Oaxaca, Mexico: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Oaxaca with its multi-ethnic culture, colonial scene and culinary traditions, is one of Mexico’s most captivating cities. Oaxaca city is located in southern Mexico, on the foothills of the Sierra Madre. Its baroque styled churches sparkle in the sub-tropical sunsets, while the cities 1550m elevation gives it a pleasant climate, without any temperature extremes. Artists and artisans are drawn by the city’s creative atmosphere and indigenous traditions. Top class museums, charming markets and an interesting local cuisine make up some of Oaxaca’s top attractions, while the city’s night scene offers year round concerts and dance programs, as well as some nice bars and cafés.

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The towns and villages surrounding Oaxaca feature high quality traditional art, while the countryside has many fascinating archaeological sites and provides great opportunities for biking, hiking, horseback riding and cultural trips.

Oaxaca’s features the whole spectrum of accommodation options, from cheap hostels to luxurious hotels and plenty of good mid-range options. The city is easily accessible by road or airplane and offers decent transportation possibilities.

Settlements in the valley of Oaxaca date back thousands of years, especially around the important ancient sites of Monte Albán and Mitla. The Aztecs arrived in the area around 1440 and named it Huaxyacac (among the huaje trees). In 1521 the arriving Spanish conquest, lead by Captain Francisco de Orozco, found the warring Zapotec and Mixtec people and put an end to their conflict. The expedition founded the city of Guajaca, which did not suit Hernán Cortés’s ambitions of power over the region. He drove out most of the village’s population twice, but the Spanish Crown sided with the original founders on both occasions and elevated the village to city status in 1532, to protect it from Cortés. After the Mexican War of Independence the city was renamed to Oaxaca and became the seat of a municipality bearing the same name. In more recent times Oaxaca was host to a violent siege against the local government, by the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, which lasted five months. Federal Police and the army had to be sent in to reclaim the city in November 2006.