which one would you recommend visiting- Oaxaca city or San Cristobal del casa (hope i spelt that right!)? we are travelling through mexico and only have time to visit one or the other- but we dont know which one .... any thoughts?
My normal preference is for Maya areas, but in a choice between those particular two, I would go to Oaxaca any time. Find time for visiting Monte Alban and some shopping for interesting textiles. Go down to the Zocalo and find a place where you can sip a beer and watch people. Wander around a bit and enjoy.
For Monte Alban, go as early in the morning as the buses run and you can get in. It is better if you can miss the crowds a bit. Then write down or remember the number of the bus, because there will be a lot of them when you are due to return on it.
I did not do so and was running late, so I missed mine. But I had an interesting walk, then pickup ride back into town.
Oaxaca, for the food, including their great chocolat that they drink and use as sauce on meat. I didn't had enough time to explore all the "coccina oaxaquena". Monte Alban worth it too.
On the other side, everybody likes San Cristobal. It's a nice colored colonial city. In february, the evening were a bit chilly. What I did prefer in the area was the surrounding. The Chiapas is the most forested area of Mexico. But you need some time to go around it.
After a 2 and 1/2 week in Mexico, I did agree with this couple who spent 8 winters travelling around the country : there is so much to see !
"Everyone" does not like San Cristóbal, because I do not particularly care for it. For chilliness, it kind of reminds me of San Francisco, but without all the other redeeming values.
Which may be "bette" to visit is likely to depend upon the direction from which you'll be coming. If you'll be in the Yucatan, then las Casas may be best for your schedule. If coming from Mexico City, then Oaxaca makes more sense. Everyone has their peculiar preferences, and each destination has its promoters and detractors. Both are on the "A" circut for foreign travelers, so you'll see a lot of tourists in either, with more probably being in Oaxaca (seemingly overrun with tourists). My advice: pick the one closest - you won't be disappointed at either place.
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Address: Garcia Vigil 407, Centro Historico, Oaxaca, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, 68000, Mexico