Mexico: State of Oaxaca (2013-2019)

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(This banner shows a collection of small, colorful, painted wood carvings, a typical Mexican folk art that originated in the Oaxaca valley.)

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The adjacent states of Oaxaca and Chiapas share many characteristics. They are two of the most interesting states of Mexico, with major archeological sites, thriving folk art and culture, famous food, and gorgeous coastline. Both states are rugged and mountainous, somewhat isolated from central Mexico. Traveling through them takes time, even for short distances. Their people are perhaps more-independent minded than in other parts of Mexico, as illustrated by the numerous demonstrations occurring in Oaxaca City and by the Zapatista movement in Chiapas. Click here to access the page on Chiapas.

 

(2013) Oaxaca City and its valley:

Oaxaca City (pop. 300,000) is the capital of the state of Oaxaca. Founded in 1532, it sits at 1555m in a valley located within the Sierra Madre mountains.

 

Church of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca City.

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Natural colorful dyes.

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Monte Alban, a major archeological site founded around 500BC, located on a hill above Oaxaca city.

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Mineral springs of Hierve El Agua in the Oaxaca valley.

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Geometric patterns on the walls of the Zapotec palace of Mitla dated to between 450CE and 700CE, 44km east of Oaxaca City.

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(2015) Pluma Hidalgo:

Pluma Hidalgo is a small village (elevation 1300m) located in the lush Sierra Nadre del Sur, north of the city of Pochutla. It is best known for its coffee and chocolate production.

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Main plaza.

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One of the numerous shops selling coffee beans.

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(2013-2019) Zipolite:

Zipolite is a laidback village on the Costa Oaxaquena. The whole coast is a gorgeous succession of beaches, coves, rocky capes, tiny islets, and tropical lagoons. The 1km-long beach of Zipolite is beautiful, but for good reasons (treacherous currents) Zipolite means Playa de Muertos in Zapotec language.

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Most of the time Zipolite is very easygoing and not too crowded.

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In the evening, as the daily heat abates, both local people and tourists like to swim, play, or stroll along the beach.

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Because of the east-west orientation of the beach, the sun rises at one end of the beach...

 

...and sets in at the other end.

 

Bungalows colored red by sunset.

 

Singer and guitarist among friends.

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Despite its small size, Zipolite has an active growing group of talented mural painters. New vivid murals have popped up recently, while others have faded away.

- Photos taken in November 2018.

 

 

- Photos taken in December 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above photo shows a different type of mural, which is aimed at warning people against Chagas, a life-threatening disease caused by an insect-transmitted parasite that affects millions of Mexicans. Chagas, which can be difficult to diagnose, may result in serious cardiac and gastrointestinal complications.

 

(2017) Costa Oaxaquena around Puerto Angels:

Rock formations.

 

Pretty and quiet sandy coves.

 

 

Pelican on a rock.

 

Sea turtle.

 

(2016) Mazunte:

Coastline in Mazunte, another nice village on the Costa Oaxaquena, about 6km west of Zipolite.

 

(2016) Playa Ventanilla:

This beach located a few kilometers west of Mazunte is interesting for its lagoon inhabited by many birds and crocodiles.

 

The hole-in-the-rock formation that gave its name to the beach (″ventanilla″ means ″window″).

 

Crocodile in the lagoon (estuary of the Tonameca river).

 

Photo of Playa Ventanilla in April 2020, when people were not allowed to go there, due to the coronavirus. [Source: https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/coronavirus/crocodiles-take-over-oaxaca-beaches/ .]

 

(2015) Parque National Lagunas de Chacahua:

Located about 100km west of Puerto Escondido, this interesting park is somewhat off-the-beaten-track and gets relatively few visitors. However, its lagoon is much larger than the one in Playa Ventanilla. The small village of Chacahua is very quiet, except for a loud-speaker that every inhabitant may use to send messages to other people (for example, a mother may ask her daughter to return home as soon as possible).

 

Annotated aerial view (extracted from Google Map) of the park.

 

Fisherman repairing a net in Zapolalito village, the main entry point into the park.

 

The coastal mountain ranges seen from Laguna Pastoria.

 

In the narrow channel bordered by mangrove, between Lagunas Pastoria and Chicahua during the lancha (small motorboat) trip.

 

 

A closer view at the mangrove.

 

A few of the many birds in the park.

 

 

Laguna Chacahua seen from the lighthouse on Punta Gelera at the outlet of Laguna Chacahua into the Pacific Ocean (see map above).

 

In the park′s crocodile sanctuary.

 

Chacahua beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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