Final Thoughts: Traveling To Oaxaca City Mexico
Oaxaca, in a word, is magical. Oaxaca is the Mexico people imagine Mexico to be. I sincerely hope this Oaxaca City Travel Guide showcased that.
This state has it all: rich history, gorgeous beaches, colorful festivals, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, locally-made mezcal, beautiful nature, colonial architecture and artisan communities.
Theres also the food The Oaxaca food scene rivals many of the top foodie destinations in the world like New York City, Paris and Bangkok.
If you need more info about traveling to Oaxaca Mexico, check out all the Oaxaca travel guides on my dedicated Oaxaca website TravelToOaxaca.com.
Visit Teotitlan Del Valle
Oaxaca is quite famous for its textiles. One of the most famous textile traditions is the weaving of wool rugs in the Teotitlan del Valle. You can visit the village to tour some of the many shops selling their wares, and also take a guided tour like this one which includes a workshop to understand the process.Head to Huella Carmin , and learn the process from start to finish. Youll see how the wool is cleaned and then spun. Then the natural dyes are used to create an array of vibrant colors. Finally, youll see and get to try your hand at weaving the rugs and intricate patterns on the large wooden looms. After, youll have a chance to view their work and purchase some items to take home.
For candle-making, Gerry LOVED the experience at Casa Viviana. Here, you see the entire traditional art of making candles from natural beeswax. Its a beautiful process that can takes days or weeks. One of the sisters can show you and at the end, youre able to buy all sorts of beautiful candle artwork. This was also a part of this women-led guided tour that Gerry took.
Soak Up Traditional Flavors In Xochimilco
Another picturesque enclave known for its exploding urban art scene is the Xochimilco quarter, an important weaving district and one of the citys oldest neighborhoods: it dates all the way back to the 15th century. In the heart of Xochimilco , youll come across cobblestone streets dotted with century-old textile workshops, small craft shops and restaurants specializing in regional Oaxacan cuisine, such as the praiseworthy Ancestral.
South of the highway, an iconic arched aqueduct runs along Callejón Rufino Tamayo amid the areas growing number of upscale hotels, including the elegant colonial-style Casona de Tita.
The Xochimilco Aqueduct was built between 1727 and 1751 to bring fresh drinking water into downtown from the hills of Cerro de San Felipe. Though it ceased to operate in 1940, some of the arches are still used as entryways into homes. And if the structure looks familiar, thats because it served as a location for the 2006 comedy Nacho Libre, starring Jack Black as a festively plump wrestler.
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Where To Eat In Jalatlaco
Mi María Bonita
My favorite restaurant in all of Oaxaca! Dating two generations back, this restaurant offers traditional Oaxacan dishes. Tortillas are handmade on the spot and their salsa recipe remains a family secret.
Did I mention its facade is gorgeous?
Its located right in front of the San Matias Temple, so youll have no issues finding it!
My favorite café in Oaxaca due to its reliable wifi and unbeatable prices. An Americano costs only $15 pesos!
If you are coming on a particularly hot day, you should know that ordering a cold version of any drink is always an option here!
El Bicho Pobre
A simple but lovely restaurant that offers traditional Oaxacan food. The name translates into The Poor Insect.
Located right in front of the main church, this quaint little coffee shop offers smoothies, coffees, and incredible Nutella crepes!
Ha! You probably werent expecting me to list an Italian restaurant in a Mexican food guide, but Pisa Pizza is my fathers go-to place whenever I visit, so Ill include it! Youll be dining in a cozy little garden tucked away from the crowds. A must if you have been in Mexico for long and begin craving some authentic Italian pizza.
About The Editor: Gerry Isabelle
Gerry is the founder of Dominican Abroad a culture and travel blog that loves to educate, amplify multicultural/BIPOC voices, support local small businesses, and explore natural wonders. She is currently spending some time traveling through and falling madly in love with Oaxaca! Follow our adventures on Instagram .
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Hotels Near The Sights
- The ruins of this ancient Zapotec capital make up one of the most important archaeological sites in all of Latin America.Read more
- One of the city’s most ornate structures, this church is lavishly endowed with gold.Read more
- Amate BooksAmate Books specializes in books in English on Mexico. Carrying thousands of books on art, history, culture, cooking, and much more. Frommer’s Guide states, “This shop has perhaps the best selection anywhere of books in English about Mexico.” We also carry bestsellers, magazines, and postcards. Also stop by to experience our rotating folk art collection.Read more
- One of Oaxaca’s crowded main thoroughfares.Read more
- This 17th-century church contains an interesting museum of religious art.Read more
- Visitors to this marketplace are advised to bargain with vendors to get low prices.Read more
- This lavish cathedral sits on the town’s zócalo.Read more
Celeste Beach Residences And Spa
If you are wondering where to stay in Oaxaca to treat yourself and the family to a little luxury, then this is the hotel for you. Situated in Santa Cruz in a private, gated community, youll have everything you need for a relaxing vacation with the family.
