10 Best and 10 Worst Things About Living in Oaxaca, Mexico

After 6 months of living in and enjoying Oaxaca, Mexico, I wanted to share some of our experiences for those of you thinking you may like to make it a future destination.   So – here’s my list of 10 Best and 10 Worst Things about Living in Oaxaca Mexico to aid in your decision making:

Let’s get the worst over.

10 Worst Things about Living in Oaxaca, Mexico

1. Water or lack thereof

– Although Oaxaca gets loads of rain during the wet season, the city does not have the structures necessary to catch the water and so this precious resource runs off.  Couple this situation with the fact that Oaxaca’s tenuous political climate results in groups stopping the delivery of water and what you have is life where water is rationed and often does not arrive on schedule.  In our 6 months of living with a cistern plus three rooftop tanks, we ran out of water 6 times despite our “turn it on – get wet – turn it off -soap up – turn it on – rinse off – turn it off ” showers and “If it’s yellow let it mellow – if it’s brown flush it down” toilet policies.  It is not fun to live in a house without water.

2. Political unrest

– regular demonstrations by groups (teachers and pueblo groups mostly) result in major streets being blockaded and the zocalo being inaccessible.  When the streets are blockaded getting in and out of town is very difficult and sometimes impossible.  Sometimes blockades are announced ahead of time and sometimes not.  It is easy to be caught in a never-ending traffic jam unexpectedly.  In election years (this happened to be a particularly big one with state and national elections happening simultaneously) the protests are multiplied.  We were unable to enjoy the zocalo for the last two months of our stay.  Bummer.

3. Garbage collection

– I will never understand Oaxaca’s garbage collection policies.  If you move there, ask a neighbor when the garbage truck comes and they will kindly tell you the hour.  On that hour you mustbe in the street with your garbage.  The truck will arrive ringing a loud cow bell.  There will be men on the back of the truck who appear they are there to take the garbage.  No!!!  They will hop off the truck and watch you dump your own garbage in.  Then they will hop back on and ring the bell again as they drive away.  Our garbage truck came at 5:30 am every morning – so on those days that I didn’t need to dump garbage we still got to hear the cowbell at 5:30.  If you don’t believe me, here’s a video of garbage collection on my street.

4. Noise pollution

– Mexican’s have a very different relationship to noise than we do in the U.S. or than what I’ve experienced in Europe.  The garbage truck was not the only entity that made a loud noise on our street.  Every vendor and service seemed to have their signature noise to alert you of their presence.  The gas truck, the knife sharpener, the atole woman, the elote woman, the popsicle man, the water man, the list goes on.  One of our favorites was the doughnut man who arrived at 11:00 pm every evening yelling, “DOOOONNNAAAASSSS”.

5. Filth

– Oaxaca is not a clean place.  Streets are often littered.  Although the historic centered is kept clean the remainder of the city is quite dirty.  One of the issues seems to be a lack of trash receptacles for well meaning people to use.

6. Graffiti

– Now, I can appreciate good art and some graffiti is good art .  However, names and words messily scrawled on historic buildings or otherwise beautiful churches are just an eyesore.  Unfortunately, on some roads of Oaxaca, people appear to have walked down the street with spray cans just writing whatever came to mind.  Often as part of protest marches, the marchers carry spray paint and mark buildings as they go along.  The result is not appealing.

7. Begging and Vending

– Beggars and vendors in Oaxaca vary from children to elderly and/or disabled people.  Often they are on the streets simply holding cans for money.  This is not bothersome although it is sad.  Others, however, are much more aggressive in their approach and will persist even after you have said no.  The worst, however, were those who came to our home with lies or con games to try to get money from us at our door.  The stories usually had to do with needing money for a relative who just went to the hospital or needed oxygen.  I fell for it once – not the second time, or third, or sixth for that matter.

8. Clothing

– Here I am not talking about the handmade clothing which can be beautiful and well made.  I am talking about everyday clothing you might look for in a department store, such as a t-shirt or pair of jeans.  The clothing in Oaxaca is over priced and of terrible quality.  I once tried on a dress at a department store only to find that it had a 2 inch hole in it.  When I went with the clerk to find another in my size the second one had a 5 inch hole.  The clerk was not at all surprised by this and said I should just sew it.  At one point I needed to buy my daughter a pair of lycra pants for dance.  They lasted 3 classes before falling apart.

9. Personal Space in Public

– In public places such as grocery store lines there is no concept of personal space (at least by the standards we use in the U.S.).  More often than not, the person behind me was standing up against me.  Man or woman – it just didn’t matter.  Personally, I really didn’t like it.

