By no means is this a complete list of what is available in the Oaxaca area. There is so much more. I am reminded by a reader that Oaxaca has a thriving printmaking history. You can often see paper printed images posted on buildings and walls like artful graffiti. Masters of printing sell their work throughout the city of Oaxaca and are well worth your attention. The machete is a common theme in prints as an agricultural implement, but also a symbol of the common people (farmers) rising up when they must.
I am going to expand this blog post with additional information you may find helpful should you decide that you'd like to visit Oaxaca and/or Mexico City. If you have no intension of ever visiting, you have reached the end of the pertinent portions of the blog post for you.
(FYI: I built Jose's website as a gift to his lovely family after they took us to breakfast at a local eatery. Jose really took his time to show this art teacher the "real Oaxaca." It was my "thank you" gift.)
If your phone company won't let you roam in Mexico, consider buying a sim chip at any number of local shops and swap it out for the week. For about $8 USD you can have 15 days of limitless calls, GPS, and internet. Weirdly, many cell phone stores are located within shoe stores. One was across the street from our hotel.
Tipping is customary in Mexico in the same places you'd do so in the USA. They tip a bit less though, 10-15%. When shopping in markets or outdoors, don't be afraid to bargain, particularly if you're buying more than one item.
Getting around the city is a breeze! Most everything is super walkable, but when you use a yellow taxi, agree on a price before you go anywhere, likely between 40 and 70 pesos if your destination is within the city but too far to walk. If you want to go further, consider contacting Oaxaca4U.weebly.com .
A guide to the surrounding villages and sights of Oaxaca can be very helpful and save you a lot of time. Most rental cars do not come with GPS, and addresses do not really make sense. There are many unmarked speed bumps throughout the city and you will ruin your car rental if you miss just one! Building numbers do not always go in order and oddly enough, in small towns, can change fairly frequently. A local guide can figure out the right address and keep you safe the whole time.
After shopping, touring, and falling in love with Oaxaca, you'll need to get all that stuff home again. We put all of our delicate purchases into our carry-on bags, and put most of the laundry into our checked baggage. Everything was safe and sound when we returned home. It's worth it to actually pay for additional checked luggage because shipping can be so expensive and unpredictable, but there is a UPS location in the center of Oaxaca if you need it.
Obviously a week is nowhere near long enough to be an expert on Oaxaca, nor is it enough time to see all the crafts and artisans of the area. THIS webpage will offer a more detailed list of what one could see and the variety of crafts created in this unique valley.
If you do go to Oaxaca, and use Jose' as your guide, please mention that you heard about him through this blog post and do tell him you are an art teacher. This way he can design a unique experience for you that will be far better than any hotel group tour.
Some may want to extend their plans with a few days in Mexico City (I did) to see the Museums and sites there. I can highly recommend visits to the following places: the Teotihuacan Pyramid grounds, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Museo Antropologia (top 10 in the world), Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Frida Kahlo Museum, and many more. Keep in mind most museums are closed on Mondays, but your teacher's photo I.D. can get you in free! Uber is the best way to get around the city. We used a local guide Aaron Cruz to see the Pyramids and Our Lady of Guadalupe. His number in Mexico is 52-551-1088-8421. He is best reached by text and picked us up from our hotel. I used his service as he was highly recommended!
I am considering leading a tour group to the city of Oaxaca for another visit in the Summer of 2019, the week of June 22 to 29 (Saturday to Saturday.) Dates may change should I have too many show days in NJ and my school year is extended. You would find your own way to the Oaxaca Mexico Airport, but the following would be included: hotel, daily pastry/coffee/beverage breakfast, 3 guided tours out of the city to see artist studios, 1 tour to see the Pyramids (guided) and cliffs, local lunch (4x) on tour days, and transport from the hotel to the airport on the last day, all with a knowledgeable driver. The estimated cost, without airfare, would be $1300 for a private room, or $1000 with a shared room. (Not including tips, alcohol, or personal purchases.) If you have an interest, please email me with the subject "Oaxaca Trip Info Please" to LOVSART (at) Gmail (dot) com.