Traveling to Oaxaca: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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posted by Shelley | last updated February 17, 2021


Traveling to Oaxaca, Mexico?

Or, are you planning your Oaxaca trip? Well then, you are indeed a wise traveler! The state of Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-kah) is truly one of the best travel destinations in Mexico; one not enough people have experienced.

Let me also say, you’ve also came to the right blog — and the right blogger! 👋 I’m Shelley, and I have been a living and doing solo travel in Mexico since April 2018. In total, I spent about four months total in Oaxaca, my hands down favorite state in Mexico.

My four months were divided between a month in Oaxaca City during Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), and then three months on the beaches. I even did a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Mazunte while traveling to Oaxaca.


Prefer podcasts? This article is now available as a Oaxaca travel podcast.


Is OAXACA worth visiting?

As it will take at least two flights, or a flight and a bus to get to, you might be wondering if traveling to Oaxaca is worth it. The short answer is OMG, HELL YES.

The longer answer is that Oaxaca, in a word, is magical. Oaxaca is the Mexico people imagine Mexico to be. This state has it all: rich history, gorgeous beaches, colorful festivals, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, locally-made mezcal, beautiful nature, colonial architecture, artisan communities — and of course, the food!

If you’re ready to learn everything you need to know about traveling to Oaxaca so you can plan an epic trip, let’s get to it. After you get all your Oaxaca travel info, check out the Mexico travel FAQ at the end of this article that will clear up everything you need to know about your Mexico vacation.

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Oaxaca Trip Planning

TRAVELING TO OAXACA

Oaxaca City or the beaches of Oaxaca?

Oaxaca, while not a huge state, is quite spread out. The two most visited places in Oaxaca are Oaxaca City and the Oaxaca beaches (Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, Mazunte, Zipolote, Lagunas de Chacahua, etc.).

As there isn’t a direct highway that connects Oaxaca City to the Coast of Oaxaca, inter-state can take 6-8 hours by car, 8-9 hours by colectivo, 10-12 hours by bus. There is a short flight from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, though it’s the most expensive option.

There’s a whole section of this article that breaks down all your Oaxaca City to the beach travel options, but the first step in Oaxaca travel planning is figuring out if this will be a city or beach (or both!) trip.

🚌💨 Pro Tip: If you have four or less days, stick to one place. For travelers with five or more available days, you can divide your time up between Oaxaca City and the Oaxaca coast.

San Jose del Pacifico: Oaxaca Mushroom Town

As an off the beaten path Oaxaca destination, San Jose del Pacifico has been gaining in popularity in recent years. This town is located between Oaxaca City and the Oaxacan beaches, so many stop in this small pueblo to enjoy nature and magic mushrooms, which are legal in this state as plant medicine.


large agave plant in front of a colonial church
Colorful buildings in downtown Oaxaca City, Mexico
Two girls in traditional Oaxacan clothing

Best time of year to visit Oaxaca

• OAXACA CITY: OCTober-MAY

Unlike many places on the Earth, Oaxaca City’s temperate climate means this city is basically a year-round destination. You’ll want to try to avoid Oaxaca’s rainy season from June-September, but during the other months you’ll enjoy warm days and cool nights.

If you want to avoid the crowds, Oaxaca City’s busy season runs from about late-October for Day of the Dead, through March. Many also visit Oaxaca City for the Guelaguetza, Oaxaca’s second biggest annual festival, in July.

OAXACA CITY weather

• BEACHES OF OAXACA: NOVember-April

The beaches of Oaxaca have a much more tropical climate. The rainy season lasts from May-October, and the coast of Oaxaca sees a lot of rain. If possible, you’ll want to visit the beaches of Oaxaca in the winter months, when the temperatures are mild and the humidity and mosquitoes are at bay.

🦟 Pro Tip: Regardless of when you visit, you will encounter mosquitoes and other bugs on the Oaxacan Coast. Practice sustainable tourism in Mexico by using eco-friendly mosquito repellent and even an anti-mosquito bracelet.

OAXACA Beach weather

Average min and max temperatures in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

A cemetery during Day of the Dead in Oaxaca.
Woman in traditional Mexican dress doing a dance
A dancer at the Guelaguetza Festival in Oaxaca.

Festivals in Oaxaca, Mexico

• GUELAGUETZA FESTIVAL: EARLY TO MID-JULY

The Guelaguetza (pronounced geh-la-get-zah) is Oaxaca’s most famous folk festival. In fact, it has been called the largest folkloric festival on the Americas continent. This annual event takes place on two Mondays in early/mid-July; its dates vary from year to year.

The Guelaguetza festival brings together people from all regions of Oaxaca to share their food, textiles and culture through dances, presentations and gift exchanges. In fact, Guelaguetza comes from the Zapotec word, guendalezaa, meaning an offering or a gift.

Though overshadowed by the fame of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Guelaguetza is actually Oaxaca’s most colorful, celebratory festival.

• DiA DE MUERTOS: OCT. 31-Nov. 2

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is one of the biggest festivals, not only in Oaxaca, but in all of Mexico.

Different Mexican states, with their ties to different indigenous peoples, celebrate it differently. Oaxaca, and its native Zapotec peoples, are known as having the country’s most festive celebration.

Each year, for a few days in late-Oct./early-Nov., many Mexicans believe the veil to the spirit world is lifted and our departed family members return Earth-side to visit us.⁠

While in many cultures, this would be a somber event, in Mexico, it’s a giant party, and the biggest annual festival in Oaxaca.

🌺💀🌺 Want more information on Day of the dead in Oaxaca? Head to this entire article about how to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca.

La Catrina is a Day of the Dead icon.

Prefer podcasts? Here is a whole Mexico travel podcast episode dedicated to the Oaxaca Day of the Dead celebration.


Traveling to Oaxaca

Flights to Oaxaca

There are three airports in Oaxaca. Get information for all three below, to make sure you’re using the correct Oaxaca airport.

• OAXACA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

If you’re traveling to Oaxaca City, use Oaxaca International Airport (code: OAX).

It has flights from several U.S. cities., including Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, LA and Chicago. If you’re already in Mexico, you can fly here from major cities including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana and Monterrey.

🌵🏡 Need a Oaxaca Airbnb? I stayed in this cool rooftop apartment in Oaxaca City’s hippest and most colorful neighborhood, Jalatlaco. It is located a short four blocks from the historic city center.

Orange church
Oaxaca City, Mexico

• PUERTO ESCONDIDO Airport

If you’re traveling to Puerto Escondido use Puerto Escondido International Airpot (code: PXM).

Though the word international is in the name, this airport doesn’t really have international flights 🤷‍♀️ To fly into PXM, you’d have to connect through Mexico City, Oaxaca City or Guadalajara.

