Oaxaca (Oaxaca de Juárez) is a city in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. It lies at an altitude of 1,555 m (5,102 ft), so in winter nights are cold and days are warm. In summer it's always hot and often wet. Oaxaca's colorful and culturally-rich historical city center, along with the archeological ruins of Monte Alban, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
People have lived here since earliest times; the first settlements were Zapotec and Mixtec. The nearby sites of Monte Albán and Mitla were built by the Zapotecs and Mixtecs, and the former, a world heritage site, is regarded as a precursor to present-day Oaxaca. The Aztecs arrived around 1440, and the current name derives from Aztec "huax yacac", meaning "in the nose of the squash". In 1521, the Spanish led by Francisco de Orozco, came looking for gold.
The Spanish laid out a colonial town in the present grid pattern in the 16th century, and in the 19th century, it grew rich from the export of cochineal, the red dye. Later development didn't much touch it, so today it makes for a charming old-time city centre.
During the Spanish era, the name of the city was Antequera, but after Mexican independence it was changed to Oaxaca. Perhaps the most famous Mexican president, Benito Juárez (whom the airport in Mexico City is named after) was born in the state and started his political career in the city. After his death in 1872, his family name was added to the city's official name, which since has been Oaxaca de Juárez.
One notable event in modern history were the 2006 unrests, which began as a teacher's strike. At one occasion police opened fire on strikers assembled to a non-violent demonstration. After that the teacher union members and people opposed to the state governor formed a left-wing movement named Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), that took over government buildings and functions and eventually ran the city as an anarchist community for several months.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
With a tropical location but high above sea level, Oaxaca has a tropical savanna climate. The dry season, from November to April sees very little rain, and during that time night temperatures usually drop down to around +10°C or +50°F but on occasion down to freezing. Nevertheless, daytime highs average +27.1 °C (+80.8 °F) even in the coolest month, December. Because of the altitude and lattitude, it is advisable to wear sunscreen and reapply during the day.
Daytime temperatures increase each month from January to April, which is the hottest month. After that comes the rainy season from May to October with somewhat cooler daytime temperature variation and warmer nighttime temperatures, but there are still 16 to 17 days of rain every month on average.
- 1 Tourist information (Módulo de Información Secretaría de Turismo del Gobierno del Estado de Oaxaca), Plazuela del Carmen Alto 109. Free maps, info, and other places of interest in Oaxaca state.
- 1 Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX IATA), Carretera Oaxaca-Puerto Angel Km 7.5, ☏ . A small airport which mainly has flights to several Mexican cities, with most flights to Mexico City, but there are also direct flights to eight other cities in Mexico. Many major airlines can offer cooperative service to Oaxaca through Mexico City via AeroMexico. There are a few international flights to Oaxaca too. United flies to Oaxaca from Houston (IAH), American flies directly from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)), Volaris flies thrice weekly direct to Los Angeles (LAX), and Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos flights directly from Guatemala City.
From the airport, you will need to find transportation into the city. The ubiquitous yellow taxis in the city do not seem to take arrivals from the airport to the city. There is a booth as you leave the airport where you can purchase a ticket on a colectivo, a small van that will leave when full and which will drop you off right at your desired address. The order is determined based on the other passengers in your van and the price is M$85 (pesos) per person (for Zone 1 - Centro). Alternatively, you may purchase a taxi 'especial' which is just for you or your party. The cost is M$300.
To get to the airport via colectivo, get your ticket the day before at the office near the Zocalo at the Alameda de Leon. Take your airline ticket and they will book you a seat on the colectivo that will get you to the airport in time for your flight. A taxi from the historical center to the airport should run between M$170-200.
2 Transportacion Terrestre Aeropuerto (near the cathedral), ☏ , . M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 09:00-13:00. This shuttle company offers probably the most reliable transportation to the airport, and will pick you up directly from your place of stay. Tickets are best purchased one day ahead.
The more adventurous traveler can fly directly from the United States to Mexico City, Huatulco or Puerto Escondido and then take a bus to Oaxaca (6½ hr from Mexico City or 8 hr from Huatulco or Puerto Escondido). The services are excellent and usually run on time.
- 3 1st Class Bus Station (Camionera Central Primera Clase), Calz Niños Héroes de Chapultepec 1036 (N of the centro on Hwy 190), toll-free: , . ADO (M$552), OCC (M$422-470), and Fypsa (M$270) buses all travel between Mexico City's TAPO station and Oaxaca. Tickets can be purchased online or directly at the station. Catch the bus at TAPO bus station near the airport in Mexico City. Food and drink are available at the station. The bus has a bathroom & makes at least one stop.
Another possibility: in order to skip the chaotic TAPO bus station in Mexico city, take the frequent Estrella Roja bus directly from Airport Terminal 1 to Puebla and then transfer to Oaxaca.
By shuttle van
If you are arriving from Puerto Escondido, two shuttle van companies do multiple daily runs between Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca (City) and are a faster alternative to the bus. The very scenic route winds directly through the mountains with hairpin curves and takes about 6-7 hours depending on road conditions. Passengers who are inclined to get car sick should definitely take motion sickness tablets. There is a toilet and snack break about midway.
- 4 Servicio Express (Express Service), Calle de M Arista 110, ☏ , (mobile). Hourly from 04:00-23:00. Offers daily service in 15-seat vans. M$209.
- 5 Transporte Villa del Mar, Calle Galeana 322, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Hourly from 04:30-23:00. Offers daily service in 15-seat vans. M$170.
The central, tourist-oriented part of town is well signposted and easily walkable by foot, although taxis are somewhat plentiful and buses numerous and cheap (M$7). You can pick up a free city map from one of several information booths, including one right outside the cathedral. No one local seems to know the bus routes or where the collectivos (buses to the pueblos) stop but you can get a good bus map for M$40 at the Oaxacan Lending Library.
