Things to Do in Oaxaca - page 2
Situated 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca proper, this former Dominican convent in Cuilapam de Guerrero is an impressive complex which includes cloisters and a roofless chapel. Once home to praying monks and the place where former Mexican president Vicente Guerrero was executed, the 16th-century Cuilapam Convent is now a place to enjoy religious murals and sweeping views over the valley below.
One of the oldest and largest markets in Oaxaca—if not the entire country—the fragrant and bustling Abastos Market is a hub of fresh produce, Oaxacan goods, and more. Also known by its official name of the Central de Abastos, this market is the perfect place to pick up Oaxacan snacks and souvenirs, from local pottery to chili-laced candies and freshly made mole.
Designed by Oaxacan artists Francisco Toledo and Luis Zárate, Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden (Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca) is home to hundreds of plants native to Oaxaca, Mexico’s most biodiverse region. Look out for towering cacti, medicinal plants, and rescued agaves as you learn about the relationship between people, culture, and plants on a guided tour of the truly impressive garden.
Quieter than its more popular sister sites of Monte Albán and Mitlá, Yagul is home to the second largest Mesoamerican ball court after Chichén Itzá. Visitors can admire striking views over the Tlacolula Valley below from the vantage point of these elevated ruins; explore the elaborate stone palace and courtyards, which date from between 750 and 950 AD; and enter the underground tombs.
Once home to former Mexican president Benito Juárez, the Benito Juárez House-Museum (Museo de Sitio Casa de Juárez) is now a modest museum situated in a restored 17th century building. Visitors can learn about the extraordinary life of Mexico’s first indigenous president, marvel over personal artifacts once belonging to Juárez, and observe the bookbinding shop which belonged by the building’s owner, Antonio Salanuevas.
The southernmost beach in the Santa Cruz area, Playa La Entrega—or La Entrega Bay—offers over 600 feet (182 meters) of sandy shoreline; beautiful coral reefs; and clear, calm waters ideal for swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Highlights include a variety of tropical fish, on-site seafood stalls, and proximity to the scenic Huatulco Bay Lighthouse lookout.
Travelers seeking a true Oaxacan culinary experience will find it at Casa Crespo, a popular restaurant and cooking school that serves up traditional regional cuisine that highlights age-old flavors and market-fresh ingredients. Settle in for an alfresco cocktail on Casa Crespo’s rooftop, enjoy a multi-course meal at the restaurant, or opt for a hands-on cooking class.
Connected to the Templo de Santo Domingo, the impressive Oaxaca Culture Museum (Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca) is housed in a beautifully restored monastery. Well-curated exhibits featuring crafts, herbal medicines, and local dress transport travelers through the history of Oaxaca, from ancient times to the modern day. A particular highlight is the collection of Mixtec silver, jade, and gold.
Known for its distinctive black clay ceramics, San Bartolo Coyotepec is a must-visit for fans of traditional crafts in search of the perfect Oaxacan souvenir. Situated just 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of Oaxaca City, San Bartolo Coyotepec’s quiet streets are lined with shops, galleries, and studios selling this regional pottery that’s now an essential part of Oaxacan tradition.
More Things to Do in Oaxaca
Imagine shopping at a market that’s existed for 800 years before wandering the grounds of an ancient city populated by unearthed tombs; both are possible in Zaachila, a small town known for its Thursday tianguis and archaeological ruins. Visit for the chance to pick up local goods—from fresh fruit to clay pottery—and learn about Zapotec culture, all just a quick drive from Oaxaca City.
Finca La Gloria
Get a first-hand look at the process of turning fresh coffee berries into a cup of aromatic brew at Finca La Gloria. This family-owned coffee plantation in the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca is known for its fertile green farms and butterfly sanctuary. Here you can tour the working coffee farm and sample high-quality organic blends straight from the roaster.
Tamayo Museum (Museo Tamayo)
Unlike most museums of its kind in Mexico, Tamayo Museum (Museo Tamayo) brings together a collection of over 1000 pre-Hispanic artifacts and presents them as artwork rather than archaeological finds. At this 18th century Oaxacan mansion-turned-museum, visitors can marvel over Mayan, Olmec, and Purepecha sculptures, figurines, and more—once the private collection of Zapotec artist Rufino Tamayo.
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