10. Driving Behavior

– If you venture out as a pedestrian in Oaxaca you must understand that you do not have the right of way in the minds of most drivers.  Oaxacan drivers are aggressive and do not want to stop or even slow down for pedestrians.  You must be very aware when you’re in the streets.

OK, so now that that’s done,  I’d like to share the 10 Best Things about Living in Oaxaca and the reasons I would be happy to go back and stay.

Top 10 Best Things About Living in Oaxaca Mexico

1.The People –

The Oaxacan people are genuinely warm and loving.  We were welcomed not only as tourists but as individuals with whom deep friendships could be made.  In our 6 months we had the fortune to make many true friends with whom we will stay in touch.  In fact, 6 of those friends even accompanied us to the airport when we left just to say goodbye.  We dearly miss them.

Tlacolula Market Bread

Tlacolula Market Bread

2.The Food –

Oaxaca is the “Land of the 7 Moles” but the variety of dishes available goes far beyond these amazing sauces.  From the simplest food on the street or in the local markets to gourmet food in the more expensive restaurants, we feasted our way through 6 months.  Fresh foods are also readily available in the “Tianguis” (traveling street markets that go from neighborhood to neighborhood each day).  Even better, the prices are cheap.  Oaxaca is also known for it’s chocolate.  Be sure to try a cup of it!

Market Woman Tlacolula

Market Woman Tlacolula

3.The Culture –

There are over 16 indigenous tribes in the state of Oaxaca.  Of those 16, the largest is the Zapotec.  Each has their own language – but if you can imagine, the Zapotec language alone has over 40 dialects.  This only illustrates the wide variety of cultural influences that make up this region.  What our family really appreciated is that the Oaxacan people proudly keep their cultural traditions.  It is common to witness folkloric dance groups, people in their indigenous clothing on the streets, native languages being spoken, traditional handwork being done.  It is a treasure for any person wanting to experience rich cultural heritage.

Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua

4.The Amazing Day Trips

– The variety of cultures and food of Oaxaca is  paralleled in the variety of experiences one can have taking a day trip from Oaxaca City.  In less than an hour to the north you can reach a dramatically cooler mountain climate complete with tall pine trees and the feeling you have transported yourself to Germany.  To the east in less than 2 hours is the dramatic stone waterfall, Hierve el Agua, the rugmakers of Teotitlan del Valle, and El Tule, the world’s widest tree.  To the south in 1/2 hour you can visit the wood carvers of Arrazola who create the famous painted animals called “alebrijes” or the potters of San Bartolo de Coyotepec who create beauties of black pottery.  If you’d like to take a longer trip, the beautiful beaches of Mazunte, Puerto Escondido, and Huatulco can be reached in 1/2 day’s drive.

5.The Climate –

The climate of Oaxaca cannot be beat.  A typical day may be sunny and in the 80’s farenheit (mid 20’s celsius) in the afternoon, receive a strong rain shower towards evening and cool enough to wear a light sweater in the night.  April and May are a bit hotter and the winter months cooler but the majority of the year enjoys this mild climate.  The air of Oaxaca is also quite dry with the exception of the rainy season.

Mazunt beach

Mazunte beach

6.The Geographic Variety –

As I mentioned in day trips, you can experience cool mountain air or a hot beach all within half a day’s drive from Oaxaca city.  The land is majestic and expansive with the majority of the state being covered by mountains.  Tall pine trees can be found at higher altitudes, arid and cactus covered areas in the basin, and tropical flora and fauna near the beaches.

7.The Prices –

Current exchange rates and the struggling Mexican economy make Oaxaca a very reasonably priced destination and one that lends itself to nomad-ing.  Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in Mexico so prices are low even by Mexican standards.

Puppets for Carmen Alto festival

Puppets for Carmen Alto festival

8.The Holidays –

Oaxaca’s rich cultural heritage comes to life in their many holidays and festivals.  Consider visiting in July for the Guelaguetza celebration of dance and music, in November for the Day of the Dead, experience the Noche de las Rabanas on Christmas Eve or the processions of Holy Week in the spring.  These are Oaxaca’s major festivals.  However there are other minor holidays year round as well.  In fact, there seemed to be a celebration nearly every week of our stay.

