Bus tours or walking tours are a great way for us to get an idea of what’s where when we get to a new city. There are some different ways to take bus tours in Oaxaca City. We took the laid-back route that fit our early retirement budget travel lifestyle.
About a block north of the Cathedral adjacent to the main square, sightseeing tour buses are parked to wait for customers. Some buses are double-deckers, some are not. Some buses go for two hours, others go for just an hour. All of these buses give tours in Spanish, no English. You can simply show up and buy a last-minute seat. The buses are parked at Avenida Jose Maria Morelos, near Calle de M. Garcia Vigil. Just have a back-up plan if the seats are all gone. That happened to us on a Saturday, so we simply went back on a weekday with no issue. We hopped on the top of a double-decker for 70 pesos each (less than $4 USD). It was an hour-long ride around the Centro District, which was great because that’s where we have spent the majority of our time.
If you’re the type of person who would prefer something previously booked to ensure a seat, take a stroll down the nearby andador, or tourist road with no cars, just north of the Cathedral. The name of the andador is Calle Macedonio Alcala. We passed by a few tour companies on that street, but we didn’t use those so I couldn’t name them. Sightseeing bus tours also can be scheduled through websites like Trip Advisor, but you will likely pay more.
Oaxaca City reminds me of both Antigua, Guatemala, and also San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. It’s much larger than those cities, but like the other cities, its Centro district is pleasant and colonial and colorful. At an elevation of about 5,000 feet, the temperature is similar to Antigua’s. San Cristobal was at 7,000 feet and it was a good ten degrees cooler.
First, some pictures that show why this city draws tourists in away from Oaxaca’s famous coastline. Then, video that shows why you have to be alert on the top of a double-decker sightseeing bus.
Note, it’s not uncommon to have wires or tree branches come at you fast while you’re on the top of the bus. And it happens not just here in Oaxaca City – but on every sightseeing bus ride we’ve taken, including Mexico City. You’ll have to duck and cover at some points. In this case, it seemed the route in Oaxaca City needed a good trim the day we went. It is rainy season after all, and everything is pretty green and lush, despite a canicula break.
Here’s what it’s like to have to duck and cover with virtually no warning. As experienced as I am at this, I almost had some trouble when a branch whacked my hand holding the phone, but everything turned out ok, as you’ll see after a few seconds when I can’t help but laugh at a man having his own trouble.
No one was seriously hurt; no one was going to “lawyer up” like they undoubtedly would in the litigious, uptight, greedy U.S.