Oaxaca, Mexico

After a few days of exploring Mexico City, it was time for the next destination on my Central America backpacking trip: Oaxaca! In the days that I had to explore Oaxaca City and the surrounding area, I feel in love with the city and its culture… and I also learned some major travel tips.


I arrived in Oaxaca Monday late afternoon with an overpriced shuttle waiting to take me directly to my hostel. I’m all for taking the safest option, but I probably should’ve researched prices beforehandWhen I checked in at Casa Angel, I found my 10-person dorm room and then explored the rest of the building. I loved the curtains on the beds and the cute rooftop area, and even though I have great things to say about my overall experience at this hostel, it just didn’t quite reach the high standards set by Casa Pepe in Mexico City. *sigh*

While wandering around the neighborhood to find water, I actually ran into some markets, food stands, and even carnival rides set up as a part of the Guelaguetza festival. I somehow got so lucky with my timing that I was visiting during one of the biggest annual cultural festivals here, how great is that!

I ended my evening with the BBQ and happy hour on my hostel rooftop. I made a few friends, but I was absolutely relieved to have Tatjana, a friend I met in Mexico City, coming to Oaxaca that night as well.


On Tuesday morning, I grabbed breakfast in the common area with some other travelers from my room before heading out to explore with Tatjana. We saw the main square, lots of shops/markets (Benito Juarez, 20 Noviembre, etc.), and a couple of cathedrals, all before lunch. The city seemed lively, colorful, and just big enough to be entertaining without being overwhelming for a short visit. Love!

We enjoyed an amazing lunch at Los Danzantes, then did some more exploring in the Templo de Santo Domingo area. We met up with Izzy, another British girl who Tatjana met on her bus from Mexico City, and the three of us were quickly on our way to the city’s convention center.

Why did we go all the way to the convention center when we were having plenty of fun in town? For the mezcal festival, obviously! We sampled mezcal after mezcal, enjoyed a couple of cocktails, and, of course, practiced plenty of Spanish along the way.

Once back in the city center, the three of us enjoyed a Mole-filled dinner before Tatjana and I ended the day with a salsa class on my hostel’s rooftop. It was super fun to participate in the dance… let’s just say everyone there made progress, even if we still weren’t too great by the end of the class!


Wednesday was my second and final full day in Oaxaca, and in an attempt to see more of the region than just the city and also learn more about the area’s culture, I decided to go on a full day tour with my hostel to some nearby destinations.

First up was Teotitlán del Valle, a community that produces textiles. We learned all about how the material is produced, the colors are made, and the weaving is completed.

Then, at about 10:30 AM, our tour guide said, “Time to get drunk!,” and we arrived at a mezcal factory. The people here showed us how mezcal is produced, as well as the correct way to taste it. And yes, of course, we all tried a few samples along the way!

Our third stop on the tour was Mitla, one of the most important archaeological sites of the Zapotec culture. We learned about the history, explored the palace a bit, and then headed on to get lunch nearby. We thoroughly enjoyed the authentic Mexican buffet, though one of the girls in our group accidentally chose a dish with crickets and just about had a heart attack when she saw them on her plate while eating!

After lunch, it was finally time for Hierve el Agua, the destination I was most looking forward to. A group of us hiked up to overlook the petrified waterfall, and then we all took a dip in the pools! Once it began raining and thundering, we decided it was best to not be sitting in a pool of water on the side of a cliff and headed back to our tour bus.

On the way back to Oaxaca City, we made a quick stop at the Tule tree, aka the largest (fattest not tallest) tree in the world. This wasn’t necessarily on my bucket list but was still pretty cool to see.

Once back in the city, Tatjana and I checked out the parade happening for the festival, found some dinner, and then said goodbye so that I could pack up.


Just when you think the fun ends, there is sure to be more excitement! When I arrived at the airport on Thursday afternoon, I got in line to check in and reached into my bag to get my passport but… found nothing.

I ran over to a corner and dumped out all of my carefully-packed belongings. Still nothing. Thankfully, when I called my hostel, they immediately realized that I had left it at the front desk that morning when checking out.

I used some high-quality emergency Spanish to find the taxi counter, explain that my flight would leave in less than two hours and I needed a quick round-trip ride, and finally tell my driver where to bring me.

When I returned to the airport a full hour later, I was elated that the “check-in two hours before your flight leaves” rule was not actually enforced. Within 10 minutes, I checked in, checked my bag, passed through immigration, made it through TSA security, and found the gate for my flight to Guatemala City!

Mexico was amazing, but as much as I wanted to continue exploring and following the traditional Mexico backpacker’s route, I knew that there was plenty more fun in store for me in Antigua and Santa Cruz.

2 responses to “Oaxaca, Mexico”

  1. […] enjoying about a week in Mexico City and Oaxaca, it was time to say goodbye to Mexico and head to my next destination: […]


  2. […] Mexico City, Oaxaca, Antigua, Acatenango, and Lake Atitlán, I headed on to Caye Caulker, Belize. The beginning of the […]


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