There are also plenty of taxis found in the Centro Histórico, including a taxi rank near the Zocalo. Make sure to settle on a price before heading off to your destination.
Buses stop running around 21:00.
As with other Mexican cities, there may be more than one road with the same name (Mexicans often use the nearest corner to navigate) and a road's name may change from one end to the other. This is particularly true for the city's downtown, which is divided into north and south by Independencia Avenue. All streets crossing it change its name except for two other main streets running along with Independencia: Morelos Avenue and Hidalgo Avenue. From east to west street names change when crossing Macedonio Alcalá (north of Independencia) and Bustamante Street (south).
Oaxaca's streets have a very tranquil and organic feel to them. Much of the joy of a Oaxaca trip comes from simply strolling the downtown streets, sitting in a sidewalk cafe on the Zócalo, and soaking up the atmosphere. On your strolls, try to see a few of the outstanding local landmarks. Reforma, a wealthy neighborhood about 20 minutes walk north of the historical center that is speckled with trendy cafes and restaurants, is also worth a visit.
- 1 Zócalo. Catch a street act, watch a clown entertain children, buy a souvenir or just people watch from a sidewalk cafe as time passes by. Most tourist attractions are near here. Since summer 2014, the square has been occupied by teachers protesting government changes to state education. As a result, the square is full of tents and dozens of vendors have set up booths around the square. This has changed the entire nature and function of the square. There is no indication when this will end. The protests have been sporadic since 2006.
- 2 Templo de Santo Domingo (Ex Convento de Santo Domingo) (corner of Alcalá and Gurrión), ☏ . Daily 07:00-13:00, 16:00-20:00. A spectacular church built in 1570-1608, with subsequent Baroque renovations. It has been restored. Particularly noteworthy on the south side is the elaborate Capilla de la Virgen del Rosario, as well as the Capilla de la Cruz de Huatulco, which contains the legendary pre-Hispanic cross of Huatulco. Free.
- 3 Catedral Metropolitana. Oaxaca's largest church dates from 1533 and is known for its unique interpretation of baroque style architecture. Located next to the Zocalo.
- 4 Jardín Etnobotánico (Oaxaca Botanical Garden), Reforma s/n (corner of Constitución, Centro), ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 09:00-15:30, Sa 09:00-13:00. A former army base, converted to a large botanical garden in 1993. The garden, designed by Oaxacan artist Francisco Toledo who led the project to create it, has the largest collection of living cacti and agave plants in Oaxaca. Paths take visitors though the constantly growing collections that show the rich biodiversity of Oaxacan plant life. Entrance to the garden is through guided tours only. Sign up in advance at the entrance. M$100 (tours in English), M$50 (tours in Spanish).
Museums and galleries
- 5 Casa de Benito Juarez, García Vigil 609 (Centro Histórico), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10:00-19:00. Historic childhome home of former Mexican President Benito Juarez. It's an unassuming home fitting for a man of humble roots. M$43 (adults), free (disabled/children under 13), free admission on Sundays for residents; M$45 video permit.
- 6 Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo (Pre-Columbian Art Museum Rufino Tamayo), Av Morelos 503 (Centro), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. M Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00; Su 10:00-15:00. Inaugurated in 1974, this museum contains about 1,000 pieces of pre-Hispanic Mexican art that was collected by artist Rufino Tamayo. The works are beautifully displayed in five exhibition rooms. The colors for each room were chosen by Tamayo, who frequently used them in his paintings. M$40 (adults), M$20 (concessions).
- 7 Museo Textil de Oaxaca (MTO), Hidalgo 917 (Centro), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-18:00. In an 18th century mansion restored in 2007, the Museo Textil de Oaxaca provides exhibits featuring the designs, techniques and creative processes used for the production of Oaxacan textiles. In addition, the museum regularly runs conferences and workshops. Free.
- 8 La Casa de la Ciudad (City Museum), Porfirio Díaz 115 (Centro), ☏ , fax: . Daily 09:00-20:00. Features exhibitions devoted to architectural styles, historical photographs and urban art. Two aerial photographs taken of Oaxaca in 1990 and 2006 are embedded in an underlit floor so that visitors can walk over them and explore the changes in the city that occurred during those 16 years. Free.
- 9 Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca (Centro Cultural Santo Domingo), Alcalá s/n (next to the Ex Convento de Santo Domingo), ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. This is a museum of regional history and culture, with exhibits on Zapotec, Mixtec, and Olmec civilizations, as well as colonial and revolutionary era history. Its most stunning highlight is the collection of treasure excavated from Tomb 7 at Monte Alban by archaeologist Alfonso Caso in the 1930s. The Museo is well worth a visit, it occupies most rooms of the convent of Santo Domingo, so is huge and impressive: you will need a few hours to visit it! It also offers nice views over the plaza St Domingo and on the botanical garden on the other side. M$75 (adults), free admission on Sundays for residents; M$45 (video and tripod permit).
- 10 Centro Fotográfico Álvarez Bravo, C de M Bravo 116, ☏ . W-M 09:30-20:00. Established by Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo and housed in a beautifully-restored colonial building, this center hosts changing exhibits of work by Mexican and international photographers. Free.
- 11 Instituto de Artes Gráficos, Macedonia Alcalá 507, ☏ . Daily 10:00-20:00. A smaller venue which hosts rotating exhibits of work by national and international artists. Free.
- 12 Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), Macedonio Alcalá 202, ☏ , email@example.com. W-Su 10:30-20:00. Housed in a building known as the Casa de Cortés, this museum hosts exhibits of local and nationally recognized modern artists. M$20 (adults), M$10 (students/seniors), free on Sundays.
- 13 Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Museum of Oaxacan Painters), Av de la Independencia (corner of Garcia Vigil), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10:00-20:00. This late 17th-century building houses a collection of historic and modern Oaxacan art on two floors. M$10, free on Sundays.
