Are you looking for awesome things to do in Oaxaca? You came to the right place! With us, you’ll see some of the most famous landmarks and historical sites. For example, the Santo Domingo church, the Benito Juarez market, the Macedonio Alcala Theater, etc.
If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, Oaxaca has a magical place: “Hierve el Agua”. Here, you can admire one of the most unique natural wonders in Mexico – the Hierve el Agua petrified waterfall. This is a must-see destination for you if you are a nature lover and an adventure seeker alike.
If you’re a foodie, Oaxaca has something for you too! You can go on a culinary adventure through the city, where you’ll get to taste some of the most delicious local dishes and drinks. You’ll also get the chance to visit a local mezcal distillery, where you can see how this famous Mexican liquor is made. The food of Oaxaca is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
To visit Oaxaca is a way to discover the paradise on earth you have always dreamed of visiting. You can find beaches, colorful towns, and exquisite gastronomy. Join us and experience this splendid and cultural state with us. There are thousands of things to do in Oaxaca waiting for you!
Getting there & around in Mexico/Oaxaca
Get in: by plane
Xoxocotlán International Airport (IATA: OAX) is located in the city of Oaxaca de Juárez, which is the capital of the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. It’s situated approximately 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) south of the city center.
You can get to the city by:
- Taxi 🚕: You can book an airport transfer here.
- Uber: E-hailing services like Uber and Didi are generally allowed at Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX) in Oaxaca. You can use such services to travel to and from the airport. However, regulations and policies can change, so it’s advisable to check with the airport authorities or the car hauling service provider for the most up-to-date information on their services at the airport.
- Bus: Upon exiting the airport, you can buy a colectivo ticket, a shared van that leaves when full and drops you at your destination. The cost is $105 MX per person (Zone 1 – Centro) or $170 MX (Zone 2). You can also get a private taxi (‘special’) for $410 MX (Zone 1) or $550 MX (Zone 2, as of Dec 2022).
Get in: by bus
You can fly from the U.S. to Mexico City, Huatulco, or Puerto Escondido, then take a bus to Oaxaca (6½ hr from Mexico City or 8 hr from Huatulco/Puerto Escondido).
- Buses like ADO ($552 MX), OCC ($422-470 MX), and Fypsa ($270 MX) run between Mexico City’s TAPO station and Oaxaca. Buy tickets online or at the station, located near the airport.
- Estrella Roja buses from Airport Terminal 1 to Puebla offer an alternative route to Oaxaca.
In the tourist area, you can easily walk or take affordable buses ($7 MX). Grab a free city map from info booths, even near the cathedral. Bus routes are tricky, but you can get a good map for $40 MX at the Oaxacan Lending Library. Taxis are abundant but agree on a fare beforehand. Buses stop around 21:00.
Like in many Mexican cities, streets might have the same name, and they can change names from one end to the other. In downtown, Independencia Avenue splits it into north and south. Most streets that cross it change names, except Morelos Avenue and Hidalgo Avenue. When you cross Macedonio Alcalá (north) or Bustamante Street (south), east-west street names change.
Places to visit by foot:
- Jardín Etnobotánico (Ethnobotanical Garden)
- Templo de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Temple)
- Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral)
- Benito Juarez House
- Benito Juarez National Park
Where to stay in Mexico/Oaxaca
Located in the coastal beauty of Mazunte, Oaxaca, Villa Luna de Miel is a romantic place that offers you an enchanting escape.
Overlooking the precious ocean, this retreat provides intimate accommodations, picturesque views, and a serene ambiance.
If you are on your honeymoon with your boo, this is the ideal place where you can spend magical moments. Additionally, it is perfect for traveling on a budget, and perfect if you are seeking a tranquil getaway.
Ballelita Posada & Bar in Zipolite, Oaxaca offers you a laid-back coastal retreat. It has comfortable accommodations and a charming bar. Indeed, this place is an ideal spot to unwind and discover some of the best things to do in Oaxaca.
Just steps away from the beach, you can enjoy the sun, sand, and relaxation. This charming place invites you to experience the incredible beauty of Zipolite while enjoying a refreshing drink at the bar.
This place in Puerto Escondido offers you a comfortable stay near the beach. With well-equipped suites and bungalows, you can enjoy a relaxing retreat.
The hotel’s convenient location allows easy access to the ocean and local attractions. Get ready to experience the beauty of Puerto Escondido while staying in cozy accommodations. It is perfect for getting to know all the things to do in Oaxaca!
This lovely and enchanting Hotel Boutique in Oaxaca offers you a charming and personalized stay in the heart of the city. It has a perfect location, therefore, all the things you can visit in the center of the city will be pretty close to you.
