15 Unmissable Things to do in Oaxaca City, Mexico in 2022

Oaxaca metropolis, positioned within the Oaxaca state, is without doubt one of the most unbelievable cities I’ve visited in my whole life and probably the most full by way of cultural, historic, and inventive choices.

In truth, this Mexican jewel nestled within the Oaxaca Valley, surrounded by stunning mountains, has actually all the things: from scrumptious delicacies to colourful avenue artwork, historic ruins, indigenous cultures, entry to pure wonders, and way more.

With so many points of interest, it’s onerous to decide on which of them to concentrate on while you go to Oaxaca metropolis (additionally referred to as Oaxaca de Juarez) particularly for those who don’t have a lot time. 

Since I lived within the space, I made a decision to save lots of you a while and make this information with some TOP issues to do in Oaxaca (for those who’re questioning how one can pronounce Oaxaca in Spanish, they are saying “wa-ha-ka”).

So, are you prepared to return on this magical journey with me?

Let’s bounce proper in!

If you’re in a rush 

If you don’t have time to learn all the most effective issues to do in Oaxaca, Mexico, take a look at this fast listing of the most effective excursions in Oaxaca metropolis:

Here are the principle issues to guide prematurely:

And listed here are the most effective lodges: Hotel Quinta Real (Luxury), Hotel Boutique Parador (Mid-range), Parador San Agustin (Budget)

1. Head to el Zocalo Square

People walking through the colorful el Zocalo Square, one of the best things. to do in Oaxaca City

If you wish to have a really feel of the native tradition and of town itself, it is best to undoubtedly begin by wandering across the charming cobblestone streets of downtown Oaxaca.

Here are concentrated a lot of the historic points of interest of Oaxaca de Juárez (just like the Oaxaca Cathedral) in addition to high quality eating eating places, avenue distributors promoting scrumptious meals at any nook, and Oaxaca’s foremost sq.: Zocalo.

In Zocalo foremost sq., positioned proper within the coronary heart of Oaxaca metropolis middle, you’ll discover musicians and numerous avenue meals stalls promoting contemporary fruit (if you wish to strive it within the Mexican approach, add a sprinkle of chili) conventional handicrafts, garments, and typical souvenirs.

But what I personally take pleasure in probably the most right here is individuals watch… simply sit in one of many many eating places and bars of the sq. and luxuriate in a mezcal, a espresso, or a meal whilst you see locals of their each day life! 

Prices might be larger than common in Zocalo venues, however the energetic ambiance of the sq. is unquestionably value it.

You can go to Zocalo as part of a free walking tour with an area information (fairly a singular and completely different expertise) or with this half-day city tour exploring the principle architectural and historic monuments of town middle.

2. Explore Monte Alban historic ruins

Monte Alban archeological site

You can’t go away Oaxaca metropolis with out visiting Monte Alban Zapotec ruins, an archaeological UNESCO World Heritage Site about half an hour from the middle: undoubtedly one of many MUST issues to do in Oaxaca.

This historic website was one of many earliest cities in Latin America and the social, political, and financial middle for the Zapotecs, one of many foremost indigenous cultures of Oaxaca Mexico.

Now in Monte Alban, you may gaze on the remaining pyramids, canals, plaza, terraces, and stairs… I used to be capable of journey again in time as quickly as I noticed the primary stones with indigenous carvings!

And the most effective factor is that you just’ll see all of this with 365-degree views of town and the mountains throughout: an unforgettable present!

Since there may be a lot historical past behind these magnificent ruins, I recommend you go to them with an knowledgeable tour information, with the intention to actually perceive what you’re seeing, like this half-day tour and even with a full-day trip together with artisan cities like Arrazola and San Bartolo Coyotepec. 

PRO TIP: Monte Alban ruins are open from Monday to Sunday from 8 am to five pm, however I recommend you keep away from the most well liked hours (from 12 pm to 2 pm): it will get tremendous sizzling and also you don’t have plenty of locations to restore from the solar!

