Travel Tips

26 Best Things To Do In Oaxaca, Mexico in 2024

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Oaxaca isn’t at the top of most people’s Mexico travel itineraries, but it should be. Located in the south of Mexico, close the Pacific Ocean, Oaxaca is a city where ancient traditions flawlessly blend with modern life. It’s a place where you can discover indigenous Mexican culture by touring ancient ruins and visiting some of the best natural landmarks in Mexico.

Oaxaca is also one of Mexico’s safest cities, making it an excellent destination for first-timers in the country. Especially because it features so many fun and interesting things to do that you’ll never want to leave. Read more: Is Mexico City Safe To Visit? Travel Warnings And Safety Tips

And if it’s not the Zapotec ruins or the local art museums that make you fall in love with the city, it will be the food. From the best local markets to popular Mezcal distilleries, here are all the best things to do in Oaxaca, Mexico!

best things to do in oaxaca mexico

Best of Oaxaca Quick Guide

  • Must See: Monte Alban, Zocalo, Hierve el Agua, The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Oaxaca markets, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Yagul
  • Where To Stay: Las Mariposas Hotel & Studios, Hotel Parador de Alcalá, Hotel Siglo XVII Art Gallery
  • Fun To Do: Cooking class, Mezcal tastings, Day of the Dead festival, Benito Juarez National Park
  • Day Trips: Mitla, Puerto Escondido, Artisanal towns
  • Must Try Foods: Mole, Chocolate, Tlayudas, Memelas, Tamales Oaxaqueños

Best Things To Do In Oaxaca

top things to do in oaxaca

The streets of Oaxaca are teeming with history and culture, and it feels like there’s something new to discover at every corner. Whether it’s local craft shops or relics from a different era, the city never fails to impress. Below are some of my favorite attractions in this historic gem.  

1. Oaxaca City Center Walking Tour

things to do in oaxaca walking tour

Kick off your stay in this Mexican city with a classic walking tour of all the landmarks in the heart of Oaxaca. It’s the best way of getting acquainted with the city’s top sights, and a must if this is your first time here. 

Walking tours of Oaxaca usually take 2-3 hours, depending on which one you book. Some of the places that are included in all tours of Oaxaca are the main city square of Zócalo, Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman, the Benito Juarez monument at Parque Juarez El Llano, and a few others. 

A stroll down Macedonio Alcala is the highlight of any walking tour of Oaxaca. The historic cobblestone street is lined with art galleries and restaurants and boasts colorful buildings, vibrant street art, and several craft markets. 

Practical Information: Walking tours of central Oaxaca normally last for 2-3 hours and cost $25-40.  

2. Marvel at The Gilded Interior of Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán

things to do in Oaxaca Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán

Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán is one of Oaxaca’s most famous landmarks. The monumental church is located in the heart of the city, and it is included in most walking tours of Oaxaca. 

It’s an interesting-looking building, but it doesn’t appear that special on the outside. That is until you pass through the gates and glimpse the lavish interior. The walls and ceiling are adorned with beautiful paintings, and much of the temple interior is gilded. The altar is almost entirely covered with gold, and it looks absolutely magnificent. 

Practical Information: Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán is open from 9 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday. Entrance to the church is free of charge. 

3. Attend a Traditional Oaxaca Cooking Class

oaxaca city things to do cooking class

Mexico is an excellent destination for culinary tours and experiences. I’m a little biased because I love Mexican food, but Oaxacan cuisine is some of the country’s best. It’s known for Mole, the traditional Oaxacan sauce made with chiles. But there are seven classic versions of Mole, and each is served with a different dish.

Book a cooking class in Oaxaca, and you’ll learn how to make Mole, empanadas, arroz con leche, and other Mexican dishes using traditional methods. Tortillas,and fried plantain are some of the foods you can learn how to make, but you can choose your favorites. 

After you’ve gotten your hands dirty and learned how to prepare some of the best Oaxacan foods, you’ll get to devour the fruits of your labor. I won’t lie, that’s my favorite part of any cooking class. 

Practical Information: Cooking classes in Oaxaca usually last 4-6 hours and cost $100-150. 

4. Check Out The Exhibit at  The Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca

things to do in Oaxaca Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca

The majestic Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca is one of the city’s most important museums for old Zapotec artifacts. It’s located on former monastery grounds, adjacent to the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán. 

