The Real Deal in Oaxaca

Boris and the Catrina
Originally uploaded by planeta.

Things are a little dicey in Oaxaca, Mexico, but do some digging to find out what’s happening at ground level.

I just had a phone conversation with Ron Mader, who runs the responsible travel site He lives in Oaxaca and is in close touch with the vendors and people who run the tourism infrastructure. While the political situation there is far from settled, it’s more nuanced (as usual) than what you see on the 24-hour news channels.

“Teachers went on strike, the government sent in the state police, then the locals basically kicked out the police,” Mader said. “As a result, tourism has dropped 95%. Shops are open now though. The governor may be on the run, but it’s not as crazy here as many outsiders think it is.”

It’s often hard to find out from people living in a place what the situation on the ground is really like. He has set up a page with safety information and a link to a forum–the latter containing only posts from people who live there. So to get the real deal, go here:
Oaxaca forum.

  1. Joshua Berman

    I received a missive from a friend who just arrived in Oaxaca. Here’s is his report:

    “I’m in Oaxaca. It’s pretty cool here right now because there have been these sometimes violent political demonstrations since June against the Governor. The whole center of the city is blockaded with tires and burned out cars. There is anti government graffiti everywhere. Needless to say there are no tourists. All the hotels, restaurants, etc. here in Oaxaca are offering half-off or more because there haven’t been tourists for months. I have a nice hotel room for $10 a night. I might stay a while.”

  2. tim

    Thanks for passing this along. Proof once again that if you ever want to find a place with rock bottom hotel prices, the aftermath of a riot is a pretty sure thing!

  3. tim

    Just so I’m not accused of sugar coating things though, it is still dicey there–the conflict is still not resolved. A journalist was killed in crossfire today:

  4. Ron Mader

    FYI. The federal police have now entered Oaxaca. We’re keeping track developments for travelers online

    Also, check out Troops quell Oaxaca protests, but festivities wane

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