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Mexico / North America

Oaxaca Itinerary | Unique & Best Things to Do in Oaxaca City | 3 Days – 2 Weeks

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Filled with timeless culture, it’s own unique cuisine, bustling markets, fascinating Mixteca and Zapotec ruins, and stunning landscapes, Oaxaca is a magical place to visit in Mexico. With so much richness and diversity, planning a Oaxaca itinerary can be overwhelming. After spending nearly five months in this charming colonial city, I only scratched the surface.

Most travelers will visit Oaxaca State by starting in Oaxaca de Juárez, or simply Oaxaca, or Oaxaca City. This lively city boasts a UNESCO recognized historic center and the unmissable Monte Alban ruins. Find vibrant markets with both Oaxacan cuisine and intricate handicrafts from nearby communities. Oaxaca City is a delight to stroll with its cobblestone streets and colorful buildings. There’s botanical gardens, museums, art galleries, street art, and hip neighborhoods (barrios) that shouldn’t be missed.

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Watching the sunset in Mazunte with Punta Cometa in the backdrop

With so many incredible things to do in Oaxaca, below are some suggestions to add to any Oaxaca itinerary. These Oaxaca itineraries focus mostly on Oaxaca City and day trips for 3 – 10 days. However, included is a basic overview for travelers who have more time to explore the treasures of Oaxaca State, from the magical mountains to the rugged Pacific coastline. Also, find general travel tips to enjoy your time in Oaxaca.

Here’s how to experience the top things to do in Oaxaca City with day by day Oaxaca itineraries.

Table of Contents

General Oaxaca Travel Tips

Oaxaca (pronounced waa·haa·kuh) Mexico is a must for travelers looking to seek an authentic side of Mexico. While Spanish is the dominant langue, over 16 Indigenous languages are spoken within the state. The Indigenous people still practice ancient traditions and their connection to the past and land is a highlight to observe on any Oaxaca itinerary.

Oaxaca is one of the 32 states found in Mexico and Oaxaca State is divided into 8 very diverse regions. Oaxaca de Juárez is the largest city within the state and is located in the Valles Centrales region. Be mindful, Oaxaca City sits at an elevation of 5,102 ft.

Cafebre cafe, Oaxaca cafes, Oaxaca regions, Oaxaca state
The diversity of Oaxaca State photo taken at Cafebre Cafe

The other seven regions include the Sierra Norte (North), Sierra Sur (South), and the incredible Costa region along the Pacific Ocean. To the north of Chiapas State is the unique Istmo region. La Mixteca region boasts incredible hiking, untouched nature, and was the birthplace of the Mixtec culture. The regions of Cañada and Papaloapan, share a border with neighboring State to the north, Veracruz.

Mexico uses the pesos as a currency.

How Many Days Do You Need in Oaxaca?

In my opinion, there are so many things to do in Oaxaca that Oaxaca City alone warrants at least 5 days. However, it’s possible to visit Oaxaca as a weekend getaway over three days. If you have more time, perfect!

Oaxaca Tours Vs. Independent Travel

Oaxaca is a tourist friendly city so there are many guided tour options. With the city’s increasing popularity, there are many English speaking tours. Usually in the markets, local restaurants, and a vast majority of the public transportation options, no English is spoken. Those who don’t feel comfortable with a few basic Spanish phrases may feel more comfortable opting for guided-tours.

However, Oaxaca City is easily connected to all the tourist destinations via public buses and collectivos, or small vans. Traveling Oaxaca independently really allows for an immersive experience. If short on time, it’s more efficient (yet a little more expensive) to take organized day trips from Oaxaca to many of the nearby villages, ruins, and highlights of Oaxaca.

In the end, it comes down to time vs. money. Those with only a 3 day Oaxaca itinerary will get the most “bang for their buck” with organized Oaxaca day trip tours.

When is the Best Time to Visit Oaxaca

Well, that depends.

Oaxaca has two very distinct seasons, rainy and dry. In general, rainy season runs from May to September, while dry season is October – April.

During the rainy season, there are usually afternoon showers, but sometimes there can be storms that produce quite a bit of rainfall. However, the Valley is So green. The mountains that surround Oaxaca are lush and full of life, a truly blissful sight. The dry season has cooler nights, but obviously less rain, so more sunny skies. Much of the landscape turns yellow and brown. Generally, April and May are usually the hottest months in Oaxaca.