- 14 Museo del Palacio (Palacio de Gobierno / Governor's Palace), Plaza de la Constitucion, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-19:00, Su 10:00-18:00. This 19th-century building houses a mural by Mexican painter Arturo Garcia Bustos, and hosts rotating exhibits about the history of the city. Free.
- 1 Fundacion En Via, Avenida Juarez 909, Centro, Oaxaca. A non-profit microfinance organization that runs tours to Teotitlan del Valle every Thursday and Saturday. They are working to fight poverty around Oaxaca and to educate travelers about the power of micro-finance. In Teotitlan, participants get to meet two groups of three women who are applying for their micro-loans. Participants hear about their lives and projects, which could be anything from weaving the beautiful rugs for which the town is famous, to making tortillas, raising chickens, making pinatas, or selling flowers in the market. At the end of the day 100% of the tour fee is given as an interest-free micro-loan to one of the two groups of women. Trips run every Thursday from 13:00-19:00 and every Saturday from 09:00-16:00. M$655 or US$50.
- MOC Adventures. Provides small week-long tours during Día de los Muertos in Oaxaca. The tours introduce people to the history of Oaxaca and the Day of the Dead by engaging them in its unique celebrations such as visiting the Panteóns (cemeteries), comprasas and other important events that take place during Dia de los Muertos.
- Hoofing It In Oaxaca. Organizes regular hikes, both day and the occasional overnight, to various locations around Oaxaca and also into the Sierra Norte.
- 2 Oaxaca Lending Library, Pino Suarez 519, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Mar 14-Oct 15: M-F 10:00-14:00 and 16:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:00; Oct 16-Mar 13: M-F 10:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:00; closed Sundays and Mexican national holidays. The library and cultural center serving the English speaking community in Oaxaca while supporting and encouraging an interest in reading in the bilingual and Spanish speaking community of all ages. Free.
- Guelaguetza festival. July. The Guelaguetza highlights the traditional practices of the various indigeneous cultures from the state of Oaxaca. The main days are the Mondays following July 16 (Feast Day of Saint Carmen). The term Guelaguetza, the most important custom of the Oaxacan people, derives from the Zapotec term "guendalezaa" which means "offering, present, fulfillment" because, during colonial times, the wealthy Spanish elite had the legal right to receive the first and best of the harvest collected by the indigenous people.
- Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). 31 October - 2 November. A Mexican holiday that, traditionally takes place in candle-lit city cemeteries, but today takes place in front of almost every church in the historic city center. Involves a lot of partying, festivities, facial make-up, costumes, lights, and possibly a few fireworks. An incredible experience to behold.
- Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) (Zócalo). 23 December. If you happen to be in Oaxaca on December 23, you won't want to miss this unusual festival. Competitors create scenes using carved radishes. It's a long-standing tradition in Oaxaca, and was started as a formal competition in 1897.
- 3 Baseball. Oaxaca has a popular and successful baseball team, the Guerreros, who play from March through late August at the Estadio del Beisbol. Tickets start at M$10.
- Rugby Rugby is played on Saturdays with the Zinacantli and Jabalies Rugby Clubs, which host the annual Torneo de Dia de los Muertos.
Out of town trips
Along Macedonio Alcala street are many tour operators with a range of destinations. Prices are from M$150 and offer full day trips to a selection of places such as wool rug makers, mezcal producers, Mitla, Monte Alban and Hierve el Agua. The tour cost doesn't include entrance fees or the often pricey restaurant lunch, so you may want to take your own food.
Just west of town is 4 Monte Alban – 8 km. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, this is one of the most impressive ruins in Latin America. The Zapotec built this site around 500 B.C. Early in its history, it had about 5,000 residents, but by 100 A.D. it had about 17,000 people living there, making it one of the largest cities in Mesoamerica at the time. By the time the Spanish arrived, it had been in decay for a long while. Take a taxi to the site, or take a bus from 501 C d Minas hourly, at half past the hour outbound and at the top of the hour coming back, M$60. Site entrance M$85. Allow two or three hours to walk around. The free museum at the entrance of the site is closed on weekends. The cafe's food is quite tasty and has outdoor seating with a great view.
- 5 Arbol del Tule. – 12 km on the road to Mitla. This tree has the largest base of any tree in the world. Legend has it that it is over 1400 years old. It is just outside of a church with a lovely garden around it. M$20 entrance fee.
- 6 Mitla, Vila de, Cam. Nacional, San Pablo, Centro, 70438 San Pablo Villa de Mitla (Cam. Nacional). 10 AM - 3PM Wed - Sat; 10AM - 12:30PM Sun; Closed Mon-Tue. – 55 km. A very important Zapotec city and religious center, bulit between 1 AD and 200 AD. Famous for its pre-Columbian Mesoamerican buildings. The Zapotecs called it Lyobaam, which means "Place of the Dead". Inside Tomb 1 there is the famous "Column of Life" that you can embrace to find out how many years you have left to live. Spanish is helpful here as the ruins officials can explain how to use the column correctly. Allow 30 to 60 minutes.
- 7 Yagul. – 35 km. Although frequently overlooked in favor of more extensive ruins at Mitla and Monte Alban, the ruins at Yagul are more pastoral (and therefore more similar to its original setting) and much less overrun with tourists.
- 8 Hierve el Agua (The Water Boils) (Two-hour drive from Oaxaca by bus or taxi). Natural mineral springs that flow into several open pools located at an altitude of about 3,000 meters. Despite the name, the water is not actually boiling; it's actually a comfortable temperature. Nearby is a massive "petrified waterfall", which is not actually petrified; it is the result of mineral deposits from dripping mineral spring water over many, many years. From the plateau, you have a breathtaking view over the mountain ranges. Bring a swim suit. Changing areas and restrooms are available. Also bring a few coins to buy a cup of fresh, sliced fruit, the tastiest you will find! Allow an hour. $50 plus $15 for the road fee.
