The first thing you need to know if you plan on living in Oaxaca is that it is pronounced “Wahaka”. The second thing to know about living in Oaxaca is that you will never eat this well again. The city of Oaxaca, in the South Mexican state of the same name, is known as "Mexico's Culinary Capital". Its balmy climate is perfectly suited to growing Mexican staples such as avocados, limes and chilies, so there is no excuse not to eat the freshest of foods on a daily basis, ideally with a generous side of melted Oaxaca cheese, a ripe mozzarella-style semi hard cheese which is hard to refuse. If you are new to Mexican cuisine, speak to other expats living in Oaxaca or other parts of Mexico on the InterNations forums about what to ask for, and what to avoid. Of course, there is more to Oaxaca than meal times. Expatriates in Oaxaca will find it hard to miss the stunning Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, which is made of the ubiquitous green cantera stone and features a Neoclassical-style interior, while on the outskirts of the city lies the pre-Columbian archaeological site of Monte Albán, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Oaxaca does not fit the tourist image of Mexico. As it is an inland city there are no local beaches, and its proximity to South America means there are less American accents here than you may find in the likes of Tijuana or Mexico City. But while moving to Oaxaca as an expatriate is something of an adventure, there is nothing to be afraid of. The Oaxaca region is popular with tourists, and expats and other visitors can expect a hearty welcome. Before making your move to Oaxaca, brush up on your Spanish skills. If you need a bit of help with this, check out Expat Magazine or the InterNations website for tips on learning a new language and assimilating into new cultures.
Oaxaca is a busy city, but it can get unbearably hot during the summer months. Your office’s air conditioning unit will become your best friend at these times, so choose a reliable model, and keep a couple of back up fans in case of emergency. Mexico is a predominantly Catholic country, and religious festivals are celebrated in all the major cities. Holy Week (or Semana Santa) is a big deal in Oaxaca, with parades and celebrations bringing the city to a veritable standstill. Expatriates working in Oaxaca should therefore make sure to plan their workload around any major religious festivals, and enjoy the extra vacation days!