Oaxaca Travel Blog: Table of Contents
Oaxaca on C&C
Best Time To Visit Oaxaca
Where to Sleep
Let’s Go For a Drink
What to See and Do
Tipping in Oaxaca
Common Scams & What to Avoid
C&C’s Google Map of the City
Oaxaca Travel Blog: Where, How?
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico, North America
Population: 259 200 (2014)
Currency: Mexican peso (MXN)
Airport Notes: Found just outside the city, the airport is small but utilitarian. It has several major airlines that service it, with flights from Oaxaca to Mexico City mainly through AeroMexico. United also has regional jets that fly directly from Houston to Oaxaca.
Transportation to-and-from the airport: The Oaxaca Roundtrip Airport Shuttle Service (OAX) is deemed cost-effective and convenient. There are shared shuttles at the airport that you may use either one-way or round-trip. There are also taxis, limos, airporters as well as rideshare and public transport for you to choose from depending on your schedule, budget or number of people you are travelling with.
You are better off on foot with the city well-signposted and easy to navigate. It’s all small and quite walkable. Plus, you could get a city map for free at any of the several information booths. There are plenty of taxis and even more buses for much less money, though they can be difficult to navigate if you don’t speak Spanish.
A Note on Taxis:
Always discuss your immediate intentions in advance with your driver. This will prepare you for any extra fees that may arise like those for trips between 10pm and 5am.
Just like anywhere, Uber is cheaper and safer. If you don’t already have an account, use this link and get 15 dollars off your first ride!
The upscale Colonia Reforma is home to a weekly market and the best wine store in Oaxaca. Calle Belisario Dominguez is littered with restaurants. The pleasant Xochimilco neighborhood is characterized by the sound of weaving looms, tamal vendors and taco stands. Ninos Heroes is home to the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca. Zocalo is where most tourist attractions are found.
Navigation tips: This is a colonial city, and the streets are all built at 90-degree angles. It’s a tiny bit crooked – north is actually north-northeast – which means anyone with a compass would never get lost in Oaxaca.
More About Oaxaca on C&C
- OAXACA CITY’S CULTURE IS VIBRANT AND ITS FOOD IS ITS POSTER BOY
- THE 8 REASONS WHY OAXACA, MEXICO IS AWESOME
- OAXACA’S ALL-YOU-CAN-DRINK MEZCAL FESTIVAL IS AS CRAZY AS YOU’D EXPECT
Best Time To Visit Oaxaca
Average Monthly Minimum And Maximum Temperatures
Average Monthly Rainfall Or Snowfall
Oaxaca Travel Blog: Personal Notes
What’s This Place About?
Oaxaca city is a small town which is the capital of the province of Oaxaca. The province is famous for mezcal and for its regional Mexican food. Oaxacan food is somewhat different from the rest of Mexican food; it’s a great discovery to make. They also have a few great festivals including Guelaguetza. Most of the indigenous people of Oaxaca are Zapotec and Mixtec; their influence is great on the culture of the region.
What’s Great and Fun?
There are so many great things to do in and around this town. But for me, if there’s only one thing, it’s the food. The different Moles that they have over there is a great place to start. These are so many kinds of these great sauces. This is also one of the places where chocolate is the tastiest in the world. Just go visit one of the many markets of the city and you’ll know what I mean. They love their food and they treat it with a lot of respect.
The street food of Oaxaca is also spectacular. One of the most interesting and fun things to do anywhere in the world is to go have Carnes Asadas in the main market called Mercado Benito Juárez in the center of the town. It’s a great experience and it’s something that I would like to do every day if I could. There’s great food and the atmosphere is just spectacular.
I visited the Mezcal Festival and VICE’s Munchies picked up the story.
Oaxaca Travel Blog: Where to Stay
There is generally a lot to choose from in Oaxaca. Your choice is dependent on your budget and the kind of experience you are looking for, of course!
If you are in a hurry and don’t want to waste much time on searching what to do in Oaxaca, go here straight.
On a hushed street is the pocket-friendly Hostal Pochon. It mostly has a dorm setting that houses anywhere from four to eight people. Of its five dorms, one houses women only. It has private rooms too. Though not luxurious, it is well taken care of. What’s more there are bike rentals and free drinking water! If you want a really cool tip on what to do in Oaxaca, pick this.
Also set in the city is the popular Casa Angel Youth Hostel. Other than the barbecue and sun terrace on offer, all their rooms have a private bathroom with a shower. Other amenities include a seating area or a terrace/balcony for some rooms and free Wi-Fi access everywhere in the premises. It is in close proximity to downtown Oaxaca de Juarez and 8km from Xoxocotlan Airport.
If you are looking for luxury, Hotel Las Golondrinas should be amongst your top choices. It is a small well-tended hotel with rooms surrounded by three leafy and flowery patios -where breakfast is served. Its friendly staff and owners ensure everything is up to par in terms of aesthetics and cleanliness. If you prefer high end options as answer to you question on what to do in Oaxaca, you might try this.
