Oaxaca Pronunciation: How to Pronounce Oaxaca & Other Facts

how to pronounce Oaxaca Mexico header

Wondering how to pronounce Oaxaca in SPanish?

Of course you are! It is not the easiest word for English speakers to say correctly. While it looks like you’d say OH-ha-kah, the correct Oaxaca pronunciation is wah-HAH-kah. Want to hear it pronounced? Head here.

However, that’s not the only unique thing about Oaxaca — one of the top travel destinations in Mexico, specially for foodies and culture travelers. That’s right: Oaxaca is known as the Foodie Capital of Mexico!

This entire website is dedicated to the state of Oaxaca Mexico, including its capital city, Oaxaca de Juárez (AKA Oaxaca City), and the Oaxaca beaches like Puerto Escondido, Huautlco, Mazunte, Chacahua and Zipolite.

Want to learn more about Oaxaca beyond just the How do you pronounce Oaxaca? question. Then keep reading because this article is full of fun Oaxaca facts and other interesting information about Oaxaca Mexico.

What is the correct Oaxaca pronunciation?

It’s wah-HAH-kah (not OH-ha-kah), and the stress in the word Oaxaca is on the second syllable.

teacher explaining the correct Oaxaca Pronunciation

Why is Oaxaca pronounced that way?

Here are a few more clarifications on how to say Oaxaca like a local, and how to pronounce each syllable in Oaxaca correctly:

  • The “oa” at the beginning of Oaxaca is pronounced “wah.”
  • The “x” is pronounced as an “h.”
  • The following “a” has a short a sound, so it’s pronounced with an “ah” sound.

Want to hear Oaxaca pronounced?

Here’s an audio file courtesy of Wikipedia that will let you hear the word Oaxaca spoke aloud. This should help clear up the What is the proper pronunciation of Oaxaca? question once and for all!

What does Oaxaca mean in English?

The word Oaxaca doesn’t have a translation. It is simply the name of one of the 32 states in Mexico, and the capital city is called Oaxaca City.

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

Where is Oaxaca located?

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

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 to Oaxaca from Mexico City, Guadalajara, and a few other cities in Mexico. However, it’s not always common to find direct flights from the U.S. or Canada.

Is Oaxaca a city or state?

Both — Oaxaca is a state in Mexico, and the capital of Oaxaca is Oaxaca City. Officially, this city is called Oaxaca de Juarez, but most just called it Oaxaca.

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

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 Averages

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.

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

What is Oaxaca known for?

There are a few things that make Oaxaca special. In short, Oaxaca is three things: festivals, fun, and food (which includes Oaxacan mezcal, of course).

1. Traditional Oaxacan Food

different types of moles at Mo-Kalli Oaxaca
A rich sauce made since pre-hispanic times, mole is one of the best traditional foods from Mexico.

Traditional Oaxaca foods are unique and incredibly regional, and Oaxaca City is often called the Foodie Capital of Mexico. In fact, UNESCO declared all traditional Mexican food an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind in 2010.

Some of the best chefs in Mexico, like Alejandro Ruiz Olmedo of Casa Oaxaca, Enrique Olvera of Criollo Oaxaca, and Cecila Flórian from Las Quince Letras, have Oaxacan restaurants.

Oaxaca also has an exciting street food culture, as seen on Netflix’s Street Food: Latin America (Season 1, Episode 3, “Oaxaca, Mexico”). In it, you’ll see the Oaxacan tlayuda, memelas, quesillo (Oaxaca cheese), and more.

What is the Oaxaca cheese pronunciation?

The correct Oaxaca pronunciation is wah-HAH-kah, so that’s how you’d say the “Oaxaca” in Oaxaca cheese. In Oaxaca, this cheese is known as quesillo (kay-SEE-yo), not queso Oaxaca.

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

2. Day of the Dead in Oaxaca

Oaxaca Day of the Dead cemetery
Oaxaca Day of the Dead is one of the most fun times to visit Oaxaca City, Oaxaca Mexico.

💀🌺💀 For a complete guide to attending the celebration, head to Day of the Dead in Oaxaca: Everything You Need to Know to learn more.

You can’t make a list of things Oaxaca is known for and not have Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) near the top of the list. In fact, Oaxaca is one of the best places to celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico.

It is not only one of the biggest festivals in Oaxaca, but one of the biggest, most lively, fun and best festivals in Mexico — and most important holidays in Mexico.

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

3. Beaches in Oaxaca

view of Bahia Conejos (Bunny Bay) and the pool at secrets resorts huatulco all inclusive
Bahías de Huatulco Oaxaca has nine bays, most just as nice as this one, as well as the 36 Huatulco beaches.

Want to check out the beautiful beaches in Oaxaca? You’re in luck — as there are plenty of good options for amazing Oaxaca beaches to explore.

