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Oaxaca Geography

Compass on map
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The city of Oaxaca – officially Oaxaca de Juárez – is the capital and largest city of the state of Oaxaca. It is located in the Valles Centrales foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur at the base of Cerro del Fortin, the highest point in the city and its symbol.

Oaxaca extends beyond the banks of the Atoyac River to the site of Monte Alban to the west, north to San Jacinto Amilpas, east to Santa Cruz Amilpas and south to Animas Truijano. Its elevation is just over 5,100 ft. and it is located at latitude 17 North and longitude 96 West, approximately 300 miles southwest of Mexico City.

The state of Oaxaca is bordered by the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Guerrero and Chiapas and the Pacific Ocean. It has the most diverse variety of flora and fauna of all the states of Mexico, including seven of the nine types of terrestrial plants in existence on earth. The state also has about 30,000 species of vegetation, which make up 5 percent of the total plant species in the world. Mountain ranges and terrain make up as much as 90 percent of the state.

Oaxaca lies on the boundary where the Cocos Plate is subducted beneath the North American Plate, which results in frequent seismic activity, including a 7.2 earthquake in 2018.

Notably, less than 20-minutes from the city of Oaxaca by automobile is Monte Alban, the most important and well-preserved archaeological site in the Oaxaca Valley.

Oaxaca is in the Central Standard Time zone and observes daylight saving time beginning the first Sunday in April and ending the last Sunday in October of each year.