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Oaxaca: Best City in the World according to Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2020

Travel + Leisure Magazine just announced that the winner of their “World’s Best Awards” for cities is … Oaxaca, Mexico! 

Cathedral, Sierra Norte, Oaxaca, MéxicoCathedral, Sierra Norte, Oaxaca, México

(Pictured: The Cathedral at the corner of Oaxaca’s Zócalo, with view to Oaxaca’s “Sierra Azul” mountains to the north. By Douglas Favero.)


See the complete 2019-2020 results here:

The award comes from T&L’s annual World’s Best Awards survey, where “Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.”


ExConvento Santo Domingo, Oaxaca, MéxicoExConvento Santo Domingo, Oaxaca, México

(Pictured: Detail of the Ex-Convent of Santo Domingo, now a world-class museum of Oaxacan history and culture. By Douglas Favero.)


T&L reports that “six countries — the U.S., Thailand, Italy, Japan, India and Portugal — each had two cities on the list,” but only one country had more than two: Mexico! With a whopping FOUR CITIES on the TOP 25. Travelers fell in love with Mexico’s “color, energy, authenticity, and creativity.”

As for Oaxaca, Travel and Leisure readers loved it for being a place bursting with all kinds of the values travelers want in destinations these days: “Art, architecture, food, history, spirits of the drinking kind, and handicrafts.”

(Pictured: Mezcal cocktail with fresh pineapple, Casa Oaxaca Restaurant. By Douglas Favero.)


One World’s Best voter, said Oaxaca is “one of the most delightful cities I’ve ever visited.” Editors at the internationally renowned travel magazine added: “A center for mole and mezcal making, Oaxaca is filled with fantastic markets, including Mercado Benito Juárez, where visitors can find local staples like grasshopper tacos. The city also boasts both a modern art museum in a 17th-century mansion and, 20 minutes away, an impressive pre-Colombian archaeological site. Artisanal culture is not just alive in this southern Mexican city but thriving. “We visited a basket maker, a lady making red pottery, rug weavers who dye their own yarn, and an amazing group of woodcarvers that paint/decorate the carving,” reported one T+L reader, who presumably went home with an extra suitcase.”

Around the Bend, Valles Centrales, Oaxaca, MéxicoAround the Bend, Valles Centrales, Oaxaca, México

(Pictured: Landscape of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca. By Douglas Favero.)


How were the results measured?

The editors explain that, “A survey developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure, in association with research firm M&RR, was made available at from November 5, 2018 to March 4, 2019. Readers were invited to participate through Travel + Leisure magazine, T+L tablet editions, newsletters, social media, and M&RR maintained, monitored, and kept the survey website secure, and also collected and tabulated the responses. To protect the integrity of the data, after the survey closed, Travel + Leisure and M&RR screened the responses to identify fraudulent votes, which were eliminated from the final tallies.

Voters were asked to rank cities according to the following criteria: Sights/landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, value.


Perrito vs. Torito ii, Oaxaca, MéxicoPerrito vs. Torito ii, Oaxaca, México

(Pictured: “El torito” dance with fireworks on a papier-mache bull, as part of a wedding celebration at Santo Domingo church, with a very excited dog chasing the sparks. By Douglas Favero.)

Congratulations, Oaxaca!