Capilla de Cuilapam

Capilla de Cuilapam

9.The Historic Buildings and Archeological Sites –

Oaxaca is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. In addition it is the home of Monte Alban, one of the largest archeological sites in Mexico and home of the ancient Zapotec and Mixtec peoples. From the elaborate interiors of its numerous churches to the intricate stone work of Mitla, Oaxaca offers a feast for any fan of architecture.

Zapotec Rug Maker

Zapotec Rug Maker

10.The Hand Crafts –

If you have ever visited a Mexican imports store and marveled at the crafts produced in this country you may not realize that many of the things you are admiring are from the Oaxaca region.  The many indigenous people have honed their crafts over generations to the point that their products are true pieces of art.  Black pottery, fantastic painted wooden animals, world class wool rugs that are naturally dyed, beautifully embroidered clothing, green pottery, are just some of the offerings of this area.  Even the most frugal of us will be tempted by the amazing opportunities to buy something unique.

Wrap Up

In spite of the many challenges of living in Oaxaca, the positive aspects made this a very rewarding place for us to live for 6 months.  The overall review from myself and my three daughters was overwhelmingly positive.  If you’re willing to live in a place where life may not always go as easily or smoothly as what you’re accustomed to back home, the rewards can be great!

53 Comments

  1. What a great description of your life there! Any place with good food is going to be worth it to me. I'm so sorry I wasn't able to come down to visit!

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    • Hi Victoria,
      So glad to have you on the blog. Yes, if you love food (as I know you do!) Oaxaca is a great place to go. The people don't mind spending hours or even days making one recipe and the results are well worth it. I also wish you could have visited us!

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    • My first time going to oaxaca is the best place I been too

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  2. I haven't spent much time in Oaxaca, but I agree completely that the food is fabulous! I can't wait to go back!

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  3. I absolutely loved Oaxaca and although I only planned to stay 5 days I was there for 10 and it was hard to leave.

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    • I can understand your feelings. We had a lot of tears leaving and the girls are ready to go back already. It is a pretty amazing place in so many ways.

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  4. Carmen, This was a fabulously written article: specific enough to be enticing but also broad enough to be informative and poetic. The food in particular sounds delicious… after your balanced review I now know the cons but have a craving to go where I didn't before!

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  5. I spent three weeks in Oaxaca this summer, studying at the Instituto Cultural, better known as the Casa Chata. I absolutely loved everything about being in Oaxaca. Your 10 best and 10 worst so accurately described the city. I could relate to everything you said except the garbage pick up. I did not have the “privilege” of dealing with that aspect. Tho there was a garbage workers protest going on while I was there and the garbage piled up for a week!
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I too would love to go back there soon.

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    • Hi Jennifer Clark,
      I’m writing about your experience at Instituto Cultural. I’m thinking of coming for Spanish classes too. I’ve seen a bunch of different language schools in Oaxaca. How did you pick that one?
      Great description, Carmen!

      Thanks,
      Judy

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  6. Thank you friend for the information

    The article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading every day
    …,

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  7. You complain about “begging and vending”? Wow…perhaps you should burn your money and try and make a living from scratch in that place you called “home” for a lousy six months.

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  8. Well, the only problem I have with you Top 10, both best and worst is, they don’t reflect Oaxaca. They reflect Mexico. I lived in Guadalajara and Michoacan. I spent some time in DF as well. The best and worst are simply living in Mexico. 

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  9. which city doesnt have homeless? all do, which city doesnt have trash? they all do, personally Ive been to hollywood, and they even have trash there, so

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  10. Quit your whining….You talk about political unrest….Get out there and stand with them proudly.. .The teachers make peanuts and they are out there for the benefit of the children. This spoiled rotten whining from Americans( or other foreigners) usually Americans makes me sick. If you can’t stand the heat, then get the hell out of the kitchen.

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    • Andrew, I grew up in Mexico, spent 5 years in Puebla, and 12 in Oaxaca. Trust me when I say that the teachers protests are not for the benefit of the children, and have badly hurt the economy of Oaxaca, and it’s not the individual teachers choice whether or not they wish to protest. Because of the union laws, if a teacher does not join the protest they stand to lose their job. Growing up, the yearly teachers protests were something I greeted with amusement, and just the way life is. However, in 2006 they were joined by a political protest group and spent the next 6-8 months destroying my beautiful city. Oaxaca lost millions of dollars during those months, and the majority of the people disliked the protests, and suffered from them. It was bad enough that riot police from Mexico City had to intervene.
      ……So yes, I’d have to say out of all of the cons Carmen mentioned regarding living in Oaxaca, the political unrest is the one I’d have to agree with the most.

