Where and what is Oaxaca?
The Mezcal Immersion Trip will be taking place in the city of Oaxaca which is the capital of the Mexican State of Oaxaca. We will use Oaxaca City as our homebase and the hotel is located in the centre of the City. Oaxaca is pronounced “wah-haak-kah”. Oaxaca is the fifth largest state in Mexico. There are 31 states and each one has so much variation. The state of Oaxaca is located in Southeastern Mexico and its Southern border runs along the Pacific Ocean. The city of Oaxaca is located in the middle of the state (about a 6.5 hour drive to the Ocean). Oaxaca is known for its culture and food including weaving, black clay pottery, chapulines, tlayudas and of course, mezcal.
How do I get to Oaxaca?
Flying into Oaxaca is easy! Many cities offer direct flights. If your city doesn’t, the alternative is likely to fly through Mexico City airport. From Mexico City, it is a short flight to Oaxaca. The airport code for the Oaxaca airport is OAX.
Is Oaxaca safe?
Is anywhere safe really?! We are sure that you have read the news about violence in Mexico and may have some concerns. And while bad things can happen anywhere in the world, we can tell you that Oaxaca is one of the safest states in Mexico to travel to. Just like when you travel anywhere in the world (or even in your home city), it is expected that you act with respect to others, follow the laws and overall, just be kind. We recommend leaving any valuables at home and while traveling, to not flaunt any wealth.
Do I need to bring cash?
We recommend having some Mexican pesos on your person for buying snacks and drinks, etc from individuals and small shops. Most restaurants and bars that we will visit in the evenings do accept credit cards. You can get Pesos from any ATM at the airport or in the Centre near the hotel. All of the banks generally offer the same rates. Banks that we recommend using are: HSBC, Banamex and Bancomer. But really any of them are great! We do not recommend using a private ATM (just like at home) as their fees are generally higher. Currently, 1 Canadian Dollar gets you 14 Pesos.
What will the weather be like?
Oaxaca City is not a beach destination but the weather is usually beautiful! During the day, you can expect the temperatures to be around 25 degrees celsius and up. In the evenings it cools down to the teens.
What should I pack?
On this trip we will be spending time in the city, as well as in the country at palenques and distilleries. You will not need your flip flops! You should pack appropriate clothing for city time, including appropriate clothes for evening dinner and drinks (shorts are fine). For time spent at the palenques and distilleries, we recommend wearing long pants and closed shoes just in case you have a close encounter with an agave plant! It also never hurts to pack a bathing suit, just in case the occasion for swimming arises!
Will there be free time?
Yes! Our plan is to jam-pack the days with trips and then have most evenings free. We will recommend restaurants for dinners and will provide you with a list of great bars. You can choose to come along with us each night or go off on your own – totally up to you.
What can I expect from the trip?
Our goal is that you return home feeling confident and knowledgeable about all things mezcal. We will be taking you to palenques and distilleries where you will meet mezcal farmers and see the process of making the spirit up close. On this trip you will taste a variety of mezcals, many that you will not be able to taste anywhere else. We will also introduce you to Oaxacan culture and food.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
While knowing the language is always an asset when visiting Mexico, for this trip it is not necessary. Throughout our time together, we will guide English translations. If you go on your own for free time in the evenings, many of the bars, restaurants and shops are used to tourists so will usually have one person on staff that speaks english. A pocket dictionary or a translation app can’t hurt though!
Will my phone work on this trip?
Almost certainly. Discuss with your service provider but Oaxaca and much of the surrounding area have great cell reception. We will be driving out of range for small windows of time on the day trips though as some of the palenques we will be visiting are tucked way up in hills and valleys. We truly do hope though that you really experience our time together by being present and not by being glued to your phone. 🙂
Bartender Atlas and El Rey Mezcal Bar are not acting as travel agents. You are responsible for booking your own travel and stay in Oaxaca.