Home to over sixteen tribes and people groups, Oaxaca is a melting pot of traditions and cultures. It's this diversity that draws you in – the brightly-colored colonial architecture mixed with Zapotec ruins, the barrel-aged mezcal mixed with freshly made tortillas, the wild agave mixed with the modern, minimal interiors. There's so much to explore.
This cultural mecca is particularly known for its rich heritage of textiles. For over five years, we have partnered with a group of Zapotec weavers to create collections of rugs and pillows featuring the incredible patterns and colors of the region. We always look forward to visiting them – not only because we are now close friends with these weavers, but also because we have grown to feel quite at home in Oaxaca.
We could go on and on about this incredible region, but for now, we'll leave you with our little guide from our travels...
TO DO & SEE
It’s no secret that we have a thing for succulents. Cactus. Agave. Air plants. We show no discrimination here. We love them all. So you can imagine our excitement when we found ourselves surrounded by over 900 different types of succulents. Yes, you heard right – 900.
Where can you find this nirvana, you ask? Right in the heart of the capital city of Oaxaca sits the Jardín Ethnobotánico with over five acres of studly succulents. Designed by Oaxacan artist Francisco Toledo, this garden is a masterpiece that showcases the rich variety of shapes, colors, and textures found in the native plants of Oaxaca, the most biodiverse region in Mexico.
About an hour outside of Oaxaca City, you’ll find these Zapotec ruins nestled in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Known for its series of courtyards and underground tunnels, this place has so many nooks and crannies to explore. We couldn’t get enough of the geometric designs throughout the buildings. Inspired by textile patterns, landscapes, and even family lineages of the time, each carving is unique and incredibly intricate.
Located in the small mountain community of San Agustín Etla, this former textile factory is now an oasis for the arts: performance arts, handweaving, painting - you name it. We made our way to the center around sunset, and it was pretty magical to explore while the golden light bounced off the terra cotta stairways, brick red walls, and water pools.
We had to get back to Oaxaca City, but if we had extra time, we would have loved to walk the streets of this artist community to pop into the ceramics shops and painting galleries. Guess you always have to leave something for next time!
Home to thousands of textiles from throughout Oaxaca, this museum highlights this region’s rich, diverse cultural heritage. From time-to-time, this museum also incorporates international textiles - there was an exhibit on Guatemalan embroidery during our visit. Set in a restored colonial mansion, right in the heart of Oaxaca’s historical district, you’ll only need about an hour to take in the exhibits. If you’d like a guided tour, they offer one-hour tours at 5 PM on Wednesday, in English and Spanish.
This six-room boutique hotel made us feel right at home with its light, airy courtyard and modern decor. Each room features unique designs crafted by local artisans - handwoven bedspreads, braided palm baskets, terra cotta ceramics - needless to say, we were in artisanal heaven. Besides the swoon-worthy architecture and interiors, we can’t say enough nice things about the staff - they took such great care of us during our stay.
A two-bedroom villa located behind the famed Criollo restaurant, this little oasis makes for the perfect escape. Designed by chefs Enrique Olvera and Luis Arellano, this house is downright stunning. We couldn’t stop ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every detail: the minimal concrete walls, the vine wrapped terrace, the handcrafted wood furniture - we loved it all. As an extra perk, a stay at Casa Criollo also includes daily breakfast, complimentary mezcal, and snacks - trust us, this food is just as amazing as the decor.
TO EAT & DRINK
Start your day with a cup of coffee and healthy breakfast at Hotel Antonietta’s cozy cafe. From fresh acai bowls to flavorful avocado toast, we made sure to never skip this breakfast. Offering cocktails and wine in the evening, this spot also became our go-to for catching up on emails at the end of the day - because work is always more bearable with a glass of wine in hand.
From the breezy rooftop patio to the fresh salsa mixed tableside, Casa Oaxaca made for the perfect lunch spot after touring the botanical gardens. Featuring fresh ingredients sourced from eight of Oaxaca’s culinary regions, we couldn’t get enough of the flavorful dishes (our favorite was the ceviche). Be sure to make a reservation before your trip - this one tends to book up quickly.
A trip to Oaxaca would not be complete without a meal at the famed Criollo. A collaboration between Pujol’s Enrique Olvera and Luis Arellano, they feature a modern take on traditional Oaxacan cuisine. With a seven-course tasting menu that changes daily and with the seasons, this meal is a true experience - each bite is full of flavor, building on each other to create a unique, incredibly delicious combination. As one of the most sought after restaurants, you’ll definitely want to snag a reservation well in advance - you don’t want to miss this one.