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      • Thank you for sharing this perspective and experience. Its easy to ignore the actual consequences of how protesting can hinder the very city they strive to seek to change positively. Passion is stronger than reason…especially when fuled by political stances and opinions. Its easy to loose sight of what the purpose for action truly means to them, personally. Honestly, I feel that “political unrest” sounds far more tolerable than monumental political failure! 😉 What I appreciate is that the citizens of Oaxaca are given the privilege of political involvement to protest and vote! They also actively exercise that incredible right, which is easily taken for granted. Its a “downfall” that has potential for people to have a stronger louder voice in their ability to create awareness or urgency, or share knowledge and facts. Its also a privilege, not an excuse to break laws or cause panic. Its a slippery slope, but so very necessary. Stay home and enjoy the perfect weather if you can’t get through temporary protestors. Humans are designed to adapt, not focus on why they can’t change situations that inconvenience them for that brief moment. Waste of precious time, not normally given, for an opportunity do what they hold to be just as important. Its a favor instead of a disservice. Its all about perspective. Always. The world still goes on without you….

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    • No offense, but you don’t want to participate in this kind of a protest for a couple reasons. First, most foreigners obviously don’t understand the very unique local and regional nuances of Mexican politics, labor laws and traditions. Second, and probably most important, it is against federal law for foreigners to participate in a political protest in Mexico. And yes, I have heard of foreigners being arrested for this type of activity, although rare.

      In my experience it is the ignorance of Americans, not the whining (though sometimes not mutually exclusive) that makes me ill.

      De todos modos, que le vaya bien!

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  11. you start with the negatives. Your review sounds very American..

    You should do your research before you travel to an Emerging country yes i said Emerging. You want the same standards as the U.S. Do you realize that people make peanuts a day and you complain about the services…You are the visitor, humble yourself and do not compare Oaxaca to Europe or the States ..they are all their own entities…

    I have travelled extensively all over the world. I found my most enriching travels to be where the customs are different from my own. Upon arrival to my home, I felt more enriched and also realized at all the conveniences that I have in my life in the U.S.

    Maybe you should travel to Dubai in a private jet, there will be nothing to complain about…oh yeah I forgot Dubai is built to please..

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    • Forgot to mention,,just returned from Oaxaca and loved it!!!participated in workshops, met the locals and mingled. Ate the Best TAmales in my life, and trust me I have had at least a million. Make sure you try the Tamales de Mole Negro….give yourself a treat!!!

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    • This article is clearly written for Americans and other foreigners considering living full time in Oaxa. I found it very informative. Nowhere does it state the author expected the same service s etc. As in the US or other areas. She simy described her own experiences and that is legitimate. She did not show a ny lack of understanding or mame any dispRaging comments…she merely desc riber life there so that outsiders can know what to expect. Nor did she say one word about not appreciating the different customs, foods, etc. Quite theopposite! Garbage collection, noise, water issues and political protests have nothing to do with indigenous culture ..well, maybe noise does…but only with infrastructure. There is no reason at all to get so worked up and nasty about it.

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      • Thanks Kenny for pointing out that the author presented–in a very unbiased, non-judgmental manner–some aspects of Oaxaca that people thinking of moving there would be interested in hearing. Having traveled to many parts of Mexico, I had an idea of what she’d be talking about before I read the article. And the city in question could be interchanged with thousands of others around the world and most of what she said would apply. What really matters most is keeping the proverbial open mind and realize you can’t change any of it, just enjoy the good parts and focus on that; and that it IS OK to crab a little about it; but then move on.

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      • I agree heartily with your understanding of the author’s purpose. The article seemed quite objective, and at the same time, appreciative of Oaxaca lifestyle.

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    • Dubai? Nothing to complain about? Firstly, the author was not complaining or criticizing. She merely gave an objective account of what she experienced and how it impacted her life, which seems to have set you off and put you on the defensive.

      Back to Dubai. Ugh. If you haven’t been there, go. You sound like the type who’d find plenty to complain about 🙂

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  12. Thanks for this! We are researching places to live in Mexico & we’ll be visiting Oaxaca in just under a month. These lists were really illuminating & informative, & honest. Obviously I expect things to be different in Oaxaca, but it’s helpful to know what kind of differences/challenges to anticipate, as well as what to look forward to. So thank you!!

