Local Activities

A giant alebrije hangs over an art store on the Alcala, Oaxaca City's fabulous pedestrian street.

A giant alebrije hangs over an art store on the Alcala, Oaxaca City’s fabulous pedestrian street.

You didn’t just stumble into Oaxaca, so you already know that there’s a wealth of things to see and do here. The list below is merely to share a few insights based on our five years of living here (and returning frequently in the 6+ years thereafter). In due time we’ll flesh out these entries, but in the meantime we hope they lead you to a few discoveries of your own.

Adele’s Favorite Things. These to-do tips from Adele will surely add to your journey.

Markets. Few can (and none should) resist taking in more than one of Oaxaca’s classic markets. Here’s the market-day schedule and a few personal notes.

Birding. Birders worldwide come to Oaxaca to feather their lifelists. Here is the meticulous San Pablo Etla list kept by our greatly missed neighbor, the late Bill Stecher.

Hiking. John spent most of his free time hiking the burro trails in the hills above San Pablo Etla, usually with a machete or loppers so friends would want to walk them, too. You can walk out the door and hike uphill for 1,000 vertical meters without break if you wish (the pine forest above is amazing). Or follow our daily “1-hour walk” that lolipop-loops from El Barco’s doorstep.

Mountain biking. Once a week we’d peddle up “Hurt Me Hill” (the road past La Mesita) into the cool pine forests above San Pablo, then follow one of the various ridges back to the valley. You’ll be wise to read John’s tips before heading up there yourself.

Eco-tourism in San Pablo Etla. Our local puebla owns more than 10,000 hectares of forest, which they’re managing for its natural heritage with a small dose of eco-tourism.

Horse riding. We kept two horses at Hipico La Golondrina, a barn 20 minutes from San Pablo Etla (on the way to Oaxaca City) that became the center of our daughter’s social life. Since then we’ve sent everyone of an equestrian bent to this little barn, where the owner is a veritable “horse whisperer” and teaches classes of all levels in her small arena. Hipico La Golondrina Facebook page.

Historical ruins. Your guidebook describes all the most famous, but check out the Atzompa Ruins visible across the valley from El Barco. Adele offers some notes in her “Favorite Things” posting.

Restaurants. There are tons and tons, and someday we’ll list a few of our favorites. In the meantime, visit La Biznaga and La Primevera, described in “Adele’s Favorite Things“.



Guelaguetza (external link)

Day of the Dead


Night of the Radishes

List of festivals on Frommer’s (external link)

Camparsas (bands wandering the streets of San Pablo)

Mescal and mescaleros