With its unique blend of colonial and contemporary design, this pretty-as-a-picture boutique hotel provides a comfortable and stylish retreat.
Discover Oaxaca’s rich culture and explore its attractions, knowing that El Callejón awaits you with warmth and hospitality.
Hotel Boutique Parador San Miguel in Oaxaca welcomes you to a blend of comfort and elegance.
Located in the heart of the city, this boutique hotel offers you a tranquil oasis with tastefully designed rooms and a charming courtyard.
So, get ready to experience the best things to do in Oaxaca while you stay in this unique and authentic hotel.
Attractions in Mexico/Oaxaca
In Mazunte, you can admire the beauty of a magical paradise on Earth! Also, you can visit lovely beaches like Rinconcito Beach and Mermejita. Additionally, you can explore the National Mexican Turtle Center to learn about marine conservation efforts.
Don’t miss a visit to Punta Cometa for stunning sunset views. Engage in yoga retreats, try some delicious seafood, and experience the laid-back charm of this coastal paradise.
Surf at Puerto Escondido
One of the best and most famous things to do in Oaxaca is to experience exhilarating surf at Puerto Escondido, a renowned destination for wave enthusiasts. Its powerful waves, particularly the famous Zicatela Beach, offer you a thrilling challenge if you are an experienced surfer.
If you are a beginner, you can find more suitable breaks at other beaches. Here you can enjoy the amazing surf culture, relax on the sandy shores, and explore the local markets. Surfing in Puerto Escondido is a must-do activity when visiting Oaxaca.
Explore Chacahua National Park
Explore the natural beauty of Chacahua National Park in Oaxaca. This coastal paradise boasts diverse ecosystems, from mangroves to crystal-clear beaches. Here, you can enjoy boat tours through winding waterways, admire abundant birdlife, and spot wildlife like crocodiles and turtles.
In addition, you can hike through lush landscapes and discover the captivating blend of nature and culture. If you are a nature enthusiast, Chacahua National Park is a must-visit in Oaxaca. Definitely, this is one of the best off-the-beaten-path things to do in Oaxaca!
Discover Hierve el Agua
Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca is a natural wonder featuring stunning petrified waterfalls and mineral-rich pools. You can witness incredible landscapes and take some pics of this picturesque site. Also, you can swim in the unique natural pools while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.
Discover the natural beauty and cultural significance of this inspiring and marvelous destination. Hierve el Agua is a must-visit attraction and a top of the different things to do in Oaxaca, offering a blend of relaxation and exploration.
Explore Monte Albán Ruins
Monte Albán ruins in Oaxaca are a testament to the ancient Zapotec civilization. Located atop a hill, this archaeological site offers breathtaking views of the valley below. You can explore the intricate stone-carved structures, including mystical temples and observatories.
Monte Albán’s historical significance and architectural beauty make it a must-visit attraction. Learn everything about the rich history of Oaxaca, fill yourself up with energy, and discover the wonders of this ancient site.
Tours & activities in Mexico/Oaxaca
Food & cuisine in Mexico/Oaxaca
If you are looking for unique things to do in Oaxaca, you have to visit and explore this place. Feel the Mexican atmosphere as you explore stalls offering local produce, traditional dishes, and artisan crafts. This market is a must-visit destination to experience the rich heritage and diverse offerings of Oaxaca.
Budamar Zipolite is a charming beachfront restaurant that offers a delightful fusion of flavors. With a relaxed ambiance and stunning ocean views, it’s the perfect place to try some fresh seafood and creative dishes.
Get ready to experience a culinary journey that captures the essence of Zipolite’s coastal charm, making it a top choice for an enjoyable dining experience.
Located in a picturesque setting, it offers an elegant dining experience with a focus on traditional flavors and modern creativity. If you are looking for exclusive things to do in Oaxaca, you need to visit this restaurant. With mezcal, fine wines, and meticulously crafted dishes, this restaurant is a must-visit if you are seeking a blend of culture and gastronomy in Oaxaca.
Shopping in Mexico/Oaxaca
Here, you can discover lovely and colorful traditional textiles, ceramics, woodwork, and more, each reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Oaxaca. If you are looking for things to do in Oaxaca like a local, you can come here and wander through the colorful stalls, engage with artisans, and immerse yourself in the artistry that defines Oaxaca’s unique identity.
Trip Ideas & Stories in Mexico/Oaxaca
FAQ's about Mexico/Oaxaca
Where is Oaxaca located?
Oaxaca is located in southern Mexico. It is a state as well as the name of its capital city, Oaxaca de Juárez. The state of Oaxaca is situated in the southeastern part of Mexico.
