Oaxaca Mexico Travel Guide

The magical city of Oaxaca is definitely the best place to be for culture and cuisine in Mexico. The beautiful and vibrant city that’s surrounded by the magnificent Sierra Madre mountains. Take a look at our list of 15 awesome things to do during your Oaxaca adventure.

Zocalo main square situated right in the historical town center is the perfect place to begin your Oaxaca experience. Sit on the square surrounded by patio cafes and get right in the center of local life. Bring pocket change for the balloon vendors and xylophone players performing around you.

Top 19 Fun & Unforgettable Thin...
Top 19 Fun & Unforgettable Things to Do in Oaxaca City
  1. The culture museum

Even if you don’t usually like museums I’d recommend you still give this one a try. Not only do they have fascinating cultural exhibits but the place itself is exquisite to walk through, with it being a former monastery from the 1600’s.

  1. Go to churches

Now a church may not be the first place you think of visiting on holiday but Oaxaca has some monumental churches and cathedrals that are so beautiful that you can’t help but pop in.

  1. Marvelously chaotic markets

Oaxaca local markets are definite for your list. South of the Zocalo you will find two markets full of toys, flowers and food. Herbs, clothes, crafts and most other things that you can think of then If you travel east of Oaxaca for about half hour on a Sunday you will find the Tlacolula de Matamoros market. Being one of the oldest and largest markets in the entire region you’re sure to experience the culture right in the heart of it.

  1. Drink fire water!

The World is famous for its luscious and intoxicating mezcal. Typically drunk straight and at room temperature, join the locals and have a drink. You don’t drink it like a shot but sip it instead. Mezcal is made from the agave plant like tequila but more elaborate in both taste and production.

  1. The wildest tree in the world

Right in front of the pleasant church in the town square, you will find the Arbol de Tule. It’s over 2,000 years old and is the world’s largest tree, which is pretty impressive.

  1. Hierve de Agua petrified waterfall

Go for the perfect (and not too cold) swim in this rich mineral water that flows down from the outstanding cliffs; one of the only petrified waterfalls in the world.

  1. The Ancient Mitla Ruins

Between 900 BC and the 1500’s when Mexico was invaded by the Spanish, The sacred and majestic grounds of Milta were inhabited by the ancient Zapotec civilization, this site acted as a religious center, they carried out sacrifices there including humans! The structures have been magnificently preserved by the exceptionally dry air so you can literally wander their site very much as it was then.

  1. Monte Alban pyramids

Spend just half a day visiting the amazing Monte Alban Pyramids and make your trip to Oaxaca worthwhile. Climb the impressive pyramids to see the beauty of the whole of Oaxaca from this one spot and take in the spectacular views.

  1. Get tickets for a Guerreros de Oaxaca Baseball game

If you’re visiting the city between March and August, you don’t need to get your tickets in advance so just turn up, grab a cold beer and enjoy the game.

  1. Lucha Libre

Another Mexican sport to watch for an entertaining evening while in Oaxaca is Lucha Libre. Have a few drinks and pick your favorite Lucha wrestler to cheer on.

  1. Go to a fiesta

Now it probably goes without saying that a fiesta is something to experience on your trip to Mexico, there are loads going on in Oaxaca throughout the year so check what’s on around the time of your trip. On good Friday and the rest of the Holy week you can find the Semana Santa, in late July they have the fabulous celebration of folk dance called Guelaguetzas  or at the start of November the famous Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos), one of the most vibrant of festivals in the whole of Mexico.

  1. Pueblos Mancomunados

If you enjoy hiking then head up to Pueblos Mancomunados in the Sierra Madre mountains, where you’ll find eight little villages.

  1. Oaxaca’s coast

Head for a day at the beach at Oaxaca coast, with its laid back vibe and its dazzling stretch of sand, surrounded by great restaurants and places to stay.

  1. Oaxaca’s local cuisine

Finally but maybe most importantly, check out the delicious restaurants throughout the city and don’t forget the street food too. Oaxaca is definitely a foodie heaven whether it’s fine dining or street food you’re looking for you’re sure to find a mouth watering treat in Oaxaca.

Cultural Hotels in Oaxaca

Famed for its stunning scenery, Oaxaca is Bliss for travelers so we’ve found the ten perfect cultural hotels for you to choose from when you visit. 

1) Hotel Palacio Borghese – Upscale

This upscale hotel has an astonishing architectural presence; it contains six European style, elegant rooms to stay that are wonderfully decorated. The beautiful boutique hotel even has an amazing rooftop spa with stunning views of Mexico City from above.

2) Hotel  La Casona de Tita – Upscale

This hotel was converted from a 19th-century Oaxacan house and has six spacious bedrooms that are situated all around. If you choose to pay extra for breakfast you won’t regret it, everything is homemade even the bread and jams. It’s not surprising that they were the winner of the Trip Advisor Travellers’’ Choice Award 2015 with the effort they put into every detail of your stay.

3) Quinta Real Oaxaca – Upscale

This spectacular hotel is situated in a prime location; it’s only 3o minutes from the airport and just one block away from the amazing Santo Domingo temple. This hotel has 91 simple but elegant rooms, all the rooms are unique with stunning views. This hotel was once a 17th-century convent, ranked as one of the top hotels in Mexico by Conde Nast Traveller.

4) Hostal Casa del Sol – Budget

This lovely hostel is self-explanatory and minimalist. It’s situated right in the center of all the action and it has the choice of dormitories (with single beds, not bunks) or private bedrooms. The hostel has nice communal areas and is definitely budget worthy but not the cheapest.

5) Hacienda Los Laureles  – Upscale

Visit this hotel that’s more than two hundred years old on its own large private plot of land with spectacular views of the Sierra Madre mountains. It has seventeen exquisite rooms decorated with beautiful antique furniture. They offer balconies and the communal areas are even better filled with little antique treasures.

6) Casa de Sierra Azul – Mid-range

This hotel is an impressive 19th century Oaxacan mansion. It still has lots of original features and is guaranteed to be a winner for history fanatics. It has seventeen classy and spacious rooms. This hotel is paradise and perfect for honeymoons and couples getaways.

7) El Diablo y La Sandía – mid-range

If you like quirky but want to stick to a budget on an upscale hotel then this one’s for you. It has amazing glass tables made from an old Mexican barbeque grill, vibrant colors and an upstairs terrace where you can sip your morning coffee surrounded by pretty potted plants as well as a downstairs courtyard where you can watch your breakfast being prepared. It’s situated right in the center of Oaxaca city and is lovingly run by a mother and daughter duo.

8) Hotel Azul  – Upscale

Full of detail, this amazing twenty-two room boutique hotel that was converted from a 19th-century compound has extravagant, elegant suites. The interior of the building is full of art, even the floor! To top it off they even have live music on the terrace at weekends. This one really does include everything you would expect from an upscale hotel and more.

9) Casa Oaxaca – Upscale

It shares a name with one of the best restaurants in Latin America and its right up there with it in terms of excellence. It has a unique heart-shaped pool that stands on its own feet and is full of beautiful architecture. The hotel has a library, and offers Temazcal cleansing sessions and even cooking classes.  This definitely ranks high among the cultural hotels of Oaxaca.

10) Casa de Las Bugambilias – mid-range

This truly cultural Oaxaca hotel with eight ample and quirky rooms is run by some of the 21 members of the Cabrera-Arroyo family; they run three guest houses in Oaxaca and have gained local fame after being featured in numerous publications. You will find traditional Mexican artesanias here and lots of personal touches for the guests. Breakfast is included with the price here and they have a 500 book library with lots of Mexican art and crafts.

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