17 Best Oaxaca Walking Tours You Won’t Want to Miss in 2024

walking down a colorful street on one of the best oaxaca walking tours

Want to book the best walking tours in Oaxaca?

You’re in the right place because the 17 best Oaxaca walking tours are featured here. How do I know they’re the best?

I’ve lived in Mexico since 2018, and spend a lot of time in Oaxaca in each year — so I know all the must see sites on any good Oaxaca walking tour. Also, I vetted these tours so you don’t have to!

If you just want to know what the best tour is, I recommend booking this Tasting the Roots of Oaxaca Food & Walking Tour. It’s a highly-rated option so that you can taste authentic Oaxacan cuisine on your tour.

Prefer something else? These rest of the amazing Oaxaca walking tours on this list will surely make your trip extra special. Chocolate, mezcal, street art, grilled meats in the “Alley of Smoke” and photography walking tours await.

No matter your preferences or budget, you’re sure to find several great walking tours to consider on this list — so let’s dive in!

Our Top Picks: Best Oaxaca Walking Tours

#1 TOP PICK

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

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine
✔️ Snacks/breakfast/lunch
✔️ Drinks

#2 PICK

national costumes parade in Oaxaca

Oaxaca Photos Walking Tour
✔️ Tips from a professional photographer
✔️ El Volador Cafe visit

#3 PICK

shot of mezcal

Oaxaca Walking Tour & Mezcal Tasting
✔️ Try 2 types of mezcal
✔️ Visit 2 Oaxaca museums

17 Best Oaxaca Walking Tours

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

two oaxacan tlayudas
Discover new cultures and be amazed by the vibrant traditions of Oaxaca cooking when you book this Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine.

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

Immerse yourself in the culture and cuisine of Oaxaca on this Earth, Corn, & Fire Oaxaca City Walking Tour! It has a perfect 5 Star rating, and when you go, you’ll see exactly why.

During this awesome experience, you’ll visit local Oaxaca City markets and sample food from small stalls and family-run restaurants. Along the way, you’ll learn about the culture and traditions surrounding Oaxacan gastronomy.

This tour was absolutely fabulous — the highlight of our week in Oaxaca. Luis was fantastic — knowledgeable, funny, interesting, personable, responsive.

-linda (read more reviews)

You’ll also get to chat with vendors, taste multiple dishes and snacks, and learn about one of the bedrocks of Oaxacan cooking: 🌽 corn (maize in Spanish), 🍅 tomatoes, and 🫘 beans.

It’s not a full cooking class, but you’ll get to see how maize is transformed from hard kernels to steaming tortillas through the nixtamalization process — an ancient part of prehispanic and Oaxacan culture.

Travelers who booked this tour said they loved learning about aspects of the cuisine they hadn’t known about previously. They also raved about the mouth-watering food, and said the guide was warm, friendly and knowledgeable.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

2. Oaxaca Photo Walking Tour with a Local Photographer

colorful flags hung above the street in downtown oaxaca city mexico
Book this Oaxaca Walking Tour With a Photographer and pique your curiosity to uncover ancient secrets of Oaxaca City while capturing gorgeous photos along the way.

⭐️ Rating: 4.94 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2 hours | 📸 Check Rates & Availability

Few Oaxaca tours and excursions get better than this awesome outing with a professional photographer! With a near-perfect rating, this tour combines sites and the photo souvenirs you’ll treasure forever.

Grab your camera and hit the streets with Juan Pablo, a professional photographer and Oaxaca local who has worked for multiple magazines including Nat Geo, GQ, and Mexico Desconocido.

A top ten experience with a world class photographer! Juan Pablo is an exceptional teacher and a gifted photographer.

-sheila (read more reviews)

During this combo Photography Class and Oaxaca City Walking Tour, Juan Pablo will share photography tips, techniques, and suggestions to make your Oaxaca photos really pop.

If you’re a beginner, he’ll help you learn how to use your camera in manual mode; but if you are intermediate or advanced photographer, he’ll push you to improve your skills further.

This tour includes walking through gorgeous local streets in Oaxaca City and taking pictures of a Mexican dancer decked out in traditional garb.

