What Happens in Oaxaca – Part I

It was a vacation. An exploration. An adventure.

And it was all creatively documented with our personal photographer, along with his wife, to guide us through the varied stops and rich cultural finds of Oaxaca. The inaugural tour by Cantimplora Travel brought together professional travelers for an opportunity to experience a unique destination and put their cameras (and precious iPhones) away to enjoy the scenery, people, flavors and more. The challenge to not take photos of our own was easily accepted when you see the stylish shots provided by Bernie on a daily basis.

The group gathered in Mexico City to take a leisurely drive to Oaxaca City, stopping along the way to soak in the stunning views of Popocatepeti showing off it’s plume of smoke.

Collage-Drive to Oaxaca City Popocatepeti -Cantimplora_Day1_058

Our first few nights were spent at Hotel Azul in Oaxaca City. It’s a friendly stay with clean design and warm staff making breakfast in the courtyard, including handmade tortillas for fresh quesadillas.

Collage-Hotel Azul

Hotel Azul-Mezcal Welcome.Cantimplora_Day1_012
Note to hoteliers: A welcome shot of Mezcal quickly cures any weary traveler.

After checking in the group went to check out the city square and happened upon a traditional wedding parade, or “Callejoneada” complete with dancers and oversized puppets of the bride and groom.

Wedding Parade.Cantimplora_Day1_023

Ashley and me had been working in Cancun the days leading up to the tour so we met up with the Cantimplora Troupe at dinner that night. Quick introductions and bowls of traditional-with-a-twist tortilla soup and we were becoming fast friends with our new traveling companions.

Ashley & Me.Cantimplora_Day1_047Collage-Welcome Dinner

The morning of Day Two took us to the historically fascinating site of Mitla. Once an important religious center for the Zipotec culture it is now well preserved and easily explored. Our guide described the significance of the earthquake-proof structural design, colorful details on the stone pieces and what elements in nature are needed to create the colors as well as the subtle but smart engineering the architects incorporated to direct rainfall from being destructive to the walls.

Mitla.CantimploraDay2005 Collage-Mitla Mitla Tour.CantimploraDay2026

Our journey continued to the Sunday market in Tlacolula.


A long street lined with local vendors providing everything from miscellaneous hardware to hand woven tablecloths to fresh produce or traditional souvenirs. The highlight being a large building at the end of the market filled with fresh food stalls offering chicharróns the size of my coffee table, butchers providing meats of all varieties and baskets brimming with chilies and chapulines (fried grasshoppers).

Collage-Market Barbacoa-CantimploraDay2038

This was our pit stop for delectable barbacoa tacos served with crisp slaw, cilantro and radish with a squeeze of fresh lime.

After a stroll through the market for some crucial gifts for home we headed back to Oaxaca to explore the streets surrounding the Zócalo and find a friendly mezcal bar for a sip.

Collage-Oaxaca CityMezcal bar.CantimploraDay2060

Cantimplora’s tour of Mexico: Oaxaca/Pacific continues through the Sierra Madre Mountains to the iconic surf spot of Zipolite, see more from my week with them in Part II next week or snag your own seat with them for their April 23rd and get your OWN photos from Bernie along the way.

All photos taken by Bernardo Buendia, Co-founder of Cantimplora Travel.

Travelers in photos: Samantha Calzada, Co-Founder of Cantimplora Travel; Dan & Casey of A Cruising Couple; Cacinda of Points and TravelAshley Colburn; Patti of Luggage & LipstickGil Arellano; Manuel Vargas; Hosanna of The Open Series and Nikky of The Pin the Map Project


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