- 9 San Agustín Etla (Approximately 40 minutes outside of Oaxaca city). – 20 km. The site of the Centro de las Artes - San Agustín (CASA), a former factory that has been transformed to an arts center. To arrive, one can take a shared taxi from the Central bus station in Oaxaca. The cost is M$13.50 and it drops you off two blocks from CASA.
- 10 Llano Grande (A 2-hour drive). – 70 km. One of eight mountain villages within the region of 11 Sierra Norte. Besides a small wood industry, they provide so-called ecotourism. Tours to phantastic scenic points are bookable at the Zócalo and range from M$400-1000 for a one day tour depending on the number of guests. Trips over several days are available, providing accommodation at the village (elevation: approx. 3,000 m (9,800 ft)). The altitude makes hiking exhausting but not impossible even for unpracticed participants. Hints: Speak Spanish and try to tramp back down instead of waiting several hours for the bus.
- 12 Teotitlan del Valle (Approximately 40 minutes outside of Oaxaca city). – 30 km. A village famous for its weaving. You can book a longer stay here at the Casa Sagrada. Be sure to check out the Vida Nueva women's cooperative in Teotitlan (one block east of the main square) that is striving to use and instill organic methods in its dyes.
- 13 Santiago Matatlán (A one-hour drive southeast on Highway 90). – 50 km. The self-proclaimed "World Capital of Mezcal". Many fábricas de mezcal you can visit. Especially recommended if you like mezcal, have also visited Tequila, Jalisco, and have access to a vehicle.
- 14 Tlacolula Market (About 45 minutes from Oaxaca, down Highway 190). Active on Sundays until 4pm. – 30 km. A large Sunday market, one of the oldest in Mesoamerica, where people from around the region gather to sell their wares. Offers a wide selection of local cuisine.
- The cenote at San Sebastian de las Grutas (About two hours southwest of Oaxaca, off highway 131). – 80 km. A beautiful cenote hidden inside a cave. The entrance is impossible to find without a local guide; ask around in the town of 15 San Sebastian de las Grutas.
- 16 San José del Pacífico. – 140 km. A small town high in the mountains famous for its psychedelic mushrooms.
- 2 [dead link] Amigos del Sol, Calzada San Felipe del Agua 322, ☏ , email@example.com. M-Sa. Classes start any day of the week.
- 3 Becari, Manuel Bravo 210, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Has a friendly and flexible staff, and a central location.
- 4 Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, Av Benito Juárez 909, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. This is the longest established school in Oaxaca, with a very lovely campus, most appropriate to university students who are in Mexico for course credit. A great place for independent travellers to study, as well, as it provides an easy way to meet other travellers and local Oaxacans. Its program includes academic courses to teach Spanish grammar, workshops ranging from cooking classes to weaving to teach about Oaxacan culture, and an "intercambio" session, which links a Oaxacan student studying English with an Instituto student so they both may practice their languages.
- 5 Vinigulaza, Abasolo 503, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a lovely little school with small, friendly classes and helpful teachers. The school is conversation focused, and advanced students can actually speak Spanish.
- 6 Oaxaca Spanish Magic, Berriozábal 200 (near Santo Domingo), ☏ . Flor Bautista has a small school that operates in a lovely garden. There, you will find caring and patient teachers who focus on both grammar and conversation skills. The teachers make great efforts to help the students adjust to Oaxaca and offer extras such as salsa and cooking classes, as well as weekend excursions to pueblos and other events.
- 7 Casa de los Sabores, Reforma 402, ☏ , email@example.com. Classes in Oaxacan cuisine are given by Chef Pilar Cabrera owner, chef at La Olla Restaurante.
- 8 Seasons of My Heart, Rancho Aurora, Camino Real s/n (San Lorenzo Cacaotepec), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Susana Trilling offers courses of different lengths. She also has a cookbook, Seasons of my Heart: A Culinary Journey through Oaxaca, Mexico. Her classes are often full – book ahead.
- 9 Alma de mi Tierra, Aldama 205 (Jalatlaco), ☏ , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-17:00 (office hrs). Nora Valencia, a native of Oaxaca, instructs cooking classes and leads culinary tours in both English and Spanish.
- 10 Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, Av Benito Juárez 909, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. M-Sa 09:00-13:00. Offers cooking workshops which can be taken in conjunction with, or independently of, Spanish language classes.
- 11 Casa Crespo, Allende 107 Centro Historico, Oaxaca. Host Oscar Carrizosa accepts small numbers of guests for several hours of pleasant shopping at a local market, food preparation and eating, in his iconic restaurant less than a block from the Oaxaca Cultural Museum and Santo Domingo Cathedral. US$65/person.
- Chocolate. Mina Street smells of chocolate and the city's most famous warm beverage is hot chocolate.
- Mezcal. The state of Oaxaca also is well known for its Mezcal and there are several tours that visit the distilleries.
- 1 Mercado de Artesanías (Handicrafts Market), Gral Ignacio Zaragoza (on the corner of JP Garcia, one block SW of the Mercado 20 de Deciembre). A colorful handicrafts market focusing on hand-woven textiles, with additional shops selling alebrijes (wooden carvings) and alfarería (pottery).
- 2 Mercado Benito Juarez, Calle Cabrera (from the Zócalo walk one block south; the market is the whole block ahead of you and to your right). Daily. Everything from clothing and leather goods to mole, fresh fruits, flowers, and bulk grains. For meats, prices are a bit high for being unrefrigerated, you might want to try a supermarket instead. One of the few places in town to find brown rice (ask the bulk grain vendors for arroz integrál) or cigarette lighters (check the sidewalk vendors in the area).