PRICE: 75MXN ($4) solely entrance

How to get there

If you don’t wish to depend on a tour to go to Monte Alban, there are some methods to go alone:

  • Taxi: wherever within the metropolis middle (particularly in Zocalo) you may take a taxi for 150 MXN ($7), or 300 MXN for spherical journey transportation
  • Shuttle bus: you may take a bus for 6MXN ($3) from the Central de Abastos to the city beneath Monte Alban after which take a moto-taxi till Monte Alban for 10 MXN 
  • Car: it would take you round half an hour to get to Monte Alban from Oaxaca City, and you’ll park without cost within the parking proper earlier than the ruins. Check the rental automotive costs here.

3. Visit the Templo de Santo Domingo

templo santo domingo

If you’re keen on gazing on the structure of previous church buildings, you’ll fall in love with the Templo de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Church), probably the most well-known cathedral in Oaxaca metropolis. 

Situated inside a small sq. of town middle, the Templo de Santo Domingo is big and majestic and appears even higher while you go inside: its interiors are adorned with gold, carved stone, and wooden, and also you’ll additionally discover a excessive altar completely coated with gold!

The Santo Domingo Church was based in 1575, however they really used it as army barracks through the revolutionary struggle interval to be lastly restored as a spiritual constructing in 1938.

The church plaza can be a fantastic place to hang around, bustling with life: musicians, avenue distributors promoting any form of memento or meals, painters and many individuals, from locals to vacationers!

4. Try the most effective Mexican meals 

traditional food

One of the issues Oaxaca metropolis is thought for in Mexico as the entire world is its wonderful delicacies and avenue meals!

The metropolis has so many conventional dishes and substances produced within the space that it’s onerous to strive all of them… however there are some it’s essential style (in any other case you may’t actually say you will have visited Oaxaca).

Let’s test them out:

  • Mole: that is probably the most Iconic meals, (or higher stated, sauce) of Oaxaca metropolis. This sauce is manufactured from many various substances, amongst that are chili, spices, and even chocolate! In Oaxaca there are 7 distinctive variations, to strive in meat or tortilla dishes.
  • Oaxacan sizzling chocolate: sizzling chocolate is without doubt one of the most conventional and standard drinks in Oaxaca, and you will notice it in all of the chocolate retailers! It could be manufactured from water or milk, and you’ll drink it with sugar, cinnamon, or simply pure. Usually, you mix it with pan dulce (candy bread) or pan de Yema (egg bread)
  • Oaxaca cheese: also called quesillo, it is a white cheese that originated within the Oaxaca area, tasting like Monterey Jack however with the feel of Mozzarella. It is without doubt one of the foremost substances of any avenue meals you’ll strive: tacos, tlayudas, quesadillas, and plenty of extra!
chapulines
  • Chapulines: one of the typical (and, frankly, fairly bizarre) snacks you may strive in any market is the “chapulines”: grasshoppers dried and seasoned to be eaten identical to that! In the tip, they give the impression of being worse than what they style (precisely like their seasoning!)
  • Tlayudas: if you wish to strive avenue snacks in Oaxaca, it is best to begin with the well-known Tlayuda: a giant and crispy tortilla topped with beans, cheese, avocado, and both veggies or any meat of selection.
  • Tamales: that is my favourite Mexican avenue meals ever, created from steamed corn-based dough and wrapped in a corn husk. The filling could be with something: meat, veggies, fish, cheese, raisins… good for a satisfying snack!

Even for those who can strive all these scrumptious meals simply wandering in Oaxaca metropolis by your self, there are various meals excursions with which you pattern a number of conventional dishes with an area, so that you additionally keep away from the chance of falling into the everyday vacationer traps, like this half-day walking food tour.

5. Relax at Hierve el Agua pure swimming pools

5 Relax at Hierve el Agua natural pools

At about one hour and a half from Oaxaca metropolis you’ll discover a magical spot referred to as Hierve el Agua: some pure mineral springs manufactured from rocks and formations that appear like a cascading waterfall!

Once you get to Hierve el Agua, to succeed in the precise swimming pools you’ll simply have to hike for 10-minutes on a fairly steep hill, however then you definately’ll swim in freshwater (don’t neglect your swimsuit!), saturated with calcium carbonate and different minerals… a blessing in your pores and skin! 