With two floors of exhibits, the museum offers a lot to explore. Head upstairs to see the exhibit of treasures discovered at Monte Alban, as it’s a highlight of the collection. The artifacts displayed include wooden figurines, traditional Zapotec jewelry, handmade weapon holsters, and much more. 

Even the architecture of the museum building is a work of art and warrants paying attention to the walls and ceilings as you explore the different areas of the building. You can even glimpse the Ethnobotanical Garden from some of the museum rooms. 

Practical Information: The Museum of Cultures Oaxaca is open from 10 AM to 5 PM, Tuesday through Friday. The entrance fee is 90 pesos. 

5. See The Tule Tree

things to do in Oaxaca Tule Tree

I know, driving to a nearby town just to look at a tree sounds weird, but bear with me for a moment. The Tree of Tule is a Montezuma cypress tree over 1,400 years old. It’s also the widest tree in the world with an estimated circumference of approximately 42 meters. 

The Tule Tree is so big that it was once considered multiple trees. But it was DNA tested (I know!), and the tests confirmed that it’s just one massive tree. Because of its broad crown, its height is almost impossible to measure accurately. Laser measurements from 2005 estimate the tree’s height to 35.4 meters. 

When you’re done admiring this magnificent natural landmark, take the time to explore Santa María del Tule. It might not have many tourist attractions, but it is home to some excellent Mexican restaurants. I recommend Casa Embajador de Oaxaca for its delicious food and extravagant decorations. This tour is a great way to see the Tule Tree and other highlights of the area.

Practical Information: Santa María del Tule is a 20-minute drive from the city center of Oaxaca. The town is on the way if you’re traveling to Mitla. 

6. Oaxaca Textile Museum

things to do in oaxaca textile museum

The Oaxaca Textile Museum is a charming little museum you can easily visit during a walking tour of the city center. It’s only a couple of minutes from the historic Zocalo square, and it’s free to enter. 

Pop inside to see Oaxacan textiles, traditional clothing, and whatever temporary exhibit is displayed at the moment. The museum has a small collection and it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to tour the place. 

Practical Information: The Oaxaca Textile Museum has a free admission. It’s open from 10 AM to 8 PM. 

7. Ancient History at Monte Alban

things to do in oaxaca mont alban

Monte Alban is the most important archeological site in Oaxaca. If you have time for just one historic landmark in Mexico, make it this one. It’s just a 20-minute drive from central Oaxaca and is interesting enough to keep you busy for the better part of the day. 

I highly recommend visiting the area with a local guide to better understand the site’s significance. Monte Alban served as the Zapotec capital from 500 BCE to 800 CE and would later become an important center for the Mixtec as well. 

This historic site has survived the rise and fall of multiple Mesoamerican civilizations and offers invaluable insight into their history and heritages. Also, the views from the complex are excellent; you can see almost all of Oaxaca from here, which puts into perspective just how big the city is. 

Practical Information: Monte Alban is open from 10 AM to 4 PM. The admission fee is 95 pesos. 

8. Tour Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca

things to do in Oaxaca Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca

The Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca is located behind the Santo Domingo de Guzmán church. With a curated collection of plants native to Oaxaca, it’s a great place to visit if you want to escape the city streets for a little while. 

Step inside the garden and you’ll feel like you’ve walked right into a jungle, what with all the lush trees and cacti. Visitors can explore the garden only on guided tours, which take place four times a day. It’s important to note that tours in English take place only at 11 PM and are double the cost of tours in Spanish. 

Practical Information: The Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca is open for visitors from 10 AM to 5 PM. Tours in Spanish are 50 pesos but tours in English are 100 pesos per participant. 

9. Discover Local Artists at The Museum of Oaxacan Painters

things to do in oaxaca museum of oaxacan painters

The Museum of Oaxacan Painters is probably the best free museum in the city. It boasts a collection of works from local graphic artists, and it’s one of the best places to visit if you want to discover authentic Oaxacan art.  

Amazing paintings are exhibited at the museum, but also colorful figurines and sculptures. The exhibit often changes, so there’s merit in returning to this museum even if you’ve visited it previously. 

Practical Information: The Museum of Oaxacan Painters is open from 10 AM to 6 PM. Entrance to the museum is free of charge, and cash donations are encouraged. 

things to do in oaxaca shopping

The markets in Oaxaca are primarily known for food and spices, but also great for trinkets and souvenirs. Featuring countless food stalls, fresh groceries, spices, and all sorts of local handicrafts, they’re by far the best place if you want to mingle with locals and spend your money on unique Mexican items. 