- 3 Mercado de la Merced (Mercado de la Democracia), Insurgentes 104 (between Av Morelos and Calle Murguía). This traditional market has a focus on food products and produce, much of it organic. Specialties include bread, cheese, and tortillas. It also has a number of food stands and restaurants, for eating in or take-away.
- 4 Pochote Xochimilco, Calle Marcos Pérez 217, Colonia Centro (between Crespo y Joaquin Amaro). F Sa 08:30-15:30. Handmade tortillas, tlayudas, pastries, fresh-squeezed juice, mezcal, vegetables and woven goods. The delicious prepared food makes a great breakfast or lunch and there's a sitting area to enjoy it.
- 5 Mercado 20 de Noviembre (Next block south of the Mercado Benito Juarez.). Another large, mostly covered, market just south of the Mercado Benito Juarez. Many vendors with food and places to sit and eat. The south street side of the market has a number of chocolate vendors.
- 6 Mercado at El Llano Park (Between Benito Jaurez and Pino Saurez at Berriozabal). Every Friday. An active market on the sidewalks surrounding the park. This market has been driven out by the authorities and relocated to just north of the Pantion.
- 7 Mercado de Abastos (Southwest of the Centro Histórico, across the Periférico road). The city's largest flea market, divided into sections for food, clothing, arts, crafts, and other wares. This market is HUGE and can be very busy, particularly on Saturdays. Watch for pickpockets.
- 8 Soriana, Calzada Madero 115 (Centro), ☏ , toll-free: . Daily. A large chain which carries all the basics.
- 9 Chedraui, Av Periférico 300, ☏ . Daily 07:00-23:00. A large hypermarket (supermercado) with better selection and quality than Soriana. Has a well-stocked pharmacy as well as a bakery and a deli.
Oaxacan food is justifiably famous, and the city's many restaurants offer both traditional and creative dishes to suit many tastes and budgets.
- 1 Mercado de la Merced (Mercado de la Democracia), Insurgentes 104 (between Av Morelos and Calle Murguía). There are several excellent eateries in this traditional market. La Güerita, located on the northeast side of the market, is well-known for its memelas and huitlacoche, but has only a few seats. La Florecita (no. 37), with many more seats available, is particularly popular for its tlayudas and hot chocolate.
- 2 Mercado Benito Juárez, Calle Cabrera (from the Zócalo walk one block south; the market is the whole block ahead of you and to your right). Daily. One huge market of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, leather goods, and numerous other items. There are a few stalls offering ready-to-eat hot meals, and a place to sit and eat them; there are however more places to eat in Mercado 20 de Noviembre (listed below).
- 3 Mercado 20 de Noviembre (the block just south of Mercado Benito Juarez, the 3rd block south of the Zócalo). Another huge market – food stalls line the streets outside the market serving up hot, savory tlayudas and tostadas. Local women offer up chapulines (grasshopper), and you'll find countertops inside that serve up moles, soups and desserts. There are 4 entrances, at the center of each street that surrounds the market. The east-side entrance, facing C. Cabrera, has meat vendors who will cook your purchase for you right there; arguably one of the best deals on ready-to-eat meat in town.
- 4 Boulenc, C. Porfirio Díaz 207, ☏ . Daily 08:30-22:30. Should you tire of the traditional Oaxacan fare and desire something more familiar, this is the place to go.
- 5 Cabuche, Miguel Hildalgo 1017, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-22:00. A pleasant little restaurant with fresh-tasting Oaxacan cuisine and an understanding of vegetarian/vegan requirements.
- 6 Las Quince Letras, Calle de Mariano Abasolo 300, ☏ . M-Sa 09ː00-22ː00, S 09ː00-19ː00. Nice selection of moles here.
- 7 Itanoní, Av Belisario Domínguez 513 (Reforma), ☏ . M-Sa 07:00-16:00 Su 07:00-14:00. Non-GMO corn-based quesadillas, tacos and tamales are prepared fresh to order on an open comal.
- 8 La Casa de la Abuela, NW corner of the Zócalo (upstairs above Primavera Café, entrance on Av Miguel Hidalgo), ☏ . Daily 10:00-23:00. Offers a good selection of regional cuisine, with great views from the balcony.
- 9 La Casa del Tío Güero, Calle de Manuel García Vigil (Centro), ☏ . Typical Oaxacan cuisine. A good deal with good food, all made with purified water. Comida corrida M$60 (including drink and dessert).
- 10 Comala, Allende 109, ☏ . M-Sa 08:30-24:00. Serves a good selection of Oaxacan fare, and international favorites including burgers and sandwiches. Has a good comida corrida. M$80 (comida corrida), M$85-120 mains.
- 11 Restaurante María Bonita, C Macedonio Alcalá 706 B, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 08:30-21:00, Su 08:30-17:30. Serves traditional Oaxacan dishes, and offers 2-day cooking classes. Free Wi-Fi available. M$70 (comida corrida).
- 12 Restaurante Terranova, Portal de Mercederes (SE corner of the Zócalo), ☏ . M-Th 08:00-22:00, F Sa 08:00-01:00, Su 10:00-22:00. Pleasantly situated, with outdoor seating downstairs as well as indoor seating upstairs, this reliable restaurant offers a range of traditional Oaxacan dishes. Excellent service. M$75 comida corrida.
- 13 La Red Marisquerias, Carlos María Bustamante 200 (corner of Bustatmante and Colon, a block south of the Zócalo), ☏ . Daily 12:00-20:00. Serves fabulously fresh seafood for lunch fixed in dozens of different styles. Another location is just south of Merced Market.
