Oaxaca and the surrounding villages are wonderful hunting grounds for handcrafted pottery, woodcarvings, and weavings. The hunt itself may be the best part. Specialties include the shiny black pottery for which Oaxaca is famous, woolen textiles with the deep reds and purples produced using the natural dye cochineal, and highly imaginative alebrijes (woodcarvings).
Shops & Galleries
Most of the shops, galleries, and boutiques are in the area between Santo Domingo and the zócalo, comprising the streets of Alcalá, 5 de Mayo, and García Vigil and the cross streets. Standard hours are Monday to Saturday 10am to 2pm and 4 to 7pm.
Oaxaca City has two market areas: one just south of the zócalo, and the newer Abastos Market, about 10 blocks west. Both areas bustle with people and are surrounded by small shops selling anything from hardware to leather goods to fabrics.
A few shops specialize in chocolate (not for eating, but for making hot chocolate) and mole paste. The neighboring state of Tabasco grows most of the cacao beans used for the chocolate. They are ground with almonds and cinnamon and pressed into bars or tablets. To prepare the drink, you dissolve the chocolate in hot milk or water and beat until frothy. Mole paste, which contains chocolate, is used to make the classic Oaxacan dishes mole negro and mole rojo. A good place to hunt for chocolate and mole paste is along Mina Street, on the south side of the 20 de Noviembre Market . Here you'll find Chocolate Mayordomo and Chocolate La Soledad. Both offer a variety of preparations to fit American and European tastes.
Note: Markets are generally open daily from 8am to 5pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.