10 Best Oaxaca Street Food Tours for Foodies in 2024

different Oaxacan dishes in a plate - best Oaxaca street food tours

Ready to book one of the best street food tours in Oaxaca City?

You’ve come to the right place! This guide highlights the 10 best Oaxaca street food tours, allowing you to experience this vibrant city’s unique and delicious cuisine.

Exotic flavors, traditional ingredients, and innovative preparation methods all contribute to the joy of discovering new places, and eating street food in Oaxaca is no exception.

plate of tamales on one of the best oaxaca food tours

Don’t have time to read the whole article? The best tour in Oaxaca is Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine, with a perfect 5 Star rating.

On these Oaxaca Mexico food tours, you’ll explore local markets to taste the best food in Oaxaca City.

From devouring mouth-watering tacos, to indulging in the famous mole, these Oaxaca food tours offer a one-of-a-kind foodie experience.

Taste the best street food in Oaxaca with the top food tours Oaxaca Mexico has. Ready to savor the authentic flavors of Mexico, taste the best food in Oaxaca and book one of the best Oaxaca culinary tours? Let’s go! 

Top 3 Picks: Best Oaxaca Street Food Tours

#1 TOP PICK

tacos on a plate

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine
✔️ Breakfast, lunch, snacks
✔️ Drinks

#2 PICK

chef preparing Mexican spices

 Flavors of Oaxaca: Cooking Class with Oaxaca Market Tour
✔️ All ingredients
✔️ Tour to a local market

#3 PICK

tlayuda on a plate and a shot of mezcal on the side

Foodie Tour in Oaxaca City
✔️ Concierge services
✔️ Use of free bikes

10 Best Oaxaca Street Food Tours

1. Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine

man grilling meat and veggies in Pasillo de Humo (smoke alley in oaxaca city)
Come explore the delicious and unique flavors of Oaxacan cuisine when you book this Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine.

⭐️ Rating: 5.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 5 hours | 🌮 Check Rates & Availability

Embark on a delicious journey through the vibrant streets of Oaxaca and discover the essence of traditional Oaxacan cooking on this Earth, Corn & Fire food tour

Explore neighborhood markets, taste Oaxaca’s iconic dishes and street snacks, and learn about local corn in various forms.

Our guide Luis was excellent — He was friendly and familiar with the city and he provided a very interesting and well paced tour. We walked and talked and ate a wide variety of local foods.

-Connie (read more reviews)

You’ll also meet market vendors who have been in the business for decades and even visit a gallery run by young artists.

This tour offers an edible crash course on the elements that are a bedrock of traditional Oaxacan cooking and how they’re being preserved. 

You’ll end your journey with a delicious meal in a family-run restaurant in Oacaxa City, where you’ll sample different types of mole, one of the city’s most famous creations.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

2. Flavors of Oaxaca: Cooking Class with Oaxaca Market Tour

woman conducting cooking class Oaxaca
One of the best cooking classes, take a journey through the rich history of Oaxacan cooking and taste traditional dishes passed down through generations.

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4.5 hours | 🥘 Check Rates & Availability

Have you ever wanted to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food? Well, now you can on this Flavors of Oaxaca cooking class, which includes a market tour. 

Join a small, intimate group and explore a local market to gather the freshest ingredients for your cooking workshop.

Great day!! Really good teacher. Very fun and educational. The open market place was very inspiring with a virtual cornucopia of culinary bliss.

-peter (read more reviews)

With no set menu, you and your group can choose which traditional dishes to prepare.

You’ll then be immersed in Oaxacan cuisine and learn about the rich history and techniques behind each dish.

During your hands-on experience, you can create a delicious meal from scratch with the guidance of your knowledgeable instructor. 

Special dietary restrictions can be catered to, and complimentary drinks are offered as you cook and savor your culinary masterpiece. 

With a small group size, you can expect personalized attention and a genuinely unforgettable Oaxaca city food tour.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

3. Foodie Tour in Oaxaca City

different types of moles at Mo-Kalli Oaxaca
Book this foodie tour in Oaxaca City, and the local guides will take you to the best markets and food stalls, where you’ll learn about the region’s unique cuisine and culture.