Celeste Beach Residences and Spa is the epitome of luxury. With a private beach, infinity pool, sun terrace, fitness centre, and spa, youll never be short of ways to spend your day. Children will be entertained swimming in the pool, exploring the beach, or even having a game of volleyball on the private beach court. Guests can also use kayaks free of charge, so expect the kids to take full advantage of them!
This boutique hotel has a total of 21-rooms, all of which come fully equipped with kitchens and washing machines. This is the perfect accommodation for families who want to self-cater during their holiday and enjoy a little extra space than a standard hotel room. The decor of the rooms is minimalist, but with elements of traditional Mexican furniture and artwork. The bathrooms are also spacious with shower, whirlpool bathtub, and an outdoor rainfall shower too.
The combination of luxury, self-catering options, and the long-list of facilities at the Celeste Beach Residences make this a perfect family hotel. Its not the cheapest accommodation in Oaxaca, but we think this accommodation definitely proves its worth.
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Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Oaxaca
Quirky, colourful and packed with excitement, Oaxaca is a cant miss destination for travellers. It offers a diverse history, unique culture, and plenty of delicious food to eat. Plus, with its incredible arts scene and lively nightlife, youll find theres something for every traveller in Oaxaca.
In this guide, weve looked at the best neighbourhoods to stay in Oaxaca. If youre still not sure which is right for you, here is a quick recap of our favourite places.
Casa Angel Youth Hostel in Santo Domingo is our favourite hostel because it is ideally located for exploring, shopping, dining and dancing.
Another great option is Los Pilares Hotel. Centrally located in Jalatlaco, Oaxacas hippest hood, this hotel has comfortable rooms, modern features, a swimming pool, a sundeck and free wifi.
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email to find out how.
Best Neighborhoods In Oaxaca City
Of course, when youre thinking about where to stay in Oaxaca City, its not just about the type of accommodation, but also the location. The city is divided into distinct neighborhoods, each with its own character and atmosphere. The best neighborhood for you will largely depend on the kind of experience you want to have in Oaxaca. Some of the best choices include:
If you want to be within walking distance of Oaxacas top sights and attractions, then the Historic Center is the best neighborhood for you. This is where youll find the citys colonial Spanish architecture, as well as museums, restaurants, and bars.
The downside of staying in this neighborhood is that it can be quite noisy at night. However, this also depends on the street you are staying on and the type of accommodation you choose.
This is one of Oaxacas top hipster neighborhoods and is full of colorful cafes, bars, and restaurants. This neighborhood is celebrated for its street art and vegetarian food and is home to many smaller hotels, quirky Airbnbs, and cozy apartments. Its a great option for anyone who wants a more authentic and alternative Oaxaca experience.
Barrio de Xochimilco
Barrio de Xochimilco is the oldest neighborhood in Oaxaca City and has a very traditional Mexican feel. With cobblestone streets and ancient buildings, this area is known for its charm and character.
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Best Airbnb In Oaxaca: Stylish Minimalistic Studio
This cute apartment boasts an amazing charm and a minimalistic style. Its sparkling clean and equipped with everything youll need for a comofrtable stay in the city. Its situated right in the centre, putting you just moments away from all the hot spots. Its a great choice if youre visiting Oaxaca for the first time.
Visit The Sunday Tlacolula Market
We had a chance to check out some local markets in the Centro, but visiting a traditional village market is a bit of a different experience. Head to the weekly Sunday market in Tlacolula, the biggest traditional market outside of Oaxaca city, about 45 minutes from the city center.Here youll find everything from fresh produce, to farm tools, to livestock, beautiful artisan work like textiles and pottery, and deliciously prepared food. Tlacolula is famous for their barbacoa, slow-roasted goat or sheep cooked underground and then served in consome or in taco form. Try some here at the market after you work upan appetite. Also be sure to try pulque here, a fermented beverage made from the sap or nectar of agave.
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Visit Santo Tomas Jalieza
Other famous textiles from Oaxaca include woven cotton textiles created from a backstrap loom. Visit the Navarro Sisters in Santo Tomas Jalieza , or arrange to visit with a guide if you dont speak Spanish). These three immensely talented sisters will show you their intricate work and how the backstrap loom works.
A backstrap loom is a traditional method of weaving that uses a belt to secure behind the back of the weaver, while the opposite end of the loom is tied to a pole or a tree to create tension. The loom is then extended in front of the weaver so they can work.
