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Cities Oaxaca (Oaxaca)

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A city full of colorful colonial houses, galleries, churches, cafes, parks and sun. Unfortunately the first time I came, the teacher´s syndicate and its supporting organization APPO were fighting with Mexican police and government. Not the best time to visit. The city was closed, buses were on fire, people were dying and the army camped right on the main square. Many smaller disputes still happen in Oaxaca, it is usually very hard to judge who has right without a better knowledge of the local political and economical situation.
But don't worry. Now, Oaxaca is again a peaceful tourist destination with many interesting places to see and rich local cuisine and art.
What here: Walk through the town, visit its beautiful churches and cathedrals (Templo de Santo Domingo or the cathedral on Zócalo). Try local food specialities (chocolate, mole...a spicy chocolate sauce served with chicken or "chapulines" fried grasshoppers! They' re not that bad, with a little fantasy they taste as nuts. But just in case keep a chilled beer in the other hand, ready to splash them down.) Check the street arts markets, you can buy mezcal (local alcohol), ceramics from black clay, hand made carpets and "alebrijes" small colorful creatures made from light wood.

From Oaxaca city you can make many one day trips. Try Monte Alban pyramids, Mitla, the petrified waterfall Hierve el Agua or the fantastic ex convent with gothic elements in a nearby village Cuilapan (second class bus terminal in Oaxaca, 5 pesos).
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Where to stay:
Oaxaca is full of posibilities. Should you look for a hostel, them try www.paulinahostel.com or www.casaangelhostel.com. On the contrary, if you are planning to spoil yourself go to www.paradorsanmigueloaxaca.comwww.caminoreal.com or try reasonably priced 4 stars:

Hotel Aitana.
Not far from the center, behind some huge trees, stands a nice hotel Aitana. Yellow façade, typical colonial patio, roof terrace and pretty rooms with wooden furniture, tv and a bathroom with a tub. You might want to know that because this is an original colonial building (17th century), the rooms have only a small window to the patio. No air con, just a roof ventilator, but that should not be a problem since the rooms are fresh. Wifi available plus there is a computer with free aces for the hotel guests. The service is good even thought they do not exaggerate with kindness..
Price: 780 - 1500 pesos. Manuel Sabino Crespo 313. hotelaitanaoax.com
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Midrange hotels are on every corner, here is one I would gladly recommend:

Hotel la Casa de la Tía. This old colonial building with a pretty inside patio and flowers is just two blocks from the main square. The rooms are clean, stylish with thick walls and huge windows, tv and own bathroom. The hotel has wifi and offers economy breakfast which you can eat on the patio.
Price: 400 - 700 pesos. 5 de Mayo 108, Centro. 
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How to get here: Bus from Mexico City (6,5 hours, 456 pesos), from Puebla (4,5 hours, 320 pesos) or San Cristóbal de las Casas (12 hours).

First class bus companies ADO and AU leave from Mexico City TAPO terminal every half an hour, however it is advisable to buy your ticket ahead (you can buy through internet or phone as well). If you want to save money, you can take second class bus (Fletes y Pasajes), the journey will be a little less comfy and about an hour longer (240 pesos).
In Oaxaca, the first and second class bus terminals are separated and differently located. From either of them you can walk to the center (20-30 minutes), take a local bus (4,50 pesos) or a cab (about 40 pesos).

From the second class terminal, night buses leave for Puerto Escondido (115 pesos), Puerto Angel and Pochutla (100 pesos) or Huatulco (120). These buses don't have bathroom! You can also take nicer and faster minivans to:

Puerto Escondido: Parkinglot right next to the second class bus terminal, Periferico 408. (every two hours, journey takes 6, 150 pesos)
Huatulco: Av Hidalgo 208. (every two hours, journey takes 6, 150 pesos)
Pochutla (Zipolite or Mazunte beach): Street Armenta y Lopez.