Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast is unique among Oaxaca bed
and breakfast accommodations in that we rent an entire spacious level of
our modern yet traditionally styled Mexican home to only one set of
guests at a time... a couple, family or individual (second rental unit
available upon request).
Completely private and with your own separate entrance, you'll enjoy
all amenities: fully equipped eat-in kitchen; landscaped patio with
comfy lawn chairs, stone hand-hewn table and four chairs, and
free-standing umbrella; bed sitting room with queen bed, large futon,
cable TV with DVD, 3 piece wicker settee, night tables; optional extra
bedroom with full size bunk beds and chest of drawers; 3 piece washroom.
Your Canadian hosts spent four years building their hillside home
with spectacular panoramic vistas using a Oaxacan architect, so you're
assured of traditional Mexican flare, color and design, yet with all the
conveniences of home without any cultural surprises: an abundance
of hot water for showering; complimentary 19 liter jugs of purified
drinking water; ceiling fan; as well as the little things like for the
kitchen such as microwave, electric juicer, coffee maker and
blender (as well as the usual appliances); and even a comfy cot for
taking a late afternoon snooze.
If traveling with children, we have a good crib with all accessories
for toddlers and infants, as well as stroller and high chair and car
seat. We can also arrange for babysitting services so as to enable you
to get away for a quiet evening, or spend a hectic day touring without
concern for boring the kids.
We have made special arrangements with a local hotel for use of their
swimming pool by our guests. We provide the comfort and services of the
large Oaxaca hotels, with the personal touch and quaintness of the best
of bed and breakfast Oaxaca.
Awake to the rich sounds of rooster calls and Mexican music echoing
across the valley, yet you're only minutes from the zócalo.
We supply the following breakfast foods for those on our weekly plan:
eggs, cereal, fresh rolls and pastries, seasonal fruit, tea, coffee and
condiments. We offer internet and laundry facilities at a nominal rate
to cover our costs. Bring your own laptop and the internet is free, 24
hours a day.
We include in our rate weekday morning drives to the downtown
location of your choice (about 10 minutes) be it to a Spanish language
school, market, museum or gallery. Taxi and bus service is available a
couple of blocks from the house. Our Guest Guide is comprehensive in
that it provides valuable tips about how to stay healthy in Oaxaca,
recommended restaurants including reviews, touring advice and safety
tips. In it you'll also find articles on topics you'll not find in any
tour books or travelogues. Tour guide services are available to the
ruins, villages on market days and other sites such as the black
pottery, rug and cotton textile towns, Hierve el Agua, 16th century
churches and monasteries, and more off-the-beaten-track destinations
such as full day treks up the mountain roads to visit mom and pop mezcal
operations where you can learn the age old production techniques and
subtle flavor nuances of the state's famous alcoholic beverage.
If you've rented a car or are driving your own vehicle, feel free to
avail yourself of our touring advice. Also available on request are
private cooking lessons in our large, traditional kitchen by one of
Oaxaca's pre-eminent chefs who for years has been receiving praise and
recognition from novices, seasoned chefs, and the international culinary
community including well-known food critics and restaurant reviewers.
Oaxaca is our passion. Our goal is to make your vacation as
culturally rich as possible.
What To Do:
A minute's walk from our home is a lovely stone and grass jogging
path winding further up the mountain, from which you can see the ruin of
Monte Albán on clear days. Tour guide services available to the craft
villages, towns on their market days, ruins, and of course to the mezcal
factories for touring and tasting. If you've been on a California or
Niagara wine tour, this will really interest you in terms of the
contrasts. However, the range in qualities of mezcal, you'll learn, is
comparable to that of the finest single malt scotches.
We'll design a custom tour of villages and other sites for you based
on your specific interests so you're not stuck on a tour bus or in a van
with 11 others, having to rush your visit to the black pottery village
or wait while others spend an inordinate amount of time visiting a tiny
Private cooking lessons by one of Oaxaca's preeminent chefs,
Esperanza Havarria Blando, are available as well. Our comadre has been
representing Oaxacan cuisine at national culinary competitions and expos
for 30 years.
Start your day with a visit to the market for fresh produce and meats
and then return to our large traditional Mexican kitchen to assist
Esperanza in preparing one of the seven famous moles, and more. Chat,
make notes on the prepared recipe sheets (there will be ad-libbing
without a doubt) and then sit down to a fabulous comida, with unlimited
soft and alcoholic beverages.
About Oaxaca State:
Oaxaca is the name of both a state in Mexico and that state's capital
The Mexican state of Oaxaca (pronounced wa-HA-ka in English) is in
the southern part of Mexico, west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Oaxaca
borders the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest,
Veracruz to the north, and Chiapas to the east. To the south Oaxaca
fronts the Pacific Ocean.
Oaxaca has an area of 95,364 km²; it is the fifth largest state in
the Republic. In 2003 it had an estimated population of 3,597,700
The state is located in the mountains and valleys of the Sierra Madre
del Sur range.
Oaxaca is the historic home of the Zapotec and Mixtec peoples.
