My first days in Oaxaca

I’m here in beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico, staying in a cute, furnished apartment that I booked sight-unseen, online.

My apartment in Oaxaca for the month of May
My apartment in Oaxaca for the month of May

I really like the apartment and the owners are super-friendly. They also speak English, which helps because my Spanish is elementary. I’ve got a one-bedroom that has everything I need, including wifi.

I chose Oaxaca for the first few months of my new living experience after reading about it in several blogs and guidebooks. Here’s what appealed to me:

  • beautiful, colonial architecture
  • walkable
  • interesting arts and culture
  • an expat community, but not the kind that stays to itself, more the kind that mixes into the culture, where possible
  • excellent food (a foodie destination)
  • a safe area
  • reliable broadband internet (except during power outages, of course)

I arrived late Wednesday evening, so yesterday was my first full day here. I don’t have a Mexican SIM card yet for my iPhone, so forget about Google Maps. I’m back to the world of printed maps (remember those?). I got directions from the super-friendly woman who cleans the apartments. She doesn’t speak English so somehow my beginning Spanish is working out OK. She’s very patient, friendly and reassuring about my speaking ability!

I’m about 10 blocks south of the Zócalo, the beautiful town square. I made my way there and walked around, exploring, getting a little lost and then finding my way again. It was fun, except for the heat! 92 degrees yesterday! Also, I’m not used to the high altitude, coming from Boston. I got tired and a little bit sunburned, so after that I took a taxi back to my place for a siesta. I was wiped out.

strolling the Zócalo
strolling the Zócalo
Teatro Macedonio Alcalá
Teatro Macedonio Alcalá

One place I did manage to find is the Oaxaca Lending Library, an English language library. I stayed only a short time and looked through apartment listings (my current rental is only for May) and also browsed their bulletin boards where people from Oaxaca who want to learn English are looking for language exchange partners. I’m sure I’ll return, now that I know where it is. I’ve heard many good things about it.

Oaxaca Lending Library
Oaxaca Lending Library – an English language library

Today I’m totally recovered from being wiped out. The weather was much nicer (high 70s). I found a local organic market (El Pochote) and had lunch there. Very tasty veggie crepes! At another stand I had my first Oaxacan hot chocolate (made with water instead of milk). Yum!

Oaxacan chocolate
Oaxacan chocolate – traditionally made without milk

Here are links to some articles that inspired me to go to Oaxaca:

More images:

Lobo Azul Café
Lobo Azul Café
Revolutionary art in Lobo Azul Café
Revolutionary art in Lobo Azul Café
Revolutionary art in Lobo Azul Café
Revolutionary art in Lobo Azul Café
Flight from Houston to Oaxaca
Flight from Houston to Oaxaca is mostly over the Gulf (National Geographic World Atlas app on my iPhone)

5 thoughts on “My first days in Oaxaca

  1. Awesome! I’ve been all over and if I were looking for a place to do what you’re doing, that apartment in Oaxaca would be one of my top choices. Make sure to get over to the Oaxacan coast sometime, and if you want to improve that Spanish check out Guatemala… $150 a week there buys you 20 hours of private instruction and food and housing with a local family. Guatemala is a bit edgier than a place like Oaxaca but the culture is amazing.


    1. Thanks for the ideas! I’ll definitely check out the coast. I’ve been to Guatemala to study Spanish for a little bit (2 weeks), but it was a REALLY long time ago (1987). I took some private lessons from a woman in Antigua. I do want to go back there someday. I’m curious to see how it’s changed.

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