Lovely but Lonely Oaxaca

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Day 26: Oaxaca, Mexico

After a short detour to Belize and Guatemala, heading to Oaxaca was no easy feat. It was my first overnight bus ride, 16 hours and out of the way.

Oaxaca is a UNESCO cultural heritage site, primarily due to its culinary heritage, which is considered on par with Paris and Rome. It was a must-see destination and I planned to stay a week to eat everything I could.

I arrived at my hostel and I was surprised to find out that I was the only person there. Literally the only person.

It didn’t bother me the first day as I was tired from the bus and needed to research what food I was going to eat for the next few days.

Yesterday again no one arrived.

But I didn’t mind as I went to the photography and graphics arts museums, ate Mexican antojitos and then spent the evening in the common room, which had leather couches and a flat screen television with satellite.


But now it’s Day 3 and the only people I’ve really had any conversation with are the girls at reception. They are very kind but don’t know very much English and I’ve run out of Spanish phrases to use.

It’s low season here so things probably aren’t going to turn around. It’s so hot that I’m tempted to visit one of the Puerto Escondido beaches but do I want to do that alone?

While the city is beautiful and everything I’ve eaten in Oaxaca is amazing, I’m starting to feel a little isolated and there’s only so much VH1 I can watch.

Tomorrow I’m signing up for Spanish lessons. I’ve become increasingly frustrated that I can’t really communicate with locals and it’s time to take the next step.

It’s more expensive than in Guatemala but I need something to do for the next 5 days and I’m guaranteed to meet other travelers.

Wish me luck!

Join the Conversation

  1. Learning Spanish is an excellent idea! Mexicans are pretty witty people and fun to talk to. Good luck on your learning!

    P.S. I found it helpful to learn from music. Try Julieta Venegas for some inspiration to learn.

  2. Ayngelina Author says:

    Thanks for the tip Kyle, downloading Otra Cosa as I write!

  3. Buena suerte amiga! Tus fotos son muy lindas!!!

  4. Cornelius Aesop says:

    Great pics, and I agree with Kyle listening to music is a great way and Julieta Venegas is a great musician. Also try La quinta estacion (spain) and Mana (columbia?). Have you noticed any regional difference in language? Also try writing down, learn and use a new phrase daily plus learning how to conjugate verbs would be helpful.

  5. This is my concern with some part of traveling alone. Luckily, if I ever feel alone, I can hopefully find some internet connection and skype back home for some sense of comfort (esp cause my gf is staying behind most of the trip). I hope the rest of your stay gets a little more interaction but, the real point of this story is, you’re eating good!

  6. Christine says:

    That’s so crazy that no one is there! As independent as I am, it still nice just to have other people around. Spanish lessons are a great idea, and i can’t wait to hear about the food 🙂

  7. I studied in Guatemala for 2 months and it was the best thing I ever did. You will pick it up really quickly and you will retain it, because you will be using it every day!! I still speak it pretty well, despite having done this a few years ago.

  8. Sofia - As We Travel says:

    Haha maybe something good will come out of this isolation then? I felt the same living in Switzerland.
    It’s easy not to bother learning a language when you can get away with it, but when you realize you can’t talk to anyone you’re forced to learn the language – which in the end is something to be grateful for 🙂
    Good luck with the Spanish classes!

  9. i don’t know what the price for a dorm room is but adrian and I stayed at a great place just outside the city on one of the hills and the family that ran it were soooo awesome that I’d say visit them just to hang out with folks (the sons spoke really good english too) i can’t remember the name but it’s one of the places in my delicious links that you nabbed.

  10. Thanks for the tip Kyle, downloading Otra Cosa as I write!

  11. why weren’t there any other people there? That would have made me kind of crazy… just because in that kind of environment of being in a new place where I didn’t speak the language would have left way too much time for my imagination to run away with it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Apparently May is low season in Mexico – really really low season. Perfect for couples but maybe not solo travelers.

  12. You’re in Oaxaca? Head over to Puerto Escondido Ayngelina, there is no way you’ll be alone there. It is a beach town with one of the most famous surfing waves in the world (huge sometimes) and surfers from all over the world travel there just because of that. It is great too because at the same time the beach is wide and never crowded. Oh, and I recommend you stay at Zicatela beach, not in town 🙂 Send me some pics!

  13. Michael Hodson says:

    one of my favorite places in Mexico… and great, great food!

  14. Oaxaca is on our list of must see places! Not only for the coffee but it is such a beautiful city!

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