Mercado Benito Juárez and Mercado 20 de Noviembre are the two main local markets in Oaxaca. The markets are across the street from one another, so you can easily tour both in a single afternoon. I recommend coming here hungry and exploring the wide selection of local Oaxacan food. 

Insider Tip: Vendors at the local markets usually try to upcharge their items for tourists. Learn some Spanish so you can get better deals when shopping in Oaxaca. 

Practical Information: Mercado Benito Juárez is open from 9 AM to 5 PM on work days. Mercado 20 de Noviembre is open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM. Entrance to both markets is free of charge. 

11. Try (To Make) Oaxacan Hot Chocolate

things to do in oaxaca hot chocolate

Chocolate has a very long tradition in Oaxaca. Cacao beans have been grown in this state for centuries, and Oaxaca is one of the country’s largest chocolate producers. 

Exploring the connection between cacao and Oaxaca is one of the best things about the trip to the state. Joining a chocolate-making experience is a great way of understanding more about the local traditions while also learning a new skill. And at the end of the class, you can eat the chocolates you’ve created, which is the best part. 

You don’t have to get your hands dirty if you don’t want to. Just order a delicious hot chocolate at a classic Oaxacan restaurant, and while you’re at it try mole with cacao. It’s the state’s most famous dish. 

Practical Information: Hot chocolate is served in all Oaxacan restaurants and cafes. Chocolate-making classes usually last for 2-3 hours. 

12. Discover The Immense Beauty of Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua oaxaca

Hierve el Agua is one of the best natural landmarks you can discover in Mexico. The geological site is famous for rock formations that look just like waterfalls. It’s an impressive site that might just be the highlight of your trip to Oaxaca. 

In addition to the petrified waterfalls, the nature preserve also features springs and pools. You can swim in the pools, just keep in mind that the water is quite cold. The views of the surrounding landscapes are wonderful and a big reason why so many people visit the place. 

Insider Tip: Hierve el Agua can get very crowded during the day when the tourist buses arrive. Visit the place later in the afternoon (4-5 PM), for smaller crowds, ideally after you’ve toured Mitla. 

Practical Information: The entrance fee for Hierve el Agua is 50 pesost. The nature preserve is roughly 15 kilometers from Mitla and 65 kilometers from Oaxaca. You can also take this guided tour to see the waterfalls and other popular destinations near Oaxaca.

13. Visit an Artisinal Town 

artisanal towns near oaxaca

Oaxaca State is home to many small artisanal towns and villages. All those colorful items you see at the city’s markets are made in those towns, and you can go straight to the source for an even better selection of vibrant local handicrafts. Many artists also hold workshops where you can learn about their craft and see if you’d be any good at it. 

Teotitlán del Valle and Santo Tomás Jalieza are best known for handmade rugs and textiles, while San Antonino Castillo Velasco artisans create gorgeous embroidered pieces. San Bartolo Coyotepec and Santa María Atzompa are famous for handmade black and green pottery, respectively. And San Martín Tilcajete is renowned for alebrijes, the colorful wooden figurines. 

Practical Information: Santa María Atzompa is the closest artisanal town to Oaxaca (20-minute drive or 1-hour bus ride). 

14. Stop By A Mezcal Distillery 

things to do in oaxaca mezcal distillery

Mezcal has been produced in Oaxaca for centuries. The state is the largest producer of the drink, and more than 90% of Mezcal sold in the world comes from here. I really don’t think it counts if you visited Oaxaca if you didn’t at least try it once! 

The best way to learn about Mezcal in Oaxaca is to tour a distillery. They’re abundant in the small towns and villages just outside the city and are often included in tours of Mitla, Hierve el Agua, and other famous landmarks near Oaxaca. The distilleries in Santiago Matatlan are the leading in the state, and they’re only a short detour from Mitla. 

Some of the best Mezcal tours in Oaxaca start in agave fields and end with delicious tastings. Learn about every step of Mezcal production while trying all the different iterations of the local drink. Just don’t do it on an empty stomach!

Practical Information: Santiago Matatlan is 10 minutes from Mitla and 55 minutes from Oaxaca City. 

15. Hiking at Benito Juarez National Park

Benito Juarez National Park is a 10-minute taxi drive from downtown Oaxaca. It’s the best destination near the city for hiking, mountain biking, and endless panoramic views. If you want to escape the crowded streets of Oaxaca and spend some time in nature, this is one of the best destinations close to the city. 

