Oaxaca is full of special places, and we are happy to help you reach all the places you would like to go. Below we’ve made a list of a few of our favorites.
We led weekly city tours to some of our favorite spaces, and for others outside of the city, we can help you get there, by helping arrange a tour, tell you how to go on your own, or occasionally, if there’s enough interest, one of our teachers will take a group of students out on their own tour to one of these places.
However you want to get there, we’ll help you figure it out.
IN THE CITY
Museums: Museo Textil de Oaxaca; Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO); Museo de Arte Prehispánico Rufino Tamayo; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO); Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (MUPO); Museo de la Filatelia de Oaxaca (MUFI); Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca; Museo Infantil de Oaxaca; Centro de las Artes San Agustín
Libraries: Some of the many libraries in Oaxaca that hold workshops, events, and activities include:
Central de Abastos is the central hub for foods particularly that come into the city. It’s a huge market and impressive to see. It is also a transportation hub for the city. While many locals say it is dangerous, and it can be, it is safer to visit it earlier in the day. If you visit it, we would recommend using caution and not bringing anything of value with you including passports, identifications, a lot of cash and credit cards.
IN THE SURROUNDING AREA
La Sierra Norte begins very close to the city and there are several towns you can visit that are fairly easy to get to from the city, including the Pueblos Mancomunados which are connected by dirt roads and paths that can be walked with a guide from the area (the tourism office in the city or in each pueblo can arrange this). A great options if you need to find yourself in a cool pine forest for a bit.
La Sierra Sur lies between the city and the Oaxacan coast and is a popular destination for tourists traveling between them. San José del Pacifico is probably the most famous place along the route, known for its popularity for hallucinogenic mushrooms. Regardless of your interest in mushrooms, it is a lovely place to stop, with cool weather, pine forests and welcoming restaurants.
Hierve el Agua is probably one of the biggest natural attractions in Oaxaca—a petrified waterfall with several pools year-round where you can grab a dip to cool off. Located fairly close to Mitla and in car, roughly an 1- 1-1/2 hour ride from the city, and included on many of the usual tours, though the adventurous can arrive by local transport as well.
These are just some of the many wonderful natural wonders of Oaxaca.
Among other sites in the area, here are some of the highlights:
Monte Albán: It was one of the most important cities in Mesoamerica. It was founded in 500 BC on the top of a mountain in the center of the Valles Centrales of Oaxaca and served as the capital of the Zapotecs from the beginning of our era until 800 AD. Monte Albán is 8 km west of the city of Oaxaca de Juárez. While technically walkable or bikeable, the stretch can be a bit dangerous especially for visitors. We’d recommend taking a bus, taxi or tour if going alone or with other tourists.
Mitla: When Monte Albán fell, around 750 A.D., the political and religious power of the Zapotecs in the Valles Centrales was concentrated in Milta until the arrival of the Spaniards (1000-1521 A.D.). Mitla is located 40 km, southeast from Oaxaca City, and is on the route to Hierve el Agua.
Atzompa: This site was part of the great Zapotec City of Monte Albán, and was inhabited during 650 to 900 AD. It is located 8 km west from Oaxaca city. It is newer archaeological site, but is very beautiful with great views, lots to see and a lot less people than either Monte Albán or Mitla.
Each of the surrounding pueblos has a market days filled with local dishes, vegetables, drinks, and crafts for sale. Some date back to before the Spanish colonization of Mexico. You can reach many of the neighboring towns using public transport (buses or collectivos). We can offer suggestions on how to get to those you want to go to. Here are two of the recommended markets of many you can visit on your trip:
Friday market in Ocotlán
Sunday market in Tlacolula