Subject: Re: Oaxaca
Hello Barry and Denise,

The hotel where we stayed was Las Golondrinas at Calle Tinoco y Palacios 411, Centro, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca 68000, Mexico Phone: 9/51-43298 or 9/51-42126 Price range: $30 to $70 Very popular hotel about 4 blocks north of the zócalo. Its 29 rooms all face a variety of lush garden courtyards. Unfortunately they don't have a website. (A search of the Internet will bring up a number of travel sites with traveler's reviews of the property). Our previous bookings with this hotel have all been done by telephone and money wires.

I really don't have anything to add to the message I sent out last October. I'll repeat it here for easy access.

Airport transport: Remember to look for a kiosk or window where they sell fares for the taxis. Most Mexican airports regulate their taxi service this way. There are also VW vans which you might be able to share with others on your flight to save money on the fare.

Tourist Information: You'll find their office on the corner of Avenida Independencia and García Vigil right across the street from the Alameda de Leon (a square kitty-corner to the zócalo).

The guide company we used for our day trip out to Hierve el Agua, Mitla, Tule, Teotitlán, etc. was Turismo Panorámico de Oaxaca at Avenida Independencia #308. Our guide was Jorge Arturo Herrera. His mother, C.P. Simón M. Herrera Mier, was the manager. Tel. 4 75-43 or 4 31-32. E-mail; panorami@ or jarturo@ (Close the space after the @).

Sights: There are two markets in Oaxaca City; Benito Juárez Market and the Abastos Market. I recommend you visit both. The Juárez Market is one block south of the zócalo bordered by Las Casas, Cabrera, Aldama, and 20 de Noviembre streets. Abastos Market is further to the southwest across the railroad tracks near the second-class bus station. Although every day is busy at these markets Saturday is their most active with the Indians from outlying villages coming in to sell and shop.

The Church of Santo Domingo is an absolute must. Aldous Huxley called it one of the most extravagantly gorgeous churches in the world. Don't forget to tour the Oaxaca Regional Museum (on the Church's grounds) with the exhibition on Monte Alban, the Mixtecs & Zapotecs, and some of the finest existing pre-Columbian jewelry. They are located Macedonio Alcalá (the pedestrian-only street) and Ignacio Allende.

Monte Alban can be reached using the Autobuses Turisticos which run out of the Hotel Rivera del Angel at Mina #518. Calle Mina is a east/west running street three blocks south of the zócalo (westside of the central artery). Confirm with the tourist information office for times and prices. It cost us about $1.75 for the round trip. And we had 2½ hours at the ruins. By the way, all ruins and federal museums are free on Sundays.

Tip: The city streets are divided by Avenida Independencia (running east/west) and Macedonio Alcalá (running north/south) Once you cross these streets all of the streets' names change. For example, your hotel is on Calle Tinoco y Palacio. But south of Avenida Independencia it becomes Calle J.P. García.

Shopping: An outstanding store for excellent handicrafts and folkart is the ARIPO (Artesanías y Industrias Populares del Estado de Oaxaca). It is at García Vigil 809, two blocks east and three blocks north of your hotel. Another good shop is the FONART store at the corner of García Vigil and Nicolas Bravo.

Dining: Restaurant Las Quince Letras. A small restaurant off the beaten path. Pretty little courtyard dining. Nice place for lunch after visiting Santo Domingo and the museum. It's at Abasolo 300 3¼ blocks east of Macedonio Alcalá.

La Casa de la Abuela (Grandma's House) upstairs on the northwest corner of the zócalo. Overlooks both the zócalo and the Alameda. Try the mole coloradito. It's at Avenida Hidalgo 616.

Hostería de Alcalá at Macedonio Alcalá 307 across the street and just south of the Church of Santo Domingo. In a covered colonial courtyard we had two good meals here; breakfast once and then dinner.

Pizza Nostrana right across the street from Church of Santo Domingo, on the northwest corner of Ignacio Allende and Macedonio Alcalá. Hey, the food is great in Oaxaca. But that doesn't mean you won't want to mix it up with a little ethnic food. Go Italian. Hand made pastas and pizzas will whisk you away to the exotic land of Italy. Try the pasta carbonara.

Hotel Camino Real at 5 de Mayo #300 has deluxe dining in a superior setting. The hotel is housed on the grounds of a 16th/17th century convent. Even if you don't eat here you must visit the place. There are also some very good shops in the neighborhood.

Have a great trip.

John in San Diego