Why We May Pack Up Everything And Move to Oaxaca, Mexico

 

Why We May Pack Up Everything And Move to Oaxaca, Mexico

 

Ok, so maybe we won’t be moving to Oaxaca, Mexico immediately, but from the first night we arrived in this charming town, we knew we were going to love it.

 

A Cruising Couple on Oaxaca
 

Oaxaca City was the first stop on our road trip through Oaxaca with Cantimplora Travel. Led by our awesome Mexican guides and professional photographer Sam and Bernie (founders of Cantimplora Travel) our small group met in Oaxaca City for a few days of off-the-beaten-track adventure before continuing on to discover one of the most diverse and artistically gifted states in all of Mexico.

As we wandered down the cobblestone pedestrian street in Oaxaca our first night, we heard loud music and drumming coming from the church plaza. Surely it’s just a street band looking for some tips from passersby, we thought…until we noticed the giant dancing puppets.

 

Wedding party in Oaxaca
Photo by Cantimplora Travel
 

These wedding puppets were about 15 feet tall and on long wooden poles, dressed in the form of a bride and groom. The music was pouring out of the church and a large group of friends and family were dancing in the courtyard. After a while, the party started to make its way down the main avenue through town as the bride and groom danced in the streets past cheering onlookers. This wedding parade, called a calenda, perfectly expressed the colorful, fun-loving and friendly community vibe of Oaxaca. And this ambience of celebration, arts and culture would set the tone for the rest of our journey with Cantimplora Travel.

 

calenda in Oaxaca
Photo by Cantimplora Travel
 

Though you may not be as lucky to catch a calenda in action, there are plenty more reasons to love Oaxaca. Here are just a few of the reasons why we so quickly fell in love with Oaxaca.

Why We May Pack Up Everything And Move to Oaxaca, Mexico

 

Oaxaca collage
 

Shopping

With food, clothing, jewelry and artisanal markets a plenty, Oaxaca is a great place to stock up on authentic Mexican merchandise. The oldest market in Oaxaca is the Benito Juárez Market, just a few blocks south of the Zocalo, the historic district.

 

Oaxaca Church in the Zocalo
 

Here you can find all sorts of unique Oaxacan produce and products. Be on the lookout for quesillo, a soft white cheese rolled into a ball that can only be found in this region of Mexico. Also available are jars of mole sauce, honey, and cacao beans; all of which Oaxaca claims the most delicious in the entire country. You’ll no doubt also notice the large plates of barbecued grasshoppers as well…more on that later.

 

Grasshoppers in Oaxaca
 

Despite its name, the Oaxaca Saturday Market is actually open every day of the week. However, on Saturdays, the craft section joins the market. On this day, you’ll find Trique Indian weavers using looms to create intricate textiles and rugs. It is a bit far from the main part of town, but taxis are affordable and you may find yourself needing a cab just to transport all of your new purchases back to your hotel.

The handicrafts market, or Mercado de Artesañas, is open daily and offers lots of household items, leather goods, native textiles, handicrafts, and ceramics. You’ll find it at the corner of Zaragoza and García downtown.

 

Nightlife

If you are ambitious enough to take a walk around town during the early morning hours, it may seem like Oaxaca doesn’t have much going on. The evenings, however, are a different story. Clubs and discos aren’t the scene in Oaxaca. Instead, you’ll find small friendly bars serving up beer, cocktails, Mexican wines and the local liquor, mezcal.

It doesn’t get more hole-in-the-wall than the Los Amantes Mezcalería. We would never have found this eclectic bar if it hadn’t been for Cantimplora Travel. This was the perfect place to try several different types of mezcal before we choose our favorite to kick back and listen to the music. We had a great time singing the night away to familiar Mexican classics as well as rubbing elbows with a few of the region’s popular celebrities who frequently stop by for a drink.

 

Los Amantes Mezcalería
Photo by Cantimplora Travel
 

If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, than the Mezquite Gastronomia Y Destilados has a wide variety of drinks and the outdoor patio has an amazing view of the church. Perfect for a romantic evening with your special someone.

 

Mezcal

Many people claim that the Mezcal is at least partially to blame for the creativity and artistic ability that thrives in Oaxaca City. The smooth yet strong drink can be sipped in bars all over town. Read all about the details of how mezcal is made and our experience meeting an independent organic producer in this post!

 

Cantimplora Mezcal
Photo by Cantimplora Travel
 

Food

Mexican food, in general, is one of our all-time favorites, and some of the best food in all of Mexico can be found in Oaxaca City. Here are a few of our favorite dishes we ate during our time in Oaxaca.

Tlayudas are large semi-dried tortillas, either folded or open and stuffed with refried beans, tomatoes, avocados, and some variety of meat. The portions are huge so bring a friend to split one.

Chilaquiles are the best excuse to have nachos for breakfast. The dish consists of lightly fried tortilla chips covered with your choice of red or green sauce. Sometimes other toppings like shredded chicken, cheese, and Mexican cream are added to the mix as well.