🏝🏡 Need a Puerto Escondido Airbnb?  I stayed in this beautiful apartment only a few blocks from the beach in Puerto Escondido’s boho chic La Punta neighborhood!

beautiful bay with blue water and boats
Puerto Escondido, Mexico

• BAHIAS DE HUATULCO Airport

If you’re traveling to Huatulco, Mazunte, Zipolite, San Agustinillo or Puerto Angel, use Huatulco International Airport (code: HUX).

This airport has international flights from Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago-O’Hare and Minneapolis/St. Paul. There are also connecting flights through the Mexico City, Oaxaca City, Monterrey and Tijuana Airports.

🏝🏡 Need a Mazunte Airbnb?  I stayed in this very instagrammable apartment in Mazunte! It is located just minutes from the beach and right across the street from a yoga/meditation studio.

beach shack style cafes and some thatched roof palapa style homes on a cliff overlooking Mazunte, one of the Best Mexican Beach Towns
Mazunte, Mexico

✈️ Book your flight to Oaxaca


Day of the Dead Oaxaca colorful altar
Day of the Dead cemetary with flowers and lit candles
TRAVELING TO OAXACA

Mexico City to Oaxaca

• Driving your Rental Car

For those who love a good road trip, pick up your rental car in Mexico City, and hit the road.

The drive from Mexico City to Oaxaca City will about 6-8; while Mexico City to Puerto Escondido will take closer to 11-12.

Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

As a general rule, Mexico road trips are safe, though you’ll obviously be driving in another country. This means you should take the time to familiarize yourself with Mexico driving laws, ask the agent at your car rental for advice, and check out the 12 Mexico driving tips below.

🚗💨 12 Useful Mexico Driving Tips

1. Rent with a reputable company! As they say, “you get what you pay for.” For a reliable Cancun car rental company, go with Discover Cars.

2. Avoid driving at night. When you live in Mexico long enough, you start to realize many people simply avoid driving at night, if they can. If you do drive at night, stick to only main roads and highways.

3. Always use the couta, or toll, roads. Yes, they cost money, but they are much better maintained and generally considered safer. Pro tip: Bring cash for the tolls.

4. Download an offline map. Your signal will go in and out as you travel through rural areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, so download an offline map from Google or Maps.Me. You’ll also want to download some podcasts and music while you’re getting that map.

5. Speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. You don’t have to worry about conversion math here; just make sure the speed limit sign number matches your speedometer number.

6. Do not use your cell phone while you’re driving. Not only is this unsafe, it is also illegal. In fact, even having your phone in your hand is a ticket-able offense, so try not to even hold your phone while driving.

7. The rumors are true about the cops expecting bribes. If the cops pull you over, and they only will if you give them a reason to, they will expect a cash “payment” in exchange for not ticketing you.

8. Mexican roads are notorious for their abundant amount of topes (speed bumps). Make sure you keep your eyes on the road, as topes don’t always have signs alerting you to them.

9. Mexico’s gas stations are not self-serve. When you stop for gas, an attendant will pump it for you and take your payment. These people don’t actually work for the gas station, and live off tips. When they finish, it’s customary to tip them at least $10-20 pesos ($0.50-$1).

10. Mexico’s traffic lights go from green to yellow, to flashing yellow for a few seconds, to finally, a red light.

11. Make sure you purchase Mexican car insurance. You are generally not covered in any way through your U.S. company when you drive in any other country.

12. Most travel insurance policies cover driving. In case you’re wondering Should I get travel insurance for Mexico?… The answer is hell yes! There’s a whole page of this website dedicated to travel insurance, because it’s just that important — maybe even more so when traveling during the pandemic.


• Mexico City to Oaxaca BUS

Bus transport in Mexico is safe, inexpensive and convenient. Mexico’s largest bus company, ADO, has comfortable buses for the eight hour trip to Oaxaca City, and 12-14 hour drive to Puerto Escondido.

Make sure to opt for their luxury class bus option on longer rides like this one. In this class, you’ll enjoy the comfy, large, recliner-style seats and outlets at each seat for your gadgets. The Mexico City to Oaxaca route has overnight trip options, which some travelers prefer.

• MEXICO CITY TO OAXACA Flights

With numerous low cost Mexico carriers, the best way to get from Mexico City to Oaxaca, is by plane. Though costs fluctuate, this 90-minute flight is relatively inexpensive when compared to the bus. On average, the Mexico City to Oaxaca bus costs about $35USD, and takes 8+ hours; whereas you can find plane tickets for as little as $55USD, and flights are only 1.5 hours.

Torre Latinoamerica skyscraper and buildings
colorful trajineras, gondola-style boats, at Xochimilco.
European style Bellas Artes building
TRAVELING TO OAXACA

Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido

You have a few options when traveling to Oaxaca’s beaches from Oaxaca City: 1) Rental car, 2) Colectivo, 3) Bus and 4) Plane. Every option listed below gives instructions for getting to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca’s most visited beach town, but they apply to all Oaxacan beaches.

• DRIVING FROM OAXACA CITY TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

This is a beautiful drivethough not always super comfortable, and for those prone to carsickness, it can be downright agonizing.

The distance between Oaxaca City and the coast is only about 100 miles, but on this drive takes between 6-8 hours as it’s super curvy with switchback turns on mountain roads that aren’t well maintained in all areas.

Having said that, for those who love road trips, you can certainly rent a car and do this drive where you’ll see off the beaten path Mexico areas so few others will. It will take 7-8 hours.

The windy road from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido and most of the beaches of Oaxaca.
🚗💨 12 Useful Mexico Driving Tips

1. Rent with a reputable company! As they say, “you get what you pay for.” For a reliable Cancun car rental company, go with Discover Cars.

2. Avoid driving at night. When you live in Mexico long enough, you start to realize many people simply avoid driving at night, if they can. If you do drive at night, stick to only main roads and highways.

3. Always use the couta, or toll, roads. Yes, they cost money, but they are much better maintained and generally considered safer. Pro tip: Bring cash for the tolls.

4. Download an offline map. Your signal will go in and out as you travel through rural areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, so download an offline map from Google or Maps.Me. You’ll also want to download some podcasts and music while you’re getting that map.

5. Speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. You don’t have to worry about conversion math here; just make sure the speed limit sign number matches your speedometer number.

6. Do not use your cell phone while you’re driving. Not only is this unsafe, it is also illegal. In fact, even having your phone in your hand is a ticket-able offense, so try not to even hold your phone while driving.

7. The rumors are true about the cops expecting bribes. If the cops pull you over, and they only will if you give them a reason to, they will expect a cash “payment” in exchange for not ticketing you.

