Neighborhood — Cerro del Fortín, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
Cerro del Fortín Urban Hike • Walks & Hikes • (B)
Spectacular 360° views of the city and the surrounding valleys and mountains are the well-deserved reward for anyone making the moderately difficult trudge up the hill to the top of Cerro del Fortín. However, avoid the dirt road running north along the ridge behind the planetarium and observatory. It has long deserted stretches (making it especially attractive to two-legged predators) where several armed robberies and assaults have occurred recently. This warning is not just hype and should be taken very seriously.
- Approximately 1.7 miles (2.7km) walk northwest of the Zócalo; Cerro del Fortín.
- Beginning at the intersection of Indepedencia and Alcalá (across the street from the cathedral) walk up traffic-free Alcalá for about half a mile (0.8km) to Carranza.
- Turn left on Carranza and continue three blocks to Tinoco y Palacios.
- Turn right on Tinoco y Palacios and then almost immediately turn left on Boca del Monte. Continue one block to Crespo.
- Turn right on Crespo and continue about a block to the staircase on the left side of the Crespo.
- Continue up the staircase, through the tunnel, to the amphitheater.
- Veer right and continue to the road behind the amphitheater.
- Turn right at the road and continue for about half a mile (0.8km) to the planetarium. Here, the elevation is 5647' (1721m), about a 600' (183m) elevation rise from the Zócalo.
Auditorio Guelaguetza • Guelaguetza Amphitheater • (A)
Drawing tens of thousands of attendees to events throughout the state, the Guelaguetza is Oaxaca's largest, most dazzling festival. The main event is held in the city of Oaxaca at the 11,000 person open-air Auditorio Guelaguetza amphitheater on the side of the Cerro del Fortín hill, about a mile's walk from the Zócalo, while in the villages and towns smaller unique versions of the festival are staged. On the first two Mondays after July 16, known as Los Lunes del Cerro (Mondays on the Hill), the festival is celebrated by costumed dancers from the seven regions of the state performing folk dances of cultural and historical significance. The word Guelaguetza is Zapotecan and means "to exchange gifts". And in this spirit, the dancers symbolically exchange gifts by throwing produce to the audience at the end of each performance.
- Approximately 1 mile (1.6km) walk northwest of the Zócalo; Cerro del Fortín.
Planetario Nundehui • Planetarium • (B)
Located at the top of the Cerro del Fortín hill northwest of the city center, the planetarium runs shows Monday through Friday. The views from here are stunning. Take a taxi or hike there from the city center.
- Approximately 1.7 miles (2.7km) walk northwest of the Zócalo; Cerro del Fortín; Mon - Fri 8 am - 3 pm, closed Sat & Sun; Mex$22, child Mex$15; phone 951-514-5379.
Instituto de Comunicación y Cultura • Spanish Language School • (X)
General Spanish language courses are conversation-based and taught at multiple levels from beginner to advanced. The school also offers a full curriculum of specialized Spanish courses in health care, business, phonics, writing, reading, translation, literature, and Latin American studies. Some universities accept credit from the Institute. Be sure to check with yours beforehand. Extracurricular activities and workshops include intercambio, writing, tropical dance, and Oaxacan weaving and cooking. Homestays, posadas, hotels, rooms, apartments, and houses are available.
- Escaleras del Fortín 105, walk up the stairs from Crespo, on the left; Cerro del Fortín; 15/20 hrs wk, USD$150/200 wk, registration USD$50; phone/fax 951-501-2359; www.iccoax.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.