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  13. I have hoped for years to visit and eventually live in Oaxaca. I expect to make my first visit this year. I will stay for two weeks and plan to get some dental crowns also while I enjoy my stay. Could you give any leads regarding affordable dentists in the area? Thank, Neil

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  14. FOR PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT ALL PLACES IN THE WORLD ARE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE THINGS, BUT YOU THINK THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE OAXACA AND ESPECIALLY ITS BEACHES TO VISIT AND LIVE. I HAVE SOME LAND FOR SALE (PROPERTY).
    NOW IS NOW POSSIBLE TO BUY A LAND TRUSTS AND WITHOUT strawmen. A FEW MONTHS AGO WAS MODIFIED ARTICLE 27 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF LAND FOR SALE ON THE BEACH …. I HAVE SOME LAND IN THE BEACH AND MAZUNTE ZIPOLITE OAXACA. ACROSS THE SEA … GREETINGS AND IF ANYONE WANT TO BUY I CAN PROVIDE INFORMATION … MARIO VASQUEZ

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    • Mario we are building a home in oaxaca city would like to find out about your property in mazunte thanks michael

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  15. My stay in Oaxaca resulted in eating too much… so delicious and variety. Being a travel blogger has its price, but at least couple of pictures were taken: http://backpackista.com/oaxaca/

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  16. Oh man, don’t go to India if you think Oaxaca is dirty. Oaxaca and Mexico feel so clean to me.

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  17. My new book looks at Americans and Canadians in Mexico
    who’ve chosen to avoid the big expat colonies in San Miguel de Allende and Lake
    Chapala. It ends with three conversations with expats who have settled in Oaxaca. What they’ve found is both diverse and surprising. The book is called Into the Heart of Mexico: Expatriates Find
    Themselves Off the Beaten Path. There’s a sample on my website:

    http://www.sanmiguelallendebooks.com/intotheheartofmexico.html

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  18. This is only specific to the city and the culture there is obviously different from the states.This is only worst things for you but most can be seen in many cities. Cities are dirty crowded and have noise. Just saying. The smaller towns are better to venture and visit.

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  19. The “bad things” about living there were so miniscule in comparison to the good things! I understand that for any foreigner these are adjustments, you cannot lie to yourself and say that (at least for people raised in the U.S.) that these are complaints for mostly if not all of us. Adjustments of course. But still, I could not help thinking once I got to the good part of the list that is swallowed up every possible complaint. And yes, I think all of need to be more sensitive toward people’s desperation in wanting money form foreigners and the gringos that voluntarily make their home in this poor state. Although they bother you, you might see it is an awakening to the fact that you are living in a drastically different world than you see in the U.S., or any country with a hugely stronger economy, and wonder how else to see these people. Maybe turn your simple annoyance or aggravation into deeper thinking about where you are and why they are asking you for money.

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  20. Spending there just 3 days I wouldn’t have come up with these “worst” things at all, but it is good to know how life would be on a permanent basis 😉 One great thing I experienced and managed to capture in a linear composition – the warm and friendly nightlife on the streets: http://panoramastreetline.com/nightlife-street-scene-P5017

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  21. Dear ti
    This summer the police clean all te downtonw in oaxaca. And the goverme t change all the structure regarding of the teachers to avoiid the walkouts and demostration of the workers union. I’m from Puebla Mexico, and I love to Oaxaca to visits ans rest. The food isamaizing and the city has a lot of culture and is nice to walk in the evening. Today has a lot of security.

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  22. I’ve spent about 10 months in Oaxaca over a couple different years and would like to compliment the author. Those that accuse her of expecting everything to be like the developed world are out of line. She is just pointing out that things are different, so be prepared. I can attest that it is not fun hearing the garbage truck at 6 a.m. every single day, or dogs barking off and on all night, or church bells ringing at 6:30 a.m. That to me is the biggest difference, the Mexican “relationship with noise” as she so artfully puts it. Obviously the good outweighs the bad or I wouldn’t keep going back, and I don’t expect these things or the locals to change to fit my ideas about how things “should” be. But it’s fair to point out the things that may surprise and/or frustrate a foreigner.

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    • I enjoyed your level-headed comments, Kevin. We share the same frustration over excessive noise, which is just a part of the culture: louder is better. This all fits in with the notion that personal space is public space. But sometimes it really is too much, especially when you’ve checked into a hotel or hostel that looks idyllic, but the dream is quickly shattered once the roosters start crowing and/or music is blasting from who knows where. This is why I would never make a booking in advance for a long stay. I would stay in a hotel for a couple of days and explore the lodging options.