8. Mexican roads are notorious for their abundant amount of topes (speed bumps). Make sure you keep your eyes on the road, as topes don’t always have signs alerting you to them.

9. Mexico’s gas stations are not self-serve. When you stop for gas, an attendant will pump it for you and take your payment. These people don’t actually work for the gas station, and live off tips. When they finish, it’s customary to tip them at least $10-20 pesos ($0.50-$1).

10. Mexico’s traffic lights go from green to yellow, to flashing yellow for a few seconds, to finally, a red light.

11. Make sure you purchase Mexican car insurance. You are generally not covered in any way through your U.S. company when you drive in any other country.

12. Most travel insurance policies cover driving. In case you’re wondering Should I get travel insurance for Mexico?… The answer is hell yes! There’s a whole page of this website dedicated to travel insurance, because it’s just that important — maybe even more so when traveling during the pandemic.


• Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido Colectivo

What is a colectivo? Basically, it’s a smaller, shared van that seats 12-15. Most companies in Oaxaca use Nissan Urvans or Dodge Sprinters for this trip. For those prone to carsickness, you’ll want to being dramamine, and try to reserve the front seat.

There are several companies you can find in downtown Oaxaca City that offer this route. The cost for a one-way ticket is about $250-300 pesos ($12-15USD). It takes about 8-9 hours.

• OAXACA City TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO Bus

The last over-land option is on the large ADO bus. Most buses on this route go overnight so you can sleep on the bus. The cost for a 1-way ticket is about $500-600 pesos ($25-30USD). It takes about 10-12 hours.

The bus takes so much longer than the colectivo because it must avoid the mountain roads altogether, as it’s too big to make some of the sharp turns a colectivo can. The bus is also more comfortable with big comfy recliner-style seats, outlets for your gadgets and a bathroom. In short, taking the bus is more comfy, if you don’t mind sacrificing more time.


small plane
small cesna plane
view from small airplane window

• OAXACA City TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO Flight

Your final option is the most convenient, quickest, and most expensive. I took this flight, so everything here is from my personal experience.

There are two companies that offer flights from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, AeroToucan and AeroVega. With both companies, you’ll take a 10-seater plane. If you’ve never been in a small plane before, check out the YouTube video to see if this option feels comfortable for you.

HOW MUCH ARE OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO FLIGHTS?

I took AeroToucan, which you have to book in advance via phone or at the Oaxaca Airport. One-way flights on AeroToucan average about $125-$150USD. Yes, this is a lot more than driving, but it’s also a lot more convenient as flights are only about 35 minutes.

🤑 Pro Tip: AeroToucan offers a 15% discount on all Thursday flights.

The final things you’ll you want to keep your luggage weight. You are allowed 15kg/33 lbs., which is almost 20 pounds less than a larger airline allows. My luggage was over, and I ended up with a surprise $50USD fee 🤬

Traveling to Oaxaca City

You may hear Oaxaca City referred to by a few names. Officially, it’s Oaxaca de Juarez, though most people say Oaxaca. As this is both the name of the city and state, you may want to clarify when someone says “Oaxaca.”

WHERE IS OAXACA?

Oaxaca state is located in south central Mexico, and Oaxaca City is in the center of the state. It is the cultural, historic, artistic and agricultural hub of all Oaxaca.

Where to Stay in OAXACA CITY

When traveling to Oaxaca City, you’ll want to stay in or around Centro Historico, the historic city center. As this area is walkable, you won’t need a rental car if you’re just staying in Oaxaca City.

🚕💨 Pro Tip: There’s no Uber in Oaxaca, though there are plenty of taxis.


Best Neighborhoods in Oaxaca City

• CENTRO HISTORICO (DOWNTOWN)

Downtown Oaxaca City isn’t very big — think 40 square blocks. For first time visitors, you’ll find staying in Centro (Downtown), as close to the Zocalo as possible, very convenient. This area gives you the convenience of walkability.

There’s no Uber service in Oaxaca, though you can always hail a cab. The city has public buses, though Oaxaca public transportation isn’t great overall.

As with most downtown areas, Oaxaca’s Centro Historico neighborhood is equipped to host visitors. Here, you have Airbnbs, hotels, hostels and even high end boutique Oaxaca hotels — with accommodations for every budget.


• XOCHIMILCO, OAxaca City

This is Oaxaca City’s oldest and most historic neighborhood, Xochimilco (pronounced so-chee-mill-co) is located just north of Centro. One of the coolest things in this barrio (neighborhood) is an 18th century aqueduct that runs along Callejon Rufino Tamayo street.

You will still get the old school colonial city feel and look here in this neighborhood, but you’ll be further away from the crowds.

JALATLACO, Oaxaca City

The coolest and best neighborhood in Oaxaca City. The colorful neighborhood of Jalatlaco (pronounced ha-lat-lack-oh) is located just outside of Centro. It is very safe, with amazing restaurants, cool street art, and colorful, colonial buildings.

I stayed in this adorable rooftop Oaxaca Airbnb in Jalatlaco when I visited Oaxaca City. This place was so perfect for me, that I ended up extending my stay there from one week to one month! Check out some photos of the amazing rooftop view I had each day from this apartment.

Best Oaxaca City Airbnbs

If the hip Jalatlaco rooftop Airbnb isn’t available, or won’t work for you, check out the carefully curated this list of Oaxaca City Airbnbs below. They have been hand selected for their comfort, location and great ratings, so all you have to do is book your Oaxaca Airbnb and enjoy!

Best Things to Do in Oaxaca City

TRAVELING TO OAXACA

Oaxaca UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES

Oaxaca has not one, but three, UNESCO World Heritage sites: Historic Downtown Oaxaca City, the Monte Alban archeological site, and the Prehistoric Caves of Yagul. Of the three, most people traveling to Oaxaa will only visit the first two.

1. Monte Alban

Located about 30 minutes outside of the Oaxaca City Center, Monte Alban is Oaxaca’s most-visited archeological site.

As you might imagine, this is a very popular place to visit. It’s easy to visit with a tour group or on your own. The advantage of the tour is having a guide explain all the ways this site is so important — and there are many.

If you want to beat the crowds, arrive early. This also works to your favor because you’ll avoid the blazing afternoon sun.

When visiting, remember to wear a hat, eco-friendly sunscreen and comfortable shoes, and bring your LifeStraw Filterable Water Bottle, which filters your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico.


2. Centro Historico

While it may just look like a beautiful colonial city now, Oaxaca City and Centro de Oaxaca (Downtown Oaxaca), dates back to 1529 when it was originally occupied by Oaxaca’s native Zapotec Indians.

