To take Tourist Tram Nito III is an ideal to introduction to Oaxaca City. The ride takes about 90 minutes depending on the traffic conditions and cost $70pp. The tram will take you around Oaxaca City passing all the historic important and significant sight like Cathedral, Parks, the Markets, the Fountain of Eight Regions, the Macedonia Theatre, Museum, School of Medicine and many others. On the tram there will be explanation of different important historic sight in Spanish, if you don’t speak Spanish just take picture of the important sight.
The tram will start operating from 11am to 7pm at Av Morelos and Macedonia Alcala.
Cost $70 PP for 90 minutes ride
Zocalo the public square of Oaxaca is a great place to relax and watch people go by. There are many open restaurants at the public square. Night and day it seems there are activities. There are shoe shiners, people selling balloons, people sitting on the bench texting or reading newspaper, entertaining brass band, at night mariachi will sing you a song while eating at restaurant. It is a place of social gathering for the Oaxacan and as well for tourist. It is the heart of the city since 1529. I love Zocalo it excites me it makes me feel I am on holiday.
Between Hidalgo, Trujano, Flores Magon and Bustamente Sts. Oaxaca City.
Museo Casa de Juarez in Oaxaca was Benito Juarez home, where the first indigenous president of Mexico spent his childhood from 1818 to 1828. He was adopted by the homeowner Don Antonio Salanueva the bookbinder, he brought, guided and taught Juarez his first letters.
In the small museum there are items belonging to Juarez, his bedroom, his kitchen and dining room. Also few portraits, paintings and the bookbinding work he did. In the centre of the house there is a small garden with a water fountain.
Closed on Monday
Oaxaca has one of the best markets in Mexico. Benito Juarez Market is located not far from the main square Zocalo. Just like market it offers many different variety of products. There are fresh local vegetables, fried grasshoppers in chilies, mezcal, variety of food stalls that catered delicious Oaxacan food such as Moles, different type of chilies, cheese, fresh Oaxacan chocolates, souvenir shops that sale handicrafts. This markets is big it can take a while to explore. Like any market in the world there are good and bad products but It’s cheap and you can bargain.
A massive statue of Benito Juárez (cast in Rome in 1891) stares out over the suburbs. It is located at the top of the hill next to the amphitheater (Auditoria Guelaguetza). The statue is to honor the first indigenous president of Mexico who was born in Oaxaca.
If you fancy walking uphill go and visit Auditoria Guelaguetza. We didn’t see any performances we just wanted to see the amphitheater and the view from the lookout.
Once you are there you can enjoy the view of Oaxaca city but before you reached you’ll see fantastic murals. The amphitheater was completed in 2010
Macedonia Alcala Theatre in Oaxaca is a colonial architecture and the name came from Oaxacan musician and composer Macedonian Alcala. It was constructed between1903 and 1909. Today is a working theatre still for music, dance, art and culture performances. Inside is like going back in time. We recommend visiting and doing a complete tour of the building. We were lucky enough to be able to do the tour while strolling the city. I think there are tours each day at 12.00-13.00.
Carmen Abajo, the Catholic Church historically (Carmen Bajo) during Spanish colonist it was the lower church ministered for the indigenous and mestizos populations. I just saw the building while walking towards Basilica de la Soledad, I didn't go inside.
The temple was called Tears of Saint Peter and Dalores before the name of Carmen de Abajo (Wiki).
Basilica de la Soledad is one of the many churches in Oaxaca worth visiting. They were some sorts of activities when we were there. I think it was a wedding celebration or religious activity. It was exciting to see the celebration.
Outside the gate of the church is the main square full of eatery where you can sit down and have lunch. I bought Mexican custard tart it was yummy.
The old Roman Catholic Basilica is well maintained. It was built between 1682 and 1690 and it was dedicated to Our Lady of Solitude (Wiki).
Oaxaca is home to a number of markets. Two blocks south of the Zocalo you will find the Benito Juarez market, and two blocks east of the Zocalo you will find La Mercad. Both of these traditional markets feature a number of food stalls serving up local specialties (like tlayudas and meat cooked in mole sauce), in addition to stalls selling leather goods, packaged food items to take home and souvenirs. If you are looking for cheap clothing and household items (or live turkeys) cross Periferico to the west of the Zocalo and look for the gigantic "Central de Abasto".
