The historic church in the center of the historic area of Oaxaca, Mexico
Posted: 6/5/2023 | June fifth, 2023

Oaxaca stole my heart. I used to be enamored by this colourful and vibrant metropolis from the second I stepped foot on its cobblestoned streets. It has all of it: historical past, tradition, pleasant individuals, meals, mezcal. (I really like this metropolis a lot that we run tours there now!)

Whereas the city could also be small, there’s loads to do right here. Its rising reputation post-COVID has seen an increase in quite a lot of new experiences, excursions, eating places, and artwork galleries. (The recognition is simply not on account of Individuals and Europeans both. Mexicans additionally come right here in droves!).

With a lot extra to do now, right here is my checklist of all one of the best issues to see and do in Oaxaca:

1. Take a strolling tour

The colorful downtown area of beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico on a sunny day
One of many first issues I do after I go to a brand new metropolis is take a free strolling tour. They’re the easiest way to see the principle sights, get launched to the vacation spot and its individuals, and join with an area information who can reply all of your questions. My favourite firm is Oaxaca Free Walking Tour. They provide free each day excursions showcasing the principle sights. Simply be sure that to tip your information on the finish!

2. See the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán

A historic Christian church in beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico
With authentic development relationship again to the mid-Sixteenth century, this Dominican church and monastery was additionally used as a navy constructing throughout Mexico’s revolutionary battle (1910–20). The inside is extremely ornate, with intricate carvings on the partitions, and it nonetheless holds companies right this moment (so gown respectfully when visiting).

One a part of the complicated turned a museum within the Nineteen Seventies: the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, which focuses on Oaxacan tradition, with all types of spiritual and pre-Columbian artifacts in its assortment. The “Treasures of Monte Albán” exhibition showcases over 400 relics from a Mixtec tomb that is likely one of the most essential burial websites in Mesoamerica, together with a cranium lined in turquoise, carved bone objects, weaving instruments, and jewellery made from gold and jade. It’s by far top-of-the-line issues to do within the metropolis. You’ll want a few hours to see all of it.

C. Macedonio Alcalá S/N, +52 951 516 3720. The Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-3pm. Admission to the church is free, whereas the museum is 85 MXN.

3. Stroll by the Botanical Backyard

Additionally positioned within the former convent within the Santo Domingo de Guzmán complicated, the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca options 900 species of crops from throughout the state, which is likely one of the most biodiverse areas of Mexico. Along with the flowers, bushes, and cacti, there are sculptures and artworks too.

Admission is by way of tour solely. There’s only one English tour accessible per day (supplied at 11am). It fills up shortly, as there are solely 25 spots accessible, so make sure you arrive early as it’s first come, first served.

Reforma Sur, Ruta Independencia, +52 951 516 5325. Open Monday-Saturday 10am-3:30pm. Admission is by guided tour solely. Admission (together with the tour) is 50 MXN for Spanish excursions and 100 MXN for excursions in English.

4. Simply wander town

Oaxaca accommodates over 1,200 historic buildings. Among the finest issues to do is stroll round city and take within the historic buildings, colourful murals, cobblestone streets, and delightful structure. Simply get misplaced. Take your time wandering the long-lasting landmarks just like the Zócalo (the principle sq., in entrance of the Nationwide Palace), the Baroque Cathedral of Our Woman of the Assumption, the murals of Xochilmilco, and the colours (and murals) of Jalatlaco (which is my favourite neighborhood within the metropolis).

5. Discover the markets

Oaxaca is known for its markets. My favourite is Mercado 20 de Noviembre, a Nineteenth-century lined market the place you may take pleasure in all types of scrumptious road meals (recent, native produce is offered right here too). Named after the beginning date of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, it has remained one in all Oaxaca’s culinary and cultural hubs for over 100 years. I really like coming right here to wander and people-watch. It’s open each day from 7am-9pm.

I additionally love close by Mercado Benito Juárez with its meals stalls and outlets.

Moreover, there’s the famed Abastos market, which is the biggest market within the area. You could find all the pieces right here. It’s enormous. In the event that they produce it on the earth, it’s right here. It’s a bit of exterior town middle nevertheless it’s well worth the trek.

6. Study mezcal

Oaxaca is the birthplace of mezcal and greater than 70% of Mexico’s manufacturing occurs right here. Like tequila, mezcal is a spirit distilled from agave, however not like tequila, the center of the plant is cooked in a pit within the floor earlier than it’s crushed. There are a ton of choices to study mezcal if you are right here. For bars, my private favorites are Los Amantes Mezcalería, Mezcalogia, Tres Hermanas, Mezcalería In Situ, and Comere.

For excursions, take Rambling Spirits. This tour firm was based by two journalists who’ve developed deep roots with the native mezcal producers and can take you to locations the extra business excursions gained’t. They’ve an insane stage of data and may educate you all the pieces it is advisable learn about mezcal in addition to introducing you to the households and producers. It’s my favourite mezcal tour within the metropolis.

7. Go to Monte Albán

The ancient indigenous ruins of Monte Alban near Oaxaca, Mexico
Based within the sixth century BCE, Monte Albán was one of many earliest Mesoamerican cities and an essential sociopolitical and financial middle for nearly a thousand years. Get context for the remainder of your go to by stopping in on the museum first, after which persevering with on to wander the sprawling venue, which is crammed with historical Zapotec pyramids, tombs, terraces, and canals. It’s tremendous spectacular and takes just a few hours to see.

