|Subject: Re: Oaxaca?|
A car is not necessary. But, of course, it would allow you some freedom of movement. The vast majority of Oaxaqueños depend on the various buses for transportation. And they are very cheap. However, deciphering their routes can be difficult. Without some Spanish skills you may find them to be too challenging.
One option is to mix some local bus travel to closer locales, such as Monte Alban, with some tours to the more distant villages. The tours are quite varied; you can go in a group or you can hire a driver/guide yourself. Our group of 6 hired Jorge Arturo Herrera with Turismo Panorámico de Oaxaca. He picked us up at approximately 9:00am with a Suburban. Our all day trip took us to Santa Maria del Tule, Tlacochahuaya, Hierve del Agua, Mitla, and Teotitlán del Valle. He was very accomodating and we had a great time. This was in the fall of 1998. Last year a friend of ours traveled to Oaxaca and she also joined in some tours with the same company. She was also very pleased. Jorge's mother, C.P. Simón M. Herrera Mier, is the Assistant Manager for the company located at Avenida Independencia #308; Tel. 4 75-43 or 4 31-32.
Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this particular company. However, being employed in the Hospitality Industry myself I know how important good references are. And this company is very deserving of its accolades.
I highly recommend stopping in at the Tourist Information office also on Avenida Independencia at the corner with Garcia Vigil across from the Alameda de Leon. They will be able to answer most, if not all, of your questions, provide you with a map of the city and outlying areas, and tell you of special events taking place during your visit. Plus, it will give the young people working there an opportunity to practice their English.
If you do choose to rent a car consider the challenge of parking within the city. Find out if your hotel has a parking area or has affiliations with a parking lot closeby. Then be sure to confirm access hours to the parking area.
One last point. I have never been there during the Day of the Dead celebrations. This is most likely the busiest time of the year for tourism. Keep that in mind when considering possible crowds at sights, booking reservations, etc.
Have a good trip. And if I can be of any other assistance just ask.
John Rule San Diego, CA