Oaxaca, Mexico Travel Guide

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Oaxaca, Mexico is a beautiful and vibrant city located in the southwestern part of the country. Known for its rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and stunning architecture, Oaxaca is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or just enjoying the local cuisine, there are plenty of things to do in Oaxaca to keep you entertained. Here are some of the best things to do in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Best Things to Do In Oaxaca, Mexico

1. Visit the Santo Domingo Church and Convent

One of the most impressive colonial buildings in Oaxaca is the Santo Domingo Church and Convent. The church is a masterpiece of baroque architecture and features a stunning gold-plated altar. The convent has been converted into the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures, which showcases the history and culture of the region. This is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Oaxaca.

2. Explore the Ancient Zapotec Ruins of Monte Alban

Located just outside of the city, the ancient Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban are considered one of the most important ruins in Mexico. Monte Alban was once the capital of the Zapotec civilization and is home to numerous pyramids, temples, and other structures that date back to around 500 BC. The site is surrounded by beautiful scenery, and visitors can take guided tours to learn more about the history of the site.

3. Take a Walking Tour of the City’s Street Art

Oaxaca is known for its vibrant and colorful murals, which can be found all over the city. Many of these murals are political in nature and tell the story of the struggles and triumphs of the local people. A walking tour of the city’s street art is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Oaxaca while also enjoying some amazing artwork.

4. Visit the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art

For those interested in art, the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-visit attraction. The museum features works by both Mexican and international artists and is housed in a stunning modernist building surrounded by beautiful gardens.

5. Sample the Local Cuisine

No visit to Oaxaca would be complete without sampling some of the local cuisine. Oaxaca is known for its delicious food, which is a blend of indigenous and Spanish influences. One of the most famous dishes in the region is mole, a rich and complex sauce made from more than 20 different ingredients, including chili peppers, chocolate, and various spices. Another local favorite is tlayudas, which are large crispy tortillas topped with beans, meat, cheese, and other toppings. And, of course, no meal in Oaxaca would be complete without a glass of mezcal, the region’s famous distilled spirit.

6. Explore the Traditional Markets and Handicrafts

Oaxaca is home to a number of traditional markets and handicrafts, making it a great place to experience the local culture and pick up some souvenirs. The city’s main market, Mercado Benito Juarez, is a bustling and colorful place where you can find everything from fresh produce and flowers to traditional textiles and pottery.

7. Relax at Hierve el Agua

Oaxaca is surrounded by stunning mountains and valleys, and there are numerous opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. One of the most popular places to visit is Hierve el Agua, a series of natural rock formations that have been transformed into natural infinity pools. The pools offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and are a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

8. Visit the Ethnobotanical Garden

The Ethnobotanical Garden in Oaxaca is a stunning attraction that showcases the rich biodiversity and cultural heritage of the region. The garden is home to over 1,000 species of plants, many of which have been used by the indigenous people of Oaxaca for medicinal, culinary, and spiritual purposes for centuries. Visitors can take guided tours of the garden to learn about the different plants and their uses, as well as the cultural traditions and history of the region. The garden is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in botany, indigenous culture, or just enjoying the beauty of nature.

How to Get To Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Known for its rich culture, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine, Oaxaca offers something for everyone. If you’re planning a trip to Oaxaca, one of the first things you’ll need to figure out is how to get there. Here’s everything you need to know about getting to Oaxaca, Mexico:

By Air

The easiest way to get to Oaxaca is by air. The city has its own international airport, the Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX), which is located just 7 km from the city center. The airport has regular flights from several major cities in Mexico, as well as from some international destinations, such as Houston and Los Angeles. If you’re coming from further afield, you may need to take a connecting flight through Mexico City.

By Bus

Another option for getting to Oaxaca is by bus. The city has a large bus station, the Central de Autobuses de Oaxaca, which is located just outside the city center. The bus station has regular services to and from several major cities in Mexico, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Puebla. The journey time from Mexico City to Oaxaca by bus is around 6-7 hours.

By Car

If you’re planning on exploring more of Mexico during your trip, driving to Oaxaca can be a great option. The city is located around 500 km south of Mexico City, and the journey takes around 6-7 hours, depending on traffic. There are several major highways that connect Oaxaca to other cities in Mexico, including the Federal Highway 135 and the Federal Highway 190.

By Train

Unfortunately, there are no train services to Oaxaca. The nearest train station is located in Puebla, around 300 km north of Oaxaca. If you’re coming from further afield, you may need to take a train to Mexico City or another major city and then connect by bus or plane to Oaxaca.

Best Times of Year to Visit Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico is a beautiful and culturally rich destination that attracts visitors from around the world. With its stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and vibrant festivals, there’s something for everyone in this southern Mexican state. However, like many destinations, the best time to visit Oaxaca depends on a number of factors, including weather, events, and personal preferences.

Here’s what you need to know about the best time of year to visit Oaxaca, Mexico:

High Season (December – April)

The high season in Oaxaca runs from December to April, which is also the dry season. This is the busiest time of year in the city, with visitors flocking to enjoy the warm, sunny weather and a variety of cultural events. Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Semana Santa (Holy Week) are particularly popular times to visit, with many festivities taking place throughout the city.

The downside of visiting during the high season is that prices for flights, accommodation, and activities tend to be higher, and the city can be crowded with tourists. However, if you don’t mind paying a bit more and want to experience the city at its liveliest, the high season is a great time to visit.

Shoulder Season (May – October)

The shoulder season in Oaxaca runs from May to October, which is also the rainy season. While this time of year can be wet and humid, the landscape is lush and green, and the weather is still warm. Prices for flights and accommodation tend to be lower during this time, and there are fewer tourists, so you can enjoy a more peaceful and authentic experience.

If you’re interested in exploring Oaxaca’s natural beauty, such as its mountains, rivers, and forests, the shoulder season is a great time to visit. You can also take advantage of the lower prices to indulge in some of the city’s famous cuisine and shopping.

Low Season (November)

November is considered the low season in Oaxaca, as it falls between the rainy season and the high season. However, it’s still a great time to visit the city, particularly if you’re interested in the cultural events that take place during this month.

The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is one of Mexico’s most famous festivals, and Oaxaca is one of the best places to experience it. The city comes alive with colorful decorations, parades, and altars, as locals celebrate and remember their loved ones who have passed away. The weather during November is also pleasant, with warm days and cool nights.

The best time to visit Oaxaca depends on your personal preferences and interests. Whether you’re looking to experience the city’s vibrant culture, enjoy its natural beauty, or simply relax and indulge in its famous cuisine, there’s a season that’s right for you.


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