If you are searching for summer weather, tasty mole, friendly people and affordable travel- Oaxaca may be your next travel destination. Oaxaca is located in the southwestern part of Mexico and is considered one of the thirty one states of Mexico. Besides being known for its breathtaking beaches and exquisite food it is also known for its beautiful culture and traditions. Oaxaca is the perfect travel destination for adventurer, foodie and family traveler. There is never a dull moment if you visit this place. Here are a few of my favorite things about Oaxaca:
1. Tlayudas – This Oaxacan dish consist of a large thin, crunchy and partially fried or toasted tortilla. It is covered with refried beans, lettuce or cabage, Oaxacan cheese, salsa and your choice of meat or no meat. You will see this dish served almost everywhere in Oaxaca. I had mine with no meat and I have to say it was delicious !
2. Hiever el Agua-Is located in San Lorenzo Albarradas and it is about 70 km east of Oaxaca City. This beautiful formation of natural rocks is created by fresh water springs that contains water with calcium carbonate and other minerals. These small pools sit close on a cliff making it for a beautiful and scary photograph to take. Make sure to take your sunscreen and towel to enjoy some water time on these beautiful natural pools. Don’t stand too far to the edge!
3. Hot Chocolate– Most coffee shops will also have an option of having a great cup of hot chocolate. What make the amazing cup of chocolate in Oaxaca? The amazing Cacao that is grown there. They will even sell you some prepackaged natural cocoa so you can take it and make it in the comfort of your own home.
4. Las Playas– Many of the beaches in Oaxaca have few tourists which makes them even more beautiful. The most well known beach in Oaxaca is Huatulco ,which is located five hours from Oaxaca City. Here you will find tours going out to the Cascadas Magicas , snorkeling tours, boat tours, mescal tasting tours, spa packages and so much more. To get a more rustic beach experience you can visit Puerto Escondido and Zica beach which have less tourism than Huatulco but, are equally as beautiful.
5. Cascadas Magicas-The name perfectly describes these waterfalls. To get to this magical location you have to sit in a car for about an hour and a half and the road is very curvy. So, if you are sensitive to motion this may not be the right tour for you unless you are willing to ” rough-it.” Once you arrive you will have to hike a few minutes and you can find a couple small restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat before or after your tour. As you walk up to the main waterfall you will also get to see over 20 waterfalls all around you. Not only is this view breathtaking but, the sound will have a relaxing effect on you. I have to say this is one of my favorite tours ever. Besides the fact that our small tour bus broke down in very hot weather, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a place as much as this. The water was cold yet, very fresh and relaxing. I felt like I was reborn after a few hours of swimming here.Those of you that are water lovers this is definitely an experience that is worth the broken-down tour bus.
6. Mezcal tasting– The Word Mescal comes from the Nahuatl word mexicalli, which means cooked maguey. Mescal comes from the maguey (agave plant) . Depending on its sugars and how long it is left to sit in wood or oak, a mescal can be young, enriched, reposado or aged. Oaxaca is big on the agave and remains one of the biggest spots in Mexico for Mezcal tasking. Next time you visit, don’t forget to set some time apart to taste some Mezcal in Mitla-the main location where they produce this drink. You can find creamed Mezcal which comes in flavors like coconut, tamarindo, strawberry and many more. Be careful because a little mezcal goes a long way and you may begin to feel tipsy before you know it.
7. Graffiti art- Taking a small drive around Oaxaca city can lead you to some very beautiful street art. This is just what I did on my last day in Oaxaca City. Hired a taxi driver and he drove me around for three hours and showed me some beautiful locations for Graffiti art. Thanks to HIP LATINAS post on Oaxaca, I was able to find a map on all the different Street Art In Oaxaca. Visit my @melijill on Instagram for more Oaxacan art.
8. Oaxacan Mole– When you visit Oaxaca you will realize that they do not only specialize in mole but they all so have various kinds of mole to taste from. This famous dish contains various ingredients from; chile pasillas, peanuts, almonds and chocolate to name a few ingredients. I don’t eat meat so most of the time I would ask them for the mole in vegetables and of course asked if it was made with any kind of animal broth. Most people were very accommodating and always let me have the mole vegetarian style. This delicious dish will make want to come back for more. I gained a few extra pounds just from all the delicious food that I had on this trip. The mole was worth every extra pound.
9. Arbol de Tule -When I visited Oaxaca I never knew it had the widest tree in the world. Walking around it you definitely get the idea that this tree is extremely big, a picture of it won’t even fit in one snap shot. It is called the Arbol de Tule, and it is a Montezuma cypress tree. The tree measures 39.1 Feet in diameter.
10. Hotel accommodations-Since traveling on budget is one of my priorities I decided to stay at Hostal de las Americas in Oaxaca Centro which was about 25 dollars per night. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable this hostel was. My room was right in front of a night club -I did not hear anything since the walls and windows were so thick. In the morning they provided breakfast and the concierge was very knowledgeable and quickly singed us up for a tour the following morning.
The best part about traveling to Oaxaca is that the adventure never ends. There is something to discover all the time from food to mezcal to ancient artifacts etc. I traveled here for 7 days and spend less than $700 for hotel, flight, and spending money. Of course, I took the less favorable flight ( 2 am to 7 am from Tijuana) but, since I like to take various small trips through out the year I try not to travel very luxuriously. Most of my meals are not very extravagant, I stayed at a few hostels through out my stay and I try to take public transportation as much as I can.
Oaxaca had been on my travel list for years, and I had not been able to go because people are always commenting on how dangerous it is here. The truth is, I did not experience any violence on this trip. I think you are as safe here as you are in your own country. So, next time someone tries to talk you out of going somewhere or doing something don’t always take their word for it.