My husband and I just returned from a 6-day anniversary trip to Oaxaca. Since the first and last days were transit, we spent just 4 days on the ground, but feel like it was longer. We managed to pack so much in, and everything was memorable.
We stayed at Casa Crespo, a small B&B in Oaxaca City (on Crespo at Bravo, I think). We were about a 10 minute walk from the zocalo (town square) and about 7 mins walk from Santo Domingo (the Camino Real hotel area). We thought the location was very good for walking and we felt safe walking there at night. In fact, we felt safe in Oaxaca period.
For the first two days, we took cooking classes with Oscar Carrizosa, the owner of the B&B who had been a terrific help with we made our initial plans; very quick with the email responses. We walked to the nearby markets (very clean, featuring fresh poultry/meats, hand made quesos, lovely produce) with Oscar and he explained what all the different herbs were and what we could substitute for them back in the States. Then we saw a local mill/grinder where chilis, chocolate, and more were ground. Fascinating to watch; made for some good photos.
Back at Casa Crespo, we proceeded to cook an outrageous lunch each day consisting of 2 salsas, our own handmade corn tortillas, guacamole, soup (black bean one day, squash blossom the other), appetizers (quesadillas, fried squash blossoms with queso fresco and epazote, poblanos in crema), chicken in mole (one days coloradito, the other almond/tomato), ice cream (oaxacan chocolate one day, rose petal the other) and little fruits boiled in syrup, plus a fresh drink each day (maracuya one day, horchata the other). Needless to say, we ate very well at lunch and had no room for dinner either day.
The next two days we were typical tourists, but I have to say the cooking lessons were fun, educational, and very grounding. We felt like we left with much more than just tourist photos to show for our vacation.