Oaxaca Travel FAQs
Oaxaca tour travel information:
On the plane, you will be receive a tourist card to fill out, with information like your name, place of residence while in Mexico, how you arrived etc. In Mexican customs this will be stamped and you should then put it in your passport for safekeeping since it needs to be surrendered when you leave the country---- try not to lose it or throw it away.
If you are passing through Mexico City, make sure you give yourself plenty of time between arrival in Mexico City and your departure to Oaxaca (one and a half hours at least) since you will need to go through customs. Also, if you are passing through Mexico City check with the airlines to see if your bags will be transferred directly to Oaxaca or if you need to do this yourself--- the automatic transferring of baggage is new to Mexico and may not apply to your flight so make sure to check. In Mexico City, once through customs, you will enter into the airport proper where there will be rows of porters. Use one of them, they are reliable and inexpensive (about a buck a bag) and they will take you directly to the ticket counter where you can check in and re-check your bags if necessary. They will direct you to your waiting area through security but you might want to change US currency for some pesos in one of the many “cambios” available before going through the security gate. Once in the waiting area, keep checking the board for notice of the gate which will be posted there.
If you are traveling to Oaxaca from Houston you will go through customs in Oaxaca (which is quite a breeze!).
Once in Oaxaca, you will pick up your bags and walk a few feet out of the baggage are to purchase a ticket for a “Combi,” a VW van, tell them where you would like to go: Casa Panchita, 1319 Jose Lopez Alavez, Colonia Xochimilco, phone number 515-1887, and they will deliver you, probably after dropping off a few others along the way. Ring the doorbell by the large metal gates (they are an ox blood red color), they are way up high on the left and the right, and we will open the gates to greet you. From here on out you can relax.
Although your food, tours and room are paid for, you just might want to do some shopping and Oaxaca is one of the best places for it. Personal checks won't do you much good in Mexico, and neither will travelers checks which require you to always have your passport on you and the rates of exchange aren't very good. ATM cards work great in Oaxaca, and Dave always travels with a money belt. The nicer shops will take credit cards but a good rule of thumb is the in Oaxaca, cash is king.
The weather in Oaxacan will be warm and pleasant and if you are with us for Semana Santa it might even be hot. We recommend you bring casual summer clothes, light rain gear just in case, sturdy and comfy walking shoes (since we will be doing a lot of that), a jacket or sweater for chillier nights- casual is the operative word here. Hats are a must, as the sun at 5,000 feet is quite intense. There is no need to bring adaptors for your electrical things, they use the same plugs we do.
All the food at Panchita's is safe and the water is purified, but as you travel through Mexico remember to keep washing your hands (we really hand sanitizer too), drink nothing but bottled water, and try to steer clear of fruits and vegetables unless you know the place is safe. Please also take extra care when crossing the street, traffic moves at quite a pace in Oaxaca, and pedestrians are not held in particularly high regard.
The direct dial number from the United States to Panchita's is: 011-52-951-515-1887. It is easier and cheaper to call into Mexico then out so you might want to set a times to receive calls: 7:30 to 8:45 am (around breakfast) and 6:00 to 8:00 pm (at supper) are times when we are most likely to be at Casa Panchita.