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Where to stay, where to eat, what to do

Oaxaca: pack your bags Add to ...

Getting there Mexicana flies from several Canadian cities to Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido via Mexico City.

Apartments in Oaxaca
Vacation Rentals by Owner
vrbo.com. Lists rentals in Oaxaca. Oaxaca Lending Library www.oaxlibrary.com. Lists two-bedroom apartments from about $700 for two weeks. Apartments in Puerto Escondido Coco Realty coco-realty.com. From about $400 a week for a two-bedroom condo.

The Hotel Victoria
( www.hotelvictoriaoax.com.mx, from $150) and the Hotel Mision del Los Angeles ( www.misiondelosangeles.com, $150) are both near the centre of Oaxaca, in quieter parts of town and have pools for children as well as restaurants. The Parador Santo Domingo de Guzman is a vacation apartment complex with a small pool located next to the majestic Santo Domingo Church which houses the Regional Museum of Oaxaca, a treasure trove of history pre and post the Spanish Conquest. It is a 10-minute walk from the city centre www.paradorstodomingo.com.mx. (Weekly rates start at approximately $450 a week). Casamar www.casamarmexico.com. Apartments near the surfing beach of Zicatela; average $700 a week.  Tabachin Bed and Breakfast www.tabachininfo.com. Offers healthy breakfasts and central, quiet location.

What to do: Oaxaca
There are many restaurants in the city and most have a comida corrida, a set menu for lunch with three courses that offers a sampling of local cuisine. Two of the best are the stunning, modern Los Danzantes ( www.losdanzantes.com) and La Biznaga, most recently written up in Food & Wine magazine (Garcia Vigil 512).

Archeological and outdoor adventures can be arranged through numerous local tour companies; independent hiking can be accessed in San Felipe, a suburb in the city's north. The owner of a small store at the beginning of the San Felipe hiking trail will lend you a dog for company. The dog does indeed know the way.

Don't hike alone: Fellow travellers can be located through the Oaxaca Lending Library, or you can take a personal guided tour: Two recommended guides are ex-Torontonian Alvin Starkman (oaxacadream@hotmail.com) or English-speaking Roberto Gavidia (roberto_gavidia@yahoo.com). One of the most interesting tours further afield visits local, largely native, communities in the Sierra Norte mountains, expeditions can be day-only or overnight. http://www.sierranorte.org.mx

Puerto Escondido Oasis Language School combines surfing and Spanish lessons, including kids' lessons ( www.oasislanguageschool.com). Surfing lessons and boating trips are also available on an ad-hoc basis from outfits on the various beaches. Beginners should start at Playa Carrizalillo.

Canadian Michael Malone offers eco and birding tours in the winter season through the Laguna Manialtepec or the Sierra Madre mountains. 

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