Oaxaca Landmarks and Tourist Attractions Guide

by David Clough on August 10, 2011

Mitla outside Oaxaca

Image of Mitla by Christopher Holden

Oaxaca is a fascinating destination to include on any Mexican vacation, as it offers a rich cultural heritage dating back to the Spanish settlers – as well as the Aztecs before them.

There are a number of striking Oaxaca landmarks to take in, such as the dramatic ruined city at Mitla. This citadel was inhabited for some time by the ancient Zapotec people, and the stones still bear their marks. Another Oaxaca attraction is the Tule Tree, a vast Cyprus believed to be over 2000 years old!

Oaxaca Tourist Attractions

Much of the architecture in Oaxaca dates back to the conquistadors, and often it is lavishly decorated in gold and precious stones. The magnificent Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman is certainly no exception, looking especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Also worth visiting, are the Cathedral of Oaxaca and the 17th century Basilica de la Soledad, which contains a museum of religious art. The State Government Palace is a must see as well. It is a majestic building that features an iconic mural illustrating Oaxaca’s role in Mexican history.

Oaxaca boasts a number of museums, covering topics as diverse as textiles, military forces and ancient history. Many well-known Oaxacan artists are exhibited at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca (MACO), while the Oaxaca Regional Museum specializes in Zapotec Indian artifacts.

Teatro Macedonio de Alcala

Image of Teatro Macedonio de Alcala by Ulises Estrada

Visitors to Oaxaca can take in a show at the Teatro Macedonio de Alcala, or just admire the building itself. You’ll find plenty of other forms of entertainment as you explore the streets of Oaxaca, including street performers and live music. There are also a number of religious festivals throughout the year, which are often celebrated with carnivals and processions.

Tours in Oaxaca will Show you a Totally Different view of the City

A variety of Oaxaca tours offer visitors the opportunity to discover the town’s fascinating history, through a series of cultural heritage sites. Alternatively, you can head out of the city to enjoy guided tours around local ecological parks, which make a great place for hiking, fishing or wildlife enthusiasts. A number of stables in the area offer horseback tours, which provide an excellent way to explore the mountains, canyons and cacti groves surrounding Oaxaca.

Oaxaca City Streets

Image by Greg Westfall

The En Via Foundation is another option to look into for Oaxaca tours. This non-profit organization funds local people to start their own businesses, and participants in the scheme will act as guides as they show you around the supported communities. En Via tours have been described as a fascinating insight into local community culture.

While this list may seem comprehensive, it has only just scratched the surface as far as Oaxaca attractions are concerned, and hasn’t even mentioned the fantastic beaches, or superb selection of bars and restaurants. The only way to take it all in is to experience it for yourself; by immersing yourself in the fascinating history and stunning attractions of a vacation to Oaxaca.

Oaxaca Buildings

Image by Darij & Ana

Dave Clough is a music journalist, blogger and travel writer from the UK. He has DJ’d across the globe and is involved in club night event promotions in London. He enjoys holidays in Cancun.
David Clough
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