Most people visit Oaxaca for its white sandy beaches with clear aquamarine waters that form an area of spectacular natural beauty. Some of the most attractive beaches are Zicatela, which is ideal for surfing; Escobilla, a turtle beach; Zipolite, a nudist beach; and Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido, two bays with a truly Oaxacan environment.
Oaxaca and Chiapas have larger Indian populations than other states in Mexico and throughout the centuries, their practices, beliefs, tradition, folklore and customs have shaped the local culture, making these two states fascinating places to visit. The central highlands of Oaxaca, a stunning mountainous area dotted with lush valleys and chequered cornfields, has a large population of Zapotec and Mixtec Indians. Famous for handicrafts and corn, the area is at its prettiest during the rainy season when the corn os green on the stalks.
The city of Oaxaca itself is a lovely place with colonial architecture and numerous plazas, courtyards and narrow streets. High above the city on a mountaintop lies the magnificent ceremonial center of Monte Alban. An impressive collection of buildings, ball courts and plazas, its design varies from the Mayan ruins most commonly visited in the eastern part of the country.
A day trip to Hierve el Agua, two hours from the city, is highly recommended. Here you can relax in the warm waters of the mineral springs at the base of a 50-m (160 ft) waterfall.
What is it: A stunning region of beaches and traditional Mexican villages.
Where is it: Along the Mexican Pacific between the districts of Jamiltepec, Pochutla and Juchian.
What is there to do: Visit during one of the spectacular festivals such as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in early November or the Guelaguetze festival in July.
When should I go: June to March is when the city is considered the most enjoyable, but the tourist season runs from late July to spring.
What should I buy: Chocolate and Mezcal.