It's a funny thing: when I spend a while in a place, I forget to take photographs. I have been meaning to post this list of my favorite places in Oaxaca and now that I am finally getting my thoughts together, I can't find any photographs from my last trip.
I have plenty of photos from when I visited Oaxaca in May of 2017, but few good ones from when I went for a few months last fall. This past trip, I often left my DSLR at home and opted for my iphone camera instead. I did this partially because I didn't want to feel, or look, like a tourist, and partially because it was annoying to carry around my DSLR all day, especially if I also had my computer and had to do work.
So, this post has many photos from my May trip and some from my November - December trip.
And now for the list. These are spots I really enjoyed and would recommend to anyone wanting to explore Oaxaca.
Tip: Check the facebook pages of places - Facebook is very popular here ('el Face') and often that's where they post events or updates. If you speak Spanish, obviously try to make friends with the locals. I don't know what they do for año nuevo, but I imagine there will probably be fiestas in the center or in the pueblas surrounding, which will be worth the visit for festivals.
In Mexico City they have uber, but in Oaxaca they don't. You can walk everywhere in the center of Oaxaca. And if you go to a puebla or out of the center, you can take a taxi colectivo to wherever you want to go. It's basically uber share, but with no app. You pay around 20 pesos to go with 5 other people (three people in the front, three in the back) and they can drop you off at the highway intersection of that village and then you can wait for another taxi colectivo to go into the village. It's kind of an experience. If you are going to Mitla, Tlacolula, Teótitlan, you can get one near the Estado Eduardo Vasconcelos -- just ask where the station for taxi colectivos is and people can help guide you if you can't find it.
You also can take a collective van from the airport. It should be fairly cheap. They can drop you off anywhere in the centro -- it's like super shuttle. You'll probably see a queue of people waiting for this when you leave the baggage claim area.
There are lots of 'fancy' places, but honestly I think the best food is in the markets! You just order food from different stands, sit down, and they bring you the food. You go around and pay after you finish your meal. It's so fun because you can try lots of things and there's a nice buzz to every market.
My favorite markets are La Cosecha and Pochote (this is on the street Marcos Perez between Privada La Paz and Joaquín Amaro). You also have to check out Mercado de La Merced (eat at Fonda la Florecita), and 20 de Noviembre (the main market), which is next to Benito Juarez (has crafts and well, everything). For a very overwhelming, but amazing, experience, go to Abastos. You can google all of these and walk to them from the center of the city.
Boulenc - Great for breakfast (but they stop serving breakfast at 2 so don't sleep in!)
La Popular - it's best to eat the street cart quesadillas that are on the corner, across from La Popular, and then get drinks inside La Popular. Ask the wait staff at La Popular if it's ok if you do this before you bring in outside food.
La Zandunga - Good food, great cocktails.
San Pablo - Good food, great view. A little pricey for Oaxaca (by which I mean, the price of a meal for two is probably what you would pay for one person going out to dinner in San Francisco).
Origen - I like this place, but it is a little over-hyped. A little pricey for Oaxaca also. It's cozy. Great for a romantic dinner.
Los Danzantes - I haven't been here, but it has been recommended (though is probably also over-hyped). When we tried to go they said we needed a reservation, so I'd try for a reservation if you want to go. It looks like a jungle inside hah.
La Jicara - Good for a casual lunch or dinner. There's a bookstore connected to it, so you can linger. There's also wifi (I've done work here) and the menu is vegan/vegetarian/paleo friendly. I like their chicken curry.
Sabina Sabe - ASk for a cocktail with the corn whiskey by Pierde Almas.
There are SO MANY MORE. If you are looking for something specific, let me know. I'll rack my brain.
Note: There isn't really drip coffee (or at least I haven't found it) -- so I'd stick to latte or cappuccino (I'm kinda a coffee snob). If you order a cold drink, maker sure you clarify if you don't want sugar, whipped cream, etc., because they often come like desserts.
Café Brujula - The one at Calle Macedonio Alcalá 104 is my favorite because there is a courtyard. They all have wifi, but it's sometimes spotty.
Café Caracol Purpula - It's at Calle Porfirio Díaz 810. They just changed their hours so now they close at 5pm, which is annoying as it used to be my favorite late afternoon spot. It's cute and and unpretentious. They have wifi.
El Volador - it's at Calle de Xólotl 118. I get a coffee here most mornings. It's super cute on the corner. They also have wifi, but not much space to sit down inside. Best to utilize the adorable plaza!
Convivio - If you need reliable internet/to do work and want free coffee, internet, mezcal, you can pay 100 pesos/day at Convivio. It's a nice space, but beware they have mosquitos. I swear I only get bitten here, it's a little better not that it isn't so hot out. Convivio also has lots of events, though there seem to be more extranjeros than locals. Worth just checking out if there is an event.
Cuish - There are two locations now, but the one more in the center (cuish mezcaleria - Alcalá between Cosijopí and Xólotl) is super tiny and cute and my old housemate Vinik works there, hah! You can try lots of mezcals.
Tattoo - This place is funny and plays music, like a club if you want to dance. But not club club. Like a neighborhood club? Ask for their promotions (for example, one night we got three giant Corona Lights for 100 pesos).
Aguavero - They can make a decent martini.
El Destilado - Expensive and I don't think that great, but it's a nice space.
Casa Estambul - Go for the ambience, stay for the cocktails -- a little 'high class' says one local, but it's my style, so I recommend it.
Depends on what you are interested in. There's seriously so much (check this out for villages and photos). I am into textiles, so I have been taking workshops in Teotitlán del Valle. Read about the craft workshops I took.
You can do group tours anywhere, but I really recommend just deciding where you want to go and then taking taxi colectivos - it's a lot cheaper and you can go at your own pace and you aren't with a bunch of annoying tourists. If you have a travel companion, it's also totally safe and fine, in my opinion. I finally have the confidence to go to places alone.
Art Spaces -- Just Wander!
There are so many amazing art spaces, little galleries, etc. I LOVE printmaking, and there are many printmaking spaces here.
The Textile Museum. Just go.
IAGO - This is my favorite space. It is an art gallery and art library. You can go, sign your name, and ask them for any theme and they will pull books for you. I love it. You can't bring coffee or computers inside . . . otherwise I would be here everyday.
Must do: Drink mezcal, eat quesadillas from that place across from El Popular, try the fried grasshoppers, drink atole, wander, wander, wander.