- 14 Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante, Calle Constitución 104A (across the street from Templo Santo Domingo and in the same courtyard as the Galleria Quetzalli), ☏ . M-Sa 13:00-23:00 Su 13:00-21:00. If you're looking to splurge on a meal that you won't be able to find in other restaurants in Oaxaca, Casa Oaxaca fits the bill. Ask for a rooftop table and enjoy the 5-course tasting menu for US$32/person. Treat yourself to corn mushroom soup, fresh fish with tomato marmalade and succulent sorbets. The wine list is decent with some excellent Spanish wines and good local options. There is another Casa Oaxaca restaurant, in the same location as Casa Oaxaca Hotel.
- 15 Casa Oaxaca Reforma, Jazmines 518 (Reforma), ☏ . M-Sa 07:45-19:00 Su 10:00-18:00. Traditional Oaxacan cuisine by chef Alejandro Ruiz Olmedo of Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante, but at slightly more affordable prices.
- 16 La Biznaga, Manuel García Vigil 512, ☏ . M-Th 13:00-22:00, F-Sa 13:00-23:00. Dine in a covered courtyard surrounded by art and wireless web surfers. Prices are reasonable for creative Oaxacan cuisine, and the people watching is a bonus.
- 17 La Toscana, Calle 5 de Mayo 614 (Col Jalatlaco), ☏ , email@example.com. M-W 14:00-24:00, Th-Sa 14:00-00:30, Su 14:00-18:00. It is best to take a taxi to this restaurant because of the out of the way location. They serve the best martinis in Oaxaca and delicious seafood with Italian flair.
- 18 Los Danzantes Oaxaca, Calle Macedonio Alcalá 403, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-W 13:00-22:00, Th-Sa 13:00-23:30. A comfortable and authentic mix of Oaxacan and modern restaurant, food is great. It's a beautifully designed restaurant. A bit pricey but definitely worth it for the atmosphere and food quality. Great to have a drink at night as well. Mains M$145 and up.
- 19 Marco Polo, Pino Suárez 806 (next to the Paseo Juárez), ☏ , email@example.com. W-M 08:00-12:00, 13:00-18:30. Famous for its seafood, Marco Polo is a local favorite. Try the ceviche and the beer with chiles.
Oaxaca is famous for at least two drinks: Mezcal and hot chocolate. The state also has a thriving coffee industry. With a few exceptions, most of the cafes are closed on Sunday.
- 1 Casa de Mezcal, Miguel Cabrera, south of the Zócalo. A local bar serving several mezcales, bottled beer and other drinks
- 2 Mezcal Don Agave, at the intersection of Carr. Internacional and Ave. B. Juarez (about a 30-minute drive east of the center city), ☏ . 8 AM - 7 PM, Mon-Sun. Produces many different types of mezcal on the premises in the traditional way. Tours of the distillery are available. Tastings are available too.
- 3 Los Amantes Mezcalería, Ignacio Allende 107. A quaint but pricey mezcaleria near the Tempo de Santo Domingo featuring high quality mezcal and a guitar player.
- 4 Café Kioo, 409-D Garcia Vigil. Has wifi and electical outlets and is open on Sundays.
- 5 Café Los Cuiles, Labastida 115, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 08:00-22:00. Good coffee, free Wi-Fi, friendly staff, good atmosphere. Try the Café Oaxaqueña (slightly sweet, with cinnamon. Yum! Moderate.
- 6 Coffee Beans, 5 de Mayo 400. A cozy cafe and bar selling various beers and a good selection of coffees including various flavours in both hot and cold at decent prices M$16 for a beer, M$12 for a coffee and a little more with flavour). Doesn't have Wifi.
The eastern end of Mina Street (2 blocks south of Zócalo) are several chocolate shops where you can taste samples. Some of these also have cafes in the back where you can drink several types of hot chocolates. Some have free Wifi.
- 7 La Capilla, Carretera Oaxaca-Zaachila (Zaachila, 10 km SW of Oaxaca downtown). Excellent place to eat, They have mole and various typical meals worth the trip to Zaachila.
Oaxaca is not renowned for its nightlife and, with the exception of the Zócalo and its surroundings, the streets can feel quite empty later at night. There are several rooftop bars around the Templo de Santo Domingo offering gorgeous views, particularly at sunset. Other bars and nightclubs are scattered haphazardly around the city center.
- 8 Archivo Maguey, Av. José María Morelos 509. W 15:00-23:00, Th 15:00-00:00 F-Su 15:00-01:00. A popular bar that borders on a nightclub late at night. Contains a hidden bar and balcony located behind a not-so-secret moving bookcase. M$30 cover.
- 9 Cantina Salón de La Fama, C. Porfirio Díaz 115. M-Sa 12:00-00:00. An extremely local bar with great service and occasionally hilarious artwork. Live, local music, should you be so lucky.
- 10 Oaxaca Brewing Company, Calle de Tinoco y Palacios 507a, email@example.com. M, Th, F, Sa 16:00-23:00, Su 14:00-22:00, Tu-W closed. Brewery serving several varieties of their own beer. Casual feel. Some food available too. Occassional live music. M$90.
A lot of accommodation is available through standard hotel booking websites like Booking.com, and the on-line booking agency Airbnb. On booking.com you need to pick Oaxaca de Juárez. Once you get to know the city better you might decide that some areas are more desirable to you than others and you can search in those neighbourhoods for places to stay. Some areas are more busy and have more noise and some involve a bit of a walk to the city center where you might be spending some of your time.
Rates can go up significantly during the high season and rooms are difficult to reserve during that time. National holidays and religious holidays are also very busy. Budget hostels can be found for around M$200 per night (March 2022).
- 1 Casa Angel Youth Hostel, Tinoco y Palacios 610, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Casa Angel is a restored downtown house, creating a stylish backpackers hostel 4 blocks from world-famous Santo Domingo Church, and close to Oaxaca's main attractions. It offers inexpensive and stylish accommodations for their guests in 3, 4, and 10 bed dorm rooms. Casa Angel also has a rooftop terrace (BBQs every week), a common area with a TV and DVDs, a full kitchen, free computers and Wi-Fi, lockers, and a delicious free breakfast every morning.
