens designed to promote contemplation, as well as some of the...
Calle de Manuel García Vigil 407, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Small and intimate, Hotel Casa Oaxaca feels quintessentially Oaxacan: It’s colonial in style, with whitewashed walls contrasting with vivid pops of carnelian red and fuchsia. It’s surrounded by local vegetation. And it’s filled...
Reforma 522, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax., Mexico
This very modern kitchen in the center of Oaxaca City is the centerpiece of El Secreto, a bed and breakfast associated with Las Bugambilias. (Which is well-known in Oaxaca for its restaurant, La Olla, and the cooking school run by Pilar Cabrera.)...
Calle de Tinoco y Palacios 414, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
This 23-room hotel has colonial charm even though the building is relatively new. The word "sotano" means basement in Spanish and the Hotel Casa del Sotano is thus named because the building's first story is below street level. The lower level has...
Km. 3, Carr. Internacional, Cerro del Fortín, Faldas del Fortin, 68030 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Enjoy some of the best views of Oaxaca city while you dine on local specialties such as tlayudas and parrilladas. Come for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just for drinks. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., and the view is great any time of day. El...
20 de Noviembre 512, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
The 20 de Noviembre market has a variety of food stalls where you can sample many Oaxacan specialties, but carnivores flock to the one corridor that's known as "El Pasillo de las Carnes Asadas" (the grilled meats aisle). Follow your nose to find...
Diaz Ordaz 712, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
You can find Cuish brand mezcal in a few establishments in Oaxaca city, but head to their own tasting bar located on the outskirts of the city center to learn what this brand stands for. They offer mezcal that is artisanally produced from several...
Tlacolula de Matamoros, Oax., Mexico
Tlacolula is the largest town in the Eastern arm of the Oaxaca valley. Market day in this town is on Sundays and on this one day of the week hordes of people come to town from nearby villages to buy, sell, and socialize. You'll find all kinds of...
Portal Las Flores 3, OAX_RE_BENITO JUAREZ, Centro, 68000 Centro, Oax., Mexico
This white tablecloth restaurant on the second floor above the Zocalo is more upscale than other options around the plaza. It opened in 2013, and the floor to ceiling open windows allow all diners to enjoy the views; though from farther back you...
Calle de Los Libres 212, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
These large, thick tortillas are called "tlayudas" and they're a Oaxaca specialty that you're unlikely to find elsewhere in the country. They're prepared by spreading pork fat and bean paste on the tortilla, then the Oaxaca string cheese called...
Juárez Maza s/n, Central de Abasto, 68090 Oaxaca, AGS, Mexico
Oaxaca is a world culinary capital for good reason and there is no better place to indulge in all the recipes, ingredients, and traditions of the region than at Central de Abastos, Oaxaca City's main market. It's easy to accidentally spend an...
Calle de Manuel García Vigil 105, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Most of Oaxaca's better restaurants are quite new, but La Catedral has been around since 1976. It is a Oaxaca institution, and besides reliably tasty food, you can also expect a lovely atmosphere and seamless service. You can pick a spot in one of...
Calle Macedonio Alcalá 403, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Los Danzantes is a hip restaurant offering contemporary Mexican cuisine. It’s located on Alcalá street, in the same building that houses the Oro de Monte Alban jewelry store. It’s in a large partially covered patio space, with...
Reforma 402, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Run by the talented Chef Pilar Cabrera, who also offers cooking classes through Casa de los Sabores, La Olla is an unpretentious restaurant offering Oaxacan specialties. Head to the upper-level dining room, which is more spacious than the ground...
Calle de Mariano Abasolo 121, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Oaxaca is known for its moles. The most famous is mole negro, the black mole—a thick, rich mixture of ground chiles, nuts, chocolate, and other ingredients. But that's not the only type of mole you'll find here. Los Pacos specializes in these rich...
Gral. Manuel, Calle de Manuel García Vigil 512, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax., Mexico
We hung out at La Biznaga Restaurant a few times while in Oaxaca. We ate dinner there twice—the main courses were a bit too big, so I'd steer anyone who's asking toward the delicious appetizers. They're also open all afternoon and they have...
Benito Juárez 17, 1a Sección, 71256 San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oax., Mexico
Many of the crafts of Oaxaca are still made using techniques that date back to ancient times. At the workshop of Doña Rosa in San Bartolo Coyotepec, you can see a demonstration of how black pottery is made. Instead of using an electric wheel, the...
San Martín Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico
The residents of San Martin Tilcajete (a village about 14 miles south of Oaxaca city) specialize in woodcarving. The fanciful wooden animals they create are sometimes called "alebrijes" They are usually carved from the wood of the copal tree from...
Santo Tomás Jalieza, Oaxaca, Mexico
The weavers in Teotitlan del Valle may be more renowned, but the backstrap loom weavers of Santo Tomás Jalieza are practicing the art in a way that dates back to very ancient times. The local market is set up in the main square and every day you...
México 175 2, Centro, 71510 Ocotlán de Morelos, Oax., Mexico
Apolinar Aguilar is a blacksmith who lives in the town of Ocotlan, about 20 miles south of Oaxaca city. He makes swords, knives and martial arts weapons as well as domestic utensils such as letter openers and cake serving sets. He hand forges each...
Mariano Matamoros 105, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
This shop offers a wide variety of high-quality handicrafts from all over Oaxaca. You'll find a room devoted to woolen rugs, one to woodcarvings, and several to ceramics. On my most recent visit, I couldn't resist picking up a "Catrina," one of...
RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Mexico
This handicraft shop in the center of Oaxaca is run by a group of women artisans. It's one of the best places in town to purchase well-priced handicrafts, and it's satisfying to know that the profits go to the women who produce the pieces. Walk...
OAX_RE_BENITO JUAREZ, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Walking through Oaxaca's markets, it's hard not to be a little overwhelmed by the abundance and diversity of items on display. Piles of fresh produce, quantities of beautiful handcrafted objects, baskets of spicy chapulines (grasshoppers), stacks...
5 de Mayo 114, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
This handicraft shop on the corner of 5 de Mayo and Morelos is impossible to miss: you can spot the lovely handcrafted pieces from the street through the floor-to-ceiling windows. You'll find an excellent selection of high quality items from...
Calle Macedonio Alcalá 403, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Centro, Oax., Mexico
Los Baúles de Juana Cata is a must-stop for anyone interested in high quality textiles. The boutique is run by Remigio Mestas Revilla, who is devoted to reviving and preserving lost or disappearing textile techniques. He works directly with...
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