Last year I went to Oaxaca for the first time. I got to know the capital pretty well and I must say it was one of my best trips so far. After a year of an insatiable desire for Oaxacan cuisine, I decided to spend my summer vacation in Huatulco. 

I had never been to the Oaxacan coast before and was very surprised when I got there. The main attraction in Santa María Huatulco is its nine bays and thirty six beaches. This beaches are completely different than those I had seen before. Most of the beaches I had visited where very plain. Usually, sand that extends alongside the water to what appears to be infinite. Instead, the narrow bays in Huatulco create a more intimate relationship with nature. The beautiful Pacific Ocean along with the jungle make every corner a splendid panoramic view. 

There are many ecotourism activities that can be done while in Huatulco. A great idea is to road trip to nearby beaches like Mazunte, Puerto Escondido and Lagunas de Chacahua (maybe I will do this next time I am around this area). 

I spent most of my time in Huatulco relaxing and doing nothing at the beach. I also went shopping to the town´s artisans market plus I got to eat delicious Oaxacan food. The good thing is that I ate enough Tlayudas for the rest of the year. 

The beach at Montecito Beach Village.

Amazing Montecito seen from above.

I am very grateful with Montecito Beach Village for inviting me to spend a day at their facilities and beautiful beach. MBV is a housing complex, perfect for a couple of days of relaxation, tranquility and contact with nature. My visit there was perfect. Amazing food, an almost private beach for myself and a very kind and warm staff (thank you Stephan and the rest of the staff!). Not many housing developments of this kind manage to crate a harmonious atmosphere along with nature. The establishment celebrates and revolves around the idea of a healthy relationship between urbanism and Mother Nature. This is why many of the materials used for the construction of Montecito Beach Village are the same that can be found nearby in the coastal region. Anyway, I had the best day watching the waves crash at the shore and letting my mind wander around. 

It is very exciting to go out of the country on vacation. But it is also important to get to know the wonders that our beautiful Mexico encloses. We should take advantage of our free time and explore the world, a great idea is to start discovering our own country. 


More about Oaxaca

As I told you in my last post, Oaxaca is a true dreamland. I would love to visit during the Guelaguetza celebration in order to enjoy the folk dances and analyze the traditional dresses (like the Tehuana dress, remember?).

It is impossible to write about all the places and wonders that can be found in Oaxaca but I do have some more recommendations, I assure you they are worth it.

Monte Albán is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites I have ever been to. It is not known with certainty who founded it, but at some point it was inhabited by the Zapotecs and later on by the Mixtecs. It was considered the center of political and economic power of the central valleys of Oaxaca.

The architecture of the site exerts such a power and respect that it rendered us speechless.  The air is pure, the view is exquisite from the top of the south platform, and the nature surrounding the pre-hispanic ruins is the final touch for this work of art that history has given us.

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To get a broader idea of Monte albán you should visit the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, there you will find the treasures of tomb 7 that were discovered by Alfonso Caso in 1932. This type of wonders are the things that make learning while traveling way better than learning in any other way.

Decorated skull founded in tomb 7. 

I do not know what's your point of view on shopping, but I have found that I can be a shopaholic. The good thing is that in Oaxaca there is a way to go shopping and at the same time getting to know the place and its artisans a little better. For example there is the town of Alebrijes, which are carved wood figures hand painted with very intriguing designs. The Alebrijes from Oaxaca are an adaptation from the ones invented and made by modeling newspaper by Pedro Linares Lopez.

There is also the Black Pottery (Barro Negro) town, this type of pottery is typical from this state because of its origins that go back to the Zapotecs and Mixtecs. What gives the pottery its distinctive color is the type of earth used and the way it is worked.

One of the artisans told me about how the government has lands where all the town craftsmen can go and get the necessary earth to produce their crafts without any cost. This is a great idea since there should not be a cost on using earth to produce art. Saying this I bought a few pieces from the shop, we have to support the traditions or else they will die with us.

And finally on the shopping list we find the textiles. These rugs and embroidery also come from a long line of tradition. They are handmade with wool and every color comes from a natural source. Vibrant colors and different designs, they are just lovely, especially if you have a living room in need of decoration.

Oaxaca has a lot to offer. So much to experience and learn, the only true option is to travel here and learn for yourself.

Temple of Santo Domingo

Temple of Santo Domingo, new-Spanish barroque architecture.

Somehow they taste like dried chicken...

Your comments and personal experiences are always welcome!


Dreaming in Oaxaca

The state of Oaxaca is filled with history and beautiful places. For example, I have heard that the beaches in Oaxaca are so beautiful there is no comparison with any other, sadly I did not have time to visit them over my trip. But I did visit a few tourist attractions around the city of Oaxaca. If you happen to be traveling around there I advise you to make this one day tour, I promise it is worth it.

Stop #1: Santa Maria del Tule

In the town of Santa Maria del Tule the famous Arbol del Tule (Tree of Tule)i s found. It is known for being one of the oldest trees in the world and thought to be more than 2,000 years old. With a diameter of 14.05 meters (46.1 ft), 30 people with their arms extended would be needed in order to surround it. The data is very impressive but seeing this magnificent tree in person is just sublime. To think that this same tree has seen the Spanish, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and a lot more really blows my mind.

Stop #2: Mitla, place of rest

This stop will probably take more time than the first one because it is a large archeological site with many buildings. Mitla became the center of politic power for the Zapotecs of the valley when Monte Albán was unoccupied.  

Like many pre-Columbian sites, Mitla was partially destroyed by the Spanish conquerors therefore building a catholic temple over the pre-Hispanic foundations. Luckily many of the Zapotec buildings did survive and now we have the chance to relive the history enclosed between its walls. Architecturally speaking, what caught my eye was the complex mosaic fretwork found all around Mitla. This fretwork or grecas are made with perfectly cut stones making different patterns, usually placed over the walls of buildings. The fretwork is so beautifully done that we could think they were made for a decorative motive when in reality for the Zapotecs they were considered a "symbolic teaching". There are also two tombs open to the public, this was the first time I got a chance to go inside of one. Admiring the place that for many years was filled with corpses that once aspired for an afterlife, was both fascinating and disturbing.

Stop #3: Hierve el Agua

Finally the most awaited stop (at least it was for me) Hierve el Agua. After a long road that goes through Oaxacas´s central valley we get to a set of petrified waterfalls. The name Hierve el Agua (meaning water boils) is given because of the similarity of the water springs to boiling water. The water form the springs was used to create natural baths were you can admire the waterfalls and enjoy a panoramic view.

 The rock formations or petrified waterfalls are formed because of the slow runoff of water high in calcium carbonate over thousands of years.

The view is incredible and the place gives you internal peace from the moment you touch it. It is a daydream.

A place to think, create, dream, and contemplate. The perfect place to finish off a day of learning. After this last stop I would recommend you to go back to the city and eat some mole enchiladas. I believe there is no excuse to not eat mole at least once a day over your trip to Oaxaca.

Hope you enjoy it!