Solo Travel Destination: Oaxaca, Mexico
We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Alie, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Alie is from the United States, and submitted the following report about Oaxaca. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Spanish
Reasons to go: Oaxaca is a feast for the senses. Whether you love discovering a new favorite food, visiting ancient sites, or poking around in local markets, galleries and churches, there is no limit to the things to see in this diverse city.
The main Zocalo of Oaxaca provides endless people watching and is lively all day and into the evening. Oaxaca is a culture lovers paradise with a wide variety of local artisans vending their wares. It is easy to get lost wandering the cobblestone streets while looking inside all the different little shops. There are beautiful weavers and unique hand painted animals that are definite standouts. If you are curious about the source of these products, it is easy to take a tour or a bus out to the small weaving community of Teotitlan del Valle, where you can see the craftsmen at work.
Not far from the city center, Monte Alban is a wonderful ancient site that is easily accessed and provides stunning views over the city. After you’ve returned to town, it will be difficult to decide where to eat. Oaxaca is known for its moles, richly spiced sauces that are generally served over meat. At times, the sauce has a base of chocolate, which is locally produced, and it is a real treat. To buy the chocolate or mole sauce itself, you can check out the chocolate sellers (I enjoyed Mayordomo) down by the central market area. Another Oaxacan specialty is the “tlayuda.” This Oaxacan dish features an oversized tortilla with refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and your choice of meats (chorizo sausage, spiced pork, spiced beef – or all of them!), all topped with delicious fresh Oaxacan cheese, known as “quesillo.” Another delicious meal is to be had in the 20 de Noviembre Market in the carne asada hall. Here you order meat by the kilo, it is cooked for you on the spot, and you can add fresh tortillas and homemade salsas.
Accommodation is reasonable and well priced around the San Domingo church area. I recommend looking at Hostal Casa del Sol which has private rooms and dorm beds that are situated around a sunny courtyard with communal breakfast tables that make meeting other travelers pleasant and easy.
I always felt very comfortable walking in Oaxaca even into the later evening, and some of the most beautiful sites in the city are the large cathedrals drenched in night time spotlights. If you go, bring comfortable shoes, sunblock, and some space in your bag for your new treasures that you will certainly find while wandering around town.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety - 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language - 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)