⭐️ Rating: 4.87 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🫔 Check Rates & Availability

Indulge in the traditional flavors of Oaxaca on this exciting Walking Foodie Tour. Discover the city’s street food stalls, markets, and more while savoring dishes like mole, memelas, tamales, tlayudas, and more.

Join a small group on this culinary adventure and explore the city with a knowledgeable guide.

Carlos was a magical guide — so keen to tailor the tour to my requirements and very knowledgable and patient with my many questions — I feel I made a friend in Oaxaca!

-Barbara (read more reviews)

Carlos will share his passion and love for Oaxaca and its cuisine, providing insight into the history and culture of the local food scene.

This tour offers a unique opportunity to support local markets and street food vendors while indulging in a memorable local and delicious culinary experience. 

Whether you are a foodie or simply seeking a new adventure, this is hands down one of the best tours in Oaxaca Mexico.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

4. Eat Like a Local on This Authentic Oaxaca Food Tour

camote vendor in mexico serving some of the best street food in oaxaca city
Eat like a local on an authentic Oaxaca food tour and discover the best food Oaxaca has to offer.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 5 hours | 🌯 Check Rates & Availability

Satisfy your culinary cravings and immerse yourself in the rich flavors of Oaxaca on this Eat Like a Local Authentic Food Tour.

In this foodie adventure, you will taste 24 traditional dishes at the city’s three main markets and street food stalls.

Best tour we ever took, and if we could give 10⭐️ we would! Betsaida is a wonderful, knowledgeable guide and her tour exceeded our expectations.

-Bernard (read more reviews)

And you’ll learn all about Oaxaca’s history, culture, and gastronomy as you explore the city’s hidden gems.

Come hungry and ready to experience why Oaxaca is considered one of Mexico’s most important gastronomic destinations on this incredible local food tour. 

💡 Note: This is one of the Oaxaca Mexico tours that is not suited for vegans or vegetarians. It is also best suited for active travelers, as there’s a lot of walking involved.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

5. Traditional Oaxacan Cooking Class with Sonia Silvia

Oaxaca cooking class with Sonia
Book this traditional Oaxacan Cooking Class and discover new flavors and recipes as you explore the history and culture of Oaxaca with Sonia Silvia. (Photo: Airbnb)

⭐️ Rating: 4.98 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4.5 hours | 🌶️ Check Rates & Availability

Discover the traditional flavors of Oaxacan cuisine while listening to stories and sipping on mezcal in this hands-on Traditional Oaxacan Cooking class

You’ll first learn about the ingredients found in most Oaxacan homes before diving deep into the world of mezcal.

Baldo, your knowledgeable guide, will serve countless samples along with Oaxacan-style snacks, like gusano worms, chicatana ants, and chapulines—the infamous Mexican grasshoppers.

Sonia and her son Baldo were wonderful hosts and it is a beautiful location as well. The cooking experience was informative and the food was delicious.

-Chris (read more reviews)

Then it’s time to make your meal. You’ll make tortillas, tetelas, and memelas by hand during the class and learn how to make salsas using a molcajete. 

You’ll also create one of the seven moles from scratch using a metate cooking stone and taste the famous mole negro.

Everyone will participate in the different cooking processes, and the class is available in English.

Come with an empty stomach and leave with a full belly and a newfound appreciation for Oaxacan cuisine on this Oaxaca eats food tour.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

6. Eating with a Local at the Oaxacan Markets

pasillo de humo AKA smoke alley in oaxaca city november 20 market
This Eating With a Local at the Oaxacan Markets Tour is a great way to discover Oaxacan culture, learn about traditional Oaxacan food recipes, and shop for produce.

