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Spanish Colonial Oaxaca

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 dry.


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.


Oaxaca (city)
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

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.

In the first months of the year day temperatures climb until April, which is the hottest month. After that comes the rainy season from May to October with smaller daytime temperature variation and warmer nighttime temperatures, but 16-17 days of rain every month on average.

Tourist information[edit]

  • 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.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX IATA), Carretera Oaxaca-Puerto Angel Km 7.5, +52 951 511 5088. A small airport which mainly has flights to Mexican cities, with most flights to Mexico City, but there are also direct flights to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Villahermosa, Monterrey. Most major airlines can offer cooperative service to Oaxaca through Mexico City via AeroMexico. United flies directly from Houston to Oaxaca on regional jets. American begins direct service from Dallas/Ft. Worth in December 2018. Volaris flies thrice weekly direct to Los Angeles LAX Xoxocotlán International Airport (Q1432218) on Wikidata Oaxaca International Airport on Wikipedia

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). You may also 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), +52 921 511 5453, +52 921 514 1071. 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.

By bus[edit]

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: +52 800 702 8000, +52 800 009 9090. 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, is taking the frequent Estrella Roja bus directly from Airport Terminal 1 to Puebla and then transferring to Oaxaca.

By shuttle van[edit]

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, +52 951 516 4059, +52 951 226 1523 (mobile). Hourly from 04:00-23:00. Offers daily service in 15-seat vans. M$209.
  • 5 Transporte Villa del Mar, Calle Galeana 322, +52 951 513 9262, . Hourly from 04:30-23:00. Offers daily service in 15-seat vans. M$170.

Get around[edit]

Map of Oaxaca (city)

The central, tourist-oriented part of town is well signposted and easily walk-able 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.

Downtown landmarks[edit]

Templo de Santo Domingo interior
Jardín Etnobotánico
  • 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), +52 951 516 2991. 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. Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán (Q2779092) on Wikidata Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán on Wikipedia
  • 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. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Oaxaca (Q2942237) on Wikidata Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Oaxaca on Wikipedia
  • 4 Jardín Etnobotánico (Oaxaca Botanical Garden), Reforma s/n (corner of Constitución, Centro), +52 951 516 5325, . 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). Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca (Q1539251) on Wikidata Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca on Wikipedia

Museums and galleries[edit]

  • 5 Casa de Benito Juarez, García Vigil 609 (Centro Histórico), +52 951 516 1860, . 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. Museo de Sitio Casa de Juárez (Q24532900) on Wikidata
  • 6 Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo (Pre-Columbian Art Museum Rufino Tamayo), Av Morelos 503 (Centro), +52 951 516 4750, fax: +52 951 516 4750, . 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). Museo Rufino Tamayo (Q6940515) on Wikidata Museo Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca on Wikipedia
  • 7 Museo Textil de Oaxaca (MTO), Hidalgo 917 (Centro), +52 951 501 1104, . 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. Museo Textil de Oaxaca (Q96758037) on Wikidata
  • 8 La Casa de la Ciudad (City Museum), Porfirio Díaz 115 (Centro), +52 951 516 9648, fax: +52 951 516 9647. 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.
One of the treasures from Tomb 7 of Monte Albán, at the Santo Domingo Cultural Center
  • 9 Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca (Centro Cultural Santo Domingo), Alcalá s/n (next to the Ex Convento de Santo Domingo), +52 951 516 2991. 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). Santo Domingo Cultural Center, Oaxaca de Juárez (Q24531442) on Wikidata
  • 10 Centro Fotográfico Álvarez Bravo, C de M Bravo 116, +52 951 516 9800. 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, +52 951 516 6980. Daily 10:00-20:00. A smaller venue which hosts rotating exhibits of work by national and international artists. Free. Graphic Arts Institute of Oaxaca (Q5597133) on Wikidata Graphic Arts Institute of Oaxaca on Wikipedia
  • 12 Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO), Macedonio Alcalá 202, +52 951 514 1055, . 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. Contemporary Art Museum (Q24554100) on Wikidata
  • 13 Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Museum of Oaxacan Painters), Av de la Independencia (corner of Garcia Vigil), +52 951 516 5645, . 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. Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Q24764407) on Wikidata
  • 14 Museo del Palacio (Palacio de Gobierno / Governor's Palace), Plaza de la Constitucion, +52 951 501 1662, . 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.