Other travelers waxed eloquently about Juan Pablo’s teaching skills and passion for photography on this “top ten experience.” When you go, you’ll know why this is one of the best tours in Oaxaca Mexico!

best Oaxaca walking tours 

3. The Best of Oaxaca Walking Tour & Mezcal Tasting

bottle of mezcal in Mezcaleria In Situ mezcal bar, one of the best Oaxaca mezcalerias
Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and explore a world of flavor with mezcal by booking this Best Oaxaca Walking Tour & Oaxaca Mezcal Tasting.

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

If you’re in the market for Oaxaca mezcal tours, you’ll love this 5 Star excursion. 🥃 Not only will you get to see multiple historic sites, but you’ll also get to taste two different kinds of Oaxacan mezcal. Yum!

Alex and Daniel did an excellent walking tour of Oaxaca including Santa Domingo and the market. We also enjoyed the Mezcaleria and tasting.

-lisa (read more reviews)

The half day trip starts off at the Casa Historico Museum. Next, you’ll head to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, an artisan market, a contemporary art museum, one of Oaxaca’s scenic parks, and of course a mezcalería!

Along the way, your expert guides will share fascinating knowledge about the city, alebrijes art, and mezcal. So fun!

This is the best walking tour Oaxaca offers first-time visitors who want a taste of mezcal.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

4. Authentic Oaxaca Street Food Tour by Locals

woman cooking on a comal in oaxaca mexico
Book this Authentic Oaxaca Street Food Tasting Tour by Locals and discover the secrets of Oaxaca cuisine, as you explore its vibrant culture, traditions, and recipes.

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

Eat your way through two traditional markets on one of the best Oaxaca culinary tours available. On this guided walking street food tour, you’ll join an Oaxacan native for a mouth-watering day of eating and learning.

With a local as your guide, you’ll visit the Mercado Benito Juarez Market, and the famous Oaxaca Paseo de Humo (Smoke Alley) in Mercado 20 de Noviembre Market. When it comes to Oaxaca City Markets, these are the best.

Great tour led by Isabel who was fun, engaging and very enthusiastic. Highlights included grasshoppers, mezcals and local ice cream/sorbet.

-jen (read more reviews)

In both of these, you’ll treat your tastebuds to delicious roasted meats, traditional Oaxaca-style tamales, and a quesadilla made on a comal (traditional flat top griddle).

Next, you’ll visit the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. Here you’ll try various traditional drinks, such as el tejate. Tejate (pronounced tay-ha-tay) is a prehispanic chocolate drink known as “the drink of the gods.”

You’ll also eat crunchy chapulines, the infamous Mexico roasted grasshoppers, and finish it off with a local ice cream sorbet called nieves (pronounced nee-yev-vays).

Travelers loved Isabel, the enthusiastic and engaging guide on this tour, as well as the amazing food she brings you to try, and the interesting explanations she has about Oaxaca Mexico.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

5. Oaxaca City Art Walking Tour + Meet Local Artists

colorful mural in the jalatlaco oaxaca neighborhood
Explore the vibrant art culture of Oaxaca City with a passionate guide who will take you to the iconic places when you book this Oaxaca City Street Art Walking Tour.

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

No trip to Oaxaca City would be complete without delving into the colorful and fascinating world of the city’s street art. These murals tell stories of Mexico, its people, and their conflicts and dreams.

Want to gain insight into the culture of the region? Then you definitely won’t regret booking this amazing Oaxaca Art Walk Tour.

During this half-day excursion, you’ll visit a print-making workshop to learn the intricacies of the craft. You’ll also walk to various street art locations, and learn the meanings behind the murals.

Margo is knowledgeable and personable, a winning combination for a tour operator. We walked and learnt the background of many of the works of street art.

-Sheindl (read more reviews)

As a tasty bonus, you’ll finish off with Oaxaca art of a different kind in an artisanal cacao tasting 🍫 Mexico is famous for chocolate, so no Oaxaca trip is complete without sampling some yummy Oaxacan chocolate.