Today, it is a mix of old and new. Out of the hundreds of sites listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list, very few entire cities have made the cut.

historic colonial spanish church and plants
Templo de Santo Domingo
Yellow building with balcony
Calle de Macedonia Alcala
Colorful buildings in downtown Oaxaca City, Mexico
Centro Historico Oaxaca City

3. 10 Best things to do in Centro Historico

1. Zocalo/Plaza de la Constitucion/Catedral: Oaxaca’s main square/Constitution Plaza/Cathedral.
2. Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman: Saint Domingo’s Temple, a 16th century Spanish Baroque-style church.
3. Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca: Oaxaca Cultural Museum, located in the Templo de Santo Domingo.
4. Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca: Oaxaca Botanical Garden, located at the Templo de Santo Domingo.
5. Mercado de Artesanias de Oaxaca: Oaxacan Artisan Market, traditional Oaxacan market with textiles, clothing, handcrafted art and more.
6. Rufino Tamayo Museum: Museum with pre-Hispanic artifacts.
7. Mercado 20 de Noviembre: November 20th Market, traditional Mexican/Oaxacan market with food, shops and more.
8. Calle de Macedonia Alcala: Macedonia Alcala Street, a lively, pedestrian-only street with galleries, shops, cafes, bars and more.
9. Mercado Benito Juarez: Benito Juarez Market, traditional Mexican/Oaxacan market with food, shops and more.
10. Museo Textil de Oaxaca: Oaxaca Textile Museum, showcasing the state’s famous textiles.


4. Hierve el Agua

Located about 45 miles from Oaxaca City, is perhaps Oaxaca’s most famous natural wonder — Hierve el Agua (boiling water). While the natural mineral pools are the most photographed places here, you should also check out the amazing “cascadas” (waterfalls).

Now, “cascadas” is in quotes for a reason! There are two cliff faces at Hierve el Agua that look like waterfalls because they are covered in calcified minerals deposits, which just so happen to look like falling water. You can see this from afar at the pools, or you can hike down for a closer look.

HIERVE EL AGUA TOURS

The easiest way to experience Hierve al Agua? On a tour, like this one. You’ll also find Hierve el Agua included as part of a multisite day trip, but if you have the time, make Hierve el Agua a whole Oaxaca day trip in itself.

Water and a tree on a cliff at Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca City - Traveling to Oaxaca

5. Mitla Pueblo Magico

After Monte Alban, Oaxaca’s second most important archaeological site is the ancient city of Mitla.

Rather than a group of pyramids, like many of Mexico archeological sites, Mitla is a collection of buildings with elaborate and intricate carved stone and geometric designs.

Mitla is one of the holiest sites for the native Zapotec and Mixtec peoples. It was used in centuries past as a holy burial site. In fact, the word mitla comes from the Aztec word mictlán, which means “underworld” or “place of the dead.”

Ancient city with red-roofed buildings

6. El Tule (Tree)

El Tule (The tree of enlightenment) is a giant Montezuma cypress tree on the grounds of a gorgeous church in the Santa Maria del Tule pueblo (small town).

It holds the world’s record for biggest trunk diameter on Earth, at 46-feet, which takes at least 30 people with clasped hands to wrap around it.

Scientists date this tree at about 2,000-years-old. However, Oaxaca’s native Zapotec people say it was planted about 1,400 years ago by Ehécatl, the god of the wind.

very big tree

7. Oaxaca Botanical Garden

To see more of Oaxaca’s famous plants, head to the Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca (Botanical Garden), located in downtown adjacent to the Templo de Santo Domingo.

This 2.5-acre garden showcases Oaxaca’s immense biodiversity with hundreds of local plant and cactus species.

Due to the fragility of the garden’s overall ecosystem, you’re only allowed in with their guided tour. They are offered in English several times per week, and cost $100 pesos ($5USD) per person.

tall cacti reflecting on a lake

Oaxaca Food Guide

In 2010, UNESCO declared Mexican food as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind. In their words, Mexican food is “a crucial element of national identity.” Translation: The freakin’ United Nations declared Mexican food one of mankind’s cultural treasures. #TRUTH

Topping the list of most notable cities to eat in the country is Oaxaca. So what exactly does one eat in the Foodie Capital of Mexico? Well, everything. Oaxacan cuisine, like most Mexican cuisine, is very regional. However, the food is similar to the food in the rest of Mexico with a lot of corn, beans and chiles.

In the case of Oaxaca, all of its numerous indigenous groups influence the rich flavors in the food. Besides that, Oaxaca has an incredible variety of produce year-round because of its many microclimates.

From mercados (markets), to food stands, and traditional Oaxacan family-style restaurants and even fine dining, Oaxaca has it all. But first, let’s explore all the unique foods and beverages you’ll want to try while traveling to Oaxaca.

Must Try Foods in Oaxaca

SNACKS

• Chapulines (chap-pull-lean-es): Chapulines are Mexico’s infamous grasshoppers. You’ll find vendors selling them on the streets and in the mercados (markets). Chapulines are super common in Oaxaca, and eaten like popcorn.
• Memelas (mem-mel-las): Often eaten as a snack, memelas are kind of open-face tacos. They are cooked on a comal (flat round cooking surface) and served on a thick corn tortilla and topped with beans, melted quesillo and sometimes meat.
• Quesillo (kay-see-yo): Outside of Oaxaca, this famous cheese is known as queso Oaxaca (Oaxaca cheese), but in Oaxaca, it’s called quesillo. Quesillo is a soft, meltable, stringy cheese that looks like a ball of mozzarella, and tastes similar.

Tortillas with salasa and cheese on a plate
Memelas are one of the most popular snacks in Oaxaca.

MEALS

• Mole (mole-lay): Mole is both a marinade and a sauce. There are seven types of mole, all with different combinations of spices, fruits, nuts and more. The most popular type is mole negro (black mole), which gets its color from chocolate.
• Tamales (tam-mal-lays): Tamales are an ancient pre-hispanic food made of masa (corn dough), then steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. Tamales are served throughout Mexico, though Oaxacan tamales are cooked in a leaf and considered among the country’s tastiest.
• Tlayudas (tuh-lie-you-das): Tlayudas are sometimes called a Mexican pizza — and they do look like a pizza — but that’s the only similarity. Tlayudas are assembled on large tortillas, and topped with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and cheese, and cooked over carbon (charcoal) to impart a smoky flavor.
• Enmoladas (en-mole-laa-das): Enmoladas are basically enchiladas, but smothered in a mole sauce instead of the traditional salsa of enchiladas
• Tasajo (tash-sa-hoe): Tasajo is a thin, dried beef steak. It is sort of a cross between a flank steak/skirt steak and beef jerky. You can order it as a tlayuda topping or as a stand alone dish.