The park also offers the opportunity to spot some native Oaxacan flora and fauna. The hiking trails are marked and perfectly safe, and will take you to some fabulous viewpoints. There’s also a playground for children here, and several interesting sculptures are scattered throughout the national park. 

Practical Information: Benito Juarez National Park is open from 8 AM to 6 PM. The entrance fee is 20 pesos. 

16. Zapotec Ruins at Yagul

what to do in oaxaca yagul ruins

Yagul is another excellent archeological site in Oaxaca. The place is not to be missed if you’re on a mission to uncover all the best historic landmarks of this Mexican state. Also, Yagul is on the way when driving from Oaxaca towards Mitla or Hierve el Agua, so you can easily visit on the same day as one of the other attractions. 

This archaeological site is less famous than Monte Alban and Mitla, so it usually features much smaller crowds. Come here to discover the remnants of a former Zapotec city-state; if you’re lucky, you might have the entire place to yourself. 

Practical Information: The Yagul archaeological site is open from 10 AM to 4 PM. The entrance fee is 95 pesos. 

17. Mitla Archeological Ruins

what to do in oaxaca Mitla

The archeological site of Mitla is one of the best historic attractions near Oaxaca de Juarez. It’s approximately an hour’s drive from the city center, and you can combine this day trip with visits to other popular landmarks in the area as you’ll pass close to several notable sights. 

Mitla is a top destination in Mexico for Zapotec and Mixtec ruins, second in importance only to Monte Alban. The name “Mitla” is Nahuatl language and it roughly translates to “Place of the Dead”, indicating the site’s function as a sacred burial ground. Although it was first established by the Zapotec, the influence of Mixtec culture is evident in the area.  

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for ancient tombs and geometric mosaics that adorn most of the complex. The blend of Zapoted and Mixtec architectural styles is a wonderful sight and makes this area one of the best for understanding the culture of ancient Oaxaca. I recommend doing a guided tour of the complex so you can learn a lot about Mitla’s history and significance. 

Practical Information: Mitla is approximately an hour’s drive from central Oaxaca. The admission fee to the site is 80 pesos. 

18. Day Trip to Puerto Escondido

day trip from oaxaca Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is a beach town in southern Mexico and a very popular destination for a seaside vacation. If you have a car in Oaxaca, you can drive to this charming town in about three hours and enjoy a day on the beach. 

The town is known for fabulous resort hotels, vast sandy beaches, and a buzzing nightlife. And because it’s pretty much a resort town, it’s a very safe destination in Mexico. Come here for swimming and sunbathing during the day, and dancing and cocktails at night. 

Practical Information: This beach town is roughly a three-hour drive from Oaxaca. Buses take 9-10 hours to travel between the two towns on average. Local flights are also available. 

19. Partake in Day Of The Dead Festivities

oaxaca things to do day of the dead fetival

The Day of The Dead festival is one of the most important in Mexican culture. It’s a big event in every city in Mexico, and Oaxaca is no exception. The locals build altars, visit cemeteries, and pay respects to the deceased, whose spirits are believed to return home to spend time with their families. 

Day of the Dead is celebrated with parades, street performances, and music shows. Locals don colorful costumes as they take to the streets, and celebrations last well into the wee hours of the morning. 

Because the festival lasts for only two days, you’ll have to plan your trip around it if you really want to attend. Remember that Oaxaca is jam-packed during Dia de Los Muertos and hotels are booked out months before the festival. 

Practical Information: The Day of The Dead Festival begins on the eve of October 31st and lasts until the 2nd of November. 

20. Sensory Overload at Tlacolula Sunday Market

what to do in oaxaca city

Every Sunday, vendors from all over the state flock to Tlacolula for the weekly farmer’s market. It’s about 45 minutes outside Oaxaca city and a great place for souvenir shopping. 

Oaxaca state is known for its many artisanal towns that produce unique handicrafts. The artisans bring all their latest and greatest creations to the Sunday market, which is one of the biggest in the state.  

If you’re not able to visit the individual towns and villages, this is the next best thing. Shop for rugs, pottery, and alebrije, but also for fresh spices and cured meats. Street food vendors are also at the Sunday market, offering all the best Oaxacan local dishes. For food, shopping, and a fun time with the locals, this is one of the best things to do near Oaxaca. 

Practical Information: Taxis, buses, and colectivo (shared cars) can take you from Oaxaca to Tlacolula. Expect to spend 30-45 pesos for a ride in a bus or colectivo, but up to 300 pesos for a private taxi transfer, depending on your haggling skills. 

