Why I Recently Booked a Vacation to Oaxaca, Southern Mexico

My flight boards in 20 minutes, and then I'm off to the Mexico's Puerto Escondido, known for its world-class surfing, and Oaxaca City, one of the birthplaces of chocolate. Some may question the decision to book a vacation to Mexico right now, with the recent death of an American in a Mexican beach town, December 20th's Baja murders, and the two major earthquakes that hit the Oaxaca region in 2017.

Is Mexico safe? Is it okay to book a vacation in Mexico?

These were the exact same questions being asked when I visited Oaxaca for the first time in 2004. I visited Mexico with a friend, and fortunately, she had extended family in Mexico and, therefore, the inside scoop. Now, having traveled the world as a professional culinary travel writer for more than a decade, I get it. It's a matter of traveling smart.

Many of the world's most rewarding travel destinations have bad reputations, but visiting Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca for the first time changed my life for the better forever. I spent three weeks eating delicious food, hanging out with cool people, swimming, and touring magnificent ruins. I only spent around $1000 (flight included) thanks to the low prices.  A vacation costs about the same today.

Here's how I do it: First, I'm a life-long backpacker, which means I don't give the appearance of affluence when I travel, protecting me from muggings and pick pockets. I extensively research a destination before I go, making sure to avoid dangerous neighborhoods and to follow local customs. And I never travel with a lot of money on me, so if I am robbed (which is unlikely), I will be able to quickly recover.

Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca blew my mind in 2004. After writing 3-6 articles a day as the editor of Eater PDX for the past 2.5 years, I'm ready to hit the road again. Sunscreen packed. Backpack loaded. Cat taken care of. Follow along here on Ravenous Traveler, as well as via my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, as my wife and I travel through Southern Mexico.

Hello, old friend (Photo by Mattie John Bamman)


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