⭐️ Rating: 4.98 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 5 hours | 🥙 Check Rates & Availability

Explore the city’s bustling markets and taste over 20 traditional dishes alongside a local guide on this foodie adventure to some of the best Oaxacan markets

Enjoy Oaxacan cuisine’s rich culture and history as you savor each bite. Your passionate local guide, Betsy Morales, will share her knowledge and love of Oaxaca’s internationally renowned gastronomy.

Such an amazing food tour! I’d highly recommend doing this at the beginning of your stay in Oaxaca to get a lot of tips and recommendations on the best local foods in the area.

-Kelly (read more reviews)

Betsy was born and raised in the city, and her insider insights will enhance your experience. With each dish, you’ll delve deeper into the flavors, techniques, and ingredients that make Oaxacan cuisine so special.

This tour not only indulges your taste buds but also supports the lifeblood of the community by visiting local businesses. 

One of the best Oaxaca tours, don’t miss this chance to feel like a local for a day and taste the authentic flavors of Oaxaca City, Mexico.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

7. Visit Three Oaxacan Markets & Eat Like a Local

⭐️ Rating: 4.98 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 5 hours | 🫔 Check Rates & Availability

Discover the city’s main markets and street food stalls as you sample over 24 traditional dishes on this Eat Like a Local Walking Tour.

Some highlights include pre-Hispanic meals, five unique moles, handmade corn tortillas, grilled meats, tacos, and more.

Betsaida is so lovely and energetic, it was a pleasure to hear stories of history and customs, as well as her introductions to countless foods.

-Scott (read more reviews)

As you walk just over a mile, taking in the city’s sights and stopping at historical landmarks and notable points of interest, you’ll savor each bite while learning more about the stories of the culture and history of Oaxacan cuisine.

On this Oaxaca food market tour, you’ll be able to taste the diverse ingredients and cooking methods that have made Oaxaca one of the best foodie destinations in Mexico. 

Don’t miss this street food tour Oaxaca opportunity to eat like a local and experience the authentic flavors of Oaxaca.

💡 Please note that this tour is not appropriate for vegans or vegetarians.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

8. Authentic Oaxaca Street Food Tour by Locals

colorful nieves in oaxaca mexico
Book this authentic Mexico Oaxaca street food tour, and visit the best street food spots for a cultural and culinary experience.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2.5 hours | 🫑 Check Rates & Availability

Satisfy your taste buds with authentic Oaxacan flavor on this Authentic Oaxaca Street Food Tour guided by local foodie experts.

Explore the city’s markets, including Mercado Benito Juarez and Mercado 20 de Noviembre, and taste the Oaxaca traditional foods that have made the city’s cuisine nationally and internationally recognized.

Elizabeth was a fun and knowledgeable guide. She provided very helpful information about the different foods and Oaxaca. 

-Robin (read more reviews)

Sample some of the Oaxaca best foods, like the famous el tejate — a non-alcoholic maize and cacao beverage. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, there’s also the regional delicacy of Oaxaca grasshoppers (chapulines).

Visit the Mercado 20 de Noviembre’s meat hub and taste mouth-watering roasted meats, classic tamales, and crispy tlayudas

End your food tour with a sweet finish of Oaxacan desserts that will leave you craving more. The best Oaxaca food tour for anyone craving a local experience.

💡 Please note that this tour is not appropriate for vegans or vegetarians.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

9. Take a Tour Through the Abastos Market

woman cooking on a comal in oaxaca mexico
Book this tour of the Abastos Market and get lost in the maze of shops, stalls, and vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.

⭐️ Rating: 4.95 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🌽 Check Rates & Availability

Embark on a unique experience by visiting Abastos Market, home to the famous memelas Doña Vale featured on Netflix Street Food: Latin America.

After breakfast with Doña Vale herself, you’ll explore the market with a local guide, starting with the shaman section to see the herbs and plants.

Javier is a great guide and takes you to the best spots – also makes extra touches for vegetarians! A must-do early on in your trip.

-Eden (read more reviews)

Stroll through the colorful fruit and vegetable section, snap some photos, and learn about the daily life of the locals who shop at the market. 