Hierve el Agua is the right place to take a break from metropolis life, take pleasure in some peace, reconnect with nature and luxuriate in breathtaking views of the mountains throughout… among the best day journeys from Oaxaca.

P.S.: for those who love nature, take a look at my post about Chacahua, an incredible pure reserve on the Oaxacan coast!

The finest approach of visiting Hierve el Agua is with a guided tour, so that you don’t have to fret about transportation and also you normally have the prospect to go to different cool spots within the environment. 

This day journey tour, for instance, combines Hierve el Agua with a go to to a mezcal producer and the Zapotec city of Teotitlán del Valle. It is ~50USD per particular person, so I believe it’s a fairly whole lot!

How to get there: 

  • Taxi: from wherever in Oaxaca metropolis middle, it would price you round 200MDX (US$10) 
  • Bus: catch the bus (18 MDX / $0.90) from the Oaxaca 2nd class bus terminal from Oaxaca City to Mitla for 1h, then change to a camioneta in Mitla bus station (40 pesos / US$2.00) till Hierve el Agua
  • Car: it would take you 1 hour and a half on a curved highway to go from Oaxaca to Hierve el Agua

PRICE: 50MDX (US$2.5) (+10MDX for those who enter with your personal automotive) 

6. Do some Mezcal tasting 

6 Do some Mezcal tasting

A visit to Oaxaca metropolis is just not full for those who don’t strive Mezcal: smoky alcohol from distilled agave (tequila is definitely a sort of mezcal). 

And even for those who wished, it’s inconceivable to keep away from mezcal in Oaxaca, with all of the mezcal bars (additionally referred to as mezcalerias) coming out by means of town. I truthfully didn’t like Mezcal earlier than coming to Oaxaca, and after my trip, I ended up loving it… you simply have to get used to the style!

I believe you bought the purpose: a mezcal tasting is a should, and there are other ways to do it. You can do like me and randomly style the various kinds of mezcals by your self, and on this case, I recommend you go to the well-known Casa del Mezcal, the oldest conventional cantinas within the metropolis.

The second possibility is to affix a Mezcal tasting tour by means of the normal mezcal distilleries of the Oaxaca valleys, like this private tour or this mezcal tasting session with an knowledgeable, with which you too can be taught concerning the origin of the drink.

7. Visit the botanical backyard

7 Visit the botanical garden

One of the most effective issues to do in Oaxaca for those who love inexperienced areas is to go to the gorgeous and peaceable botanical gardens (Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca).

This public backyard is not only a bunch of crops put collectively however has the target to inform the area’s historical past by means of its flora and discover the hyperlink between the Oaxacan individuals and crops, that are divided by cultural and ecological teams.

The Botanical Gardens are fairly huge, sitting on 2.5 acres of former monastic grounds and they’re positioned proper subsequent to the Templo de Santo Domingo, in order that they’re tremendous simple to succeed in.

NOTE: they’re open from Monday to Saturday and may solely be visited with guided excursions, that are supplied in English daily at 11 am. Check out the website for more information!

PRICE: 100 MDX ($5)

8. Take a Mexican cooking class

8 Take a Mexican cooking class

One of the most effective (and most enjoyable) issues you are able to do within the culinary capital of Mexico is to discover its meals tradition with a cooking class. 

In this fashion you may spend high quality time with the locals, deep dive into their traditions, and discover ways to prepare dinner their finest dishes: mole, contemporary tortillas, guacamole, and salsa, Oaxacan tamales, and way more… so you may simply reproduce them at house for those who begin having Mexican cravings!

For instance, this Oaxacan cooking class combines the lesson with a go to to a bustling native market with a chef, to purchase contemporary produce in your recipes. Get prepared to organize handmade tortillas and typical drinks like Tejate, Chilacayota, and Mezcalitas (Margaritas with Mezcal)!

Otherwise, with this different cooking class, you’ll discover ways to prepare dinner the most effective dishes of the Oaxacan delicacies in a world-class restaurant within the metropolis, guided by an knowledgeable chef-instructor. You’ll be a part of a small group, and also you’ll determine collectively which dishes will go on the menu, how cool is that?

