Oaxaca state is a place of brilliant colours, rich indigenous heritage and mouth-watering culinary traditions. At its heart lies the capital, Oaxaca City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site replete with gems of colonial architecture. Some of Mexico’s finest historic churches can be found here – testament to Baroque at its most grandiose, but beyond mere historical appeal, Oaxaca City also has an irresistible bohemian charm. There is a thriving arts scene, as evidenced by the plethora of galleries and craft stores, often overlooked by the casual visitor.
Founded by the Spanish as Antequera in 1521 on the site of a Zapotec and Mixtec settlement, Oaxaca gracefully combines its colonial and native roots. Fine stone buildings, churches, arcades and airy patios attest to its importance during the colonial period, while its markets, crafts, dances and festive days stem from a more indigenous past. Relaxing with a coffee in one of the many street cafés and bars of Oaxaca, it’s easy to while away the hours. Once you’ve explored the museums, cathedrals, markets and laid-back cobbled streets, you can sit down with a beer or mescal, the local firewater, to plan your days exploring the surrounding hills and valleys.