The Best of Spring in Oaxaca

Spring is a lovely time to visit Oaxaca. The weather is warm and dry, festivals and holidays showcase age-old traditions, and you can find delightful streetside refreshments like aguas frescas, organic coffees, and mezcal-flavored shaved ice.

Portal del Palacio, OAX_RE_BENITO JUAREZ, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax., Mexico
Mexican Independence is celebrated on the night of September 15 and throughout the day on September 16. On the night of the 15th there are celebrations called “El Grito” (the shout or cry of independence) that take place in the plazas and main squares of cities throughout the country. In Oaxaca people gather in the Zocalo and at 11 pm the governor comes out on the balcony of the Palacio de Gobierno and leads the shout, to which the crowd responds enthusiastically "¡Viva!” after each of his cheers. Following the grito, there are fireworks, and people wave flags, and throw confetti in an enthusiastic display of patriotic feeling.
José María Morelos SN, Villa de Etla, 68200 Villa de Etla, Oax., Mexico
In Oaxaca, religious celebrations leading up to Easter tend to be quite somber, which is appropriate considering what the days commemorate. Although a lot of people take advantage of the two-week school break to go to the beach, those who stay in town partake of these somewhat mournful observances. Silent religious processions and passion plays are commonly held on Good Friday. Easter Sunday is generally a quiet day, but there are some festive celebrations that take place. In front of the church in Etla people carry religious images draped with flowers. Bands play music, and the people carrying the images dance around as they balance the weight on their shoulders.
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 Mirador is mostly popular among locals and you won’t find many tourists, probably because it can be a bit difficult to find. From the parking lot at the lookout point on the hill, there are steps leading down. You won’t see a sign until you’re near the bottom of the steps, where you’ll find the entrance to the restaurant. I’ve found the food and service to be variable, but the prices are good and the view is exceptional.
Flores Magón s/n, Local 30-31, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
While wandering through Oaxaca‘s markets, you’ll probably spot large clay basins filled with a liquid that’s topped with a beige foam. This is tejate, a drink that dates back to pre-Hispanic times. It’s made with cocoa beans, maize, the seed of the mamey fruit, and a flower called “Rosita de Cacao.” All the ingredients are ground up to form a floury paste. The “tejatera” mixes it by hand while slowly adding water until it is completely mixed and a thick foam forms on the top. In Oaxaca city a great place to try tejate is La Flor de Huayapam. It’s a stall inside the Benito Juarez market. They have a counter and wooden stools so you can have a seat while you sample the concoction.
Calle Macedonio Alcalá, Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico
Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Oaxaca is generally made up of rather somber events. In contrast with other holidays, this is the most serious, much more so than Day of the Dead, which is often celebrated in a lighthearted way. The gravity of the events being commemorated are reflected in the observances that take place during this week. The Friday before Easter, which is the day that commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion, is marked by a silent procession along the main pedestrian street in Oaxaca, Calle Macedonio Alcalá. The procession takes place in the late afternoon, and winds its way through the city streets. Observers are asked to remain silent in order to maintain the solemnity of the event. You will notice that some of the participants in this procession wear the pointed hoods which in the United States are strongly associated with the Ku Klux Klan and seen as a racist symbol. In Mexico, as in Spain where these hoods originated (long before the existence of the Klan), they are seen as a symbol of penitence; they are meant to hide the identity of the wearer so that their participation in the procession is not done for show, but as a personal expression of repentance.
De Hidalgo 16, 68247 San Agustín Etla, Oax., Mexico
If you’re looking for a break from Oaxaca‘s cultural delights and would like some downtime, maybe to enjoy some swimming during your stay, the best place is in San Agustin Etla. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the Oaxaca city center, but it’s well worth making the excursion. This swimming place has five pools, with a couple that are good for kids and one that is heated, as well as a couple of water slides. The setting is beautiful with great views of the surrounding mountains. You can choose a table near the pool of your choice and order drinks and food from passing waiters. During Easter break and on weekends when the weather is hot, Vista Hermosa Balneario can get very crowded. For a quiet and relaxing time, head there during the week.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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