The second stop in Mexico was Oaxaca which is very different to Mexico city as all the buildings are small and colourful and it is located in a stunning valley in between mountains.
We arrived around 3pm at our hostel, Casa Angel, first thing we did was head straight to the rooftop to get a better glimpse of the city. We then went on a very quick walk which was unfortunately cut short to an unlucky travel tummy bug. The rest of the day and night was either spent sleeping (Niamh) or drinking coronas and mezcal with others on the roof (Stu).
Feeling much better the next day we got our free hostel breakfast (pancakes with Mexican salsas or maple syrup). We wanted to see how the pyramids of Oaxaca compared to those of Mexico City so we decided to get the local bus up the mountain to Monte Alban for 55pesos each return. A very sticky bus journey but definitely worth it just for the views across Oaxaca. Entrance was 70 pesos each as only Mexican student cards were accepted. Monte Alban differed to Teohitican in that the site was smaller and had less steps to climb, but it offered something quite unique through the views of the surrounding valleys and the archaeological site was equally impressive. We spent just over 2 hours there and were waiting for the bus back for 45 mins. Luckily there was some Shade!
That afternoon we explored the old city centre stumbling upon beautiful streets, squares, churches and buildings. Naturally we then found a watering hole on the Zocolo square where we sat and watched the local children playing and adults talking. At this point Stu was ready to eat however Niamh didn’t have much of an appetite which was lucky seeing as the speciality dish ‘tacos de susos’ that Stu decided to order was brain tacos…..
The hostel organised a bbq on the rooftop so we had a burger washed down with chilled coronas. Several beers and shots later we went into a bar called Txalaparta Stu and 2 others tried their hardest to get the whole bar dancing, and failed. A few drinks there and was time to head back.
For our final day we booked a tour directly from the hostel which included 5 stops at different sites including a lunch stop all for 500 pesos each. Heading east from Oaxaca city our first stop off was Santa Maria el Tule which is home to one of the oldest trees in the world (2000 years) and is the tree with the greatest girth in Central America . We decided to not go right into the site as you could get a better view from around the surrounding gardens. Back on the bus we travelled to Teotitlàn del Valle a weaving village renowned for using natural dyes. The natural dyes they used were things such as cochinea which is a natural parasite of the cactus. Here we met the weavers and were shown the beautiful work they had completed such as colourful rugs.
Our next stop was a Mezcal distillery (Mezcal Palenque) where we learnt about the process of making mezcal and sampled a lot of their creations. Once we’d tried several different types we got the chance to purchase our own bottle!
Finally it was lunch time where we stopped at a Mexican all you can eat restaurant!
The next stop was Mitla, otherwise known for The place of the death archaeological site. The 2nd most important site in the entire Oaxaca region. We went into claustrophobic tombs and admired the patterns carved into the stone in the palace ruins.
Next we took the bus up the mountains to Hierve el Agua the solidified waterfall and natural pools. The cliff face rises to about 90 metres from the valley below and looks like a waterfall, this formation was created by fresh water springs. We took a dip in the springs and looked across the valley surrounding the area.
Once we arrived back at the hostel for 7PM we showered and got our bags ready for the long overnight bus to Puerto Escondido!