This is one of the best Oaxaca City tours for art enthusiasts and foodies. Both first-timers and return visitors to the city are bound to enjoy this highly-rated and well-loved excursion.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

6. Oaxaca Hidden Gems Photography Walk

woman in front of a pin wall and I love Oaxaca sign (Oaxaca te amo)
Immerse yourself in stunning landscapes, vibrant colors and learn more about Oaxacan art when you book this Off the Beaten Path Oaxaca City Photos Walk.

⭐️ Rating: 4.6 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2.5 hours | 📸 Check Rates & Availability

If you love photography, discovering spots off the beaten track, and walking around urban landscapes — booking this Hidden Oaxaca Photography Walk is the optimal choice for you.

Kick off the day by meeting your tour guide and host, Lizette, at a popular Oaxaca café. After introductions, you’ll discuss how best to use your camera and capture great shots.

Book this. Don’t think about it and don’t hesitate at all, every minute of it is totally worth it. Good vibes, good conversation.

-krystal (read more reviews)

If you have preferences about what to see Oaxaca City, and have specific requests about what you want to learn and the kinds of places you want to visit, make sure to let Lizette know in the cafe, and she can accommodate.

Next, you’ll enjoy your curated walking tour. Discover, and take shots of, beautiful alleyways, eye-catching street murals, picturesque buildings, and lovely panoramas.

You’ll finish off your Oaxaca photo walk tour by choosing one of your favorite captures to get printed.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

7. Gastronomic Tour of Oaxaca Markets

pasillo de humo AKA smoke alley in oaxaca city november 20 market
Book this Gastronomic Oaxaca Markets Tour and enjoy an unforgettable culinary journey, indulging in delicious dishes that may just become your new favorite flavors.

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

Foodies rejoice! If you’re in the market for amazing Oaxaca Mexico tours involving gastronomy, you’ll love this tour. Join the Ethnofood team on this incredible Oaxaca Food Walking Tour.

🌮 You’ll delight your taste buds with about twenty different foods ranging from grilled tacos to Pre Hispanic beverages to contemporary Mexican cuisine.

Our guide was very kind and passionate about food and the city. It was a pleasure to join and both worth the money and time.

-sanni (read more reviews)

During the tour, you’ll visit several Oaxacan markets, explore touristy spots, and eat delicious meats in the famed Alley of Smoke (AKA Meat Alley; though the official name is Paseo de Humo Oaxaca City).

Connect to the city in a whole new way by engaging your senses, filling your belly, and learning the history and culture of the local cuisine. In short: Oaxaca day tours don’t get much better than this, so don’t miss out.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

8. Oaxaca City Street Art Walking Tour

colorful mural in oaxaca city mexico
Discover lots of artistic murals done by different talented Oaxacan artists by booking this Street Art Tour Oaxaca with Coyote Adventures.

⭐️ Rating: 4.88 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🖌️ Check Rates & Availability

Want to Book an excursion with one of the best tour companies in Oaxaca City? Then you need to reserve your place on this Oaxaca City Street Art Tour and City Walk ASAP!

This magical street art tour in Oaxaca City is extolled for its excellent value and its super-storytelling guides.

Jessie brought us through an extraordinary cultural and visual experience in many neighborhoods. We saw and learned things that would take weeks otherwise!

-suzanne (read more reviews)

Meander through the colorful streets of Oaxaca Mexico, enjoying the flowering trees, colorfully-clothed women, brightly painted houses — and best of all, the famous Oaxaca street art murals.

Wander through three different neighborhoods checking out the murals, stencils, and posters created by local artists. Travelers loved this tour, calling it “interesting” and “very personal and very fun.”

They also loved the informative and engaging guides and everything they learned about Oaxaca traditions, rituals, and symbolism in the street art.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

9. Historic Center of Oaxaca Walking Tour

Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman in oaxaca city
Book this Downtown Oaxaca Walking Tour and visit the Temple of Santo Domingo, among other noteworthy sites in Centro Historico.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2 hours | 👣 Check Rates & Availability

Whether you’re a first-timer to Oaxaca City, or a history buff who wants to know more about this UNESCO World Heritage Site, booking this Historic Center Walking Tour is an incredible option.

