Spring is in the air in my favorite colorful, colonial city. Everyone has just returned back to school and work after the two week Semana Santa spring break vacation. I really enjoyed my travels during Semana Santa, but am also happy to return “home” and get back into the routine of things here in Guanajuato.
I spent the past two weeks of Semana Santa traveling around the south of Mexico; I visited both Oaxaca and Chiapas during my travels.
Highlights of Oaxaca:
Oaxaca City is quite possibly one of my newest favorite places in Mexico. The city has colonial charm mixed with indigenous cultures (the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs). There are many artisanal markets, and so many exotic foods to try!
Oaxaca city is known as “Mexico’s culinary capital”. The most famous foods known in Oaxaca are the many different types of mole, a sauce that combines many flavors, including chili and chocolate! Tlayudas, Oaxacan tamales, and chocolate are also Oaxacan must-haves; I definitely enjoyed trying all of these new foods!
I then traveled down to the coast of Oaxaca. There are many beaches near by, so I was able to visit a few different beaches during my stay at the coast. I visited Zipolite, San Agustinillo, Mazunte, and Punta Cometa. Some other more popular (and more touristy!) beaches are Huatulco and Puerto Escondido (known for its surfing).
Highlights of Chiapas:
My next destination was San Cristobal de las Casas. This city was very similar to Oaxaca City, in the way that it is very artsy and cultural. There are so many different types of restaurants, cafes, and shops. I highly recommend taking a visit to San Cristobal de las Casas! If you enjoy coffee, make a visit to Carajillo Cafe – handmade cafe made in house; more of an art than anything!
I took a day tour to see Sumidero Canyon; we took a 2 hour boat ride through the canyon and it looked as if we were in the middle of a Jurassic Park movie.
Another must-see: Palenque, the ancient mayan jungle ruins. I definitely suggest booking through a tour company; the journey to Palenque from San Cristobal is about 6 hours through winding, curving mountains and jungle. The views are absolutely amazing! Once at Palenque, we toured a portion of the ruins; the ruins are hidden among the jungle, and you can hear the howler monkeys screaming from the trees. Amazing fact: less than 10% of the total area of the ancient city has been explored, leaving more than a thousand structures still uncovered by the jungle. I think that Palenque is one of the most beautiful places that I have seen in Mexico!
Make a visit to Oaxaca and Chiapas – another opportunity to see a different part of Mexico!