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Oaxaca Travel Guide


Oaxaca Introduction


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Oaxaca is possibly the loveliest state capital in Mexico, with ancient ruins, colonial architecture, distinctive food and friendly, relaxed people. Oaxaca (pronounced wah-HAH-kah) also has several large markets where you can sample the local produce and unique indigenous crafts of the region. Much of Oaxaca's tourist activity is centered in the main plaza, the zocalo, which features many outdoor cafes and restaurants.   Click here to see the full Oaxaca travel guide on Travel42 »

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Oaxaca Geography


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The city of Oaxaca lies where three river valleys, called the Central Valleys, meet. Situated at an altitude of 5,000 ft/1,550 m, the valleys are surrounded by the high, rugged mountain peaks of Sierra Madre del Sur, Sierra Madre de Oaxaca and Sierra Atravesada. Lush vegetation and alpine forests cover the mountains, but the valley itself is desertlike except during the rainy season (June-September). The area is known for its temperate, year-round climate with warm days and cool nights.  Click here to see the full Oaxaca travel guide on Travel42 »

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Oaxaca History


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The central valleys of the state of Oaxaca have been inhabited for more than 10,000 years. The Zapotecs began construction of the city of Monte Alban on a high plateau around 500 BC. From AD 300 to 850, Monte Alban was an advanced city-state and one of the most important trading centers in Mesoamerica. Around AD 1000, the Mixtecs from the north conquered the Zapotecs and dominated the region until the warlike Aztecs took over in the 15th century. Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Valley of Oaxaca in 1520 and, with the help of Zapotec allies, eventually defeated the Aztecs. The Spanish officially founded the city of Oaxaca in 1529.  Click here to see the full Oaxaca travel guide on Travel42 »

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Oaxaca Sightseeing & Things to Do


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A good place to start your tour of Oaxaca is Macedonia Alcala, a pedestrian street lined with galleries, restaurants, boutiques and gift shops. The entire center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is worth exploring: The original baroque town plan is intact, and it boasts many beautiful buildings, including more than two dozen churches from the 16th and 17th centuries. Must-see sites include the spectacular Santo Domingo Church, five blocks north of the Zocalo on Plaza de Santo Domingo, and the adjacent Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca.   Click here to see the full Oaxaca travel guide on Travel42 »

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Oaxaca Nightlife


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Oaxaca has a growing number of bars, discos and venues with live music. The Zocalo also comes alive at night with concerts in the bandstand, marimba bands and strolling mariachis, often all playing at the same time. The Alcala pedestrian mall is another place to hear local musicians, especially on weekends. Most nightspots have a minimal cover charge or none at all.  Click here to see the full Oaxaca travel guide on Travel42 »

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Oaxaca Restaurants & Dining


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Oaxaca's distinctive dishes are not what usually come to mind when you think of Mexican cuisine. Most prominent are its mole sauces, usually served over chicken or meat. There are seven different varieties plus dozens of offshoots, each painstakingly made from a dozen or so finely chopped ingredients.   Click here to see the full Oaxaca travel guide on Travel42 »

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