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Everything in this ex-pat haven is safely walkable—from the French-inspired San Augustin Chocolates & Churros café to the performing arts at Teatro Angela Peralta.In a city known for its rooftop terraces, an evening drink at Mama Mia with a view of the city’s landmark cathedral, La Parroquia, was a highlight.Once in Oaxaca City itself, we explored the area on rented bicycles, tasted mezcal, and took a day trip to nearby Monte Albán, where the remains of a timeworn city sprawled across a flat-topped mountain. Although it’s possible to drive from Puebla to Oaxaca by car, the nine-hour journey from Oaxaca to the Pacific Coast is best made by bus.The archeological site is one of the oldest in Mesoamerica, dating back to 500 B. I felt every bump in the road during the midnight ride along those many switchbacks, and at some point there was no road, just a dirt path.On our first foray out of this home base, Katie and I hit the ruler-straight highway with her Puebla-native boyfriend Raul in his (new) red VW, en route to Cholula.The small city is just 40 or so minutes away and is best known for an odd landmark: a 16th-century Spanish colonial church planted atop a grassy pre-Hispanic pyramid. To be fair, as Raul pointed out, such a scene is actually a rarity in Mexico.
In fact, getting around Mexico alone on the road is easier than ever.
On another day, a quest for the Los Ahuehuetes natural spring somewhere in the Pueblan countryside led to a roadblock. We saw weathered old men in cowboy hats clomping along on horseback while a cactus infantry stood rigid in the desert.
During city transfers, I watched Mexican millennials moving down sidewalks with backpacks, en route to a college class or work meeting.
utside the car window, whirlwinds of sand sashayed across the desert haze.
Miles ahead, the horizon disappeared into a shimmer; the windows were down and Blitzen Trapper played on loop.
Car rentals range from US$5 a day and bus tickets, which can be purchased online or at the station, range from US$10-$40.