 

Chilaquiles
 

There are 7 different types of Oaxacan moles and while we only got to try 5 of them, they all offer unique and delicious flavors. The process of making mole is tedious and time-consuming but the wait is well worth the reward.

You’ll likely see, Chapulines (Grasshoppers) in masses at any of the Oaxacan markets. These little critters are used in some dips or on top of tlayuda to add a bit of extra crunch.

Whether you consume it as a bar or a beverage, Oaxacan chocolate is delicious. Check out Casa Crespo to sample a wide variety from chocolate with ginger to chile to cedrón.

 

Oaxacan Chocolate
 

The ice cream around Oaxaca has enough variety to rival the gelato shops of Italy. For a special treat, try the mezcal flavor.

 

Cafes

For us, one of the most important things about making a destination livable is the local cafes. Being able to grab a cup of coffee and work at local and artistic cafes is a must for traveling entrepreneurs like ourselves. The state of Oaxaca has a large and talented community of artists and that artistic atmosphere extends to Oaxaca’s many cafes.

 

Oaxacan Coffee
 

Walkability

Big enough to get lost in yet small enough to see the major sites in a day, Oaxaca is the perfect size for people like us who love getting around on our own two feet. The pedestrian road makes it even easier to get where you’re going without needing a ride.

 

Oaxaca Pedestrian Road
 

One thing is for certain – we will definitely be returning to Oaxaca to amble along its quaint streets and soak in more of it’s charm.

Have you ever been to Oaxaca? Are you ready to pack your bags for the colorful and charming town of Oaxaca?

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We were guests of Cantimplora Travel. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are our own.

 

30 Comments

  1. Great post! We’ll be heading to Oaxaca next month. Looking forward to trying your recommendations. The nightlife scene sounds perfect, as I prefer the small bars as opposed to clubs.

    I really hope we’ll be able to witness a calenda while we’re there! That’s so great that you were there to experience that event!

    Reply
    • Hi, Heather!

      SUPER excited to hear that you’re heading to Oaxaca next month!! You’re going to love the nightlife. I really hope you get to experience a calenda, as well! It was really such a special experience.

      I hope you have the best of times, and please do share your experience with us! :-)

      Happy Travels!
      A Cruising Couple recently posted…Why We May Pack Up Everything And Move to Oaxaca, MexicoMy Profile

      Reply
  2. I’ve been around Mexico a bit but have not yet been to Oaxaca. It looks amazing!

    Reply
  3. Do it! Oaxaca is awesome!

    Reply
  4. If I were you, I would definitely move to Oaxaca just for the sake of nice food!!!!!! :-) It’s so important to me! Another reason would be the night life you mentioned. Nice to hang out with locals and have few drinks with them while sharing travel stories :).

    Reply
    • Hi, Agness!

      Oh yes, food is such an important part of travel. It’s one of my favorite things, as well. :-) Definitely agree that swapping travel stories with locals is an awesome way to connect with new people and inspire each other. :-)

      Thanks for sharing and happy travels :-D
      A Cruising Couple recently posted…Why We May Pack Up Everything And Move to Oaxaca, MexicoMy Profile

      Reply
  5. Great post. I would love to try out all these different dishes and to taste local coffee. Haven’t been to Mexico but this town looks like a place to fall in love with.

    Reply
  6. We feel the same thing about Mazatlan. So we did the next best thing…3 months a year of timeshare there!

    Reply
  7. I’ve not been to Oaxaca before, but you had me at Mezcal, mole, and chocolate! The town looks so charming.

    Reply
  8. We just got back from a trip to Mexico City, where we got to encounter some of these things, like Mezcal and Tlayudas. I’ve always really liked Mexico. I think I’d fall in love with Oaxaca too!

    Reply
  9. I’ve been wanting to visit Oaxaca solely because of the food but its clear that this vibrant city has so much more going on.

    Reply
  10. I’ve enjoyed this post a lot. Makes me wanna book a flight to Mexico Oaxaca asap ;)
    The way you describe the vibrant life, the food (ahhh love Mexican food) and all the rest…
    Sounds great, looks great…bucket list worthy! Cheers ;)

    Reply
  11. Oaxaca looks so vibrant and fun! I’d love to visit it one day. The food and the vibe really look awesome. I’m sure I’d have a great time! :)

    Reply
  12. After reading this post, I would move there! Glad they have more food options other than the grasshoppers though, that idea is a little tough to swallow!

    Reply
  13. looks like an amazing place – the sort that’s easy to fall in love with!

    Reply
  14. Wonderful! I am so happy that you loved my home country, and Oaxaca is a particularly beautiful city. In fact, the entire province of Oaxaca is an amazing place. It is so colorful and inspiring, that is has produced its fair share of Mexican artists. I hope you will be back soon!

    Reply
  15. I was just Pinteresting Oaxaca because I miss it sooo much! I went there twice in college for 3 weeks each time to work in an orphanage and village. It is beautiful and so are the people. This was over 10 years so and no one is mentioning the alebrijas (sp?) the wood carvings that are painted bright colors. One of my favorite things there!

    Reply

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