You’ll also discover the rich flavors of Oaxacan cuisine with dishes like pumpkin flower empanadas, tejate, pulque, mezcal, tamales, yellow empanadas, barbacoa tacos, and more.

This is the perfect opportunity to visit the famous Abastos Market, one of Oaxaca’s largest markets. 

All food is included in the tour, so come hungry and ready to experience the authentic tastes of Mexico on one of the best Oaxaca Mexican food tours.

Best Oaxaca street food tours

10. Tacos and Secret Bars in Oaxaca City

tacos roy, one of the best oaxaca taco spots
Eat delicious tacos and explore hidden bars in Oaxaca City Mexico, to eat delicious tacos and drink the best mezcals.

⭐️ Rating: 4.98 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 3 hours | 🌮 Check Rates & Availability

Get ready to experience the city like never before on this Tacos and Secret Bars tour

Explore the hidden gems of Oaxaca’s nightlife as you travel through its neighborhoods, savoring the best tacos and sipping cold beers at some of the city’s most beloved bars.

Gerardo made this trip so enjoyable and easy. It was the perfect amount of tacos in real Oaxacan neighborhoods and good information.

-Christine (read more reviews)

With a knowledgeable local guide at your side, you’ll delve into the history and culture of the city while indulging in delicious Oaxacan food and drinks

You’ll visit two taquerias and end the night at one of the guide’s favorite bars in the city center. The experience can be tailored to your preferences, making it the perfect night out in Oaxaca.

11 Best Oaxaca Street Foods 

So what food is Oaxaca known for? Here are some of the best Oaxaca street foods you should try when visiting the city. Ready for an Oaxaca foodie guide?

Let’s look at some of the best food Oaxaca has to offer:

1. Tacos

person holding a taco
The irresistible flavors of Mexican tacos are so popular around the world.

Tacos are undoubtedly the king of Mexican street food, and Oaxaca has some of the most delicious varieties you’ll ever taste. From carne asada to barbacoa and al pastor, Oaxacan tacos are packed with flavor and texture.

🌮 Among the most popular taco options are tacos de guisado (“stew tacos”), barbacoa (BBQ), birria (shredded meat), carne asada (grilled beef), carnitas (fried pork), chorizo (sausage), and pescado (fish).

Tacos al pastor is also a must-try. These tacos feature thin slices of marinated pork cooked on a spit, similar to shawarma, and are often served with pineapple, pico de gallo, cilantro, and lime juice.

Whether a first-time visitor or a seasoned Oaxaca Mexican foodie, you can’t go wrong with a plate of delicious tacos from the local street vendors — one of the best Mexico Oaxaca food dishes.

2. Tlayudas

oaxaca tlayuda on a plate
From the crunchy texture of the tortilla to the rich combination of toppings, each bite of a tlayuda is a unique and flavorful experience.

Although some might refer to it as a Mexican-style pizza, the comparison ends there.

🫓 🔥 Tlayuda Oaxaca food is made by toasting a gigantic tortilla on a traditional cooking comal, a large, flat cooking surface commonly used in Oaxacan street food.  

To give the tortilla a rich, smoky flavor, it is smeared with asiento, an unrefined pork lard, before being cooked. 

Once the tortilla is ready, it is topped with refried beans, fresh tomatoes, onions, lettuce or cabbage, avocado, Oaxacan string cheese, or quesillo.

This fresh cheese is made by hand and then rolled into a ball, and it is beloved throughout Mexico and beyond. 

The tlayuda is then folded into fourths and can be topped with tasajo or chorizo for those who want to add meat. 

Head to the local markets to find some of the most authentic and delicious versions of this classic Oaxacan dish.

3. Memelas (Memelitas)

oaxaca memelas cooking on a comal
Memelas is a popular Mexican dish made with corn masa, beans, and cheese.

Memelas, also known as Memelitas, is a traditional Oaxaca food dish. These small, thick tortillas are cooked on a comal and then topped with beans, cheese, and your choice of meat. 

The tortillas are made with masa, the same dough used for making tortillas, but they’re thicker and have a slightly chewy texture.

