Back to my Mexico trip! After exploring the state of Chiapas in Mexico, I explored the beautifully diverse and culturally vibrant state of Oaxaca. I traveled from Palenque to Villahermosa to Coatzacoalcos and finally to Oaxaca City in the state of Oaxaca. It was a long and tiring bus journey lasting for around 12 hours. I spend around 3 weeks staying in a small town near the city of Oaxaca. In this post, I will talk about how to plan your trip to Oaxaca and things to do. Oaxaca is a Southwestern state in Mexico and one of the most popular states for tourists. What I really liked about Oaxaca is you get to experience totally different weathers in the same month in the different parts of Oaxaca as it is blessed with high mountains and low beaches.
THINGS TO DO IN & AROUND OAXACA CITY
Much like San Cristobal de las Casas: Churches, Museums, Food, Markets are the highlights of Oaxaca City. The most famous church is Templo de Santo Domingo. Museo de las Culturas is the museum that shouldn’t be missed. However, the famous markets are 20 de Noviembre(Treat for non-vegetarians) and Mercado de Benito Juarez but I personally enjoyed exploring Mercado de Abastos more which many deem unsafe. Feast on the local cuisine i.e. Mole, Tlayudas, Chapulines, Tejate, Hot/Cold Chocolate, Local ice creams, Mezcals and many more. About Mole: It is a Mexican sauce made from fruits, nuts, chilli peppers, spices etc. Explore the beautiful Zocalo(city centre) of Oaxaca City and make sure to drop in at the Botanical Garden at the centre. Hike to the Guelagutza Auditorium for a panoramic view of the city. Explore the colourful neighbourhood of Jalatlaco. Rent a bicycle and explore the city and neighbouring towns of Tlalixtac de Cabrera, Santo Domingo Tomaltepec, Santa Maria del Tule etc. There are many places/towns to explore near Oaxaca City given as below:
- Santa Maria del Tule: The town is known for the Tule Tree i.e. El Arbol del Tule: It has the stoutest tree trunk in the world! Distance from Oaxaca City is around 11 km
- Monte Alban: A really popular touristic place and UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a large-scale Zapotec civilisation ruins located around 11 km from Oaxaca City.
- San Pablo Villa de Mitla: The town is known for Zapotec civilisation ruins and mezcal (a local alcoholic beverage made from maguey) factories. Around 45 km from Oaxaca City.
- Hierve El Agua: A true wonder of nature. It is a set of rock formations that resemble cascades of water. Around 65 km from Oaxaca City.
- San Bartolo Coyotepec: The town is known for black clay pottery. Make sure to visit the Mercado Artesanal market. Around 15 km from Oaxaca City.
- San Martín Tilcajete: The town is known for the production of Alebrijes. They are brightly coloured folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. Around 30 km from Oaxaca City.
THINGS TO DO IN SAN JOSE DEL PACIFICO
My next stop was San Jose del Pacifico. It takes 3 hours to reach the town of San Jose del Pacifico from Oaxaca City. I used Colectivo as a mode of transportation. This small mountain town is located at an elevation of around 8000 ft. The town is famous for magic mushrooms. Many foreign tourists come to this town to try magic mushrooms. Apart from this, the Temazcal ceremony. It is an ancient low heat sweat lodge ceremony dating back to Mesoamerica era. What I loved about the town is its serenity, magical sunsets and my walk to the neighbouring town of San Mateo Rio Honda which lasted for a couple of hours(one way). A truly beautiful nature trail. Do not miss this trail if you are up for it. I stayed at “El Sueno Atrapado” hostel @ 120 pesos per night for a dorm bed.
THINGS TO DO IN MAZUNTE
From the cold weather of San Jose del Pacifico, I traveled to the hot and humid weather of the beach town of Mazunte via Colectivo. It is around 3 hours long time. I really enjoyed my time at this small hippy beach town. At Mazunte, you should visit Punta Cometa to see the sunset for a magical experience. There are three beachfront at Mazunte i.e. Mazunte beach, Mermejita, Rinconcito. You can also go for a dolphins & turtles watching tour @ 250-300 pesos per person. From the town of Mazunte, I walked all the way to the town of Puerto Angel while exploring the neighbouring Towns and beaches i.e. Playa San Agustinillo, Playa Aragon, Playa Zipolite(Nude beach), Playa del Amor, Playa Panteon. I really enjoyed riding waves at the Playa San Agustinillo by renting out a small board. I stayed at Posada el higo in Mazunte @ 150 pesos a night.
THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO ESCONDIDO
An hour-long ride on Colectivo from Mazunte and I was in the coastal city of Puerto Escondido. The city is famous for Surfing at the Playa Zicatela beach. Apart from Playa Zicatela, there are many beaches to explore i.e. Playa Bacocho, Playa Coral, Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Manzanillo, Playa Angelito. I really enjoyed my early morning walk at Playa Bacocho. Playa Carrizalillo is my other favourite small and cosy beach. Punta Colorada is the place to see sunset in Puerto Escondido. Head to Manialtepec lagoon to experience the phenomenon of Bioluminescence. The lagoon becomes phosphorescent due to the type of algae that lives in the lagoon but make ensure to go around new moons when there will be no moonlight reflecting on the water. It is 18 Km from the city of Puerto Escondido.