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Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca

Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca

Jardín Etnobotánico is 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 history of the Garden reflects struggle.

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.

A Guided Tour Of Jardín Etnobotánico

The Jardín Etnobotánico 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.

In the “rescue” area you can see agaves and cacti that have been rescued from development projects in other parts of the state. There is also an area of ​​medicinal and ceremonial plants, where the copal is found, which produces a resin that serves as incense and whose wood is used to make the iconic alebrijes. In an era where the exploitation of natural resources moves by leaps and bounds to be able to maintain the demands of daily life, the work that the garden does to protect endangered species and meet high standards of sustainability, is more important than ever. And boy do they manage to show it in a fluid and aesthetically beautiful way. A mandatory stop in Oaxaca.

Useful Information

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

What to bring:
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat or cap (also available in the
  • Garden)
  • Camera

Hours and Languages ​​available:

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
Oaxaca Mine
Secretariat of the Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development of Oaxaca

Jardín Etnobotánico guided tour recommendations

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.

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Ana Castillo, affectionately known as "Chiva" to most, was born and raised in Guatemala, though she did spend approximately three years living in Tennessee from ages 3 to 6 years old. Her early experience with English before returning to Guatemala for first grade resulted in her being 100% bilingual in both the English and Spanish languages as well as culturally "fluent" and able to navigate life, business, and relationships in the U.S. or Latin America with ease and finesse. Her love for travel and passion for education led to her live in China for almost three years teaching English and exploring China and nearby neighboring countries. This experience was one of profound exploration and personal growth. Upon returning to Guatemala, Chiva worked in the tech industry while freelancing as a tour guide before eventually partnering with Chelsea Glass to found Heart of Travel. She currently lives in Antigua Guatemala and continues to fuse her passions for travel, language education, and impeccable customer service into her projects at Heart of Travel. In her free time, Chiva enjoys hanging out with her pup, eating ramen, watching cool and interesting documentaries, and spending time with family!

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