Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca)

I hate to admit it but the exhaustion that comes from living out of a backpack and moving around every 4 days is starting to catch up with me, which is why this blog title is severely lacking in creativity. I do think it’s good to know the pronunciation, though (I spent far too long saying ‘oh-aks-aka’). It’s also what’s inside that counts so I definitely think you should keep reading…

If I’m completely honest, we spent a whole lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing in Oaxaca. This may have had something to do with the fact that we scored a brilliant hostel called ‘Casa Angel Youth Hostel’, which had super comfy beds, a roof terrace, free buffet breakfast and A TV WITH NETFLIX.

THE CUTEST HOSTEL GREETING EVER

THE CUTEST HOSTEL GREETING EVER

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Yummy breakfast

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Clean and bright common areas

Long story short, someone recently asked us ‘What did you guys do in Oaxaca then?‘ and all three of us turned to each other, with strained looks on our faces and said ‘Um…. I don’t really remember. We watched a season of ‘Glee’ on Netflix...’

We also watched the US Presidential election debates. If that’s any less lame? No? Okay then. Here is some fun visual evidence of us wasting our time in Oaxaca:

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‘Clueing up on current affairs’ = excuse not to move from the sofa

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‘We should go out for dinner!’ ‘Yeah, definitely’ -noone moves-

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‘You can play Jenga anywhere in the world, go out and explore’ ‘Haha, please, it’s MEXICAN Jenga – this is culture’

Now that segment is out of the way, I shall get to the good stuff. After a good 48 hours of doing nothing, we essentially spent 1 day exploring the city and 1 day on a day trip to a petrified waterfall called ‘Hierve el Agua’, so I’ll split this post into two sections:

  • OAXACA CITY

Our hostel had a list of ‘Things to do in Oaxaca’ on the noticeboard and so, we tried to do as many of these as possible:

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Um, maybe we’ll skip the first one

Of course, the first thing we did was walk around to get our bearings. We also made sure to visit all of the Churches and Cathedrals, because in Latin America these always tend to be the most impressive buildings. This city of Oaxaca is pretty amazing (no surprise there, where in Mexico isn’t amazing?!) and I took so many photos, which I’ll make sure to include below:

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The sign says ‘If you want to take a photo then you have to leave money’ but we just pretended that we couldn’t understand Spanish

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Electric atmosphere

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Gorgeous buildings

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Churches galore

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Buying some mole sauce

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A local woman begging for money outside the Cathedral

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Local delicacies

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Love this street art

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Live music and dancing in the Plaza

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Protests and demonstrations occur almost every day here

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FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

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Everyone avoids the sunshine but we need to top up our tans

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So quaint

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Oaxaca Cathedral – one of the most iconic spots here

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Roaming the streets

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The hot chocolate here is to die for!

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VEGGIE TLAYUDAS – Tasty Oaxacan dish!

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In love with this place

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Colourful skulls for sale everywhere you go

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Sunshiney days in Mexico

We visited the contemporary art and photography museum (MACO), which I thought was a really fun activity. Abbie, however, walked round in 0.5 seconds flat and then sat outside waiting… Contemporary art really isn’t for everyone (in the same way that I get bored in some history museums) so I’m not going to recommend this unless you’re super keen for abstract paintings and photos. Whenever I visit art museums, I love to play the game where you pretend to be an art critic and have to come up with some elaborate backstory for every painting even if it’s complete and utter bullshit. Alice and I spent over an hour making up ridiculous descriptions for scribbles and blobs – try this if you haven’t already! I have to admit though, some of the work was really thought provoking and didn’t need any commentary. I’ve included my two favourites below:

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Revealing the poverty beneath the Mexico City skyscrapers

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A dead child lies on the ground in front of the words ‘Live better’

We also wandered around the market places. They all have a distinct smell and it’s not a very pleasant one (probably because there’s so much raw meat lying around in the sun) but they’re still really interesting and I would encourage you to visit them! It’s a Oaxacan delicacy to eat grasshoppers and bugs here – they sell them everywhere! None of us tried them, although I probably would have if you’d asked me 1 year ago before I was vegan. Not now though, nuh uhhhhh! We asked a local about them and he told us that they taste disgusting, that nobody actually eats them and that they’re just for tourists but we didn’t even see any tourists eating them…

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WHO BUYS THESE?!

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The bread section smells much better than the meat!

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There is a canteen area in every market where you can sit and have lunch on the cheap

We also hiked up to the Auditorio at the top of the mountain to see some 360° views of the city. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great but it was still quite a sight, we got some exercise walking up the hundreds of stairs and there was tons of cool street art to admire along the way. If you have a spare hour or so then you should 100% check this out for yourself!

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LOOK AT THAT ART (I’m referring to the french plaits that I did for Alice)

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Super cool

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Amazing concert venue

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Hello, Oaxaca!

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What a view

  • HIERVE EL AGUA

We decided to book a day trip through our hostel because it felt like forever since we’d actually done an organised tour/gotten out of the city. The tour comprised of 5 different stops and culminated in a visit to Hierve el Agua – a natural mineral rock formation that looks like a waterfall cascading.

The first stop on our tour was to see a tree. Yep. A tree. I think it was a really old one or a really big one or something like that but basically they wanted us to pay MX$10 to see a tree. We declined and decided to admire it from outside of the fenced-off area.

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Whaaaaaaaaat?

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‘If only we’d paid to go inside the gate and get a better view of this tree’ said no-one ever.

The next stop on the tour was a textile factory. This was a tourist trap to try and get you to buy as much as possible but it was really interesting to see how much time and effort goes into the weaving process and some of the patterns were seriously impressive.

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Lovely colours

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Learning how they dye the cotton

The third stop was a Mezcal distillery. Mezcal is famous Mexican alcohol made from agave. It is similar to Tequila but they are not the same thing (slightly different production process). We were shown how the alcohol is made before being taken to the bar where we were each offered 30 shots of different flavour Mezcal! These shots were all completely free and I think they just wanted to get people drunk enough to buy the full bottles…

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Cheers!

We stopped for a buffet lunch after this. There were a million vegan, vegetarian and meat options – all of us were happy and, unlike at most buffets, the food tasted really good! We ate far too much but still thought that invading the kids playground outside and bouncing on the trampoline was a good idea. Growing up is for losers.

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These are the best moments

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SO MUCH CHOICE

Once we’d given ourselves indigestion – we got back into the van and began the journey to stop numero 4. We took a tour around some ruins that I do not remember the name of (great blogging skills). They weren’t super impressive and I don’t think they’re a ‘must-see’ or anything – it just felt like a time filler buuuuut, as always, that’s just my opinion.

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Stop 4 of the tour

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Behind the scenes of our Instagram pics

FINALLY… on to the good stuff. We arrived at Hierve el Agua!! The views were incredible from the very start and most of our tour group went straight to the pools, where you can swim in the natural pools. We were the only 3 people who wanted to hike to see the rock formation so we decided to sprint there, take pictures of the scenery and sprint back so that we still had time to bathe in the pools. This was one of my favourite days so far – good weather, great location and amazing company.

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INDESCRIBABLE!

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Rock formation in the background

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Happy empanadas

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Hiking back to the pools

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Sweaty post-hike faces

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Looking at the camera instead of the view…

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Stunning

Bye bye, Hierve el Agua!

Bye bye, Hierve el Agua!

So, there we have it – Oaxaca done and dusted. There’s just one final stop left on our trip… MEXICO CITY, WE’RE COMING FOR YOU!

One thought on “Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca)

  1. Pingback: Mexico: Top Tips | Tara's Travels

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