The shoulder season for tourist is usually April and May and again from September and October.

In my humble opinion, there is no bad time to visit Oaxaca, since the city offers so many unique things to do and the weather is mostly temperate year-round. Personally, I enjoyed rainy season and the beauty it brought to the Central Valley. If specifically seeking out cultural activities, it may be worth noting these popular Oaxaca Festivals.

Oaxaca Festivals

There are some celebrated festivals that mark high-season. Mexico is a Catholic country, so Easter and the Holy Week is usually busy. In July, Oaxaca’s most popular festival, Guelaguetza takes place. The Zapoteca word literally translates to “reciprocal exchanges of gifts and services” and showcases many neighboring communities dancing and donning typical clothing.

Oaxaca is also a favored place to witness the “Dia de los Muertos,” or Day of the Dead Celebrations that take place the first two days of November. On December 23, the Night of the Radishes Festival takes place. The Zocalo is filled with artists that have carved intricate mini-statues made from radishes.

Is Oaxaca Safe?

In general, Oaxaca is safe. Of course, with any city or place in the world, there is petty crime.

At night, it’s best not to walk alone or on quiet streets. Opt to take a taxi. During the day, don’t flash out valuables or wear expensive jewelry. When using public transportation, keep your purse and valuables on your lap and never on the floor between your legs. If you’ve enjoyed one too many mezcals, maybe take a taxi rather than walk home.

There are some spots to avoid. For example, during my time visiting, thefts had risen along the Cerro Fortin path, so I chose to walk on other trails.

As a solo female traveler I never felt threatened, but I also used common sense and followed my gut and intuition. If something doesn’t feel or look right, don’t put yourself in a situation that could potentially be problematic.

How to Get to Oaxaca City

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Traveling to Oaxaca is the easy part, leaving is the hardest part

Oaxaca de Juárez has its own international airport, Oaxaca Xoxocotlan Airport (OAX). There are frequent connections with Mexico City and to Dallas in the United States.

If you are lucky enough to already be in Mexico, Oaxaca has an ADO Bus Terminal in the Jalatlaco neighborhood.

The useful and reliable travel app of BlaBla Car is used throughout Mexico and is oftentimes cheaper than long distance bus tickets.

How to Get to Oaxaca from the South of Mexico

Real de Guadalupe Street in San Cristobal de las Casas Mexico, colorful buildings, sky

If in the State of Chiapas, the Magical Pueblo of San Cristobal de las Casas runs daily departures to Oaxaca

🚌 San Cristobal de las Casas to Oaxaca Bus Logistics | Bus Company: ADO or Cristobal Colon | Catch the buses in San Cris here: Av Insurgentes 66 | Average Online Ticket Price: $914 pesos ($44 USD) | Duration: 12.5 hours | Current departure times11:30, 20:00, 21:20 | Purchase & Verify online tickets here

Helpful Mexico Planning Itineraries | 8+ Special Day Trips from San Cristobal de las Casas | The Ultimate Chiapas Road Trip in 1 Week | Hiking in Lagos de Montebello

How to Get to Oaxaca from the North of Mexico

From Mexico City, multiple bus companies depart from a handful of Mexico City Bus Terminals, including the Mexico City Airport. Depending on your location, it’s best to verify the current bus schedule on the ADO website, which show multiple bus companies. There is at least one departure to Oaxaca City every hour. For logistical purposes, look for buses that drop at the Central de Autobuses de Oaxaca in barrio Jalatlaco.

🚌 Mexico City to Oaxaca Bus Logistics | Bus Company: many | Average Online Ticket Price: $500 pesos ($24 USD) | Average Duration: 6.5 hours | Frequent Departures | Purchase online tickets here

4 Epic Oaxaca Itineraries

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Oaxca de Juaréz is filled with street art

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s dig-deep into different Oaxaca City itinerary options. Search by a 3, 5, 7, or 10 day Oaxaca itinerary. For those who have more time, make sure to browse the overview on how to spend two weeks in Oaxaca from the city to the sea.

