Stories about travelers catching a taxi, only to be whisked off somewhere remote and left stranded after being robbed in Mexico circulate in the news, as do reports of bloody cartel wars. The dangers are real.
However, the U.S. Department of State downgraded its travel advisory for 2020, in part because the most dangerous areas are not actually frequented by vacationers. You can still delve deep into Mexican culture in safer states like Oaxaca, which is home to the city of the same name. Here, you’ll find multicolored colonial buildings dating back to the 16th century as well as colorful foods in open-air markets.
Experience a lively central square, the Zocalo, shop for handmade arts and crafts, and dine in intimate, authentic Mexican restaurants that won’t even know what queso dip is – Oaxaca is worlds away from overcrowded tourist destinations like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.
With a mountainous setting, you won’t find beaches and all-inclusive resorts, but you will learn about the history of the region, particularly when reviewing the murals at Palacio de Gobierno.