With a perfect 5 out of 5 rating and enthusiastic reviews, this Oaxaca walking excursion is definitely among the best Oaxaca tours available for travelers who love culture.

Luis was very informative on this wonderful City. A very easy walking tour at a lovely time of day, early evening.

-isimon (read more reviews)

Explore the emblematic buildings downtown, including the Temple of Santo Domingo and the Oaxaca Cathedral, and the picturesque Parque Juárez El Llano Park. This tour offers many great opportunities to photograph the city.

You’ll learn about important figures in Mexican history, famous people from Oaxaca, hear the Aztecs’ origin story, and gain insight into the traditions, celebrations, cuisine, and mezcal of Oaxaca.

Travelers rated this tour very high, saying tour guide Luis is “a very interesting guide with an obvious passion for all things Oaxaca.” Some even went so far as to say he’s one of the best tour guides in Oaxaca Mexico!

best Oaxaca walking tours 

10. Oaxaca Night Tours: Nocturnal Walk and Dinner

one of the restaurants in Oaxaca
Book this Nocturnal Walk: Urban Legends and Oaxaca Dinner Experience and have dinner at the featured spot in Netflix’s “Street Food Latin America.” (Photo: Airbnb, Oaxaca Netflix spots)

⭐️ Rating: 4.93 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2.5 hours | 🌮 Check Rates & Availability

No list of the best Oaxaca walking tours would be complete without this popular Nocturnal Walk of Urban Legends Tour!

Explore the night streets of Oaxaca City with a super storytelling host. During the tour, you’ll head to various points of interest including churches, government buildings, and the so-called “street of the dead.”

An amazing storytelling adventure. I’m not a tour person but this experience and the market one with Javi are fantastic.

-anthony (read more reviews)

Along the way, you’ll hear fascinating myths and legends about Mexico, including the story of “La Llorona,” “Sereno, the Alley of Death” and “La Matlazihua.” If you can’t make it to Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, this is the next best thing.

This tour includes:

  • Learning about spirit guides
  • Eating a casual dinner at the filming location of the Oaxaca Netflix Street Food Latin America show
  • Getting an alebrije to take home as a memento

This Oaxaca tour is perfect for night owls and solo travelers who don’t feel comfortable exploring at night on their own. While Oaxaca is generally considered safe, it’s always best to travel in groups at night.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

11. Art and Oaxaca Chocolate Tasting Tour

raw cacao beans on a scale to me sold and made into oaxacan chocolate
Ever seen raw cacao beans!? Aside from exploring the artistic scene of Oaxaca Mexico, you’ll also experience cacao tasting on this Oaxaca Art Tour and Cacao Tasting.

⭐️ Rating: 4.95 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4.5 hours | 🌰 Check Rates & Availability

Chocolate and art — What could be better? Enjoy a day filled with the winning combination of Oaxacan art and mouth-watering cacao on this half-day tour that combines the best of both worlds (food and art).

Margaux, your host on this venture, is an excellent storyteller. She’ll take you behind the scenes into the workshops of local artists, and to see street art murals in Oaxaca City.

We had a great time with Margaux… We felt that we knew Oaxaca better afterwards, getting to see beyond the usual tourist/historical highlights and seeing some of the current vibrant art world.

-Sabrina (read more reviews)

At each stop, you’ll gain wonderful insight into the techniques and traditions of the artists in Oaxaca. You’ll even get to try your hand at print-making (How cool is that?!), and finish off with a delicious cacao tasting.

Travelers loved the excellent value of this tour. As one reviewer put it, “Margaux’s relationships with the artists and knowledge of the local art scene was the best. Would highly recommend.”

best Oaxaca walking tours 

12. Walk in the Historic Center of Oaxaca

colorful flags hung above the street in jalatlaco oaxaca city mexico
Explore the Oaxaca Centro Historico, including the neighborhood of Jalatlaco, when you book this Historic Center of Oaxaca Walking Tour.