Mexican pizza
Tlayuda AKA Mexican pizza
red, black and green mole enchiladas
Enmoladas are enchiladas covered in mole sauce

DRINKS & SWEETS

Tejate (tay-ha-tay): Tejate is a pre-hispanic chocolate and corn drink, which may sound weird, but this ancient drink has stood the test of time. In fact, it is known as the “bebida de los dioses” (drink of the gods). Tejate is served cold, so it’s super refreshing on a hot Oaxaca City day.
• Chocolate Oaxaqueño (wa-ha-ken-yo): Oaxacan chocolate has a slightly crunchy texture as it’s stone ground by hand with cinnamon, nuts and sugar. It is often made as hot chocolate, and served with pan dulce (sweet bread) for dipping.
• Nieves (nee-yev-es): Nieves is a cross between ice cream made with fresh fruits and a snow cone.
• Cafe de Olla (oy-ya): Cafe de olla is a traditional Mexican coffee preparation, common in Oaxaca and Chiapas states. It is made in an olla (large clay pot) with cinnamon and piloncillo (cane sugar).

dunking a piece of bread into a cup of hot chocolate
Chocolate Oaxaqueño made into a hot chocolate and served with a piece of pan dulce (sweet bread) for dipping.

Mezcal in Oaxaca

What is mezcal? Mezcal is a distilled spirit that can be made from more than 30 varieties of the maguey (agave) plant. If mezcal sounds like tequila to you — it kind of is.

Much like how champagne is essentially a sparkling wine from the city of Champagne, France, tequila is a kind of mezcal from the city of Tequila, Mexico. If Tequila, Mexico, is the home of tequila, Oaxaca is the home of mezcal.

There’s a common saying in Oaxaca: Para todo mal, mezcal. Para todo bien, tambien, which means, “For everything good, mezcal. For everything bad, mezcal.” Check out the best places to try mezcal in Oaxaca below.

Man pouring mezcal into shot glass

MEZCAL TOURS & TASTINGS

Mezcaloteca: This is the hands-down place to start in Oaxaca. It’s part mezcal school, part tasting room. After your experience here, you’re going to really understand mezcal and can take your knowledge to all your subsequent mezcalerias in Oaxaca. 🥃Note: Reservations required.

El Rey de Matatlan: This distillery is a little outside of Oaxaca City, but you’ll get to know the whole mezcal farm-to-table process. During the tour, you’ll see everything from the agave harvest to the distillation, and then of course, taste the final product.

MEZCALERiAS (Oaxaca MEZCAL BARS)

For a more casual, locals vibe head to La Mezcalerita and Los Amantes Mezcaleria. These places will have some cocktails, but they are more about sipping on a straight mezcal.

If you’re looking for places to enjoy some mezcal mixology, head to Los Danzantes and Sabina Sabe. Both places are famous for their mezcal cocktails. At Sabina Sabe try the Guayabo Verde, and at Los Danzantes, the Danzantes 43 reigns supreme.

Best Restaurants in Oaxaca

TRAVELING TO OAXACa

WHERE SHOULD I EAT IN OAXACA?

It’s hard to eat a bad meal Oaxaca City, but there are standouts — Casa OaxacaItanoni and Lechoncito de Oro — to name a few of Oaxaca’s best restaurants. Below you’ll find a more complete list, separated by price, as well as an overview of the Oaxaca City mercados (markets).

The mercados offer a fun, authentic Oaxacan experience and also have plenty of food stalls to eat all of Oaxaca’s famous foods. One particular food stall was even featured in an episode of Netflix’s Street Food: Latin America show.

FOOD STANDS/CASUAL EATERIES ($)

Itanoni: Order tetelas, de ese, tamales, memelas and wash it all down with tascalate or agua fresca (fruit water).

Lechoncito de Oro: This late-night street taco stand only serves chicharron (fried pork skin) and pierna (pork leg), so try one of each.

Tlayudas Libres: Order a tlayuda and top it with cecinatasajo or chorizo, if you eat meat, if not, just enjoy it with beans as it comes.

RESTAURANTS ($$)

Las Quince Letras: Owned and run by Oaxaca culinary legend, Celia Florián. Order the trilogía de moles (trilogy of moles) to sample three types of mole in one meal.

La Olla: The menu changes seasonally, so try the menu del dia (menu of the day).

Boulenc: Order sushika for breakfast, a brick-oven pizza for lunch, and a dessert pastry at what’s possibly the best bakery in Oaxaca. 

GOURMET DINING ($$$-$$$$)

Casa Oaxaca: Alejandro Ruiz’s famed Oaxacan eatery. Order a bottle of Mexican wine, the crispy duck tacos, any of their moles and do not skip dessert.💡Pro Tip: Make a reservation for a rooftop table.

El Destilado: Splurge and do the 12-course chef’s tasting menu with drink pairing, for an amazing Oaxaca meal.

Criollo: The seven-course tasting menu at Criollo changes daily, but you can expect Oaxacan comfort foods, like tamales and mole, from chefs Enrique Olvera (of Pujol) and Luis Arellano.

Oaxaca City MERCADOS ($)

Central de Abastos: Order the memelas with morita salsa from Las Memelas de Doña Vale — the same ones featured in the Oaxaca episode of Netflix’s Street Food: Latin America.

Mercado 20 de Noviembre: More of a food hall than traditional mercado, meaning this is a great place to sample many different and authentic cheap eats.

Mercado Benito Juárez: This is a traditional Mexican/Oaxacan mercado (market), selling a mix of fresh produce and cheeses, artisanal items, prepared foods and more.

Oaxaca City Food & Drink Map

Here are 33 places in Oaxaca to get your fix of mole, mezcal and more. The map includes all the best restaurants in Oaxaca City, as well as the best street food in Oaxaca, mercados (markets), fine dining and mezcalerías (mezcal bars).

Best Beaches in Oaxaca

As a whole, coastal Oaxaca beaches are slow-paced, beautiful and relaxing. Though they are on the Pacific Ocean, the water averages at a warm 80°F (27°C) nearly year-round. Many beaches are swimmable, or if not, a swimmable beach won’t be too far away.

Here is a quick rundown of Oaxaca’s most popular beach towns to help you plan your ultimate Oaxaca vacation.


TRAVELING TO OAXACA

1. Puerto Escondido

This is the most popular of Oaxaca’s beaches. One of the things that put Puerto Escondido (hidden port) on the map are its surf waves. Puerto Escondido’s famous big wave surf spot is Playa Zicatela beach. This wave regularly reaches 10-feet in height, and is known as the Mexican Pipeline.