PRICE: ~US$90 for a 5.5-hour tour

9. Explore the native artwork

Jalatlaco

If I take into consideration artwork, the very first thing that involves my thoughts is Oaxaca: I’ve by no means seen a metropolis so full of colourful graffiti, artwork galleries, and avenue painters promoting the most effective works you may think about!

If you’re a fan of avenue artwork like me, I recommend you lose your self within the streets of the Jalatlaco neighborhood: with its colours, bohemian vibe, hip cafes, artwork venues, and murales it would make you fall in love (or not less than, I did!).

Another cool technique to discover the native artwork is thru this guided tour, which can take you round 3 neighborhoods of Oaxaca and do artwork workshops, and see avenue artwork, and a few fascinating galleries and artists.

10. Get misplaced within the markets

10 Get lost in the markets

One of my absolute favourite issues to do in Oaxaca is exploring the various native markets, the place you should purchase contemporary substances, garments, handcraft souvenirs, or simply sit in one of many avenue meals eating places and check out the native meals.

This is the easiest way to have an actual really feel of Mexican tradition: chaotic and colourful. I recommend you go to not less than the three foremost markets of Oaxaca metropolis: Mercado Benito Juárez, 20 de Noviembre market and

In Mercado Benito Juarez, at strolling distance from the zocalo sq. you’ll discover all the things from native items to clothes, contemporary substances, and Oaxacan snacks: right here’s the place to strive the well-known chapulines (fried and seasoned grasshoppers). 

Just a block from Mercado Benito Juárez lies the 20 de Noviembre market, the preferred one, that includes primarily meals stalls. 

The market is known for “El Pasillo de las Carnes Asadas” (“The Grilled Meats Hall”) the place you select your favourite minimize of meat and have it ready in entrance of you! But I warn you: this a part of the market is tremendous sizzling, with all of the smoke coming from the grills… could be overwhelming!

Finally, The Mercado de Artesanias is ideal for those who love handcrafts, promoting textiles, black (barro negro) and purple pottery, jewellery, and so forth. The most conventional factor yow will discover listed here are the Alebrijes: imaginary and colourful wood animals which have a particular which means within the Oaxacan tradition.

11. Check out the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

11 Cultural Center of

Just proper subsequent to Santo Domingo Church you’ll discover an unbelievable museum: the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, restored because the Cultural Center of Oaxaca. 

The Museum is positioned in a Sixteenth-century monastery: simply the constructing itself is gorgeous, with vaulted corridors and glassless home windows… however the most effective half is contained in the museum, the place you’ll discover archaeological treasures from the Pre-Columbian period till now!

Get able to stare upon colourful artwork, be taught concerning the Oaxacan indigenous cultures and attend very fascinating exhibitions… and from the home windows, you may have a number of the finest views of town! The museum is open daily aside from Monday from 10 am to six pm.

PRICE: 85 MXD ($US4), on Sunday the doorway is free

12. Do a Temazcal Ceremony

12 Do a Temazcal Ceremony

Temazcal is a really conventional ceremony of Mexican heritage, relationship again from pre-Hispanic Indigenous individuals, consisting in purifying your physique in a small and darkish “sweat lodge”, aimed to make you are feeling once more within the mom’s womb.

“Temazcal” truly refers back to the construction the place the ceremony occurs: a dome-like building normally of cement, mud, or volcanic stone, which might host from 1 as much as 10 individuals, however 

Ceremonies are all completely different and distinctive, however they’ve some frequent patterns: they final about 1 or 2 hours and they’re led by a type of religious chief (the temazcalero or shaman). 

To begin you’ll enter the sweat lodge and sit in a circle with the opposite individuals, round some steaming volcanic stones. The shaman will pour water over the stones to supply the steam that may make you sweat and shut the door, after which repeat it at common intervals.

When I did it, the water was blended with herbs meant to have therapeutic and therapeutic properties, however this relies on every ceremony: in a few of them, they even make you drink some natural tea whereas contained in the temazcal… as I stated, there are various variations!