21. Snorkeling at Parque Nacional Huatulco

oaxaca things to do Parque Nacional Huatulco

Parque Nacional Huatulco is a wildlife preserve on the southern coast of Mexico. If you’re staying in Oaxaca for a while, consider coming here for two or three days. It’s an excellent destination for a beach getaway, with sandy beaches, hiking trails, and coral reefs. But it’s also four and a half hours from Oaxaca City, so not the easiest place to visit if you have limited time in Mexico. 

Lounge on the pristine beaches and swim in the crystal clear waters. Most beaches are in secluded bays and the waters are pretty calm. Snorkeling is also very popular in the park thanks to the coral reefs that are teeming with marine life. Private and shared snorkeling tours are available and the latter is a great way to save money and meet other travelers with similar interests. 

Practical Information: Parque Nacional Huatulco is roughly four and a half hours from Oaxaca. Admission to the park is free of charge. 

22. More Ancient Ruins at Atzompa Archeological Site

oaxaca things to do Santa María Atzompa

If you can’t get enough Zapotec ruins in Oaxaca, the Aztompa archaeological site is another historic place to add to your itinerary. Located on a hill just a 20-minute drive from central Oaxaca, it’s a place you can easily visit on quick day tours. Santa María Atzompa is at the foothill of Aztompa, and you can tour both destinations in a few hours. 

The ruins at this site are similar to those at Mount Alban, but with one major difference – Aztompa is much smaller and attracts fewer crowds. This place is practically deserted compared to Mount Alban, and it’s a great destination for travelers who want to discover Zapotec ruins but without the crowds that are common in the more famous areas. 

Practical Information: Atzompa Archeological Site is roughly a 20-minute drive from downtown Oaxaca. Admission to the site is free of charge. 

23. Museo de Sitio Casa Juárez

Museo de Sitio Casa Juárez will be interesting for some, and utterly boring for others. If you’re generally interested in history and politics, try to squeeze a tour of the museum into your itinerary. But if that’s not something that interests you very much, feel free to skip this museum. 

It’s dedicated to Benito Juarez, the first and only indigenous Zapotec president of Mexico. The museum is located in his former house, and it features period furnishings and interesting artworks. Visitors can also tour the small but charming garden and gain some insight into what life was like in Oaxaca more than 150 years ago. 

Practical Information: Museo de Sitio Casa Juárez is open from 9 AM to 6 PM every day except Monday. The admission fee is 70 pesos. 

25. Visit Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

oaxaca city basilica de nuestra senora

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude) is another grand church in Oaxaca city. Dating back to the late 17th century, the basilica is dedicated to the patron saint of Oaxaca. The church is off the beaten path and not too popular with tourists, so you shouldn’t encounter large crowds during the visit. 

It features opulent interior decorations, the best of which is a Baroque pipe organ. The walls are adorned with dazzling artworks, including sculptures, paintings, and stained glass windows. 

Practical Information: The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is 10 minutes from the main city square and entrance is free of charge. 

26. The Ex-Monastery of Santiago Apóstol

oaxaca ay trips ex monastery of santiago apostol

Located just half an hour south of Oaxaca, the Ex-Monastery of Santiago Apóstol is an architectural marvel worth visiting. It boasts a blend of Renaissance, Plateresque, Gothic, and Mudéjar styles, which work incredibly well together at this mesmerizing place. 

The complex features multiple monastery buildings, an unfinished basilica, a spacious courtyard, and a church. Roam around the grounds and pay attention to the details of Mudéjar decorations. Don’t forget to examine the lovely murals, which seamlessly blend indigenous Mexican mythology with Roman Catholic iconography. 

Practical Information: The Ex-Monastery of Santiago Apóstol is open from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is 75 pesos. 

24. Discover Pre-Hispanic Art at Museo Rufino Tamayo

The Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art is a popular attraction among art lovers who wish to gain a deeper understanding of local culture. It’s located in the heart of Oaxaca, just five minutes from Zocalo. 

The museum houses the personal collection of Olga and Rufino Tamayo. One of the main reasons why they wanted to open a museum was to prevent the illegal sale of these artifacts on the black market. 

Each of the pieces exhibited here offers insight into the culture of the indigenous people in Mexico. The museum’s five rooms house more than 1,000 artifacts, and the entire place can be toured in under an hour. 

Practical Information: The Rufino Tamayo Museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM, Wednesday through Monday. The entrance is free of charge.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

best things to do in oaxaca Hierve el Agua

How many days do you need in Oaxaca?