This pre-Columbian UNESCO World Heritage Website is positioned simply quarter-hour exterior city. There are common shuttles to and from downtown Oaxaca, or you may visit on a guided tour if you would like an skilled information to indicate you round (it’s the easiest way to be taught extra in regards to the website).

Ignacio Bernal S/N, San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, 01 951 513 3346. Open each day 10am-4pm. Admission is 90 MXN.

8. Take a meals tour

Oaxaca is a middle for Mexican gastronomy, with a number of the most various alternatives of dishes within the nation. Some common dishes embody:

  • Tlayudas: a skinny and crispy corn tortilla topped with refried beans, pork lard, lettuce, avocado, Oaxacan cheese, and your protein of alternative; that is often a nighttime road meals snack.
  • Memelas: thick grilled corn desserts with black beans, meat, and cheese toppings.
  • Mole: a sauce with dozens of elements that varies drastically in preparation (there are seven conventional Oaxacan moles) however typically consists of cacao, a number of forms of chili peppers, garlic, onion, and different spices; it’s served over rice, meat, and tortillas.
  • Tetelas: corn tortillas filled with black or refried beans, cheese, and cream.

I extremely advocate exploring Oaxaca’s native meals scene with a guided meals tour. Oaxaca Eats runs a number of excursions. You’ll get to pattern 20+ dishes. Tour costs range, however anticipate to spend 2,000 MXN. They’re an area owned firm that I believe runs one of the best excursions within the metropolis. I exploit them for all my group excursions and after I take pals there.

9. Swim at Hierve el Agua

People swimming at the Hierve el Agua pools and falls near Oaxaca, Mexico
Hierve el Agua is likely one of the most stunning pure websites within the nation. These calcified waterfalls have been created over millennia as water from pure springs cascades over the aspect of cliffs. Equally to how stalactites type in caves, the minerals from the water create brilliant white rock formations that seem like frozen water.

Along with admiring and snapping images of the cliffs, there are additionally hikes across the falls you may take too (it’s fairly steep so that you’ll need to be in good bodily form for them). Carry your bathing swimsuit too as you may swim within the swimming pools on prime.

+52 951 502 1200. Open each day 7am-6:30pm. Admission is 50 MXN.

10. Discover Mitla

The massive ruins of Mitla, a pre-Columbian historic site near Oaxaca
This pre-Columbian website was one of many primary spiritual and religious hubs for the indigenous Zapotec and Mixtec individuals. Used as a sacred burial floor connecting the worlds of the dwelling and the lifeless, Mitla was inbuilt 850 CE however largely destroyed by the Spanish within the mid-Sixteenth century. Nonetheless, some buildings have been left intact (a few of which date way back to 400 CE), which you’ll be able to discover. It stands out from different Mesoamerican ruins because of the mosaics protecting the tombs and partitions and is nicely price a go to.

+52 951 568 0316. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 10am-2pm. Admission is 90 MXN, whereas skip-the-line tickets (which I extremely advocate!) are 160 MXN.

11. Go to Oaxaca’s artisan cities

A mean weaving a rug in a small town near Oaxaca, Mexico
The province of Oaxaca is understood for its small folk-art villages, every specializing in numerous handicrafts. Go to one or just a few to satisfy the artisans, see how conventional items are made, and convey again a memento. Teotitlán del Valle is understood for its textiles, San Bartolo Coyotepec for black pottery, and San Martín Tilcajete and San Antonio Arrazola for alebrijes (brightly coloured, fantastical animal sculptures — you may even take an alebrije-making workshop in San Martín Tilcajete).

You possibly can go to by rental automotive, native buses, or a guided tour that goes to a few villages.

13. Strive a street-stall hamburguesa

The hamburguesa is a scrumptious must-eat quick meals meal. It’s a burger topped with a scorching canine, sliced cheese, Oaxaca cheese, ham, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeño. It’s all of the unhealthy meals you could possibly ever need for simply 50 MXN. I do know it’s bizarre to incorporate this as a “should see factor to do” however belief me, you’ll need one. And it’s not made for Gringos and vacationers both. Locals devour these. You’ll see stalls throughout city however Cangreburguer sells top-of-the-line in my view.

14. See the world’s widest tree

The world's widest tree, located near Oaxaca, Mexico
The world’s widest tree is positioned within the city of Santa María del Tule, simply 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the middle of Oaxaca. Estimated to be 1,500–3,000 years previous, this Montezuma cypress (Mexico’s nationwide tree) has a diameter of about 14 meters (46 ft)! It’s a powerful sight to behold, however because it doesn’t take very lengthy to see, it’s good to mix it with different actions, such a full-day guided tour that additionally takes you to Mitla and Hierve del Agua.


From distinctive and scrumptious meals and drinks to historical past and tradition stretching again millennia, there’s no scarcity of how to fill your time in my favourite metropolis in Mexico. (And in case you don’t need to plan something however prefer to journey with new pals, allow us to information you round Oaxaca on one of our TNN tours!).

Oaxaca is a magical place and this checklist of actions will hold you busy whereas tapping you into the native tradition. I think, like me, you’ll find yourself falling in love with it too.

E book Your Journey to Mexico: Logistical Suggestions and Methods

E book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You possibly can ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the biggest stock. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use as they persistently return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low cost inns. Three of my favourite locations to remain are:

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes incorrect. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. My favourite corporations that provide one of the best service and worth are:

Searching for one of the best corporations to economize with?
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Need Extra Info on Mexico?
You’ll want to go to our robust destination guide on Mexico for much more planning suggestions.

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