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Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

Tucson, Arizona
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Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

American mom travelling to Oaxaca in June with 21 yr old daughter. We lived in Mexico and both speak Spanish fluently, but have never been to Oaxaca. Any suggestions? We are moderately active, on a fairly tight budget, love to have fun and would like to spend most of our time speaking Spanish/with Mexicans.

Edited: 21 April 2013, 04:09
Oaxaca, Mexico
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for Oaxaca
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1. Re: Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

Book a hotel which gets mainly national tourists (use the Spanish tripadvisor; there are lots and lots of hotels which get mainly nationals). You can also scroll the hotel reviews in English, and towards the end you will find the ones in other languages. If there are lots and lots of Spanish reviews, you can use that as your guide. Holiday Inn Express gets lots of nationals, as does Quinta Real, Hotel Azul, La Casona de Tita, and a lot of the smaller more modestly priced places.

In terms of activities, once again I would try to avoid a tour bus which advertises to mainly the English language traveler, and use a private driver or guide who can speak to you in Spanish. Alternatively hook up with a Spanish tour or two.

In terms of what to see and do, your question is far too broad for anyone to appropriately answers, especially not knowing your specific interests. Try the Moon handbook on Oaxaca by Whipperman. You will also find over 280 articles which I've written about Oaxaca (mainly not the downtown attractions) by googling my name and Oaxaca, or something like that.

Make sure that your driver or guide will be willing to take you into the villages where the residents do not speak any English, as in the smaller villages where tourists do not tend to go. You can see just as interesting attractions, even more so, without the craftspeople, etc., slipping into English, trying to be helpful. And, of course you can subtley tell them that you prefer speaking in Spanish.

Enjoy. Alvin Starkman - Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast

Edited: 21 April 2013, 16:10
Columbus, OH
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2. Re: Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

Alvin's advice is very good. For a tour guide, I would recommend Juan Montes Lara, jmonteslara@yahoo.com for a first-rate tour of the archaeological sites. He is a licensed guide and keeps up to date on all the new discoveries. As such he will be more expensive than a driver, but worth it for anyone with an interest in Precolumbian Mexico.

To save money and if you are adventurous, you may want to visit the villages using local transportation (colectivos, buses, etc.) If you search this site using words like "visiting the villages" "Colectivos" etc., you will find some information. If you follow Alvin's advice, your hotel should be able to give advice. Also The Moon handbook gives information on how to find these inexpensive forms of transportation. Using them does take more time than a hired driver and you are squeezed in with 5 other passengers in the colectivo; however, they sure give ample opportunity to speak Spanish.

Another idea is to check out the Oaxaca Calendar. http://www.oaxacacalendar.com/home/index.php It is aimed at the ex-pat community but includes many lectures, plays, etc that are in Spanish. The publication "El Jolorigo": http://jolgoriocultural.wordpress.com/ comes out each month (paper and on-line)with listings and articles on all kinds of cutlural activites in Oaxaca. it is in Spanish. Attending some of the events such as lectures, art openings, and book presentations would provide opportunities to meet Oaxacans passionate about their culture.

On a lighter note, our 21-year-old niece visited us this winter and found that sitting on the Zocolo for about a half hour provided her with as many new amigos as she could wish ;-) [I of course recommend caution when dealing with strangers; since you have lived in Mexico I imagine you both know how to handle those who want to do more than "welcome you to Oaxaca and practice their English".]

Columbus, OH
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3. Re: Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

Whoops! I just realized I gave you the wrong URL for El Jorologio. The correct one is

http://www.eljolgoriocultural.org.mx/

The link I gave is to the old site that has been moribund since 2011. Sorry!

Oaxaca, Mexico
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4. Re: Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

Yes, with a 21-year-old, both of you should go to the bar named El Olivo, anytime after 8:30 pm, SW corner of Murguia and Reforma, entrance to the upstairs (where the bar is, and not to be confused with the downstairs restaurant) on Murguia. There will be Spanish and English speakers of all ages. I frequently go there, my daughter used to go there when she lived here, many of our Oaxacan friends go there, etc, etc, etc.

Again following up on voyamexico's advice, Mitla and Monte Albán both have excellent tour guides who specialize in their respective ruins and for about 90% of the time stay put at a particular ruin, go to updating seminars, etc.; so to really economize on the ruins, not a bad idea at all, and get the most true Oaxacan flavor, consider taking the second class bus from downtown Oaxaca to Mitla (your lodging will give you directions where to catch it depending on where your accommodations are located), and for Monte Albán you can get a dedicated bus for about 50 pesos a person, return trip to the ruin from the depot located north side of Mina, 500 block, inside the lobby of the hotel Rivera del Angel; then pay your admission and then get a guide when you're ready to enter the ruin .... the same process as well Mitla. For Mitla I tend to recommend Lalo for Spanish and Gilberto for bilingual, and for Monte Albán I've always received good feedback about Hector, Mario, Adalberto and Clemente, all bilingual. Each ruin has other guides up there, most very good, but I've throwing out those names because of the feedback I've received about each, over the years.

Alvin Starkman - Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast

Tucson, Arizona
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5. Re: Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

Muchísimas gracias por todas las sugerencias! Wow! We lived in Irapuato/Guanjuato and have visited Patzcuaro many many times esp. in the summer (I had an importing business.) Does Oaxaca also have a beautiful summer climate? It is hard to tell from average temp. charts. Is the rain fairly regular in June/July?

Edited: 22 April 2013, 03:47
Oaxaca, Mexico
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6. Re: Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

The rain used to be predictable, but no longer. Ten years ago the odd torrential rain began towards the end of April, and by June / July we were into rains during late afternoon and night 4 or so days a week, dissipating during the madrugada. (It rained hard last night, for a short while.) But now we never know, and for the past few years it's rained less during the summer proper, and daily throughout the entire day almost all of September. No one can give you an accurate summary of what it will be like this rainy season, no one. But it's really no big deal, and the rain viturally never impede's one's ability to get out and about to the villages, see downtown sights, etc.

Edited: 22 April 2013, 14:22
7. Re: Mom travelling to Oaxaca with 21 yr old daughter

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