When an 8.2 earthquake struck Mexico in 2017, the State of Oaxaca, one of the areas hardest hit was bought to the world's attention. Many were unfamiliar with this area, however it was well known to my husband and myself who had just started planing a trip to this region of Mexico. The earthquake left us with concern and sadness and in doubts whether we should still venture there. Time however is a good healer, and as the months went by and Oaxaca recovered (as much as you do from a massive quake) we decided it would be fine to go.
Oaxaca City, the Capital of the State of Oaxaca is in central Mexico and is a World Heritage site and culturally rich city - renowned for it's world famous cuisine and beautiful colonial buildings. It has a lovely small town charm and we found the best way to enjoy this city was to wander around the picturesque cobbled streets in the historic centre and observe the people and their daily life and goings on. It's colourful doorways and exquisite colonial structures - many built from a native greenstone were often seen being used as creative backdrops for modelling and film shoots. The Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman with it's carved baroque facade and intricate gilt designs inside is the the most famous of Oaxaca's churches, along with its attached museum set in a former convent and are a must visit.
The beautiful cobbled streets of the historic centre of Oaxaca City.
Having a bit of fun - the colourful doorways and buildings make great backdrops for photo opportunities.
The Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman is the most famous of Oaxaca's many churches.
Arriving in Oaxaca with the knowledge we were in a cuisine hotspot, we didn't waste time before heading out to experience it's amazing offerings. You are totally spoilt for choice in Oaxaca with its great cafe's, restaurants, Mezcal and rooftop bars and food markets. At the markets you find the most colourful array of fresh and diverse ingredients - from grasshoppers to the largest selection of chillies I have every seen. Oaxaca is a popular destination for those wishing to attend one of the many cooking classes on offer. Here you experience a fun day learning how to prepare traditional Oaxaca dishes and the famous Mexican mole sauce - best off all you end the day eating your delicious achievements, washed down with a Mezcal or two (Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant native to Mexico).
Spoilt for choice in Oaxaca City with great cafe's and restaurants.
Fresh & diverse ingredients at the markets - from grasshoppers to the largest selection of chillies I've ever seen.
Esperanza from Cooking Classes Oaxaca chargrills some hot chilli peppers for the famous mole sauce.
The central Zocalo square brings a heart to this beautiful city and is a place I will always remember. I like to immerse myself amongst the local people in countries I visit and try and experience their culture. In Oaxaca City this was easy. The people are vibrant, friendly and have a love for festivity and family time.
According to Wikipedia, a party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation and recreation. Not so in Oaxaca City. A party was a festive gathering for anyone and everyone - no invitation needed here. As we mingled with the crowds we were surrounded with laughter from children and parents having massive balloon fights, huge crowds applauding and giving money to buskers, street vendors selling food, beautifully woven handicrafts, balloons, plastic toys, and bands were playing and people young and old dancing. Rather than a drunken alcohol fuelled party, people were drunk with pure joy. We found it so contagious, witnessing these surreal nights - we just had to join in.
Bands playing and people young and old dancing.
We left our nights spent at the Zocalo having danced and laughed, and extremely grateful for having been welcomed at such a fun and memorable night.