Tag Archives: Oaxaca travel

Where is Oaxaca and How Safe Is It? Update November 2010

How can I convince thee?  Let me count the ways?

  1. Oaxaca is safe.  Yes.  Believe me!
  2. Oaxaca is 375 miles southwest of Mexico City.
  3. You can fly directly to Oaxaca from Houston.
  4. Oaxaca is in SOUTHERN Mexico.
  5. It is closer to the Guatemala border than it is to the U.S. border.
  6. There are no drug wars in Oaxaca that I am aware of.
  7. I am a middle aged woman who travels there by myself.
  8. I even go through the Mexico City airport by myself.
  9. I even take buses from Oaxaca to Puebla to Mexico City by myself.
  10. I take taxi cabs and buses by myself around Oaxaca city and the villages.
  11. I walk the streets (no, I’m not a street walker) at night.
  12. I use the ATMs at banks solo.
  13. Oaxaca is safer than many U.S. cities and towns.
  14. Sometimes I wonder why Americans are so scared of Mexico.
  15. It is a 12-hour bus ride from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, the Mexican state that borders Guatemala.
  16. It is a 6-hour bus ride from Oaxaca to Mexico City.
  17. It’s another 8 to 10 hours from Mexico City to Juarez or Tijuana or Matamoros on wheels.
  18. It is a 2-hour plane ride from Houston to Oaxaca (and vice versa).
  19. The drug wars are on the U.S.-Mexican border — far, far from Oaxaca.
  20. Can you imagine ….
  21. visiting an incredible colonial city, a UNESCO historic sight, with great food, folk art and crafts, glorious textiles ….
  22. and not be afraid.
  23. I can.


Undiscovered No More: San Juan Teitipac, Oaxaca in the New York Times


Oaxacaphiles will cringe or love that Seth Kugel has written a Frugal Traveler story in the New York Times travel section about this lovely, small village outside Oaxaca city.   Enjoy!  Article comes complete with map and a video.

Personally, not many but the most adventurous would undertake this type of travel.  There has been a discussion on the comments section of this article about the personal safety of going in to an unknown village and presenting oneself.  Most advice is to be cautious and to know the territory.  The Tlacalula Valley people, where Seth explored San Juan Teitipac, are usually friendly, warm and welcoming to visitors.  We did not find this to be the case in San Mateo del Mar on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.  It was very easy to read the glaring eyes.

There is also an issue of safety in the Mixtec regions of the Oaxaca highlands where remote villages have been in an indigenous human rights struggle with a repressive central government.  It is too easy to get caught in the middle.

So, as always, use your judgment!

Oaxaca: Tlacolula Market & Hammock Shopping

Our quest for this Sunday’s Tlacolula market was to buy two handwoven cotton hammocks for the casita, a table for our bedroom, and a lot of fresh fruit for munching on.  The entire family piled into two cars, and with shopping bags and baskets in hand, we set off for this famous tianguis that has everything under the sun and more.  The secret to buying a handmade hammock is to choose the vendor who weaves the hammocks with a high quality cotton that is finished well.  The weave should be tight.  We did not choose the brightly colored ones because they are woven with polyester and we wanted the authentic version.  After bargaining, the cost was 230 pesos each. After buying the hammocks, we went to the vendor who sells strong rope (along with handmade slingshots, leather belts, and harnesses) and bought enough to secure both ends at home.   Here you see us after the hammocks are installed! plus market scenes.

CDC Lifts Travel Ban to Mexico, Effective May 15, 2009

“Despite the spread in the United States, the CDC lifted its warning against unnecessary travel to Mexico. So far that country has experienced the most severe outbreak, but officials in Mexico predicted Friday that they would bring it under control by the end of the month. The CDC said individuals with other health conditions should consult with their doctors before traveling to Mexico,” according to an article published in the Tacoma, Washington newspaper excerpted from a story that was syndicated by the Washington Post, May 16, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/15/AR2009051503533.html?hpid%3Dmoreheadlines&sub=AR

Time to buy your ticket?  We did two weeks ago 🙂  Good deals still to be found, I’m certain!

Loco Viento — That Crazy Wind

Wind arrives and blows through the valley each day in February around 3 p.m.  It whips and blusters.  Whoosh.  It’s kite building time.  From the rooftop I can see two triangles with tails zigzagging, rising toward the top of the mountain.  In the courtyard, Taurino, the new brother-in-law, is helping the young brothers make a kite — one for each of them.  They cut sheets of green plastic and use tape and glue to affix the plastic to bamboo forms.  Later they will run in open fields to test their work.

Today there was chicken, rice and mole negro for lunch along with fresh tortillas, and a choice of guayaba juice fresh squeezed or jugo de jamaica (hibiscus flower juice).  We were deep into the editing process using Final Cut Pro, trying to figure out how to trim 15 minutes of interview and 25 minutes of broll into a 5 minute rough cut.

The wind rattles the steel framed glass windows and rustles the leaves of the pomegranate tree.  Magda’s striped “coat of many colors” scarf is a horizontal blur trailing behind her as she walks across the courtyard.  The laundry on the second story line is a string of multi-national flags.  Crows, wingspans wide open, surf the undulating air waves I cannot see.  A bee alights atop a tangerine-colored cactus flower.