At the tip of the ceremony, you’ll get out of the dome and take a cool bathe to decrease your physique temperature, and you’ll really feel reborn! I do know it will probably sound overwhelming, but it surely’s truly a fantastic expertise, and it comes from an individual who hates saunas!

There are many facilities in Oaxaca the place you may expertise Temazcal, however one of the standard within the metropolis is the Ceviarem, managed by a beautiful Zapotec couple… test it out!

13. Go on a day journey to Mitla

13 day trip to Mitla

The location of Oaxaca metropolis, near many fascinating cities and pure points of interest, makes it good to go on cool day journeys, particularly when you have the luck to remain within the metropolis for a very long time. 

One of the most effective day journeys from Oaxaca is unquestionably Mitla, positioned 1-hour drive from Oaxaca (east of it). This city is probably the most historic non secular middle of Oaxaca and was house of excessive clergymen throughout Pre-Hispanic occasions. 

In truth, Mitla comes from the phrase “Mictlan”, which means “the underworld”, and was initially constructed as a gateway between the world of the residing and the world of the useless.

Now Mitla is a brilliant fascinating archeological website to go to for its unbelievable mosaics, depicting the earth, the sky, and different pure figures, in addition to its previous church buildings and colonial buildings

Check out this full-day tour to Mitla, combining a go to to El Tule, an enormous tree 1400 years previous, and Hierve el Agua!

How to get there:

Taxi: you may take a taxi from wherever within the middle to Mitla: it would take you 40 minutes and value you round 30 MXD ($1.5)

Drive: driving from Oaxaca metropolis to Mitla will take you 40 minutes and value you round $5

Bus: take a bus from here for 20 MXD (about $1) with a giant ‘Mitla’ signal within the window

PRICE: US$37 for the tour 

14. Celebrate the Day of the Dead

14 Celebrate the Day of the Dead

If you occur to go to Oaxaca between October 31 and November 2, you’ll have the luck to attend one of the magical celebrations of Mexico: the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos in Spanish).

If you haven’t watched Coco, the Disney cartoon but, ensure to look at it earlier than you go, it will clarify lots! 🙂 

In truth, the Dead festivities in Oaxaca are a number of the most religious and distinctive in the entire nation, combining pre-Hispanic and Christian traditions!

Forget concerning the typical Halloween: throughout this time, Mexican individuals imagine that the door between the world of the spirits and the residing is lifted and that their useless family members come again to our world to go to them!

In order to obtain the spirits, locals put ofrendas (choices) on altars at their houses, faculties, and cemeteries: footage of the deceased, candles, sugar skulls, crosses, flowers, and meals… so the useless can take pleasure in them as in the event that they had been residing!

During the Dia de Los Muertos (and one week earlier than), town fills with colourful flowers, altars, sand tapestries made by native artists, music, conventional parades with costumed performers and marching bands across the streets… such a magical second to dwell within the metropolis!

P.S.: Another place that’s house to one of many largest days of the useless celebrations is Mexico City, internet hosting an enormous parade… 

You may even have fun the day of the useless with this guided tour, which can even provide you with a proof of this vintage custom, thought of an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!

15. Attend the Guelaguetza Festival

15 Attend the Guelaguetza Festival

Guelaguetza is without doubt one of the most necessary Oaxaca festivals, occurring on the final 2 Mondays of July, which can be referred to as “Los Lunes del Cerro” (Mondays on the Hill). 

The which means of this celebration has to do with the completely different communities of the Oaxaca area coming collectively and sharing their distinctive cultural heritages: in reality, the phrase Guelaguetza within the Zapotec language means “offering”, implying a reciprocal trade between cultures. 

During this time, all of the ethnic teams of the Oaxacan area journey to town to exhibit conventional clothes and have fun with dances, music, costumes, and meals: the last word celebration of Oaxacan tradition!

The competition is widely known in The Guelaguetza Auditorium, positioned on a hill on the exit of Oaxaca City International Highway, a half-hour stroll from the Historic Center. To purchase the tickets (US$2), you may both do this online or straight on the ticket workplaces of the Secretaría de Turismo.