- 2 Hostal Central, Huzares 103, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. A highly-rated hostel renowned for its incredible breakfasts and customer service. Located a couple blocks west of the Centro Histórico. Offers basic and premium dormitories as well as private rooms. Not a party hostel, but certainly a social hostel.
- 3 Hotel Eclipse, Calle Valeria Trujano 414 (About 3 blocks W of zocalo), ☏ . Shares a wall with an identical hotel. Shared baths. Some rates by the hour, to give you an idea of how budget it is. Not clean at all!. M$250 and up.
- 4 La Villada Inn Hostel, Felipe Angeles, 204 (Ejido Guadalupe Victoria, 15 min taxi ride from the Zocalo), ☏ . A family-run property, a well done eco-construction, relaxing environment and a great view of the surrounding mountain ranges with large swimming pool. M$200 for a dorm.
- 5 Oaxaca Campground, Camino Villa Alta, San Francisco Lachigolo (18 km from downtown Oaxaca), ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Check-in: anytime, check-out: 14:00. The campground is gated and safe with level campsites, clean restrooms and hot showers. Free WiFi. Full and partial hookups for any size RV. Pets are welcome and petsitting available leaving you free to explore. Within walking distance is a water park complete with Olympic size swimming pool. M$250.
- 6 Casa Arnel, Aldama 404, Colonia Jalatlaco (In Jalatlaco, 3/4 mile from the Zocalo, near the 1st class bus station), ☏ . Run by great family. Lots of parrots in a wonderful garden. Nice terrace overlooking the San Matias church. Breakfast in common area (extra). M$450-800.
- 7 Casa de las Bugambilias, Reforma 402, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Nine-room bed and breakfast that is also home to La Olla Restaurant. Free long distance calls to many destinations including USA, Canada, and Western Europe (except mobile phones). Wi-Fi and guest computer. M$872-1,544.
- 8 Casa de los Ángeles, 2a. Privada de M. Alcala #207, ☏ . A small and intimate family-run guest house offering bed and breakfast. Convenient, quiet location, excellent food and warm hospitality. M$390 and up including breakfast.
- 9 Casa de Los Frailes Hotel, Constitución 203, Col. Centro, ☏ . Air-con suites equipped with cable TV, private toilet and bath. Some of its facilities and services are fitness room, terrace, cafe, wake-up call and Internet access. M$1170.90 and up.
- 10 Casa de Mis Recuerdos, Pino Suarez 508, ☏ . A small bed and breakfast with a lovely courtyard and delicious meals. Many rooms are on the street so bring earplugs. M$673 and up.
- 11 Hotel Aitana, Manuel Sabino Crespo, 313, ☏ . In an 18th-century building with traditional fittings.
- 12 Hotel Abu, Murguia 104 Col. Centro, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00-24:00, check-out: 13:00. All rooms equipped with Wi-Fi, double/king bed, and strongbox. Restaurant/cafe, business center, meeting room, laundry, and dry cleaning service. US$56 and up.
- 13 Hostal los Girasoles, José María Morelos 905, Centro, ☏ . Check-in: 24 hours, check-out: 24 hours. Just like renting a room with an Oaxaqueño family. Mom, dad, grandpa & son run this small hostel. Private rooms (with private bath) & dorms. Shower is common. Eat with the family for M$30 (she can cook!) Wi-Fi in all rooms. An absolute steal considering you are treated like a family member M$250 and up.
- 14 La Noria Centro Histórico Hotel Boutique, Miguel Hidalgo #918, Centro, ☏ . Offers 24 air-conditioned rooms, all of which have a cable television, private toilet and bath, and coffee/tea maker. Some of its amenities include Wi-Fi in reception area, guided tours and car rental, and Asuncion Restaurante (serves local dishes, open 07:00-23:00). M$940 and up.
- 15 Hotel Las Mariposas, Pino Suarez 517, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Family-owned hotel, B&B and studio apartments only 2 blocks from the Santo Domingo church. Rooms off the back courtyard are extremely quiet, unusual in Oaxaca. Includes continental breakfast with excellent coffee. M$605 and up.
- 16 Hacienda La Noria, Avda Eduardo Mata 1918, ☏ , toll-free: 01 800 202 3924, email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 13:30. Has an onsite restaurant and outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi in public areas. M$714 and up.
- 17 Parador San Agustin Hotel, Armenta y Lopez 215, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:30. Luxury hotel with an onsite restaurant and free parking. US$36+.
- 18 City Centro Oaxaca, Aldama 410 (Barrio de Jalatlaco), ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 13:00. Breakfast available at on-site cafe. Room service. Small roof-top swimming pool. Bar. Gym. Business center. Outdoor courtyard with comfortable seating. Choice of pillows. Quiet. M$ 2,100 - 2,700.
- 19 Hacienda Los Laureles, C/ Hidalgo 21 (San Felipe del Agua Residential Area), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. A historic luxury hotel in a quiet residential area with 23 rooms and suites, traditional Mexican architecture, a spa and restaurant. It offers air conditioned rooms, all of which have a satellite TV, a luxury bathroom with mirror and hair dryer, and two telephones and a data port. Petit Spa, a swimming pool with Jacuzzi, and a business center with Wi-Fi. Best rates on website start at M$2,886.
- 20 Hostal CasAntica, Av. Morelos #601 Col. Centro, ☏ . A former 16th-century convent.
- 21 Hotel con Corazón, División Oriente 129, Santa María del Marquesado, ☏ . Offers a tranquil ambience with rooms overlooking a leafy courtyard with pool and restaurant. What's best is that part of the hotel's proceeds go to fund local children's education and other social programs. M$1625.