If traveling to Oaxaca via an international flight, most arrive to Oaxaca around dinner time. This is an ideal time to relax, unwind and maybe enjoy a rooftop patio or one of Oaxaca’s incredible restaurants.

Skip to | Oaxaca 3 Day Itinerary | Oaxaca 5 Day itinerary | One Week in Oaxaca Mexico | 10 Day Oaxaca Itinerary

Oaxaca Itinerary 3 Days

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Rooftop views of Oaxaca de Juárez from Pitiona Restaurant

With three days in Oaxaca, it’s best to stick to the historic city center and enjoy the nearby Oaxaca ruins. Also, with less time, private drivers and organized tours will help maximize sightseeing possibilities.

Day 1 | Oaxaca Itinerary

In the morning, get acquainted with the city and stroll through Oaxaca Centro.

Things to Do in Oaxaca Historic Center

An ideal place to start is at the iconic Oaxaca church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán. Maybe grab some street food or a coffee and pastry from one of the nearby coffeeshops. Take the pedestrian friendly Macedonio Alcalá Street, which won’t be crowded yet, but may have vendors setting up make-shift stands. The street leads to the Catedral Metropolitana de Oaxaca and the Zocalo.

Wander through the Zocalo, the main square of the city. Appreciate the surrounding historical buildings. The area acts as a “living room” for Oaxaca. The restaurants are usually packed with locals and tourists alike and the square itself overflowing with street vendors.

When ready, head to the colorful Mercado Benito Juárez, where you can find anything from a refreshing aguas frescas, a new purse, or fresh flowers. Basically, this colorful market has it all.

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Where to Eat in Oaxaca? The Markets of course! This is in Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca Centro

For breakfast or lunch, eat across that street at Mercado 20 de Noviembre. The market boasts tons of food stalls. This is a perfect place to sample local Oaxacan cuisine.

Don’t miss walking through the famed Meat alley, or “Pasillo de Humo.” The name translates to Hall of Smoke, due to the fact that all the fresh meat is grilled onsite. The enticing smoke wafts through the corridor, luring in hungry people. Accompany the grilled meats with any side you like, from grilled veggies, guacamole, tortillas, or a beer. Eating here is a unique dining experience in Oaxaca City.

What to Eat in Oaxaca

Oaxaca boasts its own unique and rich cuisine. Indulge in a typical Oaxacan dish, like a tlayuda, which is kind of like a Mexican pizza with grilled meat, Oaxacan cheese, refried beans, and all the delicious condiments.. Try at least one of the seven Oaxaca moles. Don’t miss snacking on a memela, a fried masa cake slathered in pig lard and topped with goodies like Oaxaca cheese and beans.

There are so many foods of Oaxaca, so book a food tour to best understand the typical cuisine. Eating as many Oaxaca dishes is one of the absolute best things to do in Oaxaca.

More Things to Add to a Oaxaca Itinerary

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Today, Barrio de Jalatlaco is a trendy neighborhood with street art and plenty of places to eat

In the afternoon, sign up for the Free Walking Tour at 4:00 pm. If you have more time, here are some more things to do inn Oaxaca.

  • Wander past the old aqueduct (start at the Plaza Cruz de Piedra) and the Xochimilco barrio
  • Spend some time in the hip Jalatlaco neighborhood
  • Enjoy a nieve, or a water-based ice cream, in the Plaza de la Danza

Oaxaca City Free Walking Tour

A free walking tour is a great way to get acquainted with the city. The local guides stop by many of the top places to see in Oaxaca and give a brief history. They also can recommend the best restaurants, explain the cuisine, and share local gems. Basically, they can share what to do in Oaxaca.

Oaxaca Free Walking TourCurrent Departure Times: 10:00 & 16:00 from Teatro Macedonio Alcalá | Duration: +/- 2.5 hours | The guides work for tips, so share the love!

However, with a Oaxaca 3 day itinerary, you may wish to fill the afternoon with another tour option.

Alternative Oaxaca Tour Ideas

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A successful Mezcal tour
  • Take a food tour which dives deep into complex and unique Oaxacan cuisine
  • Roll up your sleeves and take a cooking class
  • Spend the afternoon sipping Mezcal from one of the city’s Mezcal bars, many provide samplings and tasting menus

After the walking tour, head over to Llano Park, which comes alive as the sun starts to go down. Oftentimes you will see local families utilizing the space by riding bikes, flying kites, and eating street food. Many groups also exercise and practice traditional dance in the park. Or, catch sunset at one of the many rooftop bars and restaurants.

