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The City of Oaxaca, the Oaxaca State Capital, is famous for the beauty and harmony of its architecture, surrounding Indian archaeological sites, the richness of its cultural traditions, fine wood carvings and the world famous Oaxacan cuisine. A large township of half a million inhabitants, Oaxaca retains the feel of an older Mexico, with cobblestone streets bordered by 16th century buildings and colonial architecture.


Surrounded by the majestic Sierra Madre del Sur mountains, Oaxaca sits at 5,000 feet and sees approximately 311 days of sunshine per year. The annual average temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit with average lows at 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The evenings may be cool enough for a light sweater or jacket. The rainy season will last from June until late September. Rainfall is usually a refreshing, quick shower in the afternoons and occasionally during the night.

Oaxaca’s city center, or zocolo, is best explored on foot. Outdoor cafes, enormous laurel trees and live music abound in the main plaza. Just north of the plaza is the Iglesia del Santo Domingo, built in 1608 and one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in the western world. Its adjoining cultural center houses the Museum of the Cultures of Oaxaca, featuring gold artifacts from excavations performed at the Monte Alban archaeological site just outside the city. Just a few blocks away from the church is the Catedral de Oaxaca, built in 1555. Also nearby is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca (MACO), which also serves as a cultural center. The building in which MACO is housed is a fine example of 18th-century civil architecture. Also not to be missed is the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Mexican Pre-Hispanic Art, just blocks from the main plaza.

Oaxaca is famous for its handicrafts. The Oaxaca Market, located in the southwestern part of the city, is a popular native crafts market, featuring a wide array of handicrafts unique to the region. Pottery, masks, wool rugs, leather, embroidered table clothes, jewelry and alejibres, wonderfully colorful and imaginative hand-carved monsters, are among the wide variety of items one can find at the Oaxaca Market. The hunt for Oaxacan handicrafts also makes for interesting side trips. Just eight miles south of Oaxaca City is the town of Coyotepec, home to several artisans who create the famous barro negro, or black clay pottery. And northeast of Oaxaca City, the town of Atzompa features the unusual green-glazed pottery. Textiles are also an important craft in Oaxaca and the nearby town of Teotitlan del Valle is growing rapidly as home to expert rug weavers.

It is not uncommon to find tourists from all over the world walking the streets and touring the sights of Oaxaca City. Due to the nature of the overwhelmingly friendly and charming Oaxaqueños, Spanish-language schools have become common in the city. Becari Language School is one of the most popular, offering a variety of levels and classes for students. (www.becari.com.mx)

The cuisine from Oaxaca is quite diverse and a product of the unique variety of chiles, herbs, vegetables and fruits available in the region. Oaxaca is most famous for its variety of moles (sauces) and chocolate. Food lovers will delight in the unfamiliar and exciting aromas and flavors found in Oaxaca City, and restaurants abound. Oaxaca City also hosts an annual Food of the Gods Festival in October, featuring the unique culinary creations from the region.

Oaxaca City offers a variety of hotels to suit any taste or budget such as the Hotel Victoria, Camino Real, Fiesta Inn and Hotel Fortin Plaza, to name a few. Each of these hotels offers a number of organized activities and day trips to the surrounding attractions. Many of the hotels also have special accommodations for conventions and business meetings. For those wanting a more intimate scene, Oaxaca also features quaint boutique hotels such as the Casa Cid de Leon, located in the heart of Oaxaca City.

Oaxaca City boasts several important festivals. In July, the colorful La Guelaguetza festival, dating back to prehispanic times, welcomes delegates from all over the state to showcase their region’s distinctive songs, dances and regional dress in the Cerro del Fortin amphitheater. Performances end with each group offering a “guelaguetza” or gift to the audience. Guelguetza is held on the two Mondays following July 16 of every year.

On December 23, Oaxaca City’s zocolo comes alive with the annual Noche de los Rabanos, or Night of the Radish festival, where radishes are transformed into delightful sculptures and put on display. The festival began more than a century ago, when vegetable growers put up stands during the Christmas season to sell their produce to the public. In order to make their booths more attractive to passersby, the growers carved designs out of their produce, and radishes lent themselves particularly well. Demand grew for these delightful radish creations, which soon became sought-after centerpieces in homes during the holiday season, and competition among growers for the best design grew as well. Thousands travel to Oaxaca every year to see the humble radish transformed into art.

Interesting side trips include the nearby legendary archaeological sites of Monte Alban and Mitla, important ancient cities and ceremonial centers during the height of the Zapotec and later Mixtec dominance in the region. For beach lovers, the charming fishing village of Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast is just 180 miles south of Oaxaca City. Puerto Escondido boasts incredible beaches, eco-friendly tourism and is perhaps most famous for its surf. About the same distance from Oaxaca City and east of Puerto Escondido is Huatulco, famous for its nine bays of cerulean waters, gorgeous beaches and world-class fishing.

Oaxaca Hospitals

CLINICA 2002 SC CLINICA HOSPITAL
(CLINICA HOSPITAL 202 SC) EMILIANO ZAPATA 316 COL. REFORMA OAXACA C.P.68050 OAXACA
OAX TEL: (01)95131169

CLINICA HOSPITAL CENTRO MEDICO DEL SURESTE
(CENTRO MEDICO DEL SURESTE) DALIAS N¼ 304-4 COL. CENTRO C.P.68050 OAXACA, OAX
TEL: 951 51 080 or 951 51 882

CLINICA HOSPITAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS
(CLINICA HOSPITAL URGENCIAS MEDICAS SA DE CV) ARMENTA Y LOPEZ 619 COL. OAXACA OAX C.P.68000 OAXACA
OAX TEL: 951 61 773

CLINICA HOSPITAL SANTA ANITA
(GARCIA LOPEZ ROBERTO DR) GUILLERMO PRIETO 201 COL. STA ANITA C.P.68150 OAXACA, OAX
TEL: 951 70 680 Y 95171430