Kosmic Guide to Oaxaca City
S T A Y
The Wooden Box, an AirBnB outside of the city. We started our trip here, and it set the tone for a relaxing, stress-free trip. While we did wake up to blaring morning announcements on the town's megaphone, the rest of the days were filled with sounds of birds chirping and afternoon showers. And, it's one of the most well designed places I've ever stayed. Make sure to book tours with Sebastian who's the house manager, he's a ton of fun and will take your to all the best spots in Oaxaca.
Hotel Casa de la Tía Tere, located near the city center. This hotel is everything you need, and more. Breakfast is included, fresh eggs and veggies with a side of toast. And, afternoons can be spent by (or in) the beautiful plant lined pool. It's walking distance to everything in Oaxaca City, and the hotel staff are super helpful.
F O O D
Try a tlayuda, it's basically a Oaxacan pizza except the sauce is made out of black bean paste and it's topped with avocado and local cheese. You can find these at most street food stands, especially in the evenings. It's the main event in the photo above.
Eat a crispy fish taco at Pez. They have tons of freshly made toppings to dress up your taco: pico de gallo, pickled onions, salsa, etc. It's got a really hip vibe, looks like someplace straight out of the Bay Area.
Order a gringa (and try to keep a straight face) at Tacomer, it's a fresh tortilla filled and folded with cheese, al pastor, and a touch of pineapple inside.
Have an authentic bowl of pozole stew. This hearty broth is filled to the top with hominy (basically popped corn, but not at all like popcorn), cabbage, avocado, radish, lime, chiles, etc. You can get it green or red, I prefer the red.
Sip on menudo soup at the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. It's like bone broth, but made with tripe and packed with chili pepper, hominy, lime, onion, and cilantro. It's great choice for breakfast.
Have a fancy meal and eat EVERYTHING at Casa Oaxaca Cafe, especially mole. The outside seating is pure magic around sunset.
Get to know corn at world renown Tortillería y Antojería Itanoní. It's well-respected for its involvement in the slow food movement, and for their stone ground organic corn. I loved the cheese and mushroom stuffed tetelas, which is like a triangular quesadilla (but better).
Try a memelita, small corn discs stuffed with fresh cheese, salsa, and occasionally squash blossoms. It's nice to have at breakfast with an egg on top.
D R I N K
Hydrate with agua de jamica, a sweetend and chilled brew made with hibiscus.
Check out the local markets for fresh herbs. You might want to brew a cup of fresh chamomile tea during your trip to settle any fussy stomachs.
Skip coffee and try Oaxacan hot cocoa, it's deliciously rich and spiced with cinnamon. Chocolate from this region of the world is like no other.
Drink mezcal, "kiss by kiss," as said by the locals. It's worth it to go to a nice mezcaleria while you're there, or better yet, do a distillery tour. Made from agave plants, this ancient spirit can take on a variety of different flavors depending on where the plant was grown and its fermentation process.
S E E + D O
Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca is a great way to connect with local plants, get a tour if you can. The photo above shows Chris and I in front of the incredible wall of cacti there.
Traditional Medicine Tours booked through Tierraventura. We booked a traditional sweat, also known as a Temazcal, through the co-owner Claudia. It was the highlight of our trip. This ancient healing ceremony is meant to connect you back to the elements, and your truest self. They also do medicinal plant walks in the area, and a handful of other eco tours that support local plant folk.
Monte Albán is a must. It's a huge source of pride for the local people there, and for good reason. This ancient town and ceremonial space was way ahead of its time. These hilltop ruins remain fairly intact, which is impressive, as these structures were built thousands of years ago by the Zapotec.
See one of the most beautiful trees in the world, a cypress named Árbol del Tule. This "tree of life" is said to be a few thousand years old, and is easily the largest tree I've ever seen.
If you have time, plan a workshop around natural plant based dyes. Local weavers use everything from moss to pomegranates to make their vibrant weavings. Sebastian (from The Wooden Box) arranged our tour, but looks like Trip Advisor has some listed.
S H O P
Admittedly, I did not go, but I heard great reviews of Museo de Textil de Oaxaca. It would be a great way to learn more about the incredible weavers in the area, and find quality rugs and textiles.
Keep an eye out for locally made red and black pottery at the markets, and La Casa de las Artesanias de Oaxaca. You can also head out to the local villages to see more of a variety.
Silvia Suarez clothing boutique is one of the most beautiful shops in in Oaxaca City. If you're looking for traditional textiles with a modern twist--look no further.
I found wardrobe staples at Mariana Grapain Etno Diseño. Her tiny shop is filled with things she or her friends have made. I purchased a wool hat that I'll wear indefinitely, and a felted and naturally dyed necklace that looks like a peyote button. What! Her shop is pure art.
Aripo is hands down the most well curated store I saw during my time in Oaxaca, just look at the photo above! It's a little pricier than the local markets and street vendors, but everything there is gorgeous and super high quality, plus the store's mission is to support local artisans.
Oaxaca is by far one of the most beautiful, artistic places I've ever been. I hope you go, and enjoy every minute of your adventure. Please share your favorite places you discover with us, below.
XO - Summer Ashley