- 22 Hotel de la Parra, Vicente Guerrero 117 (Centro), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A colonial residence converted to a hotel which offers pueblo-style accommodations and a pool, as well as an onsite restaurant. Pets accepted, free Wi-Fi in public areas. US$145 and up.
- 23 Los Pilares Hostal, Curtidurías 721-A (Barrio de Jalatlaco), ☏ , , email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00-00:00, check-out: 11:00-12:00. Single room, standard double, standard king and master suite with air conditioning, satellite TV, and telephone. Swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, room service, and tour desk. Doubles M$1,435+.
- 24 Quinta Real, 300 Cinco de Mayo, ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. In former convent around 5 gracious courtyards. It can feel a bit corporate, with wedding parties and other functions, and mariachis strumming relentlessly over your breakfast eggs. But simply lovely, and within a short stroll of all city attractions. Valet parking M$175 per day or part.
- 25 Suites Bello Xochimilco, 2A Cerrada de Alcalá 223 (Xochimilco), ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 13:00. Five three-bedroom suites and one two-bedroom suite. Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, pets accepted. M$1,628 and up.
Oaxaca is a safe city by Mexican standards, although robberies are not unknown. Some of the streets leading out of the Centro Histórico become quite dark at night. Consider taking a taxi if your destination is far afield. The area between the Centro Histórico and the Cerro de Fortin (the hill with the amphitheatre) has a bad reputation but isn't outrageously dangerous.
Pickpockets are common in the Mercado de Abastos. Limit the valuables you carry with you when exploring the market, and avoid crowds (if you can).
Street food is plentiful and delicious in Oaxaca, but it is risky. One option is to avoid street meat and stick to vegetarian fare, although this is by no means a fool-proof strategy. Another is to travel with an adequate supply of an anti-diarrheal such as Immodium/loperimide (this can also easily be obtained at a local pharmacy; ask for "loperimida"). Should worse come to worst, ask your accommodation to point you to a local doctor, who can prescribe antibiotics or other medicines for either free or a ridiculously low fee. Bottled water is easy to find and inexpensive.
Oaxaca has good 4G and LTE connectivity throughout the city. Tourists usually acquire a SIM card from Telcel, the largest Mexican carrier, and there are several Telcel locations within the city center. Many restaurants and hotels have wi-fi.
- Canada, Pino Suarez # 700 - 11B, Colonia Centro, 68000, Oaxaca, Oax., ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Consular Agency of Canada; Provides assistance with lost passports, medical emergencies (communication) and legal difficulties in Mexico.
- 12 United States, C/ Macedonio Alcalá 407, Office 20, ☏ , , fax: , ConAgencyOaxaca@state.gov. M-Th 10:00-15:00.
- 13 Oaxaca Lending Library, Pino Suarez 519, ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 10:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00; Sa 10:00-13:00; closed on national holidays. One of the oldest continuously operating English-language libraries in Mexico with a collection of 20,000 books and over 450 members, the library offers classes, tours and volunteer experiences. Visitors can purchase a very helpful bus map for M$40, and can also join on a monthly basis to enjoy full library privileges. M$200 (1 month membership), M$300 (2 months), M$350 (3 months).
- 14 Biblioteca Pública Central de Oaxaca (Central Public Library), Macedonio Alcalá 200 (on the corner of Morelos), ☏ , . M-F 09:00-20:00. In a beautiful remodeled 17th century building holding publications about Oaxaca (in Spanish). Also has many Spanish-language newspapers in its reading room. The library also hosts many cultural events.
- 15 Biblioteca Infatil de Oaxaca, Jose Lopez Alavez 1342, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Su 10:00-19:00. A children's library with a very interesting architectural design worth visiting just to see. free.
Many businesses, restaurants, and hotels in Oaxaca accept major credit cards as payment, but it is still important to have cash on hand for other times, such as for taxis and smaller restaurants and businesses and street vendors. There is an ATM at the Oaxaca Airport, but it only allows a maximum of 500 pesos to be withdrawn for some reason. Other ATMs in Oaxaca do not have that restriction. Find a bank close to your hotel and use its ATM soon after you check into your hotel.
The easiest way to access cash in Mexican pesos is to go to a bank and use an ATM to withdraw cash from your own bank account. Alternatively, the currencies of other countries can be exchanged into pesos at banks or various currency exchange booths, both of which are quite common in the central part of the city. It might pay to look around for the best rates of exchange. You may find that the banks offer a better rate but they might be slightly less convenient to deal with. For example, the banks might require a photocopy of your main passport page, which you will have to get at a copying shop for a peso or so, and they might have longer queues. Their better exchange rate might make that worthwhile, especially if you are exchanging larger sums. Again, ATMs are far simpler than any of this.
People working in these businesses are likely not to speak English. This shouldn't be a problem once you figure out what the process is. So make sure you have your passport with you and realize that you may need a photocopy of your passport that they will keep.
As of 2022, the exchange is approximately 20 pesos to 1 US dollar, 20 pesos to 1 Euro, and 23 pesos to 1 British pound.
- 16 ScotiaBank, Independencia 801, ☏ . A fairly busy place close to the Zocalo that seems to have favourable exchange rates.
Your next destination for staying can be...
In the south
- Pacific Coast Beaches. Oaxaca's Pacific coast is—or at least once was—one of its best kept secrets. The Pacific Coast Backpacker Route starts in Puerto Escondido (260 km), and goes through Mazunte, Zipolite, and Huatulco. From the regional hub San Pedro Pochutla, you can also catch a bus to Tapachula and onward to Guatemala.
In the north-west
In the east
- Tuxtla Gutiérrez with a stop-over in Salina Cruz (280 km). From Tuxtla to San Cristobal de las Casas