Following on from my previous post, here are more things I recommend you add to your list if you thinking of visiting Oaxaca de Juarez. There are direct flights to Oaxaca from Mexico City several times a day, taking around 50 minutes, or if you could take the 8-10 hour bus ride.
Only a Sunday and is the biggest market in the district. You can buy anything here; knives, hammers, juices, ice cream, tapetes, live turkeys, fruits and vegetables, bags of every description, radios, material, shirts, atole and hammocks to name a few. Take a collectivo out and have lunch at one of the delicious sit-down stalls. My favourites are the chicken taquitos.
Day trip to Artisan Village/s
You can buy all types of artisan products and goods in Oaxaca, but the artists that actually make them are well worth visiting (and a visit will help support the local communities)! Generally each village is known for a specific artisan product. My favourite day trip includes the communities of San Martin Tilcajete – wooden alebrijes, and San Bartolo Coyotepec – black pottery. Each community will offer visitors a chance to visit a workshop and see the process and time that goes into these products. Obviously bring money, as you are guaranteed to find something you can’t live without. There is a great place to get lunch at the top of the intersection to San Martin Tilcajete.
Hierve el Agua
Hierve el Agua, translated as water boils, is a site known for its dramatic ‘petrified waterfall’ rock formations and mineral springs; located high in the mountains surrounding Oaxaca. Take lots of water, and a hat as it’s pretty exposed.
Wednesday Night Danzon
On Wednesdays all the local families come down to the zocalo to dance (like ballroom) to a live Danzon band. It’s very dignified and everyone – regardless of age can really dance. If you don’t want to dance, you can just watch with everyone else. Just don’t come in tennis shoes.
Random Festivals, Parades and Weddings
There is a saying in Oaxaca, that there is always a fiesta – if it’s sunny, it’s rainy, it’s Monday, it’s 3pm – it’s time to celebrate. I can pretty much guarantee there will be some type parade, march, wedding or dance while you are here. Most are impromptu (at least for the observers) and the best ones give out shots of mezcal to the crowd.
Other tips I have are to bring a camera, always ask permission before taking personal shots (crowd shots are fine), and don’t pack your entire suitcase as you will need the space on your way home for your purchases. Walk a lot, try different foods, chat with the locals, and definitely visit communities outside of Oaxaca as well. It’s an awesome place. Have fun!