Day 2 | Oaxaca Itinerary

Today take one of the best day trips from Oaxaca, visit Monte Alban. Again, with limited time, opt for an organized tour. Most Monte Alban tours are at least 3 hours long.

Monte Alban | Monte Albán

Monte Alban is a UNESCO recognized site which was inhabited for over 1,500 by the three most prevalent Indigenous civilizations in the Oaxaca region: the Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs. The impressive hilltop ruins were one of the most important cities in Mesoamerica. In its prime, Monte Alban was home to almost 35,000 people.

The sprawling ruins offer informative signboards with chances to visit tombs, wander ancient roads, and gaze at these unique pyramid structures. Climb up Platforma Sur to appreciate the best views of these incredible Oaxaca ruins. Monte Alban is a popular place to visit in Oaxaca.

Most Tours DON’T include the entrance fee | Entrance Fee for Foreigners: 80 pesos ($3.75 USD)

If you’re interested in mezcal, book a tour that includes a stop at a nearby palenque, or a place where Mezcal is produced and distilled.

More Things to Do in Oaxaca on Day 2

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One of the best free things to do in Oaxaca is to visit the many free Galleries, Galeria Cuatrosiete

With more time on Day 2 you could visit some of these popular artisan villages or spend the afternoon relaxing and casually visiting more of the Oaxaca city center and barrios. Oaxaca has a fun and vibrant art scene. Culture can be found everywhere in the form of modern art galleries, street art, free museums, and street performers.

Nearby Half-Day Trips for Artisan Villages

Again, to see as much as possible, utilize a driver or organized tour.

  • Santa María Atzompa | Artisan village know for their mostly green pottery. This village also has free hilltop ruins perched directly across from Monte Alban.
  • San Bartolo Coyotepec | Artisan village known for their black pottery
  • San Martín Tilcajete | Artisan village famous for their intricately hand-painted Alebrijes, or colorful “spirit guides” that are a mystical and creative part of Mexican folk art.
Free Museums in Oaxaca
Splurge on a Nice Dinner
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Teocintle is a unique culinary experience in Oaxaca

There are many incredible Oaxaca restaurants. Some top Oaxaca restaurants include: Casa Oaxaca, Ancestral, Los Danzantes, Pitiona, and Origen. Many offer set tasting menus, but reservations are highly recommended or required.

One of my favorite places to indulge in a tasting menu is Teocintle, a unique dining experience that showcases regional cuisine from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca. There are only a few tables, so it’s super intimate and cozy place to eat in Oaxaca. Reservations are a must.

🍽 Oaxaca Foodie Guide | Where to Eat in Oaxaca, 60+ Best Oaxaca Restaurants, Cafes, Coffeeshops, & More

Day 3 | Oaxaca Itinerary

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A bird-eyes view of Valles Centrales from Cerro Picacho

On day three of a Oaxaca Itinerary, spend it in the culturally rich East Oaxaca Valley.

Most Oaxaca tours visiting the East Oaxaca Valley will include a stop at Mitla, Hierve el Agua, and maybe a mezcal pit-stop. On most tours, admission into each site is NOT included in the tour prices. The standard tour duration for a full day trip is around 9 hours.

Alternative Option

However, if you want to stay in Oaxaca City on your final day, visit the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca. You must visit with a guided tour. There are daily guided tours, but only one per day in English. The tours max out at 25 people, so you will have to cue early in a line to snag a spot. No reservations are possible.

Oaxaca Botanical Gardens | Find the entrance here: Next to Templo de Santo Domingo | English Tours: Mon – Sat: 11:00 | Entrance Fee: 100 pesos ($5 USD) | Duration: 2 hours | Official Website

Spend the rest of the day enjoying Oaxaca City and visit places you loved or missed.

