The following contains important information for tourists visiting the city of Oaxaca.
There used to be no direct U.S. flights to the city of Oaxaca. Normal stops included Guadalajara or Mexico City or both. However, Aeromexico, Delta and United airlines now have daily nonstop flights from Houston (IAH) to Oaxaca using Embraer RJ jets. Mexicana airlines offers nonstop flights to Oaxaca from Mexico City. A toll road that runs from Mexico City to Oaxaca saves a lot of driving time compared to the old road. The original road was hard to navigate and very poorly marked.
I have friends who drove this old road and they said that they often lost the road in small villages and had to ask directions of the locals.
Photo right: Typical hillside house, outskirts
There is a service center located at 122 Trujano Street on the corner of 20th Noviembre that offers long distance phone calls, fax services, and a Internet connection. This building is located about 2 blocks north of the zocalo. There are many Internet cafes within Oaxaca all providing service at a reasonable per minute charge. Many hotels offer free Wi-Fi access or have their own computer terminals on site for hotel guests to use.
There is an upscale jewelry store located on Calle 5 de Mayo called Oro De Monte Alban. They specialize in replicas of Mixtec and Zapotec jewelry including some very intricately crafted gold masks. This is only one of several nice jewelry stores in this area. These stores are located near the Hotel Presidente Stouffer. It is probably because of the clientele of that hotel that these stores are located here. Visit: www.orodemontealban.com
Tobala Mezcal de Oaxaca sells Mezcal (an alcoholic Mestizo drink) and is located at 20 de Noviembre. There are also several other Mezcal dealers in this area. For more information about Oaxacan Mezcal visit: www.mezcalfromoaxaca.com
Interdisa, a money exchange is located at the corner of Hidalgo and Valdivieso. Cash Express is located at 201 Macedonio Alcala Street. Exchanging money is fairly convenient and fast. However, this means that you have to carry cash which can easily be lost. It also means that you may be carrying travelers checks which are not usually given a good exchange rate. I found that the best way for getting money was through the 24 hour ATM machines. Your bank may charge you a dollar or two for the transaction but you save money in the much better exchange rate then that of cash and traveler’s checks. The majority of ATM’s are located near the zocalo. All the ATM’s that I saw were situated in a small room that you accessed by sliding your ATM card through a special slot. Serfin, Banamex, Bital, Bancomer, and Banco Union are several of the banks near the zocalo that have ATM’s.
There are several movie theatres in Oaxaca. One is located just north of the zocalo and the other is located also located north, but about 8 blocks from the zocalo on the corner of Berriozabal street, across from the Parque Paseo Juarez. Most theatres charge about 50 pesos per person or around $4 US.
Tourist information is located on the corners of Cinco del Mayo and Morelos Street and also at the corner of Independencia and Garcia Vigil. These tourist offices are excellent resources for travelers. A visit here is usually with someone who is a local; this person may be able to refer you to new or “local” restaurants or specific “in the know” attractions that are not listed in general travel guides. There is nothing quite like a local person to give you information about where they live. These tourist offices also can help you with securing tour operators.
All services and products include a VAT (value added tax) Tips to waiters are between 10% and 15%. Bellhops are usually given around 13 pesos or approximately one US dollar.