Oaxaca is located 280 miles southeast of Mexico City where the Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre del Sur mountain ranges converge. The rugged mountain terrain encloses a temperate central valley, reaching to the Pacific coast. The capital city's elevation is 5,000 feet.
The geography of the valley provides for a mild, spring-like climate year round. The rainy season lasts from May through September, with rain generally in the afternoons. The coastal area remains hotter and drier, while temperatures high in the mountains remain colder year round.
The Oaxaca valley has been home to Zapotec and Mixtec settlements for thousands of years, with Aztec domination beginning in the 15th century. The first Spanish expedition arrived in 1521, and construction of the cathedral in Oaxaca began the next year. Oaxaca was known as Antequera until Mexican Independence in 1821, with the "de Juárez" added in 1872 in honor of Benito Juárez.
Oaxaca is an important culinary center of Mexico, especially noted for its variety of moles and chocolates. The blend of Zapotec, Mixtec and Spanish traditions is notable, with a unique style of music, dance and art on wide display.
In addition to the 16th to 18th century Spanish architecture and over 4,000 archeological sites, Oaxaca is known for its variety of outdoor activities. Activities range from water sports on the Pacific coast to mountain biking and hiking through a wide variety of beautiful terrains.
Article Written By Timothy Aldinger
Timothy Aldinger brings 20 years of experience as an instructional design consultant and corporate training strategist in the automotive, environmental, health and insurance industries. His professional writings have been published by Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan and many other major corporations. Aldinger received his Bachelor of Arts in political theory from Michigan State University.