After cooking the tortillas, they’re topped with a layer of refried black beans and crumbled queso fresco, a fresh cheese staple in Mexican cuisine. 

For added flavor and heat, various types of meat can be added to the memelas, including chorizo, tasajo (thinly sliced beef that’s been marinated), or cecina (thinly sliced pork). 

Memelas can be found in many street markets throughout Oaxaca, with each vendor putting their own spin on this classic dish.

 🤤 MEMELAS DOÑA VALE

memelas dona vale oaxaca mexico food stall in a local market
Trying memelas in Memelas Doña Vale should be on your bucket list when you go on food tours in Oaxaca.

📍 Memelas Dona Vale is located here, in Central de Abastos Market.

You can try memelas in markets all over the city, but there’s one place more popular than the rest—Memelas Doña Vale. Some say it’s among the best places for memelas in Oaxaca, if not the best.

Memelas Doña Vale in Mercado Central de Abastos is a must-try on any Oaxaca City foodie tour. It was even featured on Netflix’s Street Food: Latin America show.

The chef and owner, Doña Vale (Ms. Vale), is known for her memelas and unique salsa morita. This delicious, hand-made salsa uses chile morita, a smoked jalapeño pepper that tastes like smoky chipotle.

4. Tamales Oaxaqueños

tamales at Restaurante Alfonsina Oaxaca Mexico
Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and more.

Tamales are an iconic Mexican food staple enjoyed across the country in many different variations. 

The basic concept of a tamal involves a mixture of masa, or corn dough, typically filled with meat, vegetables, or other ingredients and then steamed in either a corn husk or a plantain leaf. 

🫔 In Oaxaca, tamales are often made with the same masa mixture as in other regions of Mexico but with the unique addition of a plantain leaf, which gives them a distinctive flavor and texture. 

In Oaxaca, you’ll often hear tamales referred to as “hoja” tamales, with “hoja” being the Spanish word for “leaf.”

Tamales are a staple of Oaxacan cuisine, and you’ll find them sold by street vendors in local markets and small, family-run restaurants throughout the city. 

For those who want to try the best Oaxacan tamales, head to the Tlacolula market on Sundays, where you’ll find a wide variety of mouth-watering tamales, including the classic Oaxacan-style tamales wrapped in plantain leaves.

5.  Tetelas

triangular hand-pie from oaxaca mexico called "tetelas"
A tetela is the perfect combination of Mexican flavors and fresh ingredients.

Another Oaxaca typical food dish, tetelas are great if you are looking for vegetarian options. These small, triangular-shaped hand pies are made with a mixture of masa and black beans, with most tetelas not containing meat. 

They are stuffed with a black bean paste, a common Oaxacan preparation, and quesillo string cheese.

Many tetelas also contain hoja de santa, a leaf from the pepper plant used in many Oaxacan dishes, giving them a unique flavor among Oaxacan street food options.

Tetelas are cooked on a traditional Mexican comal, which gives them a crispy exterior and a soft and chewy interior. Once cooked, they’re served hot, so the quesillo thoroughly melts within the triangular pocket. 

This makes them perfect for eating on the go, as they’re one of the most convenient Oaxaca foods. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover, tetelas are a must-try for anyone visiting Oaxaca.

6. Oaxaca Mole

mole on a plate at Alfonsina Oaxaca Restaurant
Mole is a traditional recipe that features a blend of chiles, spices, and other ingredients for a rich and flavorful sauce.

Mole is a beloved and iconic sauce in Oaxacan cuisine, known for its complex blend of spices, chiles, and other ingredients. Oaxaca has seven different types of mole, each with a distinct flavor and appearance. 

The most famous type is mole negro (black mole), made with more than 20 ingredients, including chiles, nuts, fruits, and spices. It’s often served over chicken, pork, turkey or beef, and is an Oaxacan celebratory meal staple. 

Other popular varieties of mole include: mole amarillo (yellow mole), and mole coloradito (red mole).