What to pack?
When packing for Oaxaca, it’s advisable to pack comfortable clothing suitable for the local climate, especially if you’re visiting during the warmer months. Don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes, sun protection items like sunscreen and a hat, and it can be helpful to know some basic Spanish phrases. Additionally, remember to carry essential documents such as your passport, any required medications, and necessary travel documents.
Are there any kid-friendly activities and entertainment in Oaxaca?
Yes! You can consider exploring the ancient ruins of Monte Albán, where children can learn about ancient civilizations while enjoying the open spaces. The Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden offers an educational experience about plants and culture. For animal enthusiasts, Zoologico Parque del Condor has plenty of species, including birds of prey. Additionally, the region’s beaches and local markets provide enjoyable experiences for families.
What's the best time to visit Oaxaca?
The best time to visit Oaxaca, Mexico, is during the dry season, which typically runs from late October to early May. This period offers pleasant weather with warm days and cool nights, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploration. The months of October and November are particularly appealing, as they feature vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations. However, Oaxaca can be visited year-round, but be aware that the wet season (rainy season) occurs from late May to September, which can bring heavy rainfall and occasional flooding to some areas, impacting travel plans.
Is it safe to travel to Oaxaca?
Travel safety can vary, but Oaxaca is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like many destinations, it’s essential to take precautions. Stick to well-traveled areas, avoid displaying valuables, and be cautious in unfamiliar neighborhoods, especially at night. Stay updated on local news and follow any government travel advisories. Overall, with proper precautions, Oaxaca can be a safe and enjoyable destination.
Avoid unforeseen events and take with you an insurance policy that covers any problem on your trip.
Are there any dress codes and cultural norms to follow in Oaxaca?
It’s important to dress modestly when visiting churches and religious sites. When in indigenous communities, always ask for permission before taking photos and be respectful of their traditions. During local festivals, appreciate the beauty of traditional clothing without invading personal space. Also, using appropriate hand gestures and avoiding single-finger pointing is advisable to show respect for local culture.
Are there any sustainable travel initiatives in Oaxaca?
Yes, Oaxaca, Mexico, has embraced different sustainable travel initiatives to promote eco-conscious and responsible tourism. These initiatives include eco-lodges and sustainable accommodations, community-based tourism allowing visitors to interact with local indigenous communities, and efforts to preserve and promote traditional crafts and artisans.
Responsible wildlife tours and nature excursions are available, focusing on minimal environmental impact. Conservation projects and educational programs in Oaxaca aim to raise awareness about environmental issues and protect the region’s rich biodiversity, making it an ideal destination for sustainable travel.
Is there any internet and mobile phone access?
Yes, Oaxaca, Mexico, has internet and mobile phone access. In urban areas like Oaxaca City, you’ll find good internet connectivity in hotels, cafes, and public spaces. Mobile phone coverage is generally reliable, with major carriers providing service throughout the region. However, in more remote or rural areas, the quality of both internet and mobile phone reception may vary. It’s advisable to have a local SIM card or an international data plan if you plan to rely on mobile data during your travels in Oaxaca.
What cultural events and festivals are celebrated in Oaxaca?
Oaxaca, known for its colorful cultural heritage, hosts different celebrated events and festivals throughout the year. The Guelaguetza, held in July, is an incredible and beautiful show of traditional dances, music, and indigenous culture. Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), celebrated in November, features elaborate altars and offerings to honor the deceased.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) during Easter, shows solemn processions and sawdust carpets. Feria del Mezcal highlights Oaxaca’s iconic spirit, mezcal. Additional festivals include the Festival de la Ciudad, Festival Internacional de Jazz y Música del Mundo, and Oaxaca FilmFest, offering a diverse cultural experience year-round.
Which is the most commonly spoken language in Oaxaca?
The most commonly spoken language in Oaxaca is Spanish. However, due to its rich indigenous heritage, numerous indigenous languages are also spoken throughout the region. Some of the prominent indigenous languages include Zapotec, Mixtec, and Mazatec, among others. Spanish remains the primary language for day-to-day communication, while indigenous languages are often spoken within their respective communities.
What is the currency and exchange in Oaxaca?
The currency used in Oaxaca, Mexico, is the Mexican Peso, abbreviated as “MXN” or represented by the “$” symbol. When exchanging currency or making purchases, it’s important to have Mexican Pesos on hand, as some places may not accept foreign currencies.
Currency exchange can be done at banks, currency exchange offices, and ATMs, which are widely available in Oaxaca City and major towns. Additionally, credit and debit cards are commonly accepted in many establishments, especially in more urban areas, but it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller vendors and in rural regions where card acceptance may be limited.