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  23. I have always wanted to move to Mexico. It is my dream. I am surprised by their garbage collection. Actually it make me laugh. I imagine myself every morning at 5.30 staying on the street waiting for this truck. It sounds really funny. Greetings!

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  24. How is the internet access??? I am planning to be there for several months and want to make sure I can use my computer. Thanks so much!!!!!

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  25. Hi – I really enjoyed reading this – my family and I (I am English they are Colombian) are wanting to travel for a while and I am an Englih teacher – do you know of any bilingual or International Schools in the region?

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  26. I just returned to the states after spending two and a half weeks in Oaxaca. I am one person who could just not get passed the horrible traffic, the toxic air pollution, the graffiti, the deteriorated buildings, the bad smells probably from sewage, the beggars in the street especially seeing children working or begging, the water, having to throw your used toilet paper in a bin, and the loud noise, noise, noise. The culture, crafts, food (I don’t particularly like Mexican food however), and lovely people just couldn’t make up for the unpleasantness that my husband and I experienced.

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  27. I just returned from Oaxaca and I have to say that I left a big part of my heart there. The culture, colors, warmth and kindness of the people were so wonderful. An entirely different value system than here in the US – very refreshing. I didn’t experience filth at all, but yes, aging building, many of which were being restored. Vendors were easy to graciously deflect and just trying to make a living, so no problem there. I even bought a few things from them at different points. I felt safe and walked about on my own, in the evening. It was lovely!

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  28. Thanks for the detailed info. We had a wonderful week in Oaxaca once. Now, post-election, we’re looking for a place to move to outside the US, and this was my wife’s first choice.

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  29. Thank you so much for your article. My husband is Mexican and we currently live in Tlaxcala, Mexico, though I am from Saint Louis, MO USA. We are looking into moving and I came across your article in my research. I wanted a place with the “tranquilo” lifestyle I have come to love in Tlaxcala but with a beach and a few more things to do. Everything from the cons and the pros are exactly what we are used to in Tlaxcala, making Oaxaca sound like the perfect place for our next family home.

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  30. I’ve been twice to Oaxaca Juarez – three months and then five months – and I fell in love with the city. I’d move there, if I could. Outstanding city, very vibrant,very strong culturally, great people, great food. The author of the article didn’t mention its museums and art galleries – and they are great (check on internet). Same about restaurants, cafes, and bookstores (great selection, no trashy literature). And there is no word about one-hundred-years-old, beautiful Teatro Macedonio Alcala – with opera, concerts, and the yearly Muestra Internacional del Cine – the presentation of the new, most interesting films from all over the world.

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  31. We spent a wonderful week in Oaxaca Jan 11-18, 2017. Highly recommended.

    One place not mentioned is the Ethno Botanical Gardens beside the Santo Domingo Church, which has a collection of plants representing the incredible bio-diversity of Oaxaca state. There are 2 hour tours in English every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at 11 am. Well worth taking – a fascinating view of both the diverse plants and how humans have used and changed them over centuries.

    Regarding the political protests, I am interested in politics and I recommend looking more into it for anyone else who is. As recently as June 2016 there were protests that led to at least 6 deaths caused by the authorities. We felt very safe there. But recognizing what’s going on in the background is part of understanding the place – especially given what’s happening in the US now. The effect of NAFTA and various local and national administrations are important background to understanding what life is like for Oaxacans and why there are political protests. In 2006, between 500,000 and 1 million people took to the streets, an extraordinary display of resistance against a corrupt and brutal local governor. The Amate Book store on the Alcala pedestrian street has a great collection of books in English about politics, art, etc.

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    • Brian,

      I am intrigued by your post, especially your comments about the political climate. My partner and I are planning a visit to Oaxaca. I’d be interested in where you stayed during your visit and if you connected with locals. Any and all advice is welcomed.

      Thanks!

      Denise

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  32. I have traveled in various parts of the world and no place is as nice as Oaxaca. I have visited Oaxaca every year for the last 27 years. The weather is the best of any place I have ever been and the people are the nicest that I have ever known. Yes, it is a little noisy but if you are going to visit another country, different culture, one must accept their life style. I love Oaxaca and plan to visit in two or three months. I usually stay for 3 to 4 months at a time. Enjoy coffee in the zocalo with many mexican friends.

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  33. Looking to a visit soon. Heard about some friends planning to bring a car from US to Oaxaca. Is that safe, reasonable, wise, possible? Also about water… if it rains enough and just runs off and municipal sources are unreliable, can one purchase the supplies necessary to collect and store enough water for personal use?

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