Beach Paradise Oaxaca (Hemera)

Monte Alban Oaxaca (iStockphoto)

Beach umbrellas on a groomed Oaxaca, Mexico beach (The Mexican Tourism Board)

Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Oaxaca

Oaxaca’s tree-shaded central zocalo (main square) is this city’s living room, where life unfolds each day much as it has since Spanish conquerors laid it out in 1529. Parents watch from benches around gurgling fountains as children toss bright balloons, and Zapotec women in red-and-white embroidered dress hurry to markets, their baskets overflowing with spices, pottery, and weavings. A short walk to the north leads to Oaxaca’s most magnificent church, Santo Domingo, and its gold-ornamented Rosario Chapel. In the evenings, hand-holding teenagers have their evening paseo (stroll), bands take to the stage in the central gazebo, and mariachi bands rove along the cafés that ring the square—as diners enjoy chicken in classic Oaxacan mole sauce, potent mescal in small earthenware cups, and hot chocolate made from cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon.

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