If it’s not already obvious, Pipeline is not a wave for beginner surfers. However, you can watch the pros surf it. For those new to surfing, there are smaller, more manageable waves at La Punta, Carrizalillo, and Playa Marinero, as well as several surf schools.

BEST BEACHES in PUERTO ESCONDIDO

Playa Zicatela, Playa Puerto Angelito, Playa Bacocho, La Punta, Playa Carrizalillo are among Puerto Escondido’s top beaches.

Playa Carrizalillo is arguably the prettiest, but not the easiest to get to, as you must walk down (then back up!) about 155 stairs to access this beach — though it’s worth it. This beach is great for swimming, and could honestly be on a postcard, it’s that beautiful.

Located on the opposite end of Puerto Escondido, La Punta has a cool boho chic vibe. It’s one of the best places to watch the sunset, followed by a nice dinner and stroll through this lively part of town. 

🏝🏡 Need a Puerto Escondido Airbnb?  I stayed in this beautiful apartment only a few blocks from the beach in Puerto Escondido’s boho chic La Punta neighborhood!

Stairs leading down to a tropical beach in Mexico
Playa Carrizalillo
beautiful bay with blue water and boats
Playa Puerto Angelito
vinitage VW jeep car with stickers on it
La Punta‘s boho vibes

BABY TURTLE RELEASE

One of the most popular activities takes place on the beach right at sunset — the Vive Mar baby turtle release program at Playa Bacocho. Playa Bacocho is a quieter beach on the extreme western edge of Puerto Escondido. 

Head to the beach and look for a thatched-roof hut with Vive Mar’s sign. Sign up for the release starts at 5pm, and this does usually sell out, so sign up as early as possible for the sunset release.

Vive Mar is a nonprofit organization, and they ask for a $100 peso ($5USD) per turtle donation, with all proceeds benefiting conservation efforts.

baby turtle being released on the beach

BIOLUMINESCENT NIGHT SWIM

Located about 10 miles north of Puerto Escondido is Laguna Manialtepec (Manialtepec Lagoon). 

Each night when the sun goes down, the water lights up with sparkling bioluminescent plankton. While this phenomenon is visible nightly, to some extent, the effect is most visible during the New Moon, when we can’t see the moon in the sky.

You’re going to need to book a tour for this because you go out into the center of the lagoon by boat.

bioluminescent bay glowing blue at night

Manialtepec Lagoon & bioluminescence TOURS


TRAVELING TO OAXACA

2. Bahias de Huatulco

Located about two hours west of Puerto Escondido is Bahias de Huatulco, usually just called Huatulco (pronounced wa-tool-coh). This is for those who want beautiful, nearly-empty beaches, nine bays for swimming and snorkeling, and resort-style accommodations!

🏝 Head here to read about Michele’s solo trip to Huatulco.

3. Mazunte

Mazunte is one of Mexico’s 135 or so pueblos magicos (Magic Towns). The Mexican Tourism Board awards the prestigious distinction of pueblo magico to pueblos (small towns) in the country with certain characteristics like exceptional natural beauty, unique culture, well-preserved folklore and historic relevance.

🏝🏡 Need a Mazunte Airbnb? I stayed in this very instagrammable apartment, located just minutes from the beach and right across the street from the yoga/meditation studio.

4. Zipolite, San Agustinillo & Puerto Angel

These three beaches are known as the Riviera Oaxaqueña (Oaxacan Rivera), because they are some of the most beautiful beaches on the Oaxacan coast. Despite increasing tourism, these small fishing village beach towns have retained their old school vibes. Visiting these three towns offers a glimpse into old school Mexican life.

Zipolite also has Mexico’s only legal public nude beach. However, not all of the town’s gorgeous beaches allow nudity, it’s really just the portion of the beach outside of the appropriately-named, Hotel Nude.

5. Chacahua National Park

One of the most off the beaten path beach destination in all of Oaxaca is Lagunas de Chacahua, usually just called Chacahua.

To get there, you must take a boat from the small pueblo of Zapotalito, located about an hour east of Puerto Escondido. You can opt for a direct route, or take the tour route, where the boat captain will point out some interesting sites along the way.

This island sits on the Pacific Ocean, so it’s popular with surfers. The waves are medium-sized, but there are locals that offer board rentals and lessons for beginner surfers.

For those who don’t surf, there’s a small crocodile zoo, a lighthouse you can climb up to, a boat tour through the mangroves, and at night, you take another boat tour to see the bioluminescence in Chacahua.

Chacahua, Oaxaca is a place to think, admire nature. lay in a hammock, read a book, go for a swim, take in the gorgeous sunset and eat fresh seafood. The WiFi is basically non-existent, so this is the perfect place to find peace and quiet.

🏝🏡 Need a Mazunte Airbnb? I stayed in this beautiful beach cabana. You can’t get any closer to the beach than this house, which also happens to be the nicest place to stay in all of Chacahua, and the place seen in this IG photo.


Mexico Travel FAQs

1. Is Oaxaca safe for travel?

Short answer: Yes!

Longer answer: Aside from big surf waves, mosquitoes and not drinking too much mezcal, you’re in little danger in Oaxaca. In fact, Oaxaca, is one of the safest states in Mexico. Oaxaca City is the country’s 67th largest city, with a population of about 275,000, but retains a humble pubelo (small town) vibe.

As no place on Earth is 100% safe, you’ll want to follow the 10 General Travel Safety Tips below — you know, the same ones you’d follow when traveling anywhere. You should also register for the STEP Program and put your mind at ease with travel insurance.

Mexico Travel Insurance

Wondering Should I get travel insurance for Mexico?

The answer is of course yes, it will give you an added level of security and peace of mind during these strange travel times.

Just as you insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling. If Mexico and Oaxaca travel safety are on your mind, get your free quote below from World Nomads, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

10 General Travel Safety Tips
  1. Don’t walk home alone at night if you can help it; take a taxi.
  2. Always listen to your intuition because your intuition is always right.
  3. If you get a sketchy or uneasy feeling about a person or place, get away from that person or place immediately. If you feel you’re in danger, don’t worry about making a kind, nice, or politically correct exit from a creepy person or bad situation — Just get away ASAP.
  4. Don’t keep your phone, keys, wallet, passport, or anything valuable in your back pocket.
  5. Learn some basic Spanish. If you can’t learn it, save the infographic below as an image on your phone so you have something to use even if you’re off-WiFi.
  6. Take all of your belongings into the bathroom with you, rather than asking a cafe/bar neighbor to watch your things.
  7. Speaking of bar neighbors, don’t take drinks from strangers and/or leave your drink unattended near one.
  8. Don’t wear flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, designer sunglasses, etc.
  9. Keep some cash in your pocket so you don’t have to pull your whole wallet out every time you need to pay.
  10. This should be a no brainer since you’re traveling during a pandemic, but get Travel Insurance!
List of useful spanish words and phrases
PIN THIS FOR LATER

Register for the STEP Program

Make sure you enroll in the FREE STEP Program before your trip. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, allows U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico to document your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. In Tulum, that’s the Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen.

