The Oaxaca Top Ten

The view from Espadin at Villas Carrizalillo

The view from Espadin at Villas Carrizalillo, photo by Michael S. Lewis

Written and submitted by Michael S. Lewis
Traveling in Oaxaca gave us yet another reason to love Mexico. The state offers beautiful mountains, high deserts, amazing beaches and bays on the Pacific Ocean, small towns filled with incredible artists and a vibrant capital city that has something for everyone.
Singing the praises of Oaxaca could fill up a book, so I would like to offer our Top Ten list of things about Oaxaca.
10. Visit Mitla – The stonework on several of the structures is impressive and not to be missed.
9. See El Tule – This beautiful old tree in Santa Maria de Tule, east of Oaxaca city is simply stunning. It is considered to be more than 2,000 years old and is surrounded by one of the most immaculate gardens we have seen in Mexico.
8. Enjoy the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca – Set in the former monastery next to Iglesia Santo Domingo, this museum is captivating for its grandeur, but noted for the jewels on permanent display. The pearls, jade, silver and gold were recovered from one of the tombs at Monte Alban, the Zapotec site outside of the city.
7.  Watch Huatulco grow up – Huatulco, planned and built by FONATUR, Mexico’s tourism development agency, may end up being one of the best-planned communities in Mexico, if not the world. We were impressed by the tranquil atmosphere of the town and the beauty of the bay areas.
Food shot is from Villas Carrizalillo

Food shot from Villas Carrizalillo, photo by Michael S. Lewis

6. Buy a molcajete – Two regions in Mexico specialize in molcajetes, the Mexican version of mortar and pestle. There are a few shops that sell them along 20 de Noviembre on the outside of the market. They are around 100 pesos, probably too heavy for checked luggage, but perfect for the trunk of the car. Once you have a fresh salsa made in one, you won’t want it any other way.
5. Eat as many moles as possible (red, yellow, black) and see how many ways you can eat squash blossom flowers (soup, appetizers, quesadillas)
4. Visit  Mercado La Merced – Great produce, meat, cheese, chiles, flowers, and food stalls.
3. Take a cooking class with Pilar Cabrera – The chef/owner of La Olla and the director/teacher for La Casa de los Sabores will captivate you with her knowledge of local food, charm you with her easy-going manner in the kitchen and slay you with the lunch that she and your class will produce.
Alebrijes from Jacobo and Maria Angeles, San Martin Tilcajete

Alebrijes from Jacobo and Maria Angeles, San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca

2. Visit San Martin Tilcajete for Alebrijes shops – One of the best is owned by Jacobo and María Angeles, where you’ll see the amazing figures being made.
1. Stay and eat at Villas Carrizalillo in Puerto Escondido – They have amazing views, outstanding service, a perfect location, and a relaxed, elegant ambiance. At their restaurant, Espadin, there is a menu to die for, with skilled preparation to match. Sunsets from the restaurant high above the Pacific are addicting.
Enjoy Oaxaca. We did!
Pilar Cabrera making quesadillas

Pilar Cabrera making quesadillas, photo by Michael S. Lewis

Michael S. Lewis  –  Our travel and food blog of Mexico and Beyond  – Our portfolio of travel, food and resort photography, plus a photography blog  –  Our portfolio of portraits and destination weddings – a magazine about Cozumel

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Susie Albin-Najera
Susie Albin-Najera is the creator and editor of The Mexico Report, an award winning travel blog showcasing news, deals and resources for the modern traveler. Najera is a writer, author, travel blogger, marketing and public relations specialist and producer. Najera serves on the host committee for Maestro Cares, founded by singer Marc Anthony and producer Henry Cardenas; and on the advisory board for Corazon de Vida, providing aid to children in Mexico. She is also the creator of 'The Real Heroes of Mexico' showcasing community heroes in Mexico and producer of Latino Thought Makers. Najera has been recognized by the Mexican Consulate and Mexico Tourism Board for fostering positive relations between countries and her dedication to showcasing Mexico as a premiere destination. She can be reached at

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