⭐️ Rating: 4.89 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2 hours | Check Rates & Availability

Another one of the top tours Oaxaca City has to offer is this Walk in the Historic Center. It’s a perfect excursion for first-time visitors to the city.

Visit the top spots in Oaxaca’s Historic Center, starting in the Zocalo — which is the Main Square or Town Square. Here, you’ll visit historic buildings, open-air markets, boutique shops, mezcalerias (Oaxaca mezcal bars) and more.

Luis gave us a comprehensive walking tour of a couple of areas of Oaxaca. His knowledge of culture, indigenous history and political change was impressive.

-jean marie (read more reviews)

Along the way, your guide Luis shares interesting information about food, mezcal, celebrations, traditions and history. As one reviewer put it, “[Luis’s] knowledge of culture, indigenous history and political change was impressive.”

Travelers enjoyed visiting several different neighborhoods in Oaxaca City and learning about the culture, history, and architecture of Oaxaca.

Oaxaca Travel Tips: Take this tour early on in your trip as it’ll give you ideas for what to do in the following days — like visiting Monte Alban Ruins or going on a nature excursion, like hikes or Oaxaca mountain bike tours.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

13. Eating With a Local at the Best Oaxaca Markets

Tlacolula Sunday Market in Oaxaca Mexico
Book this Eating with a Oaxaca Local at the Markets Tour and visit a variety of food stalls that sell authentic Oaxacan dishes, like memelas.

⭐️ Rating: 4.98 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🌯 Check Rates & Availability

Join Oaxaqueña Betsy Morales, a Oaxacan native and food connoisseur on this fabulous Oaxaca Food & Walking Tour. Be sure to come hungry, because you’ll be eating your way through multiple markets.

Taste more than 20 foods and beverages from the state of Oaxaca Mexico on this tour. While you eat, you’ll learn the background of the food, and the traditions and flavors that make it magical.

The best food tour. Book this one. Amazing hosts, very special places, delicious dishes.

-aaron (read more reviews)

The best part? You’ll finish off with a trip to a chocolate maker’s workshop. With both sweet and savory offerings, travelers loved the variety of foods, the excellent value of the tour, and the knowledgeable guide.

Oaxaca Travel Tips: Consider doing this tour early in your trip so you’ll be all set to enjoy a larger variety of great cuisine on other days. While on the tour, make sure to ask the tour guide Betsy for Oaxaca restaurant recommendations.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

14. Ultimate Hierve el Agua Hike in Oaxaca

woman at hierve el agua oaxaca mexico
Refresh yourself and swim in the pools of Hierve el Agua by booking this Ultimate Hierve el Agua Hike and Textile Art Experience.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 12 hours | 💦 Check Rates & Availability

If you’d like to get out of the city, there is no better walking tour (well, hiking tour) than this Ultimate Hierve el Agua Oaxaca Hike!

Start off with a two-hour drive from Oaxaca to Hierve el Agua, located in the small pueblo of San Isidro Roaguía. Here, you’ll eat a tasty Mexican breakfast before you begin the hike at Hierve el Agua.

Next, you’ll explore the beautiful pools of Hierve el Agua, swim, snap pictures, or simply contemplate the vistas. After your time there, you’ll hike 4.3-miles (7 kilometers) into a nearby valley to reach a lovely oasis.

The hikes to and around Hierve el Agua were so beautiful, just the right amount of physical activity with the best pay off! 

-michelle (read more reviews)

Later, you’ll visit Teotitlán del Valle for an intriguing intro to traditional weaving, and to eat another delicious traditional meal. This is one of the famous Oaxaca art towns, well known for its colorful textiles and tapetes (Oaxaca rugs).

Travelers loved the beautiful hike, the great guide, and the perfectly organized day. In short: This is a winner when it comes to tours to Oaxaca Mexico and visiting Hierve el Agua Waterfalls.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

15. Full Day Private Walking Tour in Oaxaca with Picnic and Mezcal

four bottles of mezcal and two small shot glasses at La Mezcaloteca, one of the best Mezcalerias Oaxaca City has
Book this Full Day Oaxaca Private Tour to get a jam-packed experience by exploring a Zapotec village, having a picnic, and tasting mezcal in Oaxaca.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 10 hours | 🧺 Check Rates & Availability

If you’re wondering where to go in Oaxaca Mexico, this out-of-the-city tour is a great choice. It combines a nature hike with a visit to a Zapotec village — so you get a Oaxaca walking tour as well as a cultural experience.