You need at least four days to explore Oaxaca and its surroundings thoroughly. 2-3 days are enough for the top sights in the city limits but allow for 1-2 days for day trips for important landmarks west and south of the city. 

What’s the best time to go to Oaxaca?

when to visit oaxaca

The best time to go to Oaxaca is between April and November because this is the dry season in Oaxaca. The city is especially popular at the beginning of November when the Día De Los Muertos festival takes place. It is also one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Mexico.

What food is Oaxaca known for?

Best Mexican Foods Mole

Oaxaca is famous for it delicious food but the most famous ones are mole, chocolate, and tlayudas. Mezcal and hot chocolate are Oaxaca’s best drinks. 

Is it safe to travel to Oaxaca right now?

Yes, it’s safe to travel to Oaxaca if you take all the standard precautions. Oaxaca is one of the safest places in Mexico and generally one of the best tourist destinations. 

Tips And Information For Visiting Oaxaca

visit oaxaca faq

Best Time To Visit 

The best time to visit Oaxaca de Juarez is in late spring or early fall. The city is most popular from April to November, and many tourists make it a point to come to the Mexican city for the Day of the Dead festival, which takes place at the start of November. This is the most popular time to be in Oaxaca, which also translates to large crowds. 

If you want to go when there aren’t as many tourists around, consider traveling between April and June. It’s the start of the rainy season in the city, and the crowds are generally much smaller. 

Getting There

If you can, try to fly to Oaxaca International Airport. It’s the closest airport to Oaxaca City, just a 20-minute drive from the center. It’s serviced only by airlines from North America and Latin America, with direct flights from the Mexico City airport. 

Taxis are available at the airport and can transport you into town for approximately 395 pesos ($25). You can haggle with the taxi drivers and it’s generally best to agree on a price before the ride. 

Getting Around

Walking is the best way of getting around central Oaxaca. You can visit most tourist attractions in the heart of the city on foot, but you’ll need to rely on a different mode of public transport to visit the landmarks that lie outside of Oaxaca City. Buses run to popular tourist destinations but they’re not reliable. Also, a 20-minute drive equates to a 2-hour bus drive, so I don’t recommend relying on the bus if you’re trying to be efficient. 

Consider getting a rental car if you’ve traveled to Mexico previously and you know what to expect on the road. Otherwise, it might be more hassle than it’s worth. The roads are not in the best condition and the traffic can be a nightmare, especially in the central parts of the city. Having a car is great for driving to places like Mitla, but keep in mind that you can just as easily book tours and let someone else figure out the transportation. 

How Much Time Do You Need

You need at least four days in Oaxaca for a proper tour of the city. There’s a lot to do and see in the city and it takes at least 2-3 days to visit all the notable buildings and landmarks in the Oaxaca city center. The rest of the trip can be spent touring historic landmarks and archaeological sites throughout the state. 

If you can plan for an even longer trip, you could include a short stay on the coast. Spend a night or two in the Huatulco National Park to end your trip to Mexico with a relaxed beach vacation. 

Safety in Oaxaca City

oaxaca visit markets

Oaxaca is one of the safest cities in Mexico, and it’s generally a great destination for tourists. The most common crimes are petty theft and pickpocketing, which could be said for virtually any other major city in the world. If you take all the standard precautions, you shouldn’t have any negative experiences while you’re in Oaxaca. 

And what do I mean by standard precautions? Don’t wear flashy jewelry and designer clothes and always keep an eye on your valuables. Wear a money bag under your t-shirt or a crossbody bag that you’ll always keep one hand on. Be extra careful in crowded areas, and never flash wads of cash. Also, whatever you do don’t go to the observatory. It’s a hotspot for muggings at knifepoint, and tourists should stay far away. 

Where To Stay In Oaxaca

Centro is the best neighborhood for first-time visitors in the city. All the popular tourist attractions will be a short walk from the hotel, as well as the city’s best bars and restaurants. Staying in Centro is particularly great for trips during the Day of the Dead festival when the streets of Oaxaca are particularly crowded, and the traffic becomes a nightmare. Here are some of the best hotels in Oaxaca for all budgets: 

So now that you know all of the incredible attractions, outdoor adventures and about the Oaxacan Culture make sure to add Oaxaca to your Mexico itinerary, you will find it is worth going a little off the beaten path for lot of reward.

Read more to help plan your trip to Oaxaca and Mexico

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