Mitla | San Pablo Villa de Mitla

Mitla is one of Oaxaca’s “Pueblos Magicos,” or magic villages. This village boasts the Mitla Archaeological Zone, a fusion of Zapotec and Mixtec cultures. This site is different than most Oaxaca ruins as it has unique mosaic patterns carved into the exterior of stucco buildings. The original name translates to “place of the dead,” so notice the many tombs. The Spanish conquistadors came and eventually built a church on top of this sacred site.

Mitla Archaeological Zone | Cost: $75 pesos ($3.50 USD) 

Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua is the famous petrified waterfall in Oaxaca. The names literally translates to “boiling water,” and is one of the top things to do in Oaxaca. Check for sure that the petrified waterfall is open, since oftentimes it closes without much notice, due to turmoil between the communities and between the communities and the government.

Hierve el Agua Waterfall Admission Fee: $50 pesos ($2.25 USD) | Verify that there are no road blockages or community disputes before booking a tour or visiting independently

Final Night | Oaxaca 3 Day Itinerary

With 3 days, you will probably already begin planing your next trip to Oaxaca Mexico. Enjoy a rooftop bar like La Mezcalerita. Or, enjoy a mezcal at La Popular or the famed Sabina Sabe.

Oaxaca Itinerary 5 Days

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Santa Maria Atzompa has a cute plaza and church and is home to an artisan pottery market, Mercado de Artesanías La Asunción

With a 5 day Oaxaca Itinerary, simply slow down! You can utilize the above Oaxaca travel guide for 3 day. If you feel more comfortable, use the handy public bus system or shuttles to spots like Mitla and Monte Alban.

Day 4 | Oaxaca Itinerary

Take more of the day trips from Oaxaca to the artisan villages. Personally, the charm of Santa Maria Atzompa is a joy.

More Ideas for Easy & Quick Day Trips from Oaxaca

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Interior of Luz de Luna Restaurant in Huayapam
  • San Agustin Etla | Village with hiking trails and the Centro de las Artes de San Agustín
  • Cuilapam de Guerrero | Village with the incomplete Ex Monastery of Santiago Apóstol
  • El Tule | Nearby Artisan village with the famous Tule Tree, artisan shops, and noteworthy El Milenario Restaurant serving typical Oaxaca Dishes
  • San Andrés Huayapam | Village with hiking trails, nature reserves, and the popular Luz de Luna Restaurant that also has superb cocktails

This Ultimate Guide to Oaxaca State has detailed information on how to reach all of the above places via public transportation

Day 5 | Oaxaca Itinerary

On day 5, spend more time in the East Oaxaca Valley. Try to visit on a Sunday to witness one of the oldest continious markets in Mesoamerica in Tlacolula.

Tlacolula de Matamoros

Tlacolula de Matamoros, or simply Tlacolua, boasts a truly authentic market. The village has been a trading hub throughout the Zapoteca empire. Today the market is so large, street vendors overflow into the surrounding streets. It is said that over 1,000 vendors are present on a weekly basis, some weeks even more.

In the market, don’t miss the alley of women selling goat barbacoa. The colorful corridor is arguably the best place to eat in the market, and many of the women are eager to pass out free samples. Musicians entertain hungry visitors and play music, women walk the alley selling tortillas, and the tables are always full. It’s truly a must-visit place in Oaxaca.

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Eat like the locals and order Consomé de Barbacoa

The village of Tlacolula has a large and lovely plaza with a glitzy decorated church. There’s also a small square that sells ice cream which boasts plenty of outdoor tables that are fabulous for people watching.

Teotitlan del Valle

One of the best places to visit in Oaxaca is the charming village of Teotitlan del Valle. Teotitlán del Valle is known for their textiles, but more specifically their artisan rugs made with love by hand. Make to stop in and visit at least one of the artisan workshops. The process of making the Zapotec textiles is an ancient weaving tradition that has been practiced over 1,000 years.

Besides the artisan rugs, drop by Casa Viviana, where they are making incredible beeswax candles from elaborate molds. There’s a bustling market and an informative Centro Cultural Comunitario Teotitlán del Valle. The main plaza is cute and connects to the nearby charming streets.

A climb up the sacred Cerro Picacho mountain is a beautiful hiking trail in Oaxaca. The scenic trail offers stellar views of the East Oaxaca Valley. Make sure to purchase a ticket from the museum to access the trail and helps support the local community.

