All Things Artisan – Oaxaca City, Mexico

Rich in history, culture, and artisanal gastronomy, Oaxaca City is a delight for the senses. The streets are brimming with vibrant colours and traditional art. Buildings made from green volcanic stone line the tranquil cobbled streets. Colonial-era structures stand proud around the city, bringing an unequivocal charm to the place.

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Art is at the heart of Oaxaca and resonates throughout. Galleries showcasing local textiles, fine arts, and modern exhibitions offer an insight into the region’s history. Local women wearing traditional woven dress welcome you to start a collection of your own, with a selection of handmade pieces rich in colours and patterns. Even the children of Oaxaca understand the importance of art. Young children take to the street to set up their own collections of hand drawn images for sale. 

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Oaxaca draws an eclectic mix of visitors, from backpackers to retirees and everything in between. The food scene is strong here, with new establishments using traditional techniques to bring an artisanal flare to modern cuisine. Live music can be found almost any day of the week. Small hole in the wall bars overflow with people dancing salsa as the band plays on inside. An impressive array of beers flow nicely, intercepted by a selection of local mezcals.

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Typical of Mexico, there’s always a reason to party. People flock to the streets to parade with an enthusiastic brass band and traditional puppets held by dancers wielding their fate. I still don’t know what was being celebrated that particular day, but it was definitely something fun!

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Oaxaca’s exciting events calendar and thriving array of restaurants, shops and bars draws people from all walks of life. To compliment this, a selection of boutique hotels have opened up around the city, transforming beautiful historical buildings into elegantly designed accommodation.

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Azul de Oaxaca Hotel and Galería is the perfect example. An immaculate boutique hotel and impressive events space set in a hacienda style building, just an 8 minute walk from downtown Oaxaca. You’ll be blown away by the beauty that lies behind the comparatively unadorned facade as you’re welcomed with a smile and a mezcal.

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One courtyard after another, the classic archways lead through to the hotel suites. Designed and created with impeccable taste, the rooms are spacious and stylish, with high ceilings and an open ensuite. The rooms are equipped with everything you could need and more, making for a comfortable yet luxurious stay. An array of welcome treats awaken your senses, with fresh fruit and chocolates to accompany your mezcal. 

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Open your windows onto a bright and spacious courtyard boasting a stunning water feature, stone floor and plenty of space to sit and soak up the sun. Up on the second floor, a tranquil library offers a space to relax with a book. The cool breeze blowing through makes for a very comfortable work space.

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Hotel Azul’s restaurant is situated in the courtyard at the front of the hotel. A selection of exquisite local food is served throughout the day. Hot coffee, fresh fruit and an omelette was my favourite breakfast combo, all beautifully presented and equally tasty. There’s also a roof top bar that has amazing views. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the sunset with a margarita in hand, before heading out to enjoy more of Oaxaca’s finest bars.

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If there’s ever been a place to immerse yourself in Mexico’s art, history and culture, it has to be Oaxaca City.

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