Oaxaca in Living Colour

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. Please review our full Terms and Conditions for more information and our Privacy Policy. Note that any pricing, operating hours, or other such information provided below may have changed since initial publication.

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Dalene & Pete Heck

I kept waiting for the worst.

I kept expecting someone to tell us all the awful things that are wrong with Oaxaca, to wipe the ridiculous grins off our faces and squash the puppy-love we’d developed in our first few daysNay, first few hours.

The most that anyone could tell us about problems in Oaxaca is that protests are frequent and sometimes paralyze the city. (To us, that is just a natural expectation for most Latin American cities.) Thus, I don’t believe our infatuation to be misplaced. Oaxaca is, in our humble opinion, one of the best and most livable cities in Latin America.

(Be aware, however, that we did say this after only six days.) But with its brilliant technicolour, of all things man-made and natural, our deep burrowing of affection was instant.

Can you blame us?


The area surrounding Oaxaca delivers too. Hierve el Agua is a set of natural rock formations that resemble cascades of water, and nearby are natural (and one artificial) pools set on the edge of a cliff.


There’s also the town of Mitla, home to the second most important archeological site in the state, which may have been inhabited as early as 900 BC. It is unique in Mexico for the mosaics made of small finely cut stones, fitted together without mortar. (The most important site, Monte Albán, we have saved for a return trip.)


From Oaxaca, we headed to the coast, but with plans to return etched in our minds.

Because Oaxaca is… this:


how to do it

For our entire stay in Oaxaca, we enjoyed Posada Don Mario, in a great location just a couple of blocks from the Santo Domingo Church. Our room, unfortunately, became slightly flooded by some uncharacteristic rain that rushed in under the door, but luckily nothing was ruined and the staff quickly responded and we were well taken care of. The best parts about the Posada were the enormous breakfasts and the extreme quiet. If (when!) we return, we’d gladly stay there again.

Similar Posts


  1. I love all the colours! I’ll be in Latin America for the first time in November and I can’t wait to photograph all the colourful buildings.

    1. Marie, I tell you, you’ll not only be photographing buildings, but doors and intricate carved details on said buildings!

  2. We spent two weeks in Oaxaca and I have to sadly say that we got bored. Mainly because we had gone there to eat, and although we had some good meals, we just weren’t as blown away by the food as we thought (or as much as in other parts of Mexico). Although I did love the main square with the church, and enjoyed several nice glasses of wine overlooking it in the evenings, it wasn’t my favourite place. But, you can’t win ’em all, right? 🙂

    1. I can understand that Julia. For us, Oaxaca is the perfect kinda place – laid back, small, quiet – but I could see how it may be boring to others.

      But the food! I can’t believe the food was disappointing! Then again, I am enjoying it all everywhere too…

  3. Looks wonderful! I’m in love with Mexico and Oaxaca is definitely on my bucket list! Now you convinced me even more! 🙂

  4. I definitely DO NOT blame you for falling helplessly for Oaxaca! It looks absolutely beautiful and it seems like it’s really got a little something for everyone (obviously I am most interested in the food, but the hierve el agua sounds cool too…). 🙂 Sometimes you just find a place and immediately click with it. For people like us who are always on the move, I say don’t fight it, but enjoy it while you can!

  5. I must say I’ve never been really interested in Mexico, probably because it’s so far away. But after your posts and especially these pictures I’m officially putting it on my bucket list! so beautiful!

  6. I fell in love just through the photos!! So colorful and old-timey-looking (yep, just made that up). I would love to hear about the food…my mom just came back from a trip near Oaxaca and the pics of the food were amazing, I’m imagining it must be pretty similar where you are.

    1. The food, all over Mexico, is incredible! I am sad thinking about us leaving in a month, and not having a taco stand right outside our door…

  7. I love all the colors. Oaxaca is definitely on my list of places to visit soon. I’ve heard such amazing things about it. And then…there’s the food, of course….

  8. Hard not to love Oaxaca, right? Beautiful photos (I should have a stamp for this sentence by now). Like you did with Monte Alban, we are saving Mitla for a return trip. It will happen! Safe travels, guys.

  9. I’ve been wanting to visit Oaxaca for a while now, and you’ve definitely spurred me on with this. Really appreciate the hotel recommendation (despite the rain) – quiet is worth a lot in Latin America!

  10. So gorgeous. I haven’t been to Mexico in too many years to count, and I’ve never made it to Oaxaca…I have got to remedy this. Fantastic photos!

  11. Thanks for including a picture of our house (the third one from the top)! Next time, stay with us – at the Casa de Benito. You can find us on Airbnb.

  12. Those are some great shots of a beautiful city. I’ve always enjoyed the bright colors that are used liberally throughout Latin America. It’s one of the things that stuck with me from my very first visit to Mexico over 10 years ago.

  13. We recently visited some of Mexico’s colonial towns – Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and Morelia. We’d heard that Oaxaca is lovely too. And we can see from your photos that it is…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *