Located behind one of the most important landmarks in Oaxaca, the Santo Domingo Cultural Center, the Ethnobotanical Garden is an experience for all the senses that not only plant lovers will enjoy. As its name implies, it is an exploration of the relationship between humans and plants, a kind of story that tells us about the cultural and artistic traditions of Oaxaca, as well as its place within the natural history of Mexico.
The land that it currently occupies was part of the Santo Domingo monastery, until it was occupied by the Mexican army for more than 120 years. In 1994, when the federal government ordered the relocation of the garrison, the state government developed a plan to convert the site into a luxury hotel, convention center, and parking lot.
But a group of intellectuals led by the Oaxacan artist Francisco Toledo, better known as “El Maestro,” fought in favor of the proposed garden and won. This is how the Ethnobotanist officially opened its doors in 1998.
The Ethnobotanical Garden displays hundreds of plant species live, all of them native to Oaxaca. Our passionate guide begins by introducing us to the section dedicated to traditional food crops, and explains the cultural and social value of what is considered the most important plant in the area: wild corn. “Corn is the most consumed cereal in the world. The Mexica, a warrior people known as Aztecs who conquered central and southern Mexico, were created by Quetzalcóatl, the feathered serpent, based on corn. Biodegradable plastics can be made with their fibers. Currently, the way to make biodegradable components for cell phones with corn is being studied, which would have a tremendous impact on reducing electronic waste “
We walk through the garden paths, passing through the only greenhouse in Latin America that works using geothermal energy, a technique for cooling the air with the earth, which does not harm the environment. It is here where we see that the garden not only tries to tell the past history of Oaxaca, but also speaks of the commitment to work for a sustainable future. All the plants are supplied with water through a cistern fed with rainwater and the solar panel of the garden allows it to be completely self-sufficient in terms of energy.
Address: Centro Cultural Santo Domingo, Reforma s / n esq. Constitución, AP 367 Centro, Oaxaca, Oax. CP 68000
Tel: (951) 516 5325
Facebook: Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca
Map: Click here
Spanish – Monday to Saturday, 10am, 12pm, 5pm $ 50 MXN
English – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 11am $ 100 MXN
French – Tuesday, 5pm $ 100 MXN
German – Wednesday, 5pm $ 100 MXN
What’s Up Oaxaca Magazine
Secretariat of the Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development of Oaxaca
The Garden can only be explored through a guided tour, which lasts approximately two hours. Arrive 15 minutes in advance, especially during high season (July and November)
Keep in mind that you have limited time to take photos. It is not allowed to profit from such photos.
It is not allowed to separate from the group for long.
Do not touch any of the plants in the garden, nor take samples.
There are ramps and bridges for disabled access throughout the Garden; toilets with ramps and special facilities for wheelchairs.
There are free guided tours for national students with up-to-date credentials and entry-level school groups, by appointment.