As simple as that, it's Just Beautiful! This is my Part 2 of my Travel Journal of Oaxaca, and it will be very hard, but I will try to do my best in putting into words why Oaxaca is so breathtaking. Let me start by describing the view when you are in the city, you will be able to see beyond the city itself and into the mountains, its bright colors, and epic green peaks in the distance. Oaxaca will never fail to take your breath away, at any time of the day!
As you walk the streets, the houses are very appealing to the eye, you’ll see houses painted in coral pink, sunshine yellow, deep turquoise, and every other color in the rainbow. The buildings are very low, so the only two things that will stand out, is the mountain view and the beautiful churches and ex-convents in the city.
One of the things that stood up for me the most, was that its people are very religious, very catholic you will find that any other day there is a celebration of a Saint. Never the less, they are very welcoming and kind to all cultures and religions. Not only are they very religious, traditions are particularly important there because Oaxaca is a city with many indigenous people, mostly from the Zapotec and Mixtec groups. Traditions have been passsed on through out the centuries and very still much alive.
You might even find that you can’t even communicate in Spanish because they still speak pre-Columbian languages.
And connected with all the tradition, Oaxaca is also a really progressive place. It is highly political, and you’ll often see demonstrations in the main square (the Zocalo) and marches through the street, full of ordinary people desperate for real change in the political system. That would be a small synopsis of what makes the city of Oaxaca so special and unique. You will be able to find breathtaking views outside the city as well, we were there for only 4 days so we weren't able to go everywhere, but we were able to cover most of it.
So without further ado, discover My top 5 places from Oaxaca: Monte Albán, one of the most important archaeological sites in México, and considered a world heritage by the UNESCO. This city was the ancient capital of the Zapotecs and one of the first cities in Mesoamerica. The ruins were built on top of a mountain, done as a military strategy to protect the city from enemies. Thanks to this strategy, it has a view of imposing mountains.
Convento de Santo Domingo, is considered one of the most important constructions in México and America pertaining to the Monarchy era. For a couple of reasons, this convent was detrimental for the evangelization of the area and it holds great value, for its art and size. It took us around 3 hours to see it all, so you might want to start there after breakfast. This was my favorite museum in Oaxaca. The convent is next to the Church of Santo Domingo, I would say the Plaza of Santo Doming and its surroundings was my favorite area of Oaxaca City, and you will also be able to find my top 5 restaurants from Pt. 1 of my Travel Journal nearby as well.
Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, after you go the Convent of Santo Domingo, go to this beautiful garden that contains hundreds of different species of plants. The garden was part of the convent located in the back, today, with a separate entry, this garden was used as a vegetable garden by the priests. Now, the only thing is that they only have a couple of tours during the day, which is the only way you can enter the garden, so you might want to go or call, check their schedule before anything else and then plan your day accordingly.
Hierve el Agua, they are calcified waterfalls southwest of Oaxaca City. This is one of the most beautiful views I have seen in m life. Not only are they a gorgeous sight, but the history and geology make for interesting learning. A lot of people have doubts what are they exactly, here is what I learned, they are mineral waters that pushed through the limestone, depositing the falls onto the mountain’s edge. The calcified waterfalls are white, two mineral pools sit at the edge of the cliff, full of calcium carbonate, magnesium, and just enough sulphur to lend them a yellow tone.
OK, here is a small spanish lesson, "hierve" means boil, I have no clue why they named it that way, because the water is not boiling whatsoever, it's actually refreshing and you can swim, so take a swimsuit, swimming in those pools with that view is well worth it. Here is something that NO ONE told me, once you get there, there are two ways to get to the mineral pools, one, the easy one, there is an easy access down to the pools, then the second one, not so easy one the one we took, you literally go on a mountain hike, down the mountain, to see the calcified waterfalls and then you up again. I would suggest to do this route if you have a pretty good condition, and take athletic wear and tennis shoes and a swim suit if you would to swim, I would!
The village of San Pablo Villa of Mitla, this little town really took my attention, as you get into the town you immediately see three bright crimson domes of the Church rise and coexist majestically with their ancient Zapotec ruins. As, you enter a bit more you will go through the Mercado (the market), this is a very good place to buy rebozos, Oaxacan blouses and eat their famous Tlayudas. Another tip that you will love!! If you have never tried a Michelada, I have the perfect place to try your very first one, first of all a Michelada some say, is the Mexican version of a Bloody Mary, my opinion there is no comparison. There is a little spot in the Mercado, right across from the entrance of the Church, where you will find the most amazing Micheladas, later they told us that these Micheladas are the best Micheladas of the area. You can drink it while you walk through the Mercado. At the very end of the town you will find the archaeological site of Mitla. It is the second most important ceremonial zone of the Oaxaca territory after Monte Alban.
As soon as you get to Oaxaca, in the city you will be able to find numerous Tour Centers, where you can plan your tours, make sure to go one day ahead and as soon as you get into Oaxaca.
They will offer a couple of different tours that are outside the city, do both, one of them, is Hierve el Agua, which you also go to a couple of different places as well, such as Mitla and the tour of the Mezcal. Then they have another tour, and that is the one from Monte Alban and a couple of other different places as well.
The truth is that although these points are reasons to love Oaxaca, there is something about this city that it can’t be rationalized.I have been blessed enough, where I have traveled all over México, and I can tell you, if you visit Oaxaca you will be enchanted as I was.
Lots of love,
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