Should I visit Oaxaca or Mexico City?

Nov 19th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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Should I visit Oaxaca or Mexico City?

This will be my first trip to Mexico, and some people have suggested than in order to get to know the real culture I should go outside of Mexico City since it is too hectic and I should experience a real colonial town and archeological sight without the traffic. So I thought I would go to Oaxaca for three days and the spend a day and a half in Mexico City to visit Teotihuacan, Zocalo and Museo de Antropologia.Is this advisable? Or should I just spend my time in Mexico City? Never been so would really appreciate advice on this. Many thanks

uppereastsider is offline  
Nov 19th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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How many days total is your trip, and what are your interests?
maryanntex is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 06:31 AM
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Interesting question. In Mexico City you will see a very real part of the real culture of modern Mexico, just as in New York you'd see a part of the real USA (despite the protestations of some political candidates).

That said, the first time I saw the zocalo in Oaxaca, after two trips to Mexico City, I found myself thinking, "Now this is the Mexico I've imagined . . ."

I think your trip sounds fine although if you could manage an extra day in MC it would not be amiss. It might be even better if you schedule the MC portion *before* you go to Oaxaca, which will be very relaxing after the great metropolis. While you are in MC visiting the zocalo be sure to visit the Templo Mayor and its museum, and the Diego Rivera murals in the National Palace.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Nov 20th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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I agree with Fra.
Stewbear is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 11:02 AM
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Depends on your interests. I saw the sights you mention in Mexico City over a half day and that was enough for me.
Femi is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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I think Oaxaca wins by a landslide. There are two major pre-columbian sites in good repair that will wow you, an indoor market with chocolate making stores nearby, an huge outdoor market with every sort of food (including dried grasshoppers in chile powder; no I didn't eat them), many outlying towns, each with their own special craft (the black pottery village, the painted wooden animal village, the rug village; you get there and nice children invite you to their family workshop, of course hoping you'll buy, which you do at greatly reduced prices, and you get to see the inside of real people's houses, a church that will wow you, great restaurants and on an on. (this written by a former upper West sider!)
humanone is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2009, 08:22 PM
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Many thanks to you all for your advice! Will definitely visit Oaxaca first and then send 3 days in Mexico City
uppereastsider is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2009, 11:05 PM
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I haven't been to Oaxaca yet, but Mexico City is truly an interesting, fascinating city with an amazing amount to see and do. I did not find it hectic, and it has a great deal of culture, to say the least.

I'm going to Oaxaca next, though, so I'll be able to compare. But I suspect I'll just love them both.

As for seeing all of Teotihuacan, Zocalo and Museo de Antropologia in half a day, I can't see how to do that. The Museo de Antropologia would take that on its own. The Zocalo is just a huge square, but seeing all the attractions around it takes days. Getting to, and walking all the way through Teotihuacan, maybe climbing the pyramids and taking a look at the museum, and then getting back to Mexico City is going to take at least five hours.
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 06:35 AM
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Will travel is correct The Anthropological Museum is of Smithsonian quality & alone deserves a better part of a day.
The Pyramids are a all day trip IMO & at least a full day for the Zocalo area.
Stewbear is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 07:23 AM
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I agree with Will and Stew, and would only add that during your trip to Teotihuacan, make certain to see the frescoes in the Palacio de Tepantitla, and the spectacular Temple de Quetzalcoatl in the so-called Citadel area.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 12:37 PM
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It's been a few years, but my friend and started off in Mex City, went to Puebla for a couple of days, then Oaxaca, back north to San Miquel, Guanajuato, ended up in Zacatecas. It was a fantastic trip . . . loved some of the places, didn't some of the others.

I typed up my travelog from that trip and it has a lot of detail about where we went, what we ate, what we did, and how we did it. I'd be happy to send it to you if interested. Email me at [email protected] and I'll send it along.

Good luck, whatever you decide,
Sandy (in Denton)
sandy_b is offline  
Nov 24th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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I returned from a trip to Oaxaca a few months ago and loved it! Several good museums, many excellent places to eat inexpensively, the weather is mild (elevation) and it's safe. Not only that, but there are many tours to the surrounding areas with ruins and archeological sites as well as indigenous villages - or you can explore on your own which is what I did. I took the bus everywhere, including Mitla, a ruin site about 35 km from Oaxaca and was rewarded by getting on the bus with about 20 Zapotec ladies, most of whom were wearing traditional outfits.

One of my most favorite things was taking a cooking class in traditional Mexican food (definitely NOT TexMex) with Oscar Crespo. There are a couple more schools in Oaxaca also. I thoroughly enjoyed the day of shopping at the local market, cooking and - most of all - eating. We made a traditional mole that had 22 ingredients!

To be fair, I am not a city person but I think 2 days in Mexico City for museums and history would be enough.
hsmithcr is offline  
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