More Options for Day 5 Oaxaca Itinerary

  • If you love ruins, stop at Yagul Archaeological Park and / or the Dainzu Archaeological Site. The Dainzú ruins make a lovely place to watch the sunset.
  • Visit the “Mezcal Capital of the World,” Santiago Matatlan Oaxaca. Most organized tours take you to the actual agave plant fields, a Palenque, and include plenty of samples to understand the art and beauty of making Mezcal
  • Hike in the Sierra North Mountains from the community of La Cumbre Ixtepeji

One Week in Oaxaca Mexico

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Add it to your Oaxaca Itinerary: Sunset at Dainzú ruins

Have one week in Oaxaca City? Lucky you! Take all of the above itineraries and slow down even more.

Take a full day Mezcal tour in Santiago Matatlan. Visit some of the more “off the beaten path” markets of Oaxaca. Eat as much as you can from these best Oaxaca restaurants, cafes, and more. Make sure to take a Oaxacan cooking class and a food tour.

More simply, spend some quality time falling in love with the magic of Oaxaca City.

Oaxaca Itinerary 10 Days

For something a little unique, break up the time in Oaxaca City and head to the underrated Mixteca region. Home to the Indigenous Mixtec people, this overlooked region has lovely villages, stunning nature, and beautiful landscapes with a hint of mysticism.

The gateway to the Mixteca region is Nochixtlán village, which is easily connected to Oaxaca with frequent collectivos.

How to Get to Nochixtlan from Oaxaca

 🚐 Oaxaca City to Nochixtlan Oaxaca by T.T.N Combis Find them here: Galeana 222 Centro Oaxaca de Juárez | Buses run: 6:00 – 21:00depart every 30 minutes | One way bus ticket cost: $50 pesos ($2.50 USD) | Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes | Up to date info here

Santiago Apoala Oaxaca

Santiago Apoala is a gem in Oaxaca that boasts a waterfall, multiple hiking trails, and super friendly people. The community runs a small tourist information center and simple cabañas to sleep at. Pay the entrance fee of 50 pesos, which allows access to the waterfall trail, the twin canyon trail, and a breathtaking mirador trail that passes by the mythical Devil’s Cave.

Detailed Oaxaca Travel Guide | How to Visit Santiago Apoala & Hiking Trails

More Villages in Mixteca Region

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Tamazulapam del Progreso is a nice place to visit in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca

The villages of the Mixteca region are quaint and so lovely.

Tamazulapam del Progreso is another worthwhile Mixteca destination with a picturesque plaza, bustling market, vivid church, and sulfur springs. Soak in the pleasant natural pools or visit one of the “water parks.” Note that these pools are cold natural pools and not hot springs.

San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula is a “pueblo magico” in Oaxaca famed for its massive convent and open air chapel. Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán also boasts an impressive ex-convent and museum.

More Options for 10 Day Oaxaca Itinerary

  • Spend some quality time in the Sierra Norte (North Mountains) hiking between the Pueblos Mancomunados. There are 8 small communities that offer local guides, guesthouses, and some of the best hiking trails in Oaxaca.
  • Head to Sierra Sur and the gateway village of San Jose del Pacifico and dabble in Oaxaca Magic Mushrooms and sit in a traditional temazcal.
  • Visit Huautla de Jiménez the home of the famous female shaman of Maria Sabina who reintroduced the power of magic mushrooms to the world in the 1960’s. Celebrities and scholars alike from the Beatles to Walt Disney (rumored) came to Mexico to sit with this powerful medicine woman.

Where to Stay in Oaxaca City

There are so many Oaxaca hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and hostels to choose from. Most visitors opt to stay in the Oaxaca historic center or in one of the barrios like Jalatlaco and Xochimilco. The above areas are all desirable since they are so walkable to all of the best things to do in Oaxaca.