Yellow mole is made with yellow chiles, and has a slightly sweet and tangy flavor. Red mole is made with ancho chiles and gets its color from chocolate and tomato. They’re both usually served with rice, and over chicken or turkey.

While mole is often served in restaurants, it’s also a popular street food in Oaxaca, where you can find it smothered over enchiladas, tamales, and even empanadas.

7. Empanada de Mole Amarillo

yellow mole amarillo empanada at empanadas del carmen oaxaca mexico
This savory dish is made with a blend of spices, chiles, and yellow mole sauce that will tantalize your taste buds.

Empanada de Mole Amarillo is a classic Oaxacan street food that combines mole sauce’s rich and complex flavors with an empanada’s crispy and flaky texture. 

These savory pastries are made with a masa dough filled with shredded chicken, potatoes, and carrots and then smothered in a rich mole sauce.

The mole amarillo sauce is made with various ingredients, including chiles, tomatoes, and spices, and has a distinct yellow color.

The empanadas are then baked or fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy exterior that complements the rich and spicy filling.

8. Molotes

molotes oaxaca street food
Molotes are a traditional Mexican dish made with masa, filled with cheese, and fried until golden and crispy.

These football-shaped savory pastries are made with a thick masa dough filled with mashed potatoes, cheese, and meats like chorizo or cecina. The dough is then folded over the filling and fried to a crispy golden brown. 

Molotes are often served with various toppings, such as salsa, crema, and fresh cheese, and are sold by street vendors in local markets and at food stalls throughout Oaxaca.

9. Elotes and Esquites

man with epic beard holding elote (mexican street corn)
The main ingredients of elotes are corn, cheese, mayonnaise, and spices.

Quite simply, elote is corn on the cob grilled to perfection. However, elote is taken to the next level by smothering the corn in mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, and fresh lime juice. 

The resulting dish is a delicious portable snack perfect for eating on the go. They represent Mexican cuisine’s bold and complex flavors, with a mix of smoky, spicy, and salty flavors.

Esquites are another classic Mexican street food that’s a popular snack for locals and visitors alike. Similar to elote, esquites are made with grilled corn, but the kernels are removed from the cob and served in a cup.

The corn is mixed with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice, creating a savory and delicious snack perfect for eating on the go. 

🌭 When getting your esquites, be on the lookout for bandeiras or “Mexican corn dogs.” These two make for a fantastic carnival food-style combo!

10. Chapulines (Mexican Grasshoppers)

chapulines mexican grasshoppers for sale in a market
Chapulines or grasshoppers are popular snacks in Mexico and Central America.

Chapulines, or grasshoppers in English, are bite-sized snacks toasted on a comal and seasoned with garlic, lime juice, salt, and chilies. 

Despite their unusual appearance, chapulines are actually delicious, with a flavor that’s been compared to salt and vinegar chips. 

Compared to chips, however, chapulines offer much more protein and are considered a healthier snack. The texture is a bit crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

While you can find chapulines throughout Mexico, they’re most popular in Oaxaca State.

You’ll find them sold by the kilo from street vendors and in Oaxacan markets, and you can usually get chapulines at sports events as well. 

Some restaurants in Oaxaca also serve guacamole with chapulines as an appetizer.

11. Nieves

nieves mexican sorbet
Rich in flavor and texture, this creamy dessert is made with only the freshest ingredients and can be customized to fit any palate.

Nieves is a refreshing and delicious Oaxacan street food that’s a must-try during a hot day in the city. 

The name “nieves” means “snow” in Spanish, and it’s essentially a cross between shaved ice and fruit sorbet. Nieves are made with fresh, local fruits or sweet ingredients, which are frozen, shaved, and served. 

You’ll find nieves sold from old-school ice cream carts on the streets of Oaxaca City, and the best place to try them is at the Plaza de las Nieves at the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad Church. 

Since Central Mexico has a long growing season, there are always interesting and unique flavors of nieves to try, such as tuna (cactus pear), guanabana (soursop), zapote (mamey), maracuyá (passion fruit), and even rose petals.

