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Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 | 0 comments

15 Interesting Facts about Oaxaca

15 Interesting Facts About Oaxaca


Oaxaca, Oaxaca.  It was so delightful to visit this place and then write all about what I experienced.  Sometimes, I ran out of words to describe the emotions, flavors and textures I encountered during my short trip.

Here are 15 interesting facts in order to wrap up my coverage of this city and state:

1. Most of the municipalities in the state are governed by a customs and traditions system with recognized forms of self governance.  This is a place where “modern” laws seem to have no place.

2. Oaxaca contains 18 indigenous groups who retain their languages and traditions (Zapotecs and Mixtecs are the most populous).  Since the state is very rugged, these cultures survived better than in other states.

3. The name of the state comes from the name of its capital.  The name comes from the Nahuatl, “Huaxyacac”, which refers to a tree.

4. Monte Alban, located close to Oaxaca City, is considered the first great city of Mesoamerica.  Experts estimate its foundation in 500 BC.

5. Benito Juarez, arguably Mexico’s most famous president, was Zapotec.  It has been the only Mexican president with indigenous ascent.

The pools are over the big waterfall (cannot be seen from this point). The small waterfall is to the right.

The pools are over the big waterfall (cannot be seen from this point). The small waterfall is to the right.


6. Huatulco is the premier beach resort in the state. Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido are also popular with crowds looking for surf and sand.

7. Oaxaca is divided in 8 regions.

8. It is the state with the most biodiversity in Mexico (even though it is the fifth state in terms of size).

9. Unfortunately, Oaxaca is the third most marginalized state of Mexico.  Infrastructure, housing and education are below federal minimums.

10. The state is known as “The Land of the Seven Moles.”

Baskets for sale at the Mercado Benito Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico


11. Oaxaca’s gastronomic fame also extends because of its chapulines, quesillo, chocolate, mezcal and herbs such as pitiona, hoja santa and epazote.

12. The state is a leading producer of world renowned handcrafts.  There are entire towns dedicated to the creation of alebrijes, barro negro pottery, green glazed pottery, carpets, huipiles, ponchos and blankets.

13. Each year the indigenous cultures of the state are celebrated in an event called La Guelaguetza.  Groups from the 8 regions come together to celebrate in an event believed to have pre Hispanic beginnings.

14. The Night of the Radishes is celebrated every 23rd of December.  Craftsmen carve all sorts of figures in a large type of red radish.  This competition attracts big national and international crowds.

15. Oaxaca’s primary industry is tourism.  The state has been greatly affected by the recent wave of violence in Mexico (even though the state is safe).

Santo Domingo Plaza

Santo Domingo Plaza


I put a lot of effort into documenting a great part of what I experienced in Oaxaca.  Here is a summary of all my posts about the state in case you missed one:

How to Have Lunch at Mercado 20 de Noviembre, Oaxaca

Arrazola: Land of the Alebrijes

Celebrations Observed in Oaxaca

El Tule: Location of the Widest Tree in the World

In Love With Oaxaca

Monte Alban: The First Great City of Mesoamerica

San Bartolo Coyotepec: Where the Black Clay Shines

Mercado Juarez’s Dangerous Flavors, Textures and Aromas

Santo Domingo Cultural Center, Oaxaca

Teotitlan del Valle: Surrounded by Rugs and Textiles

Mezcal: For Every Bad or Good

Eating Sushi in Oaxaca: Not a Good Idea

Mitla: Geometric Patterns Carved in Stone

All Moles Are Not Created Equal

Cuilapam Convent: Beauty Worth Visiting

Hierve el Agua: Petrified Waterfalls Rising from a Valley

The Day I Trespassed Into A Private Garden

What surprised you most about Oaxaca? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Oaxaca is one of the most fascinating places I have visited.  This 15 facts will help you understand its flavors, textures and emotions.

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