- Capital: Oaxaca de Juarez
- Area: 95,364 km² (4.8 % of the national territory)
- Population: 3.4 million
- Topography: extremely varied: Oaxaca has extensive coastline, but is also mountainous. Cerro Quiexoba is the highest elevation at 3750 m above sea level
- Climate: great variation according to elevation
- Flora: tropical evergreen forest, mountain cloud forest, pine and oak forest
- Fauna: squirrels, tlacuaches (Mexican possums), armadillos, white-tailed deer, wildcats, leopards, wild boar, tapirs, and spider monkeys
- Fiestas in Oaxaca: Guelaguetza festival, Noche de Rábanos, Day of the Dead, Calendas in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Oaxaca city and Monte Alban, Prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla
- Pueblos Mágicos: Capulalpam de Mendez
Oaxaca State (pronounced wa-ha-ka), in southern Mexico, is the fifth largest state in the Mexican Republic. Economically, it is one of Mexico's poorest states, but it is rich in culture and tourist attractions. The name of the state comes from the Náhuatl (the language spoken by the Aztecs) word Hauxyacac, which means "on the tip of the guaje tree." Guajes are common throughout the state, and its seeds are edible.
The state is best known for its indigenous peoples and cultures. The most numerous and best known are the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, but there are sixteen that are officially recognized. These cultures have survived better than most others in Mexico due to the state's rugged and isolating terrain. Most live in the Central Valleys region, which is also an important area for tourism, attracting people for its archeological sites such as Monte Albán, native culture and crafts.
Oaxaca de Juarez, the state capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a beautiful colonial city nestled in a valley in the Sierra Madre mountain range. The city is located 280 miles south-east of Mexico City. It was founded in 1521, though the area was inhabited as far back as 12,000 B.C.
Another important tourist area of Oaxaca state is the coast, which has the major resort of Huatulco, as well as smaller and less well-known destinations such as Puerto Escondido, which is popular among surfers. Huatulco, on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca state, is a resort area with 9 bays, several of them set aside as ecological reserves and protected from development.Oaxaca is one of the most biologically diverse state in Mexico, ranking in the top three, along with Chiapas and Veracruz, for numbers of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and plants. The climate in Oaxaca city is generally mild due its elevation, whereas on the coast the weather is quite warm year-round, perfect for enjoying the beach. The area is known for its fine indigenous handicrafts. The diverse population of about 3.2 million includes around 1.25 million native people of 16 distinct ethno-linguistic groups.
How to get there: there are airports in Oaxaca city and Huatulco, as well as good bus connections to and from major cities in Mexico.
List of Mexican states