Oaxaca Travel Blog: Let’s Eat!
Famous Foods and Specialties
- memelitas (masa patties with salsa and fresh cheese toppings)
- chilaquiles (quartered tortillas) in Oxacan chile sauce
- tetelas (large tortilla with black beans, crema and queso fresco filling)
- Oaxacan Empanadas (stuffed fried or baked dough)
- Tamales Oaxaqueños (masa stuffed with pork or chicken and wrapped in corn-husk)
The Best Drunk Food
- Tlayuda (a huge tortilla filled with pork lard, beans etc.)
- Chapulines (crunchy, spicy, fried grasshoppers)
Our Suggestions – Dishes And Restaurants
When you a make decision on what to do in Oaxaca, check also about the restaurant options.
I’ve written a whole article about the things you need to try when you’re in Oaxaca. The carnes asadas at the central market represent one of the best meals on earth.
There’s plenty of spectacular street food to be had everywhere in the city. The quesadillas are second to none. And if you’re lucky enough to be in town during zucchini flower season, then a zucchini flower quesadilla is not to be missed.
Anything cooked on a comal. Get it.
The salsas available at every taco stand are stunning.
Get the “elote”, boiled corn covered in cheese and mayo. It’s much better than it sounds.
I didn’t even go to a single restaurant during my visit in Oaxaca. The street food was way too good. Which means that I apologize, but I don’t have any suggestions for you!
Oaxaca Travel Blog: Let’s Go For a Drink
What Do the Locals Drink?
Meczal (unprocessed smokier version of tequila)
Drinking in Public
Having an open container is illegal in Mexico. Remember that Mexican cops are of the corrupt kind. Don’t give them an opportunity to bother you…
Our Suggestions – Bars and Pubs
Don’t look for what to do in Oaxaca far away from a crowd favorite bar.
If you take a walk around the Zócalo, you are sure to find several bars filled with crowds. It is the heartbeat of Oaxaca and just the place to go and people-watch as you listen to live music even if you don’t want to drink or dance.
In downtown Oaxaca, on Calle Constitucion Centro, is El Sol y La Luna that does live music too.
Divina Bar is popular with locals and tourists alike. The music of choice is heavy metal rock music played live by local and touring bands.
As regular readers of this column know, I don’t know anything about clubs. Sorry!
Oaxaca Travel Blog: What to See and Do
Your visit would be incomplete without a visit to the Zocalo located in the historic center of the city. It is the best place to start exploring the city and also to unwind because one way or another you will end up there.
The Culture Museum of Oaxaca is a must-visit not necessarily for the artifacts but to stroll through its extensive hallways and what were once monastery courtyards and get a glimpse of the impressive views of the Ethnobotanical Garden backdrop .
Don’t look for what to do in Oaxaca too far away from a happening tourist attraction.
If you choose to explore just one of Oaxaca’s grand churches, let it be Templo de Santo Domingo. Its gold-covered interior will wow you.
Just south of the Zocalo are Benito Juarez Market and 20 de Noviembre market where you can find almost anything you can think of.
Sip on world-renowned local firewater Meczal at La Mezcalerita or Los Amantes.
If you are headed to Mitla or Hierve de Agua, stop by Arbol del Tule and see the world’s widest tree.
Find a day tour and go take a drink or a dip in the petrified waterfall of Hierve de Agua often compared to Pamukkale in Turkey.
Visit the Ancient Mitla Ruins once inhabited by the Zapotec civilization and was its religious center.
The incredible Monte Alban Pyramids which were the political center for the Zapotecs are a must-visit. Climb atop the ruins and get spectacular views of not just the ruins themselves but the city below too.
Guelaguetza, Semana Santa, or Day of the Dead in Oaxaca are just a few of the events that go down in Oaxaca every year. If you find yourself in Oaxaca at the right time, make sure you attend one of these.
Tipping in Oaxaca
Just like in most of Mexico, tipping is expected. At restaurants, a tip for good service is usually 17-20% of the total cost of the bill. Even if the service wasn’t great, you should still tip 10-15%.
Oaxaca Travel Blog: Common Scams & What to Avoid
Well it’s pretty much the same as everywhere in Mexico but on a lower scale. A great example is fake sob stories; you will hear many of them if you start talking to some of the locals who are looking to make some money off of that. Their police are as corrupt as anywhere in Mexico and this is not new to anyone who’s ever visited this country.
It is always a good practice to decide on what to do in Oaxaca away from these places.
Well this is Mexico, so crime is high. But the crime rate in Oaxaca is quite low compared to some of the neighboring provinces.
Not as much because there are not many places where people congregate and are close together.
Don’t fall for the fake taxis.Other than that, the regular tips and tricks apply.
How to Stay Safe: Tips and Tricks
READ MORE: Travel Canada Advisory for Mexico.