Oaxaca’s Best Kept Secret

Was it my biggest mistake or crazy luck that brought us to Jalatlaco?

We were extremely disappointed with our room we checked in at The Posada San Rafael. How did I manage to fail so badly while choosing accommodations?

We were determined to give it a chance. “Let’s go get some dinner. Maybe things will look better in the morning.”

We walked up this street and were instantly charmed. The Jalatlaco neighborhood was bustling with people.
We chose this sidewalk cafe that night and loved it. They were putting up holiday decorations and stringing marigolds. The menu options were surprising. Steve had a chicken, bacon, manchego cheese sandwich on ciabatta with sweet potato chips and a pineapple-peach-coconut tart. My salad was loaded with chicken, apples, mixed nuts, goat cheese, and berries. They offer gluten free waffle that are tempting to me. Oaxaca is considered a gastronomy destination.

After dinner, we walked some more and noticed cute coffee shops, restaurants and colorful murals. We realized that we had stumbled upon Oaxaca’s best kept secret!

We were told Jalatlaco is the oldest barrio of Oaxaca.

I’m not sure of the significance of the skeleton theme of the murals. We’re here for the Dia de los Muertos, but the murals are permanent, not temporary holiday installations. They must account for the increased activity here for the Día de Muertos celebrations.
Basically, Jalatlaco is a residential neighborhood of about 9 square blocks. The vibe is similar to any of the trendy Eastside Portland neighborhoods.
Other than the neighborhood church there are no other sites of historical value.
At night the corner in front of the church has street vendors especially now for Día de Muertos. One night we just snacked on street food: corn from the vender above, a slice of pizza, apple strudel, and ice cream. I chose a pineapple with chili paleta (ice cream.) Mmm.
We have watched the progress on this mural. Our first night here we saw the artist painting the simple outline and it is now complete. I saw this beautifully dressed woman posing and asked if I could take her photo. She matches so well it looks like she is in the painting.

Our spirits were high until we returned to our second floor room and opened the door. It was hot and stuffy; there was a ceiling fan but no air conditioning! We opened the screen-less western-facing windows to let in some air. From the ceiling dangled two bare light bulbs. What we hoped might look better in the morning was a disaster!

The room was invaded by large ants: marching up the walls, across the ceiling and all over the floor, crawling on top of the bedside table, and at least one (that we are aware of) made it onto the bed!

We passed the most horrible restless night in the room; visions of swarming ants. No way could we continue with the plan of 8 more nights there.

In any case, we had stumbled into the cutest neighborhood, so the following morning we searched for a hotel vacancy nearby and found one!

We returned to Posada San Rafael, quickly packed up and moved out. We had paid for two nights, so I asked if they would refund the one night and was pleasantly surprised that they did.

Our second hotel is on this cobblestone street in the Jalatlaco barrio. The following five murals are on this block.
La Casa de los Abuelos (The Grandparents’ House)
Casa Armadillo

Our new room at Hotel Magda is on the ground floor and does not have ants, but the bed is hard. (The mattresses have been hard at several places lately.) They only had availability for 3 nights so we had to go in search of a third hotel with availability over the Dia de los Muertos holiday.

This is from a woodcut. I’ve seen two different woodcut artists’ workshops.
Painted mural at Pisa Pizza restaurant that looks extremely popular.
We found the best coffee at Cafe Blasón. Coffee is grown in the State of Oaxaca.

We have moved a to Boutique Hotel Casa los Cántaros and have a comfortable bed but it comes at a much higher price point.

Not sure how much longer we’ll stay in Oaxaca. There’s more we want to see.

Our next move is to Puebla, but I’m agonizing over hotels and Airbnbs and afraid to trust myself and pull the trigger on a decision.

It’s just the luck of the draw whether one gets a comfortable bed or not.

It turns out that Jatlatlaco isn’t such a secret. We’re seeing lots of tourists here. We were really lucky to stumble upon it!

We strolled 2 blocks on the other side of Calz. de la Republica to La Llano Park and found that neighborhood looks pretty interesting.
Blasón Coffee has a second location with outdoor terrace seating across from La Llano park. Disappointed that they don’t open until 11:00 on Sunday.
This poster says something like “Do you miss the life that you had? Me too!”

Everything is so colorful and fun in Oaxaca with the Día de Muertos celebrations. I will Meet You in the Morning with more photos.

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