After you’ve registered, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate can contact you in the event of an emergency, including natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. STEP can also put you in touch with your family and friends back home, in the event of an emergency while abroad.

Do I need to speak Spanish to visit Oaxaca?

Many Oaxaqueños don’t speak English, however with so many U.S. and European tourists, they get by. If you stick to the popular areas of Oaxaca, like Oaxaca City, Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, tour operators and people in the service industry will speak English. However, when venturing off the beaten path in Oaxaca, you can expect little to no English.

However, it is good manners to learn at last some basic Spanish when traveling to Oaxaca. 🎧 Listen to Episode 13 of the podcast as travel blogger Elizabeth talk about how she learned eight languages, and gives great tips for how to learn language basics in easy, fun ways.

If learning Spanish isn’t in the cards for you, #NoJudgement! Pin and/or save the infographic below on your phone so you’ll always have the words and phrases you need, even if you’re off-WiFi.

List of useful spanish words and phrases
PIN THIS FOR LATER


🇲🇽 Need Mexico travel safety info? This is the podcast for you!


2. Do I need a visa for Mexico?

No, U.S. passport holders don’t need a visa to travel to Mexico. This is just one reason Mexico is one of the best travel destinations for Americans.

When you arrive in Mexico and go through Customs and Immigration, you’ll receive a 180-day (6 month) FMM tourist visa. This is a small piece of paper that you need to hold on to so you can give it back to an Immigration officer when you leave the country, so don’t lose your FMM!

3. What do I pack for Oaxaca?

🧳 Related Blog: The Ultimate Packing List for Mexico + FREE Printable Checklist

For the most part, Oaxaca is hot all year-long with 80-90° days. At night, temperatures drop into the 60-70°s in Oaxaca City, but remain warm on the beaches. ☀️ Get more Oaxaca weather info here.

As far as how to dress, Oaxacans are modest dressers, so pants/jeans with sleeved tops are the norm. However, sundresses, flowy, breathable, cotton, and light-colored clothing works; bonus points for anything that doesn’t show sweat. At night, you’ll want a jacket and boots in Oaxaca City, and maybe a light cardigan on the beaches.

With Oaxaca’s sunny, hot (and humid 😥) days, definitely pack a LifeStraw Filterable Water Bottle to stay hydrated, and eco-friendly sunscreen to avoid sunburns and practice responsible tourism in Mexico. If you plan on drinking a lot of mezcal, don’t forget your anti-hangover meds.

🧳 FREE Printable Packing List for Mexico

Wondering exactly what to pack for Oaxaca and all of Mexico? Download your FREE printable packing list for Mexico below — it covers both Mexico beach packing and packing for Mexico cities. This multi-page Mexico packing checklist covers everything you’ll want to bring, and more importantly, what not to bring to Mexico.


Have any questions about traveling to Oaxaca?

If there was anything we didn’t cover, please ask away in the comments down below!


Enjoy these related blogs!


Please join me on my Solo Travel & Mexico Travel adventures


¡Hola Chicas!

I’m Shelley, a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world!

I started this Blog and Podcast to help women like you cross Solo travel and Mexico travel off your bucket list… READ MORE

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55 Comments

  1. Elena Pappalardo

    I absolutely love how colorful Oaxa is! I never knew how many natural wonders were there! I love how you shared the must-know words and phrases too – super helpful!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Mexico is full of surprises! I feel like its gorgeous nature is hardly ever shown, especially in the mainstream media.

      Reply
  2. Danielle

    Wow- I have been to Mexico but totaly missed this – will have to go back nowand follow your guide! thank you!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Oaxaca is still off the beaten path, but it’s gaining more popularity with each passing year. I think Oaxaca is definitely one of Mexico’s best states & cities.

      Reply
  3. Jackie

    I’ve visited CDMX and the Yucatán and I really want to see more of Mexico. Oaxaca has been on my bucket list for awhile and I’m thinking I need to plan a trip here ASAP!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      You’re going to love Oaxaca…. it’s basically a different country compared to CDMX & the Yucatan.

      Reply
  4. Devin Held

    Did I read this right – you’ve been travelling in Mexico for over two years?! That is so amazing! I’ve actually never heard of this destination. I love how informative your guide is. Saving for when I travel to Mexico! 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      hehe, yes! Two years, three months, & counting…

      Reply
  5. Anna Meanders

    Awesome guide – so comprehensive! Oaxaca is one of my favourite places in the world and I spend time based out of Oaxaca City (and sometimes the beaches!) every year. You’ve done so well to cover to much, makes me excited & impatient to get back for my next visit.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Thank you for your kind words, Anna! I love getting feedback from others who have traveled to Oaxaca & know it well. There is a lot to cover & I’ll keep adding to this blog to make it even more comprehensive for visitors.

      Reply
  6. Alexandra

    You had me at “foodie capitol of Mexico!” omg. I love the food everywhere in Mexico, so I can imagine this place is heaven on Earth. I am also dying to go to the beaches there. They look nothing short of magical!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I’ve been to 1/2 of the states in Mx & yes, Oaxaca ranks at the top as far as food is concerned. I hope you get to experience the food & the beaches soon.

      Reply
  7. Simply Madeleine

    I´d love to visit Oaxaca one day! Thanks for sharing this guide! 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      You’re very welcome!

      Reply
  8. Bisola

    Oaxaca looks so pretty!! I didn’t know much about it before this post but joe I want to visit! And love all the detailed tips you shared too. I’ll def be saving this for the future!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I think it’s one of Mexico’s best states… there’s something for everyone in Oaxaca. I hope you get to visit soon.

      Reply
  9. Alma

    Such a comprehensive guide, not only for solo travelers! Beautiful colours at Oaxaca – so cheerful.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      You are so correct — this will hopefully be a useful guide for ALL Oaxaca travelers!

      Reply
  10. Michelle

    This is such a fabulous post! We love visiting Mexico so much and we couldn’t agree more that Mexico is safe! We just love the people, the food, and the beautiful countryside. I would so love to visit Oaxaca during one of the many festivals. Guelaguetza really sounds awesome!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I was supposed to be at the Guelaguetza right now actually! It has been postponed for 2020, but I’ll be there in 2021 for sure.