🍨 OTHER BEST OAXACA DESSERTS

If nieves sound yummy to you, be on the lookout for paletas (popsicles), raspados (shaved ice, sometimes called granizados), and mangonadas (a type of thick mango smoothie).

Oaxaca City Travel Guide and FAQ

Oaxaca Hotel Casa Antigua
Hotel Casa Antigua, and most of the Oaxaca best places to stay, are located in downtown Oaxaca City.

How do you pronounce Oaxaca?

Wondering about the Oaxaca pronunciation? It’s a common question, so if you are, you’re not alone! The word Oaxaca is pronounced waa-haa-kah.

Where is Oaxaca located?

Oaxaca is a state in southern Mexico, surrounded by other Mexican states like Chiapas and Puebla.

🗺️ Oaxaca Map

The southern edge of the state sits on the Pacific Ocean. Oaxaca City is the state’s capital city, and located about six hours south of Mexico City, you can book direct flights.

What is the best time to visit Oaxaca Mexico?

The best time to travel to Oaxaca is during the dry season, October to May. If you don’t mind some rain during the Oaxaca rainy season, you will also get lower prices — as this is the slow season.

🌡️ Oaxaca weather

oaxaca weather chart

If you want to avoid the crowds, the Oaxaca busy season runs from about late October for the Day of the Dead through mid-January.

Many also visit Oaxaca de Juárez (Oaxaca City) for the Guelaguetza in July, the second biggest Oaxaca festival.

Oaxaca City has a desert climate, so hot days and cool nights. The temperature in Oaxaca City fluctuates a lot, so be mindful and bring layers when packing for Oaxaca.

If you hate the heat, avoid the hottest months of April to May so you have an enjoyable Oaxaca vacation.

Is Oaxaca safe for tourists?

For the vast majority of travelers, Oaxaca is safe to visit. In fact, Oaxaca is one of the safest states in Mexico. Oaxaca City is the country’s 67th largest city, with a population of about 275,000, but retains a humble, pueblo vibe.

woman in front of a pin wall and I love Oaxaca sign (Oaxaca te amo)
Doing some Oaxaca solo travel? Check out this first-hand account from Poonam about her solo trip to Oaxaca.

⚠️ For a deep dive into this topic and a Oaxaca safety guide, check out Is Oaxaca Safe to Travel to Right Now?

That’s not to say bad things don’t happen in Oaxaca City; they do.

However, if you take the same general travel precautions you would anywhere else — i.e. stay aware of yourself, your belongings, and your surroundings — you should be safe traveling to Oaxaca City.

What’s the closest Oaxaca Airport?

Wondering, Is there an airport in Oaxaca City? Yes, there’s Oaxaca International Airport (code: OAX), located about 20-30 minutes from downtown.

eatery in oaxaca airport OAX
Inside Oaxaca Airport, a small airport with a few international flights.

While you might see this airport called Xoxocotlán International Airport, know that it’s still OAX Airport. There is only one airport in Oaxaca City. ▶Book your Oaxaca flights now!

🚐 Best Oaxaca Airport Transportation

Is there Uber in Oaxaca City?

No — There is no Oaxaca Uber service, and no Lyft in Oaxaca either.

passenger calling uber in oaxaca from their cell phone

They do have DiDi Taxi through the DiDi Rider app, which lets you call a Oaxaca taxi via the app. It’s basically like using Uber or Lyft, but you will get a regular cab.

🚕 Are taxis safe in Oaxaca Mexico?

For the majority of travelers, yes, taxis are perfectly safe to use in Oaxaca.

I personally prefer to call taxis via the DiDi Rider app, so I have a record of my trip and the price is already set for me, but you can also just hail a cab on the street.

How do you get around Oaxaca City?

taxi in oaxaca mexico

Oaxaca City is walkable, so if you’re just staying in the city itself, you can walk and use taxis and public transportation as needed.

If you’re doing Oaxaca day trips, a rental car or group tour is your best bet, and I recommend booking Oaxaca tours via Viator and Airbnb Experiences.