How to get there

  • Free citybus: leaving from the Zócalo at any time of the day (however you would have to attend in lengthy strains)
  • Public bus: Take the bus from Crespo Street and get off on the “escaleras del Fortín” stairs, which can take you on to the Auditorium
  • Walk: it would take you 35 minutes from the Historic Center of Oaxaca
  • Taxi: for those who handle to seek out one throughout this time, taking a taxi will price you round 100 MXD ($US5) and take you 5 minutes

PRICE: US$2

🤩 Range of actions: Large
👪 Family-friendly rating: Medium
🏛️ Best museum: Museo de las Culturas
🎢 Top paid attraction: Monte Alban
🚶🏽‍♂️ Best free exercise: Zocalo Square
👧 Best attraction for teenagers: Hierve el Agua
🥟 Must strive meals: Tlayuda
📅 How many days: 5-7
📍 Best neighborhood: El Centro 
🍽️ Dinner for two: $30
🚕 Average taxi PRICE: $5
💵 Avg resort PRICE: $100
✈️ Cost of touring: Medium

Where to remain in Oaxaca

If you wish to have quick access to all of the wonderful issues to do in Oaxaca we simply noticed, the Centro is unquestionably the most effective space within the metropolis, shut additionally to a lot of the retailers, eating places, bars, and historic points of interest. 

I gathered right here beneath a fast listing of the most effective Oaxaca lodges within the central space, and divided them by completely different value ranges: test them out! And if you wish to see different resort choices and areas, take a look at my publish about the place to remain in Oaxaca.

16 Where to stay in
  • Luxury ($180 and up)
    Hotel Quinta Real – If you wish to take pleasure in luxurious proper within the coronary heart of Oaxaca take a look at this wonderful resort, inside strolling distance of the Oaxaca Cathedral! Here you’ll discover spacious rooms with colonial-style décor, a swimming pool the place to loosen up, and an on-site for the most effective cocktails.
  • Mid Range ($90 – $130)
    Hotel Boutique Parador – This Boutique resort affords the most effective worth for value and a fantastic location in Central Oaxaca, near all the most effective points of interest! Get able to eat the most effective Mexican meals on the gourmand restaurant on-site and sleep in comfortable beds after an intense day of visiting.
  • Budget (as much as $70)
    Parador San Agustin – If you wish to go to Mexico on a finances, this inexpensive resort is what you’re on the lookout for, positioned proper within the coronary heart of Oaxaca Centro. The property provides you entry to spacious rooms, good for a stick with the household, and a captivating inside courtyard to spend some enjoyable time.

Frequently requested questions on Oaxaca

17 Frequently asked questions about

🤩 What are the most effective issues to do in Oaxaca, Mexico?

The finest issues to do in Oaxaca are individuals watching in Zocalo sq., swimming in Hierve el Agua mineral swimming pools, and making an attempt all of the conventional meals on the markets, just like the scrumptious sizzling chocolate.

🟡 Is Oaxaca protected as a metropolis? 

Yes, Oaxaca has a really low crime price in comparison with different huge cities within the nation like Mexico City, however pickpocketing occurs, so that you all the time have to make use of frequent sense particularly round Zocalo and at markets!

🚕 Which are the most effective day journeys from Oaxaca, Mexico?

The finest day journeys from Oaxaca are those to Hierve el Agua, Monte Alban archeological ruins, and to Mitla city, an historic non secular middle with unbelievable mosaics.

👀 Which are probably the most uncommon issues to do in Oaxaca?

The most uncommon issues to do in Oaxaca are attending cultural occasions just like the Day of the Dead and the Guelaguetza Festival, or taking part in a Temazcal ceremony!

Conclusion

18 best things to do in Oaxaca

Congrats! You lastly made it to the tip of this tremendous intensive information on the most effective issues to do in Oaxaca, the gorgeous capital of the Oaxacan area, Mexico.

We went by means of so many cool actions and points of interest, from cultural occasions to pure wonders, indigenous ruins, artwork galleries, and scrumptious meals… you undoubtedly gained’t have time to get bored right here!

I hope you loved my publish and it will likely be useful in your trip in Oaxaca, and when you have any questions for me, please go away them within the feedback beneath: I’m wanting ahead to answering you!

Have the most effective vacation! 

Elena 


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