Oaxaca Itinerary | Unique & Best Things to Do in Oaxaca City | 3 Days – 2 Weeks
Filled with timeless culture, its 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 for an Oaxaca itinerary for the first time can be overwhelming.
Most travelers will be drawn to visit Oaxaca de Juárez or Oaxaca City. This lively city boasts the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the historic city center and the unmissable Monte Alban ruins. Find vibrant markets that are filled with delicious Oaxacan cuisine and intricate handicrafts from nearby communities.
Downtown Oaxaca City is a delight to stroll with its cobblestone streets and colorful buildings. There are incredible botanical gardens, free museums, art galleries, politically fueled street art, and hip neighborhoods (barrios) that shouldn’t be missed.
There are so many awesome things to do in Oaxaca. Below find some of my top recommendations and suggestions to add to any Oaxaca itinerary. The following Oaxaca itineraries focus mostly on Oaxaca City and top day trips from Oaxaca. The standard Oaxaca itinerary is best explored over 3 – 10 days.
However, included in this Oaxaca itinerary guide is a basic overview for travelers who have more time to explore the richness and best places to visit in Oaxaca State Mexico. There’s the underrated Mixteca region, the magical mountains of the Sierra Sur, and the rugged Pacific coastline dotted with Oaxaca beach towns.
Additionally, find Oaxaca travel tips, how to get to Oaxaca City, where to stay, eat, and more
Here are the top things to do in Oaxaca City with multiple and diverse Oaxaca itinerary options.
Table of Contents
- General Oaxaca Travel Tips
- How to Get to Oaxaca City
- 4 Epic Oaxaca Itineraries
- Where to Stay in Oaxaca City
- More Things to Do in Oaxaca Mexico | 2 Week Oaxaca Itinerary
- Find the Best Oaxaca Itinerary & Awesome Things to Do in Oaxaca City
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 Oaxaca 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. Within Oaxaca, the 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, the elevation of Oaxaca City is 5,102 ft.
The other seven regions include the Sierra Norte (North), Sierra Sur (South), and the incredible Costa region along the Pacific Ocean. North of Chiapas State is the unique Istmo region. The Mixteca region boasts incredible hiking, and untouched nature, and was believed to be the birthplace of the Mixtec culture. The regions of Cañada and Papaloapan, share a border with the 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 from Mexico City or Puebla over 3 days. If you have more time in Oaxaca, 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 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 nearby villages, ruins, and other Oaxaca highlights.
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.
Popular Oaxaca Tours
When is the Best Time to Visit Oaxaca
Well, that depends.
Oaxaca has two very distinct seasons, rainy and dry. In general, the rainy season runs from May to September, while the dry season is from October – April.
During the rainy season, there are usually afternoon showers. Be mindful that sometimes there can be storms that produce quite a bit of rainfall. However, the Oaxaca Valley is SO green. The mountains that surround Oaxaca are lush and full of life and it truly is a blissful sight.
The Oaxaca dry season has cooler nights, but obviously less rain. There are lots of 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 tourists is between April and May and again from September and October.
In my humble opinion, there is no bad time to visit Oaxaca. The city offers so many unique things in rain or shine. It’s worth a note that 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 Oaxaca cultural activities, it may be worth noting these popular Oaxaca Festivals.
There are celebrated festivals that mark high season. Mexico is a Catholic country, so Easter and the Holy Week are 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 observe “Dia de los Muertos,” or Day of the Dead Celebrations. This Mexican festival takes place on the first two days of November. On December 23, Oaxaca celebrates the Night of the Radishes Festival. The Zocalo in Oaxaca is filled with artists that have carved intricate mini-statues and detailed scenes made from radishes.
Is Oaxaca Safe?
In general, Oaxaca is safe. Of course, in 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, 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 in Oaxaca, but I also practiced 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.
➯ Hey… don’t forget your Travel Insurance! I love SafetyWing
How to Get to Oaxaca City
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
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: $900 pesos ($49 USD) | Duration: 12.5 hours | Current departure times: 11:30, 20:00, 21:00, 21:20 | Purchase & Verify online tickets here
✈ Helpful Chiapas Mexico Travel Guides | 8+ 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 shows multiple bus companies.
There is at least one departure from Mexico City 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 ($27 USD) | Average Duration: 6.5 hours | Frequent Departures | Purchase online tickets here
The Best Oaxaca Itinerary | 4 Detailed Itineraries
Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s dig deep into different Oaxaca itinerary options. Search this guide for the best things to do in Oaxaca for 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, or 10 days. For travelers that have more time, make sure to browse the overview on the Oaxaca itinerary on how to spend two weeks in Oaxaca from the city to the sea.
If traveling to Oaxaca via an international flight, most flights 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
1 | Oaxaca Itinerary in 3 Days
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 the downtown area referred to as 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 coffee shops. Take the pedestrian-friendly Macedonio Alcalá Street, which won’t be crowded yet, but may have vendors setting up make-shift stands.
This 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, the Bento Juarez Market has it all.