How many days do you need in Oaxaca City?

Within Oaxaca City itself, you can see the highlights in 2-3 full days. However, many visitors could realistically spend a week in Oaxaca City — especially art, food and culture lovers.

colorful flags hung above the street in downtown oaxaca city mexico
Colorful downtown in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico.

If you want to explore the artisan towns and unique areas surrounding the city, you’ll want another 1-2 full days. 🚗 Oaxaca City Pro Tip: The best way to do this is by renting a car in Oaxaca and driving.

The best things to do near Oaxaca include exploring Hierve el Agua in San Lorenzo Albarradas, San Agustín Etla, Teotitlán Del Valle and San Pablo Villa de Mitla, a pueblo magico (magic town), and UNESCO Site.

Also, we recommend a day tour to Monte Alban, a large pre-Columbian archaeological site.

Want to visit the best Oaxaca beaches — including Puerto Escondido, Zipolite, Huatulco, San Agustinillo and Mazunte? Then you’ll want another 3-4 full days.

What is Oaxaca known for?

Wondering, Why is Oaxaca so popular? There are five things Oaxaca is known for — art, culture, the Oaxaca Day of the Dead celebration, mezcal and food.

Oaxaca Day of the Dead decorations

In fact, Oaxaca is known as the Foodie Capital of Mexico, so try both the street food in Oaxaca and the restaurants — and of course, don’t miss these best Oaxaca mezcalerias (mezcal bars).

For a deep dive into this topic, check out this What is Oaxaca famous for? article. In it, you’ll learn even more about what makes Oaxaca unique.

Is Oaxaca City worth visiting?

Yes — Oaxaca is magical; it’s the Mexico people imagine Mexico to be.

woman dancing in a festival in oaxaca mexico
You’re going to fall in love with the art, food, beauty, and friendly people of Oaxaca.

There’s everything from rich history, colorful festivals, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, locally-made Oaxacan mezcal, beautiful nature, colonial architecture, indigenous artisan communities, and of course, the Oaxacan food.

As you’ll usually need to take at least two flights to Oaxaca, Mexico, or even a flight and a bus, you might still be wondering if traveling to Oaxaca is worth it.

I hope this guide to Oaxaca made it clear that FU+K YES IT IS!

Final Thoughts: Best Oaxaca Street Food Tours​​

Food in Oaxaca Mexico is a standout cuisine not to be missed!

The top 10 street food Oaxaca Mexico tours listed offer a unique and delicious taste of this vibrant city cuisine, showcasing the best of its flavors, traditional preparation methods, and mouth-watering dishes. 

plate of tamales on one of the best oaxaca food tours

Still undecided on which one to pick? The best food tour in Oaxaca is this Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine Tour, with a perfect 5-Star rating.

From visiting local markets to sampling the best tacos and moles, these tours provide an immersive culinary experience and a better perspective of the Oaxaca food scene. 

If you want to taste the best food in Oaxaca Mexico, book your street food tour today and indulge in the flavors that have made Oaxacan cuisine a standout in Mexico.

Oaxaca Travel Planning Guide

Should I buy Mexico travel insurance for Oaxaca?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)

Can you drink the water in Oaxaca?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling to Oaxaca. (Read more)

Is it safe to rent a car in Oaxaca?

Yes — Renting a car in Oaxaca is one of the best ways to see the state. I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks international companies and local Oaxaca companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

Will my phone work in Oaxaca?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of all Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

What’s the best way to book places to stay in Oaxaca?

For Oaxaca hotels, Booking.com is the best site. If you’re considering a Oaxaca Airbnb, also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb. For the best Oaxaca hostels, use HostelWorld.

What do I pack for Oaxaca?

Head to the Ultimate Mexico Packing List + FREE Checklist Download to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

What’s the best site to buy Oaxaca flights?

For finding cheap Oaxaca flights, I recommend booking through Skyscanner.

Do I need a visa for Oaxaca?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but you can check here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.

The vast majority of travelers will receive a a passport stamp, or 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa upon arrival.