Oh my, what to say about these two amazing places… Oaxaca and Mazunte. Easily the two biggest highlights of my Mexico trip and tour with my Spanish group.
Our intro to Oaxaca was not great, a late arrival after a long long drive to an obscure guesthouse in the middle of nowhere. We were tired, dusty, hungry and in need of a good bed. A frog (!!!) decided to latch itself to my bag upon the pitch dark arrival, which only served to exacerbate the situation more! As we found out… given the popularity of Oaxaca during day of the dead season, accommodations are booked up fast and this was one of the only ones left. Definitely aim to stay in the City center if you go!! It’s an amazing city with great nightlife and you will get out so much more.
The morning wake up view at least cheered us up.
Our first day started with a cooking class, learning how to make traditional Oaxaca cuisine from scratch- from boiling the corn together with chalk to soften and grind, knead and flatten into corn tortillas, to making the “mucho pica” 🌶🌶🌶 salsas verde and rojo. Lots of fun, and we also got a proper lesson on Mexican mezcal! For which I have since developed a probably not too healthy obsession for 🙈!
The real highlight of Oaxaca though is its City center… absolutely stunning and came even more alive with day of the dead decorations and festivities.
We had an afternoon free so used it to explore the little streets, cute jewelry shops and markets, before getting our faces painted for the procession that evening.
At around 7, we started to make our way to the main church square where the procession would be taking place. The previously quiet little square had drastically transformed and was by now packed with people, fireworks, music and spectacular processions. Not even the sudden pouring rain (which happens like clockwork in Mexico!) could dampen the mood of this crowd!
Our final evening led to my roomie and I stumbling across a grand procession of bicycles! Hundreds and hundreds of them cycling to the beat of pumping Latin music from a loudspeaker on the back of the lead rider’s tricycle, and apparently a tradition in the City. We went on a brief adventure following them, through the rainy Oaxaca streets. Soaking wet but having so much fun.
Love love LOVE this place. Never wanted to leave!! Due to a small glitch in our previously arranged accommodation, we had to be moved to an alternative hotel on the beach. It was a trade off of either stunning views from the top of the sea, or having the sea at our doorstep. We happily chose for the latter!
After the once again long drive from Oaxaca to Mazunte, exhausting the limited playlists we were able to download in advance with patchy mountain WiFi, we were happy to freshen up and move a few meters to settle on the beachfront, with margaritas, cervezas and cerviche… need I say more!
St Augustine beach is small, relaxed and stunning, with once again the friendliest locals more than willing to help should you look lost (difficult given the size of the small strip) or otherwise confused. The best time to enjoy the beach is in the early morning.. before it gets busy.
We decided to skip the turtle sanctuary tour the second afternoon and instead make the most of our time on the beach… including my first attempt surfing! Even though I could only stay standing a few seconds, it felt huge given my fear of the sea since an accident involving a massive wave in Tahiti 2 years ago!
I definitely recommend the surf schools here and the teachers are excellent in helping you lose your fears.
The rest of the town Mazunte is small but quaint, there is a Santander ATM machine and some little shops selling clothes, swimwear, local souvenirs. Apparently it was quieter due to the low rainy season and more lively with bars and parties happening during the dry seasons.
After two wonderful nights, we said goodbye to the beautiful paradise before returning to Mexico City for our onward flights and travel plans.
Next… adventures in Ecuador..