Imagine yourself standing atop a deep valley in the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca mountain range, gazing down at the breathtaking city of Oaxaca. This remarkable city has a rich history that dates back millennia to the Zapotec and Mistec civilizations. Its colonial architecture is a thing of beauty, and its fiestas are full of exuberant energy. But that’s not all, Oaxaca also boasts some of the best art and dining scenes in all of Mexico.

While the city may be sprawling, most of its attractions are conveniently concentrated in the central neighborhoods, making it easy to explore on foot. And if you need to venture further out, don’t worry – cheap and plentiful taxis are always available.

The historical heart of Oaxaca, known as Centro, is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s best hotels, ranging from upscale boutiques to affordable options in the outlying barrios. Centro itself is a picturesque grid of streets lined with centuries-old architecture.

Divided into two halves, the Zocalo area centers around the eponymous main plaza and its stunning cathedral, featuring craft stalls, markets, restaurants, and museums. On the other hand, Santo Domingo is home to the imposing Santo Domingo church, with cobbled streets rich in attractions, from museums and art galleries to some of the city’s best dining and bars.

Beyond Centro, you’ll find Barrio de Xochimilco, Oaxaca’s oldest neighborhood, where you can soak up a sedate, village-like atmosphere, and discover traditional eateries and textile workshops. Bordering Xochimilco is Reforma, a large and affluent neighborhood that offers international dining and boutique shopping.

To the south, Barrio de Jalatlaco is a small, hip, and arty neighborhood, with street murals, good coffee shops, and a mix of budget and midrange accommodations. And finally, the compact grid of streets in Barrio de la Noria is the quietest neighborhood in Oaxaca, with colorful, single-storey houses, unpretentious restaurants, and inexpensive places to stay.

Oaxaca is a city that truly has it all, from ancient history to modern art, from traditional cuisine to international flavors. It’s a city that will leave you breathless and eager for more.

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