      Reply
  11. Jackie

    Such a comprehensive guide to all-things-Oaxaca! (Plus, I’ve been pronouncing it wrong all this time…who knew?) Your article has sparked a new appreciation for this “Foodie Capital of Mexico” for me. While it might be a while before I get there, Oaxaca high on my bucket list. Can’t wait to check it out first hand using all your helpful tips and suggestions. Many thanks!
    “”

    Reply
    • Shelley

      You’re not alone… everyone pronounces it wrong! I did too, until someone corrected me. Glad you enjoyed the blog & I hope you make it to Oaxaca soon… if nothing else, for the food 🤤🤤🤤

      Reply
  12. Katie Diederichs

    I absolutely LOVED Oaxaca City, and the surrounding countryside. Such vibrant culture, incredible food, and beautiful architecture. I have been itching to get back to see the nearby beaches as well. Great guide!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      The beaches are amazing! I’ve been to a good amount of Mexico’s beaches now, and I think Oaxaca’s are the best.

      Reply
  13. Lamara Travels

    Thanks for your super informative post! I love your solo travel tips, especially the idea of popping in to a cafe and buying a drink if you feel uncomfortable out and about somewhere. The photos don’t do this place justice. It’s not somewhere I’ve ever thought about going, but Oaxaca looks rich in culture and especially the good food!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Mexico is a beautiful country, with the very best food!! I hope you’ll consider adding Mexico & Oaxaca to your travel list.

      Reply
  14. The Globetrotting Detective

    Hi Shelley,

    What a detailed guide! I find it awesome. Mexico is one of my dream destinations.

    By the way, I don’t know what the U.S. news and Netflix show about Mexico because I don’t really watch them.
    But, as a European I know, the media all over the world picks some places such as the Middle East and they want to depict them as evil or just simply bad. But it’s all just a game. For example, I have been to Iraq and Iran and they are really the most amazing places in the world.

    Thank you for this lovely blog!
    Diana

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Thank you for the compliment on the blog. Yes, fear sells. Unfortunately. The U.S. mainstream news basically shows Mexico as the most dangerous country in the entire world… so I can only imagine what you’re saying about the portrayal of the Middle East in European news. I’m sure Iraq & Iran were amazing places, so I’m glad you got to see that first hand. So few others will!

      Reply
  15. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

    Wow, what a comprehensive guide! Colour me impressed, honestly this must have taken you so long haha. Oaxaca looks like such a fantastic area to visit, can’t believe how much there is to do! Have you done the bioluminescent swim? That sounds incredible!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      This blog did take me a while lol! And yes, I have done that swim in 2 places in Oaxaca… once at the place I mentioned in the blog (Laguna Manialtepec) & a few times in a truly off the beaten path Oaxacan place called Lagunas de Chacahua National Park.

      Reply
  16. Jen Ambrose

    As an American, I’m so embarrassed by how little time I’ve spent in Mexico! Oaxaca is one of the places I’ve always really want to go – soon, I hope!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Don’t be embarrassed! But definitely do visit Mexico, when the time is right. It’s such an amazing country.

      Reply
  17. Jenny

    What a comprehensive guide! I particularly like the look of those beautiful beaches and releasing baby turtles would be amazing.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      The turtle release was super cool… the baby turtles are just adorable 🐢

      Reply
  18. Shay

    This is such an awesome comprehensive guide. Going to Mexico for Día de los Muertos is a HUGE dream of mine. Hope I get to make that a reality someday! It looks like so much fun and the ultimate cultural experience.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      I hope you make it in 2021! I think this year might be an abridged celebration, if it’s not cancelled altogether.

      Reply
  19. Lauren

    Thanks so much for sharing such an informative guide!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      You are most welcome

      Reply
  20. Helena

    I want to go just to do the Bioluminecent night swim, i’ve always wanted to do one and didn’t know you could in Mexico! I’ve never been to Mexico but definitely putting Oaxaca on my list

    Reply
    • Shelley

      It was super cool!! You can do it in a few places in Oaxaca, the one mentioned in the blog (Laguna Manialtepec) & another place called Lagunas de Chacahua National Park. There might be others, but I have personally done the bioluminescent swim in both of those places.

      Reply
  21. Maya

    I loved Oaxaca when I was there a long time ago. It had such an air of authenticity. Such wonderful markets and the nicest people. Puerto Escondido was such a hidden gem, I hope it still is. A great guide to the area! I wish I’ll get to visit it again soon!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Hi Maya: Glad you enjoyed Oaxaca! I wish I could have experienced it years ago when you did…

      Reply
  22. The Spicy Travel Girl

    What an amazingly thorough guide! I’ve heard very good things about Oaxaca, I just saw it listed somewhere as the top travel destination in the world! The photos look stunning, especially the ones from Guelaguetza. Would definitely love to visit some time.

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Oaxaca is amazing! I hope you get to travel there, especially in July for the amazing Guelaguetza festival.

      Reply
  23. mohana and aninda

    I have heard great things about Oaxacan food and would love to try some! Your post is very detailed and the photos are lovely. We’d love to explore the mercados; the produce looks fresh and colourful. And maybe go for a bioluminescent swim!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      The swim is sooo cool! And yes, Oaxaca is known as one of the best states for food in Mexico!

      Reply
  24. Portia Jones

    I am blown away by this detailed guide! this is the level that travel bloggers should be striving for! I think it would be great to get you on my travel podcast – Travel Goals to talk about travel in Mexico if you are up for it? Drop me a line. x

    Reply
    • Shelley

      This is such an amazing compliment & amazing offer. I love your podcast & I’d be honored to be a guest ❤️

      Reply
  25. galatia

    Girl you had me hooked on the food and gorgeous beaches! I am SOLD! 😍 guides like this are aoooo helpful especially in off the beaten path destinations like this!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Hi Galatia: Thank you so much for the compliments. I know you’d love Oaxaca…. and I hope you make it to this amazing city one day.

      Reply
  26. Courtney

    I love your Oaxaca food guide! Eating my way through Mexico is on my bucket list. Tlayudas and enmoladas sound delicious! Thanks for sharing, and I am saving your guide for when we can safely travel again. 🙂

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Enmoladas are great!! I truly believe we need mole on more foods. You’re going to enjoy Oaxaca!

      Reply
  27. Angelina Dorian

    It’s great that you share your experience. I am a novice traveler, and for me your blog is an aid in planning my trip. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      Angelina: Thank you for saying that! I hope you make it to Oaxaca & have the trip of your life.

      Reply
  28. Tracey Fleming

    Nicely put together guide…Oaxaca is on my list…

    Reply

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