The Navarro sisters create everything from belts to table cloths, purses, camera straps, and textile art.
Day Of The Dead Dos And Donts
Do: Book your Oaxaca hotel, Oaxaca VRBO or Oaxaca hostel, and your Day of the Dead tours well in advance.
Do: Participate! This holiday is about remembering the deceased, so many Oaxacan families love when you ask about their departed loved ones honored on the altars. When you see a parade going by, jump in and start dancing with the locals.
Do: Have a day where your only plan is to walk the city. During Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, the whole town is transformed for this giant party, so explore as much as you can while the decorations are up.
Do: Ask for permission to take photos. To err on the side of caution, get permission from families in the cemeteries and at their ofrendas , and when photographing people.
Do: Carry cash on you at all times. In Mexico, cash is still king and in Oaxaca City, many places dont take cards. This is especially true with taxis, in local mercados , and street vendors, which will all be cash only.
Do: Pack noise canceling earbuds or noise canceling earplugs to get a good nights sleep during this festive holiday. Day of the Dead is basically a three-day party with music and celebrations city-wide.
Dont: Treat this as a tourist attraction. The Day of the Dead Festival is a centuries-old cultural tradition, so have fun, but know this is not the same thing as getting wasted on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
For an idea of whats appropriate to wear, head here.
OAXACA DAY OF THE DEAD Mexico
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Oaxaca City By Season
- The dry season is between November through May. This time of year is almost always sunny and quite dry.
- The hottest months of the year are April and May.
- The rainy season starts around June and goes through September. This can still be a lovely time to visit, as most days it only rains for a short period late afternoon/evening. However, if a tropical storm comes through the rain can be more consistent. September is typically the rainiest month.
Best Hotel In Santo Domingo: Hotel Casa Vertiz
This stylish four-star hotel is conveniently situated a short walk from Centro, while enjoying the quieter surroundings of Santo Domingo. It is close to a variety of bars and restaurants, as well as top sights and attractions. Rooms come complete with all of the essentials, including free wifi and cozy beds.
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Get A Massage In Oaxaca
There are several places in town to get a massage at an affordable rate . This is one of our editors favorite things to do after lots of walking and exploring in a new city. If youre in Oaxaca and looking to soothe your sore muscles, here are some locations to choose from:
- Carolina Chavez: She offers both physical therapy and massages. This is her Whatsapp: +5216215197.
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Mid-Range Hotel Hotel Anturium
When staying at Hotel Anturium, you can stay in a single, double, triple or quadruple room. They are spacious and clean and most have a private bathroom.
There is a restaurant on site and the hotel enjoys free WiFi.
Luxury Hotel Casa los Cantaros Hotel Boutique
Casa los Cantaros Hotel Boutique is set in a lovely garden atmosphere with lots of flowers and exotic plants.
The rooms have clean, white linen, exposed stonework and luxury en-suite bathroom. Suites have garden views and a seating area.
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Universidad For Families Budget Travelers
The large area to the south of Centro is the university district, Universidad. Comprised of a number of smaller communities, this region is ideal for anyone who wants to stay near to the city center whilst avoiding the crowds and higher rates for accommodation.
Being so close to the main attractions, whilst being more open with fewer people, makes this an ideal location for those visiting with children. There are plenty of local restaurants serving a range of cuisines to keep everyone happy, so you wont have to worry about constantly traveling into Centro and back for meals.
Admittedly, aside from some local shops and small museums, there isnt much for visitors to do here. The main benefit of the area is its proximity to the city center and relative calm atmosphere.
If you are in Centro for the first time, or just for a shorter trip, and want somewhere with tons to see and do on your doorstep, this likely isnt the place for you.
A large portion of the district is taken up by the university grounds. The university sometimes run exhibitions or displays of its students work in their buildings and grounds, so its worth checking ahead to see if they have any events during your stay.
If you opt to stay in this neighborhood, I recommend looking for hotels in the north, around the La Noria neighborhood. This is where the region borders with Centro and you will find the best selection of conveniently located options.
Mexico Travel Planning Guide
Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?
100% YES! With basic coverage averaging just $5-10USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from World Nomads, the biggest name in travel insurance.
Can you drink the water in Mexico?
No Youll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you dont get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico.
Is it safe to rent a car in Mexico?
Yes Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates.
Will my phone work in Mexico?
Maybe It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you dont have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexicos largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards.
Whats the best way to book my Mexico accommodations?
For Mexico hotels, Booking is the best site, but for hostels, use Hostel World. If youre considering a Mexico Airbnb, dont forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb.
What do I pack for Mexico?
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