For breakfast or lunch, eat across that street at Mercado 20 de Noviembre. The market boasts tons of food stalls and is the 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 locals and visitors alike. 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.
🍽 Oaxaca Foodie Guide | Add These Top Oaxaca Food Experiences to Your Oaxaca Itinerary
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 Your Oaxaca Itinerary
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 in 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 Oaxaca restaurants, explain the Oaxaca cuisine, and share local gems. Basically, they can share what to do in Oaxaca.
Oaxaca Free Walking Tour | Current Tour Times: Mon-Sat: 10:00, 13:00, 16:00 / Sun: 10:00 & 16:00 |Meeting Point: Teatro Macedonio Alcalá | Duration: +/- 2.5 hours | The guides work for tips, so share the love! | Book here
However, with an Oaxaca 3 day itinerary, you may wish to fill the afternoon with another tour option.
Alternative Oaxaca Tour Ideas
✔ Take a food tour that dives deep into complex and unique Oaxacan cuisine like an Oaxaca Street Food Tour. There’s also this tour that deep dives into the Roots of Oaxaca Cuisine
✔ Roll up your sleeves and take an Oaxaca cooking class or combine a market tour with a cooking class
✔ Spend the afternoon sipping Mezcal from one of the city’s Mezcal bars, many provide samplings and tasting menus
✔ Take a Street Art Bike Tour through Oaxaca
End of Oaxaca Itinerary Day 1
After the walking tour, head over to Llano Park. The park 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 maybe catch a sunset at one of the many Oaxaca rooftop bars and restaurants.
Day 2 | Oaxaca Itinerary
Today take one of the best day trips from Oaxaca, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte Alban. Again, with limited time on a 3 day Oaxaca itinerary, 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 that 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 Monte Alban 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 one of the most popular places to visit in Oaxaca and one of the best Oaxaca day trips.
Most Guided Tours DON’T include the Monte Alban entrance fee | Entrance Fee for Foreigners: 80 pesos ($4.50 USD)
If you’re interested in more cultural aspects it’s possible to include a visit to Monte Alban with local artisan villages. This full-day Monte Alban tour includes stops at Arrazola (known for alebrijes), Cuilapam (historical site) and San Bartolo Coyotepec (black pottery).
More Things to Do in Oaxaca on Day 2
With more time on Day 2 you could visit some of these popular artisan villages near Oaxaca or spend the afternoon 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 from Oaxaca to Artisan Villages
Again, to see as much as possible, utilize a driver or organized tour.
- Santa María Atzompa | Artisan village known for its 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
- MUFI (Museo De La Filatelia) | A museum that focuses on stamps, but also has modern art and rotating exhibits
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca | Dig deep into the colorful textiles of Oaxaca
- Multiple Art Galleries, many are free to enter
Splurge on a Nice Dinner
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 Tika’aya (formerly Teocintle), a unique dining experience that showcases regional cuisine from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca. There are only a few tables, so it’s a 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
On day three of an 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.
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 line to snag a spot. No reservations are possible.
Spend the rest of the day enjoying Oaxaca City and visiting places you loved or missed.
Oaxaca Botanical Gardens | Find the entrance here: Next to Templo de Santo Domingo | English Tours: Mon – Sat: 11:00 | Entrance Fee: 100 pesos ($5.50 USD) | Duration: 2 hours | Official Website
Mitla | San Pablo Villa de Mitla
Mitla is one of the six registered Oaxaca pueblos magicos, or magic villages. This village boasts the Mitla Archaeological Zone, a fusion of Zapotec and Mixtec cultures. This site is different from 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 ($4 USD)
➜ Here’s a half-day tour to Mitla from Oaxaca
Hierve el Agua
Hierve el Agua is the famous petrified waterfall in Oaxaca. The name 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 ($2.75 USD) | Verify that there are no road blockages or community disputes before booking a tour or visiting independently
➜ The most popular Oaxaca tour is to Hierve el Agua, the petrified waterfall
Final Night | Oaxaca 3 Day Itinerary
With 3 days, you will probably already begin planning 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.
2 | Oaxaca Itinerary 5 Days
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
- 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 continuous 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 that street vendors overflow into the surrounding streets. 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. Many of the proud women chefs 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.
The Tlacolula Market is a must-visit place in Oaxaca, especially for visitors looking for some of the best Oaxaca food experiences.
The Mercado de Tlacolula is busiest on Sunday, but is open every day of the week. Some visitors may prefer visiting on days with fewer crowds.
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 that houses plenty of outdoor tables 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 by hand with love. Make sure 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 for over 1,000 years.
Besides the artisan rugs, drop by Casa Viviana, where they make incredible beeswax candles from elaborate molds. There’s a bustling market and an informative Centro Cultural Comunitario Teotitlán del Valle. The main plaza in Teotitlan del Valle is cute and connects to the nearby charming streets.
A climb up the sacred Cerro Picacho mountain is a beautiful and worthwhile 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 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 Yagul caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and must be visited with a guide.