From Llano Grande, we walked through the pine woods up into the hills around the Pueblos Mancomunados. Yves, our guide was not only knowledgeable about the area and the flora and fauna, but passionate about the people and the problems of the region.
The trip included lunch in Llano Grande - traditional food made in the village at one of the 'comadores'. Stuffed chiles and cucumber juice to drink.
If you have a week or two in Oaxaca, visit Amigos del Sol Language school. I spent 2 weeks there learning spansih, it was very affordable and they hold beginner, intermediate or advanced classes begining nearly every week. You can stay as many weeks as you wish. They also set up accomadtion with a host family if you choose. I stayed at the Magic Hostel which was down the road. The school is right in the middle of town and is definitely worth visiting if youre travelling mexico and want to pick up some lingo.
One of the best collections of pre-hispanic ceramic and sculpture I have seen. While the museum is a little small (they stack their cases which makes viewing higher pieces pretty difficult) and they rely on fluoroescent lights -- the quantity and quality of pieces that Tamayo assembled are impressive.
From web: "En él se puede admirar una colección de 860 piezas de arte prehispánico. Concebido como museo de arte, la visita al mismo constituye un disfrute en donde lo esencial está en las texturas, los materiales y las formas de los objetos."
I have just gone on the En Via tour, and have to share the experience with people who want to do something really special and worthwhile during their stay in Oaxaca. En Via offers a truly socially responsible tour. This micro finance organization gives interest-free loans to indigenous women in Teotitlan del Valle to start or expand their business. You get to meet these women in their homes or at their businesses, and talk to them (with the help of the volunteer guides/translators) to learn what they do, and how they want to improve their lives and the lives of their families. In addition to having a wonderful, inspirational day, you get the satisfaction of knowing you have done something to really help them, because 100% of the tour money goes to the loans for these women. I highly recommend this special experience.
Every country has two stories. We always get to see the more polished side – where people seem to be doing really well, where everyone is partying downtown, or where everything seems just like home (for me in the USA).
However, there is always another story to every country (even at home) – where people are just getting by, living check to check, working all day to support their family, and quite possibly skipping several or many meals a week. It’s not the more “real” part of any country, but one that exhibits just another reality.
I have been in Oaxaca, Mexico for a total of three months living near the Zocalo, essentially living in the same sort of comfort as home. Not once did I get to explore something completely different from my daily life. En Via gave me a glimpse into the current life of a people and culture, that has been around far before the Spanish arrived to present day Mexico, in Teotitlan del Valle.
En Via, a microfinance organization that gives interest-free loans to women in the aforementioned community, raises money by providing tours of a very different nature. Instead of touring a ruin or simply walking around a community, the borrowers of En Via invite tourists to either their residence or place of business to discuss what they will do with their loans that amount anywhere between US$100.00 and US$300.00.
The day-long tour consisted of six presentations, each lasting about an hour and occurring at a different borrower’s home or vending stand in Teotitlan. I was very excited to go into their homes to see their current living conditions, and at each visit, I only wanted to wish them even more luck with their business. I absolutely loved going into their homes, seeing their workspace, but more importantly, listening to their answers to our questions, everything these women had to say about their business and their lives.
For most of my stay in Mexico I have been exposed to families where men made all of the decisions and did all of the talking. However, with En Vía, I finally saw empowered women addressing a very important aspect of their family’s life. En Via gives them a wonderful opportunity to play an even greater role in their family by making important decisions that will hopefully improve their living situation.
This is not to say that I was 100% sure that the women made all of the decisions around their En Via loan, for there were occasional instances when the men of the household tried to do more of the talking. I was disappointed on those occasions but the En Via staff, who translated the presentations in English and our questions in Spanish, definitely made an effort to get the spotlight back on the women. Regardless, it must be a difficult matter to control.
Lastly, the tour concluded several hours later with lunch at a restaurant owned by former En Via borrowers, but beforehand, I had water and a small snack while the tours were happening – which turned out to be a smart move.
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