Determining the best beaches Oaxaca has to offer is subjective to your needs and wants, but with so many options, there’s a perfect Oaxaca beach for everyone.

From the best surfing beaches in Oaxaca to the best swimming beaches in Oaxaca, the best beach to do the Oaxaca baby turtles release, to the only legal Mexico nude beach — it’s all on the Oaxaca Mexico Coast.

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

4. Oaxaca Mezcal

bottle of mezcal in Mezcaleria In Situ mezcal bar, one of the best Oaxaca mezcalerias
In Situ is one of the best mezcalerias in Oaxaca City, as it has one of the largest selections.

Oaxacan mezcal is a distilled spirit that can be made from more than 30 varieties of the maguey (agave) plant. If mezcal sounds like tequila to you — it kind of is.

Much like how champagne is essentially a sparkling wine from the city of Champagne, France, tequila is a kind of mezcal from the city of Tequila, Mexico. If Tequila, Mexico, is the home of tequila, Oaxaca is the home of mezcal.

To show how much Oaxacans love their mezcal, there’s this common saying: Para todo mal, mezcal. Para todo bien, también. This means, “For everything good, mezcal. For everything bad, mezcal as well.”

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

5. Oaxaca Art

man making a rug on a loom in oaxaca mexico
Traditional Oaxacan rugs are made by hand from sheep’s wool and colored with natural dyes.

Visitors will discover the most incredible Mexican folk art in Oaxaca — from black pottery and fantastical animal sculptures called alebrijes, to artisan cheese, Oaxaca mezcal and the famous Oaxacan rugs (tapetes).

You can find locally-made handicrafts in most Oaxaca markets, but art lovers will really enjoy taking a tour of the Oaxaca Ruta de Artesanías (Oaxaca Art Town Route).

Each of these Oaxaca art towns is like a unique art gallery, and they only make one craft in each town. They are all unique, but three must-visit Oaxaca art towns are San Bartolo Coyotepec, San Martín Tilcajete and Teotitlán del Valle.

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

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.

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?

Oaxaca City is the country’s 67th largest city, with a population of about 275,000. However, it has managed to retain a humble, pueblo vibe. (Note: The word pueblo means “small town.”)

The beaches of Oaxaca are also considered safe, especially Huatulco, which has basically no crime at all. Other beaches like Mazunte, Chacahua, San Agustinillo and Zipolite are also very safe.

Now, that’s not to say bad things don’t happen in Oaxaca; 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 Mexico.

Is Oaxaca safe for solo travelers?

For the most part, yes, but of course, you have to make your safety a priority. Check out this first-hand account from Poonam about her solo trip to Oaxaca Mexico.

Is Oaxaca safe to travel for families?

For the most part, yes, and there are a lot of things to do in Oaxaca with kids. In general, Mexico is a very family-friendly country, and kids can go anywhere adults can.

What is the Oaxaca Mexico Pronunciation?

Is Oaxaca very touristy?

It is a touristy in Downtown Oaxaca City and the popular tourist sites like Monte Alban and Hierve el Agua. To avoid the high tourist season, the best time to visit Oaxaca is in January and February.

You can always venture off the beaten path in Oaxaca to avoid the more touristic places. These Oaxaca artisan towns make for interesting place to stay for travelers who want to immerse themselves in real Oaxaca culture.

eatery in oaxaca airport OAX
Oaxaca Airport (or, OAX Airport) is the only airport in Oaxaca City.

Are there Oaxaca Airports to fly into when I visit?

Yes — There are three airports in Oaxaca Mexico: Oaxaca International Airport (OAX) in Oaxaca City, Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM) and Huatulco International Airport (HUX).

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

How many days do you need in Oaxaca?

You can see the highlights with 2 days in Oaxaca City if you travel quick, or 3 days at a more leisurely pace. To visit these best beaches in Oaxaca, you’d want at least 3-4 more days.

stone sculptures at monte alban oaxaca ruins called Los Danzantes
Monte Alban is known as the best ruins in Oaxaca Mexico.

However, many visitors could spend a week in Oaxaca City — especially art, food and culture lovers — and still wish their trip was longer! There are plenty of things to see in Oaxaca, and great Oaxaca day trips just outside the city.

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

What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

Is Oaxaca 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 towns, indigenous artisan communities, and yummy 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: What is the Oaxaca Pronunciation?

In case you missed it in the opening paragraph, the correct Oaxaca pronunciation is wah-HAH-kah. While it does look like you pronounce Oaxaca as oh-ha-kah, that is definitly not the correct Oaxacan pronunciation!

Beyond the correct pronunciation of Oaxaca, I hope this article shined a light on the amazing state of Oaxaca Mexico — a mecca for foodies, art lovers, nature lovers and culture travelers.

To sum it up: Oaxaca is food, festivals and fun! If you want to know more, check out these other Oaxaca blogs:

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.