Kick off the day with a drive to your guide, Cesar’s, hometown. Next, head out on a nature hike through a beautiful oak forest.

The trip — to Cesar’s village, home, hiking and picnicking in the beautiful mountains nearby, as well as visiting a terrific mezcal producer — could not have been more fantastic.

-JP Cubish (read more reviews)

After a couple of hours of walking through the forest, you’ll meet a native Zapotec woman for a delicious picnic of local freshly-prepared foods.

After refueling on the yummy food, you’ll continue walking until you reach a small mezcal distillery. Here, you’ll learn about the mezcal process and taste some of the fantastic spirits.

One traveler said, “This tour and Cesar’s hospitality were the highlights of our vacation in Oaxaca.” When you book, you’ll see why this is one of the best private tours Oaxaca has to offer.

best Oaxaca walking tours 

16. Walking and Learning Culture in the Historic Center

woman dancing in a festival in oaxaca mexico
Explore the Historic Center of Oaxaca City to learn its history and culture when you book this Oaxaca City Walking Tour and Cultural Experience.

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

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Downtown Oaxaca on this fabulous walking tour. You’ll explore churches, admire sculptures, enter theaters, and contemplate beautiful street art.

Had a great afternoon exploring Oaxaca and learning about the city. You are taken to a lot of areas you may not think to explore.

-ashley (read more reviews)

It is led by local guide Rebeca Migoni, who thanks to her studies as a law student, can offer special insights into social movements and the most important events of the last century.

Bonus: This Downtown Oaxaca City excursion includes drinks 🍻

best Oaxaca walking tours 

17. Free Oaxaca Walking Tour

oaxaca church in downtown
Learn more about the rich history of Oaxaca as you immerse yourself in Oaxacan culture on the Free Oaxaca City Walking Tour.

⭐️ Rating: 4.91 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2.5 hours | ⛪️ Check Rates & Availability

If you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry! Instead, check out the best Free Walking Tour Oaxaca City has to offer — one of the best free things to do in Oaxaca Mexico.

This Oaxaca free walking tour was created by a local guide to show off their beloved city, so don’t think “poor quality” just because you Googled “Oaxaca walking tour free” to find this guided walking tour. It’s most certainly not!

💡 Oaxaca Pro Tips: Take this tour on your first day of your Oaxaca itinerary and you’ll come away with great recommendations for the following days.

During the excursion, you’ll visit famous Oaxaca neighborhoods, as well as lesser-known destinations. By the time it’s over, you’ll have gained insight into what “the real Oaxaca City” looks like and feels like.

While this is a Oaxaca City free walking tour, it will certainly add value to your trip. Note: Though a free tour, tips are customary. Consider tipping at least $100 MX pesos per person ($5 USD).

Oaxaca City Travel Guide and FAQ

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.

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

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 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 walking in oaxaca city mexico
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 — ie. 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 City Airport

You might see this airport called Xoxocotlán International Airport, but it’s still OAX. ▶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.

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.

passenger calling uber in oaxaca from their cell phone

🚕 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 buildings in downtown oaxaca city
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 Tips: 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.

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.

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.

handicrafts for sale at a oaxaca market
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 Walking Tours

Oaxaca is a magical city featuring incredible markets, artists, cuisine, and architecture. While you may have read about those things in a guidebook or online, nothing beats hitting the streets and experiencing it all in person.

As you’ve seen in the article, Oaxaca has many wonderful walking tours — and they’re all available in Spanish and English, so don’t worry about any language barriers. Still undecided? Let me help:

If you’re a foodie, you can choose between a large selection of tours that will lead you through the colorful markets of the city (eating all the way).

All these options, including the best free walking tours Oaxaca City has to offer, were included on this list of best Oaxaca walking tours. I hope it helped you pick the best one for you.

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.