Noche de Rábanos
  • 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, +52 951 518-7077, . 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,fulfilment" 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. Guelaguetza (Q5614753) on Wikidata Guelaguetza on Wikipedia
  • Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). 31 October - 2 November. A Mexican holiday that takes place in candle-lit city cemeteries. Day of the Dead (Q309256) on Wikidata Day of the Dead on Wikipedia
  • 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. Night of the Radishes (Q9050469) on Wikidata Night of the Radishes on Wikipedia


  • 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.


Spanish lessons[edit]

  • 2 [dead link] Amigos del Sol, Calzada San Felipe del Agua 322, +52 951 196 8039, . M-Sa. Classes start any day of the week.
  • 3 Becari, Manuel Bravo 210, +52 951 514 6076, . Has a friendly and flexible staff, and a central location.
  • 4 Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, Av Benito Juárez 909, +52 951 515 3404, fax: +52 951 515 3728, . 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, +52 951 513 2763, . 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), +52 951 516 7316. 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.

Cooking lessons[edit]

Black mole ingredients
  • 7 Casa de los Sabores, Reforma 402, +52 951 516 6668, . 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), +52 951 508 0469, . 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), +52 951 513 9211, . 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.
  • Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, Av Benito Juárez 909, +52 951 515 3404, fax: +52 951 515 3728, . M-Sa 09:00-13:00. Offers cooking workshops which can be taken in conjunction with, or independently of, Spanish language classes.
  • 10 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.


Alebrijes, whimsical wooden figures carved from copal wood, for sale at the Mercado Pochote
Mercado Benito Juarez
Dried chilies for sale at Mercado de la Merced
  • 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. (Updated Jan 2019)

Grocery stores[edit]

  • 7 Soriana, Calzada Madero 115 (Centro), +52 951 514 4519, toll-free: +52 800 707 4262. Daily. A large chain which carries all the basics.
  • 8 Chedraui, Av Periférico 300, +52 195 151 47189. 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.


Enchiladas divorciadas, half with mole coloradito and half with salsa verde, served at the 20 de Noviembre Market
  • 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.


Pasillo chile stuffed with beans and topped with fried queso panela, at Café La Olla
  • 4 Andariega Restaurant, Independencia 503, +52 951 514 9331. Daily 07:30-21:00. Serves a good selection of mole dishes, and a very good four-course comida corrida.
  • 5 Café La Olla, Calle de Reforma 402, +52 516 6668, +52 514 9359, . M-Sa 08:00-22:00. Serves well-presented and tasty variations on Oaxacan cuisine, as well as a good range of soups and salads. It's best to dine upstairs to avoid the street noise. M$115 comida corrida.
  • 6 La Casa de la Abuela, NW corner of the Zócalo (upstairs above Primavera Café, entrance on Av Miguel Hidalgo), +52 951 516 3544. Daily 10:00-23:00. Offers a good selection of regional cuisine, with great views from the balcony.
  • 7 La Casa del Tío Güero, Calle de Manuel García Vigil (Centro), +52 951 516 9584. Typical Oaxacan cuisine. A good deal with good food, all made with purified water. Comida corrida M$60 (including drink and dessert).
  • 8 Comala, Allende 109, +52 951 114 2747. 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.
  • 9 Restaurante María Bonita, C Macedonio Alcalá 706 B, +52 951 516 7233, . 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).
  • 10 Restaurante Terranova, Portal de Mercederes (SE corner of the Zócalo), +52 951 516 4752. 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.
  • 11 La Red Marisquerias, Carlos María Bustamante 200 (corner of Bustatmante and Colon, a block south of the Zócalo), +52 951 516 4747. 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.
  • 12 Las Quince Letras, Calle de Mariano Abasolo 300, +52 951 514 3769. M-Sa 09ː00-22ː00, S 09ː00-19ː00. Nice selection of moles here.