Mexico's most famous leader, President Benito Juárez, came from the
Oaxacan village of San Pablo Guelatao. Other famous Oaxacans include
Rufino Tamayo, Porfirio Diaz, Francisco Toledo, María Sabina, J.
Alberto Canseco Díaz, Major League Baseball player Vinny Castilla and
many other writers, artists and politicians.
During the millennia prior to the arrival of the Aztecs in 1436,
the most powerful and influential groups in what is today Oaxaca were
the Zapotec, the Mixtec and the Mixe. The civilizations achieved by
these groups is reflected in important archeological sites including
Monte Albán, Mitla, Guiengola and Huijatzoo.
The influences changed when the Aztecs settled around the Cerro del
Fortín and down to the present Church of Carmen Alto where their
temple was located. The name of the state comes from the Nahuatl
designation they gave to the Central Valley around the capital –
"Huaxyácac" or place of the guaje trees because of the
great number of this species (Leucaena leucocephala).
As the Spanish who arrived less than a century later found this
difficult to pronounce it evolved into the present name of Oaxaca, for
the city and for the state. The settlement founded by the Spanish in
1521 as Segura de la Frontera, later known as Nueva Antequera, was
officially raised to the category of a "royal" city in 1532
by decree of Emperor Charles V (Carlos I) with the name of Antequera
Oaxaca has a number of native crafts, including the production of
alebrijes, weaving and black clay objects. Oaxaca is also known for
producing the Gusano Rojo Mezcal tequila, with the worm inside the
bottle. Oaxaca also produces animalitos, which are popular wooden
carvings of animals, usually painted with very vibrant colors.
About the City of Oaxaca:
The city of Oaxaca, Oaxaca (formally: Oaxaca de Juárez, in honor of
19th-century president and national hero Benito Juárez, who was born
nearby) is the capital and main city of the Mexican state of the same
name. It is located in the Oaxaca Valley in the Sierra Madre del Sur
Mountains, at 17°05′N 96°45′W and an altitude of about
1550 m (5000 feet). The important Monte Albán archaeological site is
close to the city. In 2003 the estimated population was 526,000 people.
There have been Zapotec and Mixtec settlements in the general area
of the modern city of Oaxaca for thousands of years, in connection
with the important ancient centres of Monte Albán and Mitla. The
colonial city, however, dates from 1532, when Spanish settlers who had
followed Hernán Cortés' conquistadores successfully petitioned the
Queen of Spain for a grant of land. They had already founded a city in
the neighbourhood, under the name of Antequera, on the basis of a
charter from King Carlos V of Spain, but Cortés had successfully
sought to have the entire Valle de Oaxaca declared as part of his
personal marquisate, and to have the settlers removed. The queen's
charter however secured the townspeople's rights, and the modern city
grew up within and around the one-league square that they were
The historic centre of the city is laid out in typical Spanish
colonial style, with a rectangular grid of streets surrounding a
central square, the zócalo. Most of the important buildings are
within this central area.
Oaxaca is far more than a tourist destination, and tourism does not
dominate the city's life. Nonetheless, it does have a significant
tourist trade, based on its numerous baroque churches and religious
buildings (many of which have recently been restored), its proximity
to Monte Albán, the ready availability of attractive local craft
products in its markets and in nearby villages, and on a reputation
for a relaxed style of life and friendly and courteous local
population. It has a very wide range of cafés and restaurants, many
of them specializing in the distinctive regional cuisine with some
claiming to be among the best in Mexico. Mole Negro, Rojo and
Coloradito are cocoa-based sauces, with over fifty additional
ingredients, that are among the main claims to culinary fame.
Earthquakes damaged or destroyed many of the earliest buildings in
the city, so most of those that currently exist date from no earlier
than the beginning of the 18th century.
Churches and religious buildings:
- Catedral de Oaxaca, also referred to as The Cathedral of the
Virgin of the Assumption, replacing an earlier building and
completed in 1733, which contains chapels of Santa Cruz de
Huatalco (1612) and Los Beatos.
- Church and former convent of Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
- Church of San Augustín, completed in 1722.
- Church and former monastery of St John of God (Templo y
Exconvento de San Juan de Dios), Oaxaca's oldest church still
standing, completed in 1703.
- Church of San Felipe Neri.
- Former convent (Ex convento) of San Catalina (now the Hotel
Camino Real, but open for viewing).
- Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, which contains a
statue of the Virgin of Solitude, crowned with a 2 kg solid gold
crown studded with diamonds – though this was the subject of a
- Governor's palace (Palacio de Gobierno), dating from 1884 though
on the site of several earlier buildings serving the same purpose.
Museums and the arts:
- Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo, occupying the former monastery
buildings attached to Santo Domingo church, and beautifully
restored in the 1990s to serve as a museum of Oaxacan life from
pre-Columban days to the present. Some important artifacts from
Monte Albán are displayed here.
- Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de
Oaxaca, MACO), housed in the so-called Casa de Cortés. This is a
beautiful colonial building, though as it dates from after the
death of Hernán Cortés, it can never actually have served as his
- Rufino Tamayo museum (Museo Arte Prehispánico de Rufino Tamayo),
with an important collection of pre-Columban art, arranged in an
unusual aesthetic and thematic manner.
- Museo de la Soledad, next to the Church of the Soledad.
- Instituto de Artes Gráficos de Oaxaca.
- Casa de Juárez, a museum devoted to the life of Benito Juárez.
- Photography Museum, the Centro de Fotografía Álvarez Bravo.
- Stamp Museum, the Museo Philatélica de Oaxaca.
- Railway Museum of Southern Mexico, in the former mainline
- Teatro Macedonio Alcalá, which as well as being a working
theatre houses a collection of romantic art.
- Planetarium, on the Cerro del Fortín.
- Juárez market.
- 20 de Noviembre market.
- Crafts market (Mercado de Artesanías).
- Mercado de Abastos.
- Los Arquitos (former aqueduct).
- Parks and gardens.
- The Zócalo.
- Alameda de Léon, diagonally adjacent to the zócalo and in
front of the cathedral
Ethnobotanical garden, surrounding the former monastery of Santo
Parque Benito Juárez (known as Cerro de Fortín, overlooking the
highway that enters the city from Mexico City, and bearing in
stone letters Benito Juárez's slogan, "El respeto al derecho
ajeno es la paz" (Respect for others' rights is peace).
- Parque Comunal de San Felipe, bordering the city and accessed
via the suburb of San Felipe del Agua, and including the
3250-metre Cerro La Peña.
Oaxaca-Xoxocotlan airport (IATA code OAX) is approximately 10 km
south of the city centre. Most flights are to Mexico City for onward
connection, but there are also flights to Huatulco, Cancún, Cancún,
Tuxtla Gutierrez and Tijuana. Continental flights between Oaxaca and
Houston have also been initiated.
The city has separate first class and second class bus stations,
offering services to most places within the state of Oaxaca, including
the coastal resorts of Huatulco, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Ángel and
Pinotepa Nacional, and also long-distance services to Puebla and
Mexico City and other Mexican locations such as Veracruz.
The major highways serving Oaxaca are Federal Highways 175 and 131,
southwards to the Oaxacan coastal resorts; National Highways 190 and
125, southwest to Pinotepa Nacional, Guerrero; National Highways 190
and 130, to Mexico City; the autopista 150D/131D, offering a more
rapid route to Mexico City; and National Highway 175 north to Veracruz,
Monte Albán is a large archaeological site in the state of Oaxaca,
Mexico, located at 17.02° N 96.45° W, elevation 1941 meters.
The name "Monte Albán" means "White Mountain" in
the Spanish language; the Zapotec name was Danipaguache, meaning
"Sacred Mountain of Life". The Aztecs knew it as Ocelotepec,
or "Jaguar Mountain".
This sacred Mesoamerican city is on an artificially flattened
mountain top some 400 meters above the city of Oaxaca.
Monte Albán was built over a period of over 2,000 years, starting
about 900 BCE, by the Zapotec people. The early art shows Olmec
influence. The most impressive building period was during the
Mesoamerican Classic era, from about 550 CE to 1000 CE. About 1300 CE,
the Zapotec were driven out of the site and surrounding area by the
Mixtec people. The Mixtec made further additions to Monte Albán until
they in turn were conquered by the Spanish Conquistadores in 1521, at
which time Monte Albán was abandoned.
Guillermo Dupaix investigated the site in the early 19th century.
J. M. García published an account of the site in 1859. A. F.
Bandelier visited and published further descriptions in the 1890s. The
first large-scale archaeological project of the site was done in 1902
by Leopoldo Batres. Eighteen years of more extensive excavations began
in 1931 under Alfonso Caso. Despite such detailed work, much of the
large site, over 80%, has never been excavated.
Monte Albán has many step-pyramids, temples, elite tombs, and a
court for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame. There are also
free-standing sculptured stelae, and large bas-relief carved panels in
some of the buildings.
The oldest carved stones at the site are the so-called "Danzantes"
(literally, dancers), featuring drawings of people in contorted and
twisted poses. Although the notion that they depict a dance is
generally discredited now, there is still little agreement on what
exactly the figures represent, but many archaeologists think that the
"dancers" are representations of tortured war prisoners.
Some of the original stones can be viewed in the museum at the site.
Building J has also invited much speculation, due to its unusual
shape and orientation. Alfonso Caso suggested it was an astrological
observatory, though other theories have been offered. The building
also features large carved slabs depicting upside-down heads, which
Caso called "conquest slabs" depicting vanquished enemies.
The site is a popular tourist destination for visitors to Oaxaca
and has a small museum. A minimum of two hours should be allocated to
view the museum and ruins. Trails at the site are used by joggers,
hikers, and birders.
A zócalo is a central town square or plaza, usually located in
Mexican cities. Zócalos were often the original central squares of
Mesoamerican cities that were co-opted by the Spanish conquerors. The
name "zócalo" is derived from an indigenous Mesoamerican
language refers to an architectural term for plinth.