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My husband and I want to independently travel to some of Oaxaca's nearby pueblos, hopefully by local bus or colectivo. Where can we best get information about how to do this?

And, during our short stay, which pueblos would people suggest we visit - to see artisans (especially textiles and pottery) and traditional market days? I've read about the various villages, but would love peoples' personal suggestions if they'd be willing to share!

We'll be there in two weeks! What's something we've got to make sure to do? (We will be there over El Dia de los Muertos!)
 

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Lonely Planet Mexico, and the Moon Handbooks Oaxaca guides are ones I recommend which I believe provide the information you seek.
 

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Fomento Cultural Banamex has published a great book on a lot of top artisans in Oaxaca get the book if you caan I think it is called Great Masters of Oaxaca or Los grandes Maestros de Oaxaca. With the book comes a pamphlet with all the artisans addresses. The textiles comes from all over the state and the coast also has many artisans but this book will keep you busy for a ong time. Get a good map of the state . The colectivos (vans and taxis )for many of the indigenous pueblos leave from around the market (abastos)
 

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Fomento Cultural Banamex has published a great book on a lot of top artisans in Oaxaca get the book if you caan I think it is called Great Masters of Oaxaca or Los grandes Maestros de Oaxaca. With the book comes a pamphlet with all the artisans addresses. The textiles comes from all over the state and the coast also has many artisans but this book will keep you busy for a ong time. Get a good map of the state . The colectivos (vans and taxis )for many of the indigenous pueblos leave from around the market (abastos)
The book Citlali refers to is actually entitled Grandes Maestros Del Arte Popular De Oaxaca and was compiled by Cándida Fernández de Calderon. The first edition was published in 2011 by Fomento Cultural Banamex, A.C. in Mexico City. Our copy, which is with me at Lake Chapala while Citlali is in Chiapas for a short visit, is in Spanish and I don´t know if there is an English version but that really doesn´t matter as this is an extremely interesting pictorial guide to a number of highly talented artisans with top quality photgraphs of the artisans and some of their most notable works.

No doubt you can find this beautiful book and accompanying pamphlet at any number of quality bookstores in Oaxaca City Centro or perhaps you can get a copy there in Minnesota before you come down and that plus a detailed Oaxaca State map, also widely available in the city should be all you need to start your journey. Inquiries locally will show you how to take colectivos or buses to whereever you may then wish to go but Citlali and I don´t necessarily agree on whether a colectivo or a rental car is the best mode of transportation. Either way, this should be a fantastic experience. Good luck to you.

As for suggestions on how to prioritize your visits to various pueblos where you can visit these compellingly interesting artisans and their communities, that´s a matter of personal taste, so the best thing to do is explore this marvelous book and that Oaxaca State roadmap and design your own adventure. While we live in Chiapas, another fascinating place, we visit Oaxaca State often and never tire of exploring there.
 

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I have spent lots of time in Oaxaca and speak fluent Spanish, but I have found taking the colectivos to the outlying villages a bit of a hassle. If you can afford to rent a car, that might be a better choice.
 

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… Inquiries locally will show you how to take colectivos or buses to whereever you may then wish to go but Citlali and I don´t necessarily agree on whether a colectivo or a rental car is the best mode of transportation. Either way, this should be a fantastic experience. Good luck to you.…
There are always trade-offs in life. The choice of renting a car versus relying on local public transport (colectivos) is one such.

In case the term colectivo is not familiar, these are 12 or 15 passenger vans used as small buses in many rural or urban areas to supplement or replace full size buses.

The colectivos are much cheaper than renting a car. The cost is generally around 10 or 15 pesos per passenger but can be more for longer rides. You can spend a lot of time in a colectivo for the price of one day in a rental car. A less obvious advantage of the colectivos is that you will often meet other people and it can lead to unexpected experiences. Sometime these experiences turn out to be the most memorable part of a trip.

On the other hand, with a rented car, there is much more control over the schedule and destination.

If the goal is getting to a destination as quickly and efficiently as possible and you can afford it, then renting a car is probably a good idea. If you subscribe to the theory that getting there is half, or more, of the fun, then public transit can be a real plus.

Those of you with cars should have stopped reading awhile ago. :)
 

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Well said, Longford. Even though we have a car, my wife, Citlali, takes colectivos at times in San Cristóbal de Las Casas when she visits various outlying indigenous communities but then she speaks pretty decent Spanish and has some modest and limited understanding of a couple of indigenous languages thereabouts. The human interaction one might experience on a colectivo in Chiapas and, no doubt, Oaxaca, is entirely dependent on one´s language skills so if one is not conversant in Spanish and, maybe, another local language (many indigenous people in Oaxaca and Chiapas don´t speak or speak very little Spanish), this may prove problematic.

I would never, personally, opt for a colectivo over a car or a rental car (quite expensive in Mexico because of the exhorbitant daily insurance rates) for two reasons. My Spanish skills leave a great deal to be desired and I am a very large person who doesn´t fit into those infernal deathtraps and I am also claustrophobic and you would not believe the number of people they can stuff into one of those vans before closing the doors and cutting off the fresh oxygen and any escape potential. On top of those disturbing irritations , when you get to whatever village you have chosen to visit the artisan you seek, you get to the combi stop when the combi gets there after an often long and arduous journey and then it may be time to hoof it some distance to get to the artisan´s taller and then the artisan may not be there and by the time you get back to Oaxaca City, the day is shot.

Most of our great experiences in Southern Mexico have come about because we had the flexibility of our own car or, at times, a rental car. We have visited many artisans and interesting places all over Southern Mexico by personal car whether owned of rented and we never tire of that. The private or rental car also gives you the chance for serendipitous discovery along the way to your destination, The side road or village that leads to unanticipated treasures and this is especially true in backcountry Mexico.

As we all know, you only pass here once as far as we are informed. I still remember staying in a luxurious hotel in Hong Kong back in about 1980 and opting for a room with no view of the bay to save a lousy $20 Dollars. Spend it now if you have it. There are no pockets in a shroud.
 

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[QUOTE=Longford;2050201]I think you meant to credit TundraGreen for the comment, which he, and not I offered. :)[/QUOTE]

Thank you Longford and thank you TG. I can still see but retaining long enough to respond is another matter.
 
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