Booking.com

  • Budget | Casa Montaña Oaxaca is a hidden gem oasis found just on the outskirts of Oaxaca. There are stunning rooftop views, clean spacious rooms, and self-sufficient apartments. Roci, the hostess goes above and beyond for her guests. Since it’s easily connected by bus, Casa Montaña is perfect for long stays in Oaxaca.
  • Budget | Azul Cielo Hostel is one of the most popular hostels in Oaxaca. Find large rooms, a nice garden space, friendly hosts, and breakfast included! The location is a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of centro, but there’s a large kitchen and the place has a bohemian vibe.
  • Midrange | Hotel Oaxaca Real is one of the most popular hotels in Oaxaca due to it’s prime time location, outdoor pool, and free parking. Hotel Oaxaca Real makes a perfect place to explore the many day trips from Oaxaca.
  • Luxury | Quinta Real Oaxaca stay in one of Oaxaca’s most beautiful building in the historical center of Oaxaca. This luxury accommodation in Oaxaca has it all from a pool, gym, gardens, and more.

Find the best place to stay in Oaxaca

More Things to Do in Oaxaca Mexico | City to Sea 2 Week Oaxaca Itinerary

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Zipolite is a must when visiting the Oaxaca Coast

While these Oaxaca Itineraries focus on what to do in Oaxaca City and nearby day trips, there are so many incredible places see in Oaxaca State. This brief Oaxaca itinerary overview includes how to budget time to visit the Sierra Sur Mountain range and the coastal beach towns.

✈ Travel Planning | This +/- 2 week Oaxaca itinerary is best utilized by spending 5 days in Oaxaca City

Add 2 – 3 Days for San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca

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The sunsets in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca Mexico

San Jose del Pacifico a small village in the Sierra Sur Oaxaca Mountains and becoming a popular spot to visit in Oaxaca. Although little, this village packs in a lot of adventure.

San Jose del Pacifico has plenty of miradors and viewpoints to appreciate the mystical mountains. There are tons of hiking trails, many that twist along rivers, through enchanting pine forests, and lead to small communities. Oftentimes, in the afternoons, the picturesque mountains are engulfed in clouds, making the sunsets extra dramatic. While the hiking and tranquility of San Jose is a major draw, spiritual tourism is becoming more popular.

Find the Best Places to Sleep in San Jose del Pacifico

The mountains are an exceptional place to sit in a traditional temazcal, or sweat lodge. A temazcal is an ancient cleansing method and honors the four cardinal directions and our ancestors. Exiting a temazcal is compared to “exiting the womb,” and is sometimes referred to as a rebirthing ceremony.

San Jose del Pacifico is a destination to experience Oaxaca Magic Mushrooms. The best time to visit San Jose del Pacifico is during the rainy season, specifically August when the mushrooms are plentiful and abundant. Those who haven’t “traveled into the astral plane” with psychedelics should opt to sit in an organized ceremony. These mushrooms are powerful and should be respected.

Travel Tip | Always ask a trusted source for mushrooms and check references on shaman services, sadly spiritual tourism can be exploited

Detailed Travel Guide | The Best Things to Do in San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca

How to Get to San Jose del Pacifico from Oaxaca City

Collectivos run 24 hours from Oaxaca to San Jose del Pacifico and the overnight in San Jose can break up the long and twisty ride to the coastal town of Zipolite.

🚐 Oaxaca to San Jose del Pacifico Collectivos Logistics | Catch Líneas Unidas in the direction of Pochutla in Oaxaca here: Bustamante 601, Centro | Pochutla has multiple collectivos that depart frequently to San Jose del Pacifico 24 hours a day, every 30 minutes | One-Way Ticket: $150 pesos ($7.25 USD)| Duration: 3.5 hours

Add 3 – 5 Days for Quaint Oaxaca Beach Towns

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Playa San Agustinillo is a perfect beach between Mazunte and Zipolite along the Oaxaca coastline

After relaxing in the mountains, head to the Pacific Coast and relax at one of the quaint Oaxaca beach towns. If coming via San Jose del Pacifico, you’ll end up in Zipolite. This is one of Mexico’s nude beaches, but there is lots to do here. Enjoy the diverse and small beaches, eat at one of the seafood inspired restaurants, or camp along the beach.

Be mindful that the Pacific coast is rugged and there are sometimes dangerous rip tides. Red flags often warn potential swimmers of unsafe swimming conditions.

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A sunset from Punta Comena is a must when visiting Mazune Oaxaca

Nearby is Mazunte, another spectacular Oaxaca beach town. Mazunte has the stunning Punta Cometa and is the only Oaxaca “pueblo magico” on the beach. Personally, I love the Oaxaca coastline from Zipolite and Mazunte, so would opt to base in either.