Shrimp in tamarind mole sauce at La Biznaga
  • 13 Casa Oaxaca El Restaurante, Calle Constitución 104A (across the street from Templo Santo Domingo and in the same courtyard as the Galleria Quetzalli), +52 951 516 8531. 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.
  • 14 La Biznaga, Manuel García Vigil 512, +52 951 516 1800. 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.
  • 15 La Toscana, Calle 5 de Mayo 614 (Col Jalatlaco), +52 951 513 8742, . 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.
  • 16 Los Danzantes Oaxaca, Calle Macedonio Alcalá 403, +52 951 501 1184, . 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.
  • 17 Marco Polo, Pino Suárez 806 (next to the Paseo Juárez), +52 951 513 4308, . 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.

Mezcal factory at Teotitlan del Valle


  • 1 Casa de Mezcal, Miguel Cabrera, south of the Zócalo. A local bar serving several mezcales, bottled beer and other drinks


  • 2 Café Kioo, 409-D Garcia Vigil. Has wifi and electical outlets and is open on Sundays.
  • 3 Café Los Cuiles, Labastida 115, +52 951 514 8259, . Daily 08:00-22:00. Good coffee, free Wi-Fi, friendly staff, good atmosphere. Try the Café Oaxaqueña (slightly sweet, with cinnamon. Yum! Moderate.
  • 4 Coffee Beans, 5 de Mayo 400. A cosy 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.
  • 5 Lobo Azul Café, Armenta y López 120, +52 951 501 0335, . M-Th 08:00-22:00, F Sa 09:00-23:00, Su 09:00-22:00. Popular with students, with walls covered with revolutionary posters. They roast their own coffee beans and also serve excellent breakfasts and lunch, including a number of vegetarian options. Free Wi-Fi.


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.

  • 6 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.


A lot of accommodation is available through standard hotel booking websites like, and the on-line booking agency Airbnb. 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$70 per night.

Catedral Metropolitana


  • 1 Casa Angel Youth Hostel, Tinoco y Palacios 610, +52 9515142224, . 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. Dorm beds from M$160; Private rooms from M$440.
  • 2 Hotel Eclipse, Calle Valeria Trujano 414 (About 3 blocks W of zocalo), +52 951 516 9049. 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.
  • 3 La Villada Inn Hostel, Felipe Angeles, 204 (Ejido Guadalupe Victoria, 15 min taxi ride from the Zocalo), +52 951 518 6217. 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, M$135 per person for private.
  • 4 Oaxaca Campground, Camino Villa Alta, San Francisco Lachigolo (18 km from downtown Oaxaca), +52 951 216-5426, toll-free: +52 863 232-5030, . 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.


Weaving exhibition at Teotitlan del Valle
  • 5 Casa Arnel, Aldama 404, Colonia Jalatlaco (In Jalatlaco, 3/4 mile from the Zocalo, near the 1st class bus station), +52 951 5152856. 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.
  • 6 Casa de las Bugambilias, Reforma 402, +52 951 516 1165, . 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.
  • 7 Casa de los Ángeles, 2a. Privada de M. Alcala #207, +52 951 515-9609. 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.
  • 8 Casa de Los Frailes Hotel, Constitución 203, Col. Centro, +52 951 513 6670. 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.
  • 9 Casa de Mis Recuerdos, Pino Suarez 508, +52 951 515 56 45. 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.
  • 10 Hotel Aitana, Manuel Sabino Crespo, 313, +52 951 514 3788. In an 18th-century building with traditional fittings.
  • 11 Hotel Abu, Murguia 104 Col. Centro, +52 951 516 4900, . 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.
  • 12 Hostal los Girasoles, José María Morelos 905, Centro, +52 951 516 0518. 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.
  • 13 La Noria Centro Histórico Hotel Boutique, Miguel Hidalgo #918, Centro, +11 52 951 501 5400. 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.
  • 14 Hotel Las Mariposas, Pino Suarez 517, +52 951 515-5852, . 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.
  • 15 Hacienda La Noria, Avda Eduardo Mata 1918, +52 951 501 7400, toll-free: 01 800 202 3924, . 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.
  • 16 Parador San Agustin Hotel, Armenta y Lopez 215, +52 951 516 2022, . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:30. Luxury hotel with an onsite restaurant and free parking. US$36+.