✔ Also located in the East Oaxaca Valley, the overlooked 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, and a Palenque, and include plenty of samples to understand the art and beauty of making Mezcal. This tour includes mezcal tasting and local artisan villages
✔ Hike in the Sierra North Mountains from the community of La Cumbre Ixtepeji. There are tours from Oaxaca to Ixtepeji
One Week in Oaxaca Mexico
Have one week in Oaxaca? 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 the best Oaxaca restaurants. Make sure to take an 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 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 – 21:00, depart every 30 minutes | One-way bus ticket cost: $50 pesos ($2.75 USD) | Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes | Up to date info here
Santiago Apoala Oaxaca
Santiago Apoala is a hidden 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
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.
➜ This full-day tour from Oaxaca includes three worthwhile stops in the Mixteca Region. Stops include: the Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo de Yanhuitlan, the diverse Geoparque Mixteca, and a stop at the Oaxaca pueblo magico San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula to visit the Ex-Convent
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. There are also guided tours from 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 1960s. Celebrities and scholars alike from the Beatles to Walt Disney (rumored) came to Mexico to sit with this powerful medicine woman. Huautla de Jimenez is also a registered Oaxaca pueblo magico.
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.
- 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 its 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 buildings in the historical center of Oaxaca. This luxury accommodation in Oaxaca has it all from a pool, gym, gardens, and more.
➜ Find the best places to stay in Oaxaca
More Best Things to Do in Oaxaca Mexico | City to Sea 2 Week Oaxaca Itinerary
The previous Oaxaca itinerary focuses on the best things to do in Oaxaca City and nearby day trips. The following Oaxaca itinerary is all about the best places to see in Oaxaca State.
This general two-week Oaxaca itinerary includes how to budget time to visit the Sierra Sur Mountain range and the coastal beach towns.
✈ Oaxaca Travel Tip | This +/- 2 week Oaxaca itinerary is best for those visitors spending 5 days in Oaxaca City
Add 2 – 3 Days for San Jose del Pacifico Oaxaca
San Jose del Pacifico is a small village in the Sierra Sur Oaxaca Mountains. This mountain village is becoming a popular place to visit in Oaxaca. Although little, this village packs in a lot of adventure.
San Jose del Pacifico is located in a cloud forest. The surrounding mountains offer plenty of miradors and viewpoints to appreciate the mystical landscape.
There are tons of hiking trails in San Jose del Pacifico. Many of the trails twist along rivers, through enchanting pine forests, and lead to small communities. Most afternoons, the picturesque mountains are engulfed in clouds, making the sunsets extra dramatic.
➜ Find the Best Places to Sleep in San Jose del Pacifico
While the hiking and tranquility of San Jose is a major draw, spiritual tourism is becoming more popular.
The mountains are an exceptional place to sit in a traditional temazcal, or sweat lodge. A temazcal is an ancient cleansing method that 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 popular destination in Mexico 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. Always ask a trusted source for mushrooms and check references on shaman services, sadly spiritual tourism can be exploited.
➯ Detailed Oaxaca 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. An overnight stop in San Jose del Pacifico 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: $180 pesos ($10 USD) | Duration: 3.5 hours
A popular place to sleep in San Jose del Pacifico is at the Cabañas Rancho Viejo cabins right outside of town.
Add 3 – 5 Days for Quaint Oaxaca Beach Towns
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.
Zipolite is known for being one of Mexico’s nude beaches. Don’t let that deter you, there’s a lot to see and 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.
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 between 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 its many beaches. Farther north is Puerto Escondido, with endless beaches like the trendy La Punta that are filled with restaurants and bars. Puerto Escondido is more of a city than a quaint beach town but is a popular Oaxaca surf destination.
Puerto Escondido also offers lots of tour options.
From Puerto Escondido, it’s easy to access the rustic and chill Chacahua Beach. Lagunas de Chacahua is a must-visit place in Oaxaca 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: 5:00, 10:30, 13:30, 18:00, 23:15 | One-Way Ticket Cost: $360 pesos ($20 USD) | Duration: 7.5 hours | Check the most current schedule on FB
The Best Oaxaca Itinerary & Awesome Things to Do in Oaxaca 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, and strolling through the vibrant markets. Don’t leave Oaxaca without a stop at the famed archaeological site of Monte Alban or without visiting at least one of the culturally rich artisan villages.
While it’s possible to spend three days in Oaxaca, more time is definitely better. To get a taste of the diversity of Oaxaca State, plan for at least 2 weeks. Two weeks in Oaxaca gives ample time 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 this Oaxaca Itinerary? Is there something you would add-on to this Oaxaca itinerary that you loved? Let me know in the comments below!
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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!
You’re welcome! Enjoy 🇲🇽
Wow Oaxaca looks amazing – I heard of it but never thought it would be so beautiful. Love your pics too Megs!
Thanks so much Amina 💚 It’s such a photogenic place that the photos are naturally beautiful ☺️
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!
Yes, the food is so fantastic and complex! I am missing Chilaquiles for breakfast 😋
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!
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 ✨