Find Places to Stay in Zipolite Oaxaca | ➜ Find Places to Stay in Mazunte Oaxaca

South along the coast is Parque Nacional Huatulco with their many beaches and to the north Puerto Escondido, with beaches like trendy La Punta, filled with restaurants and bars and is a Oaxaca surf destination. Puerto Escondido is more of a city than a quaint beach town. It’s also the gateway to rustic Chacahua Beach if you have a little more time to laze at the beach.

How to Get to Zipolite from Oaxaca

🚐 Oaxaca to Zipolite Collectivos Logistics | Catch Líneas Unidas in the direction of Pochutla in Oaxaca here: Bustamante 601, Centro | Current Direct Departures to Zipolite: Mon – Thur: 5:00, 9:40, 13:00, 18:30, 23:00 / Fri – Sun: 5:00, 10:20, 13:40, 20:00, 23:15 | One-Way Ticket Cost: $300 pesos ($14.50 USD) | Duration: 7.5 hour | Check the most current schedule on FB

Find the Best Oaxaca Itinerary & Awesome Things to Do in Oaxaca City

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Get lost in Oaxaca to find the real gems of the city

In conclusion, there are so many things to do in Oaxaca City. The perfect Oaxaca itinerary includes a mixture of wandering the colorful streets, indulging in the typical cuisine, strolling through a vibrant market, visiting an archaeological site, and appreciating the culturally rich artisan villages. While it’s possible to spend three days in Oaxaca, longer is better. To get a taste of the diversity of Oaxaca State, plan on at least 2 weeks to discover the mystical mountain villages and unwind at sleepy beach towns along the rugged Pacific coast.

No matter how many days you spend in Oaxaca, I can guarantee that before you leave, you will already be planning your return. The magic of Oaxaca has a way to pull you back.

Have you been to Oaxaca Mexico? Did you use one of the above Oaxaca Itineraries? Is there something you did on a Oaxaca Itinerary that you loved and I’m missing? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: There’s a chance this post contains affiliate links, and I receive a small (but grateful) portion of the sale. There’s no extra cost to you, and I only promote things that I use and love.

About Author

Hey, my name is Megs! I'm an adventure-seeking, wanna be storyteller, with a wandering soul. I love immersing myself in diverse cultures and customs. I'm kind of obsessed with hiking in the mountains, soaking in hot springs, and seeking-out the most authentic travel experiences as possible! Find me savoring a good cup of coffee, eating at traditional markets, or catching a sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Experiences and memories are my most prized possessions.

8 Comments

  • Krista
    March 26, 2022 at 7:38 am

    Oaxaca will definitely be on my list when I visit Mexico. I love the historic streets and attractions you can visit. Thanks for this really detailed guide!

    Reply
    • Megs
      March 27, 2022 at 6:54 am

      You’re welcome! Enjoy 🇲🇽

      Reply
  • Amina
    March 26, 2022 at 8:53 am

    Wow Oaxaca looks amazing – I heard of it but never thought it would be so beautiful. Love your pics too Megs!

    Reply
    • Megs
      March 27, 2022 at 6:56 am

      Thanks so much Amina 💚 It’s such a photogenic place that the photos are naturally beautiful ☺️

      Reply
  • Carly
    March 26, 2022 at 10:11 am

    It’s been ten years since I was last in Oaxaca and I am SERIOUSLY missing the mole! Next time I’m going to take a proper cooking class so I can learn to recreate those flavors back at home in Canada!

    Reply
    • Megs
      March 27, 2022 at 6:57 am

      Yes, the food is so fantastic and complex! I am missing Chilaquiles for breakfast 😋

      Reply
  • Jen
    March 26, 2022 at 3:30 pm

    Such a well-written guide, I love that you break it down into different itineraries depending on how much time you have, so helpful. I’m glad I now know how to pronounce Oaxaca and that I’ve been saying it wrong before! Beautiful images, it’s definitely somewhere I would like to consider visiting after this post. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Megs
      March 27, 2022 at 6:59 am

      Thanks so much Jen! I definitely was said it wrong before I got there, too 🙃 I hope you can get there, it’s a magical place ✨

      Reply

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