  • 17 Quinta Real, 300 Cinco de Mayo, +52 951 132 4212. 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.
  • 18 Hacienda Los Laureles, C/ Hidalgo 21 (San Felipe del Agua Residential Area), +52 951 501 5300, . 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.
  • 19 Hotel de la Parra, Vicente Guerrero 117 (Centro), +52 951 514 1900, . 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.
  • 20 Hostal CasAntica, Av. Morelos #601 Col. Centro, +52 951 516 2673. A former 16th-century convent.
  • 21 Los Pilares Hostal, Curtidurías 721-A (Barrio de Jalatlaco), +52 951 518 7000, +52 951 518 6998, . 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+.
  • 22 Suites Bello Xochimilco, 2A Cerrada de Alcalá 223 (Xochimilco), +52 951 132 4212. 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.
  • 23 Hotel con Corazón, División Oriente 129, Santa María del Marquesado, +52 951 427 7384. 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.


Good 4G and LTE connectivity throughout the city.




Biblioteca Pública
  • 12 Oaxaca Lending Library, Pino Suarez 519, +52 951 518 7077, . 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).
  • 13 Biblioteca Pública Central de Oaxaca (Central Public Library), Macedonio Alcalá 200 (on the corner of Morelos), +52 951 516 1853, +52 951 516 4128. 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.
  • 14 Biblioteca Infatil de Oaxaca, Jose Lopez Alavez 1342, . M-Su 10:00-19:00. A children's library with a very interesting architectural design worth visiting just to see. free.


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.

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.

  • 15 ScotiaBank, Independencia 801, +52 951 501 5720. A fairly busy place close to the Zocalo that seems to have favourable exchange rates.

Go next[edit]

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.

Beautiful Monte Albán

Just east of town is Monte Alban. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, this is one of the most impressive ruins in Latin America. The Zapotec built this site in the early centuries AD; it was in decay long before the Spanish arrived. Bus to the site 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$50.

Further afield[edit]

  • Arbol del Tule. This tree has the largest base of any tree in the world. Legend has it that it is over 1400 years old. It is 13 km from the city of Oaxaca on the road to Mitla. M$10 entrance fee.
  • Mitla is approximately 40 km from the city of Oaxaca and was a very important Zapotec city and religious center. Famous for its pre-Columbian Mesoamerican buildings. 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.
  • Yagul 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.
  • Hierve el Agua is a two hours drive from Oaxaca by bus or taxi. Natural, almost warm, springs at an altitude of about 3000m near a massive petrified waterfall. From the plateau you have a breathtaking view over the mountain ranges. Travel advisory -- this site is sometimes closed due to conflicts between neighboring villages. M$25 entrance fee + M$10 unofficial 'road maintenance' fee.
  • San Agustín Etla is located about 30 minutes away and 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.
  • Llano Grande is one of 8 mountain villages within the region of Sierra Norte. Besides a small wood industry, they provide so-called ecotourism. Tours to phantastic scenic points are bookable at the Zokalo 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. 3,000m = 10,000'). 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. More Information:
  • Teotitlan del Valle - famous for its weaving, this village is approximately 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca city. 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.
  • Santiago Matatlán - self-proclaimed "World Capital of Mezcal", about a forty-minute drive southeast down Highway 90. Many fábricas de mezcal you can visit. Especially recommended if you like mezcal, have also visited Tequila, Jalisco, and have access to a vehicle.
  • San José del Pacífico - a small town high in the mountains famous for its psychedelic mushrooms
  • Pacific Coast Beaches Oaxacas Pacific coast is one of its best kept secrets. With a new road to Puerto Escondido travel time has been drastically reduced and tourism increased along the whole coast. The Pacific Coast Backpacker Route starts in Puerto Escondido, and goes through Mazunte, Zipolite, and Huatulco. From the regional hub